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The Hunter's Chronicles - Wednesday 23rd May 2012

Air Rifles are playing a seemingly pivotal and synchronistic role in this lifestyle of mine. Not long after purchasing the S200 from a local chap, my eager ego was busy shopping for things I neither needed nor had the money to purchase; Bipods, Quick release studs, etc etc. It even went as far as to belittle the acquisition that it had for so long desired and generated so much suffering over it's deprivation and lack. Now it said "Not as good as a HW100!" What the heck?! I have nothing to sell!
Oh but you do....
No. No. I couldn't. Selling my time was exactly what had started this whole breakaway and shift off.
Could I go back? Not to something that I didn't enjoy, no way.
It had to be local.
It had to be temporary, yet worthwhile.
Pah, the nearest settlement is a sleepy hamlet with a pub. I was not about to pull pints again.

I mulled over my new desire and the predicament of the overdraft my past desires had created.
I had just about managed to convince myself that I was actually happy and complete.
Then I received a text.

"Just picked up a traditional building job down the road from you. You available Monday?" It was the guy I bought the S200 from!

'Absolutely' featured in my reply. Right up my alley having spent a year learning traditional building methods, here was someone requiring me to put them into practice and teach me some more whilst paying me!

The cottage was idyllic.

The job was not.

Nearly all the walls, bar one, need re-pointing. That means 3-5 months work using a miniature pick to tap out the old lime mortar, then replacing it. The chimney needs rebuilding. A window in the roof to be ripped out and replaced by a dormer.... and two days in, my back is sunburnt, wrist is strained and I'm knackered.

I had little recourse therefore to bemoan not being able to hunt. The very time I would normally spend doing it, I was selling. Tough cookies.

But today, tired though I was, I made time.

As I rode shotgun in my employers van (he kindly ran me up the hill to my abode) I spied an invasion of crows marauding one of the fields of my permission. Game on!

A very quick slurp of coffee, shirt off, camo jacket on. Far too hot for layers today.

I grabbed the TX200 as I believed I'd be requiring the lighter, faster calibre.

I approached the target area.

I crept through the trees. Just the other side of this thicket, there was a crow party in full swing.

I emerged to find....

...I wasn't invited.

They buggered off. The lot of them.

Ahh well, rabbits it is. I was philosophical in my disappointment at being denied the opportunity of trying out crow burgers, but philosophy gave way to conniving.

Out along the row of fences pictured above I spotted an unsuspecting prize. Range - guesstimated at 43 yards or thereabouts, appropriate hold over, fire.

Most bizarrely, it was after the pellet impacted, this kit decided he'd audition for the Olympic Gymnastics Team, the media hype evidently infectious to rabbits too. To give him his due, he put in a sterling effort to execute a 360 degree backflip with twist, but failed miserably to land it. I held up my judges card. I gave him 3 for effort but his timing was way off in my opinion, next time I would advise he do so without a lump of lead in his brain.
His buddy was harsher than I, and failed to even acknowledge the incredible talent displayed by his now deceased playmate. As I approached, he scratched his ear in his attempt to appear nonchalant. I was not so accurate with my 'gut' rangefinding and missed not once but twice before I applied slight hold under and got an audition out of him too. Not nearly as impressive however. So he got a '1' for merely showing up.

I slit the kits and hid in the bushes, hoping to lure the crows back with treats.

I waited. And I waited some more.

Then I went for a mooch.

In a favourite spot of mine, a large Doe loped around happily, and lazily disappeared back into the hedgerow. A good time for a well earned lie down to give my backside a chance to regain some blood supply.
She re-emerged at a lazed 32 yards. Rested on my gamebag stuffed with the gunslip it was a straight forward shot. It struck home where expected.
What happened was unexpected. The strike was audible and yet she barely reacted shifting forward as though completely unaffected.
She was mortally affected.
Blood poured from her mouth dribbling in the grass. In an attempted to hasten her demise I fired another shot, another strike. A flinch. Then she keeled over stone dead.

I paunched her immediately, to find her digestive system in full swing. Food was still being pumped along the intestines. From a nick in the lower tract oozed processed food matter. This continued for a short while even after all had been disconnected. Quite fascinating to say the least.

The pellet seemingly struck the correct area, yet I can only surmise the small .177 round failed to cause the required level of trauma and thus passed just under the brain. She may have drowned on her own blood though unlikely. May have suffered a heart attack?
In my experience, this occurrence is extremely rare. But lessons have been learned. For starters, the S200 will be my primary rabbiting gun. If I use the TX200 for rabbits, it appears the pellet must strike fractionally higher than the mark shown.

I added her to the collection of Kits to which the crows had now flocked, and subsequently scarpered as I drew nearer.

Another wait for the crows.

Another saunter.

At the bottom of the tree on the right there is almost always a rabbit.

This time was no different.

This one decided to perform a very quick cartwheel stunt audition. Similar to the last kill, with more blood from the mouth than I'd like and expect but not quite as disquieting and a much quicker exit. Successful, but with room for refinement.

And so, with my temporary employment, which shall usher in a top pedigree stallion to the airgun stable, I must accept my forays may be less frequent than I am used to. But I am willing to endure the hardships. My boss has promised to show me how to prepare rabbits Cretan style if I tutor him in their skinning and butchery (If it means time off from picking at mortar so be it!).

Til next time friends!

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