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The Hunters Chronicles - Friday 7th September 2012

Whilst my passion for, and enjoyment of, airgunning and shooting remains, I have not been out hunting for quite a while now.

Opportunities have come and gone without regret nor mourning. I have recognised them as such and have allowed them to pass and analysed my thoughts and feelings upon each occurrence.

Whilst I had designs for the Hazelnuts that grow here and intentions to harvest them, I can see that my fears of them being completely devoured by the Squirrels with none left for me are unfounded. There are plenty to go around for us both. Times when a squirrel has shaken a branch above me, even though I have had my rifle in my hands, he has continued unmolested in his foraging. I cannot justify his death solely on the grounds of perceived 'burglary' nor can I really find motivation to honour his body fully by preparing it for consumption. Which leads me to my next realisation;

I have had a much lowered desire and hunger for meat whilst the temperatures have been mild. I recall in Winter and Early Spring a hunger and lust bordering on something almost vampirical in its magnitude.

When I compare then to now, I am reminded of Henry David Thoreau's - Walden; Or Life In The Woods. In it he made reference to hunting animals and decided that he disliked the 'mess' it caused in its processing in comparison to the other foodstuffs he had available such as beans and fish. I feel that at this time of year when I have so many vegetables, fruits and nuts available to me, I can relate to his logic, albeit temporarily.

The local rabbit population has decreased dramatically on the land I had permission to shoot over and now I have been asked to end my visits until the Pheasant season ends on the 1st of February. On the one hand, this news saddens me as the fields I have roamed for nearly nine months now have become familiar and though I may not always be successful in my hunting, I do value my time spent wandering and watching. The gains will be harvested, I hope, come February when healthy, recovered, and abundant rabbit numbers greet me. The meat will be most welcome during and after the 'hungry gap'.

Recently, Blackberries and Elderberries have been a very welcome addition to my diet. I have long awaited the arrival of the Elderberries, to the point of foregoing the delicious Elderflowers, as I intend to make cordials and tonics to combat the coughs and colds of Winter.


For now, the Armoury will undergo further tweaks and changes. My .177 HW95k and TX200 rifles are now crowned with new scopes that have vastly improved my shooting. A fair number of pellets have been sent downrange zeroing and learning the half mildot reticle and aimpoints.
The .22 SMK TH208 is the next to benefit from my attentions. This requires yet more paper punching due to the different behaviour of the calibre and sharper drop off of the pellet. I hope to utilise the hard hitting medium range capabilities of this rifle in Autumn and Winter when meat returns to being a regular on the menu.  Perhaps another reason I have abstained from gunning down the squirrels, a subconscious restraint. 

I do hope those of you who have looked forward to more regular entries are not too disappointed. It would appear that this may be a rhythm of the seasons for me. I will say that Autumn is most certainly here and I expect that my avian brothers and sisters will be as eager as I am to gather all those berries that too briefly hang from the branches. I would be most grateful if the Pigeons were to take an interest!

The neighbours seeking respite from the ravenous midges, mosquitos and horseflies. An August absent Summer.



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