Fur Feather and Fish
The Varied Life Of An Old School Countryman
As always I am very busy with my professional Poison Free Pest Control Rounds, although I specialise in Agricultural Pest Control over nearly 30.000 acres on the books, I also have a vast amount of Commercial and Domestic contracts that seem to be getting more and more busy as I seem to spend as much time in the inner cities as I do out in the Countryside.
Back to the piggery, I went there to check my traps as always twice a day, on the evening check I took along Young Sports Ambassador's Oliver & Carter, firstly to give them some experience in live cage trapping to teach them humane dispatch of said quarry this time rats, they were also going to help me shoot the grain mill using the awesome Air Arms air rifle and Brilliant NiteSite night vision for said rats.
The boys could not believe the size of some of the rats in the traps, Niall that's Carters Dad and my right hand man on the pest control rounds just laughed, as both the boys swore they were as big as cats, as the night fell on went the night vision, this was when the boys found out in the darkness there is a whole new world to explore, Using the NiteSite Eagle Dark Ops and the NiteSite Sentinel Spotter the boys went on a new adventure after the long tailed Ratticuss, Each shot the boys took with these British made Air Arms Air Rifles was with surgical precision, that's how good these guns are, I have tried them all and nothing comes close to an Air Arms, maybe in a far off distant second place maybe a HW100, the only thing that comes close to an Air Arms for deadly pin point reliable accuracy is another Air Arms in my humble Opinion, I have said this so many time as I have been using air Arms for 30 years this year, my first was an air Arms Carmargue way back in 1989.
We finished that night with a huge pile of rats from both trap and shot with The simply brilliant Air Arms/NiteSite Combo and my Young Sports behind the butt.
We stalked along the deep hilly meadows along the 20 acre wood, Young Sport Ambassador Oliver shadowing my every step using the binoculars to glass every inch of woodland and meadow grass on this Devonshire Hillside, I spotted some movement along the bottom of the wood as we turned the corner into the sun baked meadow on the South side of this huge ancient woodland, we tucked in by some haylage bales as Oliver knelt down to glass what the movement was, I knew already as it was one of my breeding Doe with a young follower from this year, but this was journey of discovery for the boy and learning field craft etc, my Pappy (Grandfather) always said a good teacher will teach you what to look for but not where to look, that how experience and knowledge joins in the tapestry of life.
As I stood there I could see the sheer concentration on the boys face, I asked in a whispered voice is it a Buck or Doe, Oliver whispered Doe I think? Wait there is more than one, I could sense his excitement I swear I could hear his heart beating from his chest, its two Doe a bigger one and a smaller one, I told him ahhh yes one of our breeding Doe with one of this years followers, at this point something spooked them in the other end of the wood so they trotted right towards us, I whispered don't move a muscle, they both trotted right up to us within ten yards, they never knew we were there well not until they came round on the wind and scented us gave a bark and were off showing us their heels, young Oliver was lost for words after such a close encounter, we settled our heart rate had a drink of water then stalked on.
We crossed a little wooded brook and into another pasture ground, immediately I glassed the cull Buck I was after following around one of last years Doe, we stalked in around the headland to get wind side of the them, Oliver tucked in next to a bush I mounted the rifle on the Primos Trigger Sticks next to another bush about twelve feet away, we had a hundred yards of open meadow rising up a nice hill behind the Buck, I waited a moment or two so my heart rate settled down and got my breathing right, I set myself up nice and steady put the cross hairs on target took a breath exhaled and squeezed off the shot, The Buck dropped on the spot a text book shot, Oliver let out a huge YOU GOT HIM and was off like a Lurcher on a rabbit before I could say hang on, I bumbled at leisurely pace as my youthfulness of running anywhere left me many years ago, a nine young cull buck that finished off this year Roe Buck Cull, even better I got to inspire a Young Sport into the wonderful world of deer management, I think the pride on the boys face says it all don't you, I called Niall to bring the quad bike over to this side of the estate to bring the buck back to the estate chiller, Oliver even got in there and helped with the gralloch and take it back to the estate, His Lordship gave us this cull buck as bonus for another years work well done, we Oliver got to have some of his own Venison he helped stalk on his first deer, I must admit Niall and I were grateful for the gift too as we did not have any venison left in our freezers. All in all a magical day again inspiring a Young Sport Ambassador.
Niall and I set up the rifles for me to use with a comfy seat on a table on sand bags with a kettle boiling for hot coffee all night, we set up in one of the under cover areas with a 400m rising up a small hillside for a back stop in front of us, I set up to deal with a fox problem that the organic poultry place had next door and the foxes were coming across the sports ground to get at it, the 223 had the NiteSite Eagle Dark Ops mounted on it, the 17hm the standard NiteSite Eagle R tech mounted on it for those longer rabbit shots, and the 22 rimfire with the NiteSite Wolf for those closer shots, Young Oliver had his Air Arms S200 with him so we put The NiteSite Viper on that so he could try and get his first ever rabbit, the boys used the NiteSite large spotter and the NiteSite Sentinel for spotting the quarry that lay out in the darkness, I used my new Night Pearl thermal unit I purchased from NiteSite and worth every penny and more I telle boys.
We settled in to let it all go quiet whilst Oliver and Carter kept watch Niall and I had a fresh brewed coffee, very civilised this nights work I telle, in fact it blew a hooley and the rain came down side ways, but it did not matter we were as snug as bugs in a rug warm dry and comfortable sheltered from the wind, I remember saying this is the life eh boys, in between the weather there were good breaks in it, the rabbits came out in force and we managed to bag a few, Niall took Carter off for a walk up to the top of the sports ground and bumped right into Charlie fox, much to his annoyance as all he had was an air rifle, the fox took one look at him and off he went never to be seen again, Niall and Carter came back with a rabbit, my turn to take Oliver Off for a walk with his air rifle, I took the 223 too just in case old Charlie came across my path, we stalked around the front of the building towards the car park as a lot of rabbits had been seen here, I was right there were several feeding on the manicured grass banks of the car park, I could see them like daylight on this new Night Pearl Thermal unit from NiteSite, We got Oliver in position and the trigger sticks and waited, a huge buck rabbit hopped out not 20 yards from us, Oliver got his cross hairs on target for a perfect head shot, he took a breath squeezed off the shot as the rabbit did a back flip and lay on the floor stone dead, the other rabbits took no notice as this rifle was whisper quiet with a quality made Andrew Huggett Moderator on it, ten minuets later Oliver Bagged another fine rabbit not ten feet from the first with another perfect head shot just as it started to rain again, so we grabbed both rabbits and bolted for the sanctuary of our base camp. It was starting to get late Niall and I bagged a couple more rabbits from on the hill greens then decided to call it a night as Carter fell asleep with one of the rabbits on the floor of the base camp, we had some lovely fresh rabbit for the table, I had mine pan fried with smoked bacon garlic onions and some herbs, Niall had his in a stew, and Young Oliver and His Dad had his roasted, Oliver said he prefers it pan fried my way, yet again another truly magical night on my pest control rounds whilst inspiring the Young Sports Ambassador's that they are the next generation of countrymen and custodians of our mother nature.
Harry and I headed out on the estate, I had to check all my humane cage traps, so this would be a wonderful opportunity for me to spend some one to one time with Harry and coaching him without the disturbances of the others, Harry is my Young Sport Ambassador for Country Sports, Carter and Ollie are Shooting Ambassadors and Chris my Young Fishing Ambassador, Harry has a great passion for the out doors, he has re built his own steam engine a Lister Pump engine, he loves hunting, shooting, fishing, he prepares all his own game and cooks some amazing wild food and has a passion for Agriculture and can be often found helping out on my friends farm.
Harry joined me checking and re filling my traps, I explained to him the importance of real field craft here and the legal sides of trapping and more, we then headed over to one of my bigger ancient woodlands where we have a very large conservation effort going on, I had been targeting the grey squirrels very heavily here both with trapping and shooting, I had seen a few new Drays appear so I said lets go over and poke them out, I let Harry shoot whilst I poked the Drays out, Tess the springer Spaniel circled the trees to catch any squirrels that fell, I must be doing my job right as we only saw one squirrel in the whole woodland and he was dealt with very quickly, this is an ancient mixed woodland and the squirrels are destroying the trees so the estate are putting in a big effort to control the greys here, we went back to the truck had a soup and a sandwich then headed down off the hills to the Somerset levels to feed the ponds, I had to finish early as I had to be back to Jacklands Fishing Lakes for their winter supper, I said To Harry lets stand on a splash you might get a shot or two at some duck dropping in before we have to leave, indeed Teal and Wigeon dropped in but they were too fast for the boy.
I was just about to say time to go when the air filled with the sound of the ghost rider, the wild geese were coming and in big numbers too, I could hear them in the darkness coming our way following the moon, I gave Harry a couple of heavy load bismuth cartridges I had in my pocket that I carry just in case, two huge skeins came right over head honking like a Benidorm traffic Jam, Harry gave the two salutes on one bird not 25 yards above his head, alas I think goose fever got him as he missed clean behind twice, I could hear the boys heart beating with excitement, I laughed and said that's the way it goes some times son, we left the levels with a very happy young sport and a not so happy dog as she did not have anything to retrieve.
Fur Feather and Fish
The Varied Life Of An Old School Countryman
By The Ole Hedge Creeper