I did laugh well of course there is always something for a young sport to come and do, Now this is something in today’s era I just totally can’t understand? what with all the computer games and mindless TV and all the social media how can a kid become bored? There is so much mind numbingly boring codswollop for them to do? that well just turns out another generation of sheeple let alone real free thinkers as they become walking zombies after the hypnotism of the modern world.
When my generation was their age all we had was our imagination and the great outdoors and the word bored never left my lips, Well if it did my Pappy or Dad would hand me a yard brush or something and say bored there is always the yard to sweep or something of the like.
Ahhhhh such fond memories of turning said broom into a space rocket or a horse or on many occasions my brother and I becoming knights of the round table and doing battle, well that was until one of us got hurt or broke something, then well we ran like the wind bulls eye as mother was coming and a clip round the ear was a certainty as we had probably demolished her prize flower borders or something.
Out running mother whilst she was in full steam horsing on with a wait till I catch you firing from her lips like an angry terrier with lip stick really was some feat, As she was as fast as whippet and sharp as my dad’s hunting knife, We would win the battle but never the war as we had to go home when it got dark when the street lights came on and we were hungry too.
My brothers tears always did the trick blonde hair blue eyes always melted mothers heart we were always quickly forgiven no matter what mischief we got into , Mother must of went grey early as she was always dying her hair not surprising with two high spirited boys who were always getting into some mischief or another, weather scrumping apples or riding on Mrs Earls grey horse playing cowboys and Indians until we got caught that was by Mrs Earl waving her horse crop at us, Such fond memories of my miss spent youth using not much more than our imaginations,
I see a lot of my brother and I in my Becky’s boys Connor and David both high spirited lads who just need some guidance, I think my Becky is going grey too as she keeps dying her hair I blame the boys it has absolutely nothing to do with me egging them on I telle, the same as my other young sports Tyler and Jake but to name a few and well who better than the old master himself than The Ole Hedge Creeper to show them the way, Building dens making bows and arrows spears climbing trees making rope swings and oh so much more.
You know it’s like being a boy in the 80s again with my old gang but this time we have guidance of age unlike as a boy were we got ourselves in a touch of hot water from time to time, Like teasing Mr Earls old red bull at the time very funny but in hindsight not the most clever thing to do, Especially when Butch one of our mates had to jump the trough a bit quick landing head first in all the cow crap he stank for a week I remember his mother hosing him down in the garden with ice cold water his screams and our laughter still ringing in my mind to this day.
So when I was asked was there anything the boys could join me on what a daft question of course there was, But no time for making rope swings and the like we had vermin duties to do, Fist I took Jake rabbit hunting with the air rifles as the other boys had gym and martial arts lessons etc.
We started off on the first farm checking the barns first for feral pigeon etc, not much about there so we headed out to the horse paddocks, it was a bright sunny afternoon with a sharp South Westerly bitterly cold wind.
I decided to let Jake have a stalk about with the Daystate Regal .22 air rifle, Now being so bright this is not the easiest of day to attempt stalking rabbits but none the less I wanted to see how much the lad had learnt and taken in from what I had been teaching him over this last year, The video shows he is doing well and some more polishing off to hone these skills is needed but he is getting there and shoots very well for a lad of 12 years old.
Well after a couple of hours stalking and not getting close enough he got back in the truck so I suggested we try some lamping and wait for the night to draw in, But first go and sit under cover and see if you can ambush a bunny or two from a hidden position some 50 yards from the truck.
This worked very well and he bagged a nice rabbit from a sitting position after half an hour sat under a bush, This was when disaster struck as Jake attempted to pop the magazine out to reload it he popped it too hard and lost it in the hedge, by this point it was pitch dark and he could not see where it had gone, We searched by torch light for over an hour and a half to no avail.
We had to admit defeat as it was getting very cold and the batteries were dying in my lamping torch, Jakes face started to melt as the tears built up in his eyes and rolled down his cheek, I am sorry he said I have let you down I am sorry, Ahhhh young un don’t worry these things happen we will come back in daylight, I said, Jokingly well if we don’t find it you are washing my truck for the next six months ha ha ha, you should of seen the look on his face as I ruffled his hair and said don’t worry kid we will find it in day light.
That night I put an appeal out on my old muckers face book group The Daystate target and hunting group, asking can anyone donate a .22 magazine to a worthy cause or do us a good price on one as this rifle I mainly use with the young sports of Pass It On Young Sports (www.pass-it-on-young-sports.org.uk) as we only ever had one magazine with the gun when it was donated by Daystate.
There were several guys offering to buy us a new one or sell me one at a good price, Then a chap called Wes messaged me saying he has one collecting dust and we could have it for the kids if we wanted it weather we found the other one or not, WOW what a scholar and a gentleman and you know what not two days later it was on my doorstep with a donation to buy some pellets too, So I went straight to the gun shop and got 2 tins of .22 and 1 tin of 177 air arms field diablo, Wes yer a top mucker and I owe you a pint when we meet up at the next game fair mucker.
We did indeed go back the very next morning in daylight and bowl me over didn’t I find it guess where only down a rabbit hole, Jake smiled and was much happier now and his face was no longer melting.
That very night I had to go pick up a gun cabinet up from a mucker and as luck would have it were I had to go was only a mile or so from another old mucker of mines farm, so whilst there I took the Walther RM8 with me and I let young sport Jake have a go at some rabbit shooting, I telle Jake shot like a pro and bagged six nice rabbits in no time at all whilst farmer and I stood there watching drinking our mug of tea, My farmer friend said you can bring that boy again he is as good as you mucker, I laughed and said aye he is mucker reminds me a lot of me at his age, my ole mucker laughed too and said he stalks just like you I can always tell when you have taught someone to hunt or shoot.
Now the next day young sports Connor and David wanted to go out Jake and Tyler were away at a family party up North, As soon as we got to the farm the boys mood was pure electricity and they went into hunting mode, They drew straws to see who would shoot first and who would be the spotter with the binoculars, I was allowed to tag along as pack horse carrying all the gear etc.
We stalked all around one of my woods the squirrel’s rabbits and other vermin just were playing ball so we stalked back towards my truck to go to another part of this big farm, As we approached the truck some 50 or so yards off coming down through the wood, Connor spots some movement across from the truck, It turned out to be a rabbit out in the open? Hmmmm now that’s strange I thought as we stalked even closer, Upon closer inspection with the binoculars it turned out to be a myxy (myxomatosis) rabbit ahhhh now that explains it.
I got David on the fork of a tree so he could take a steady aim, now I know this is not a sporting shot a myxy rabbit is like a sitting duck poor thing, But one thing is it does make great practice for the young sports on a live target, David who has been put through a marksmanship course with Really Wild Adventures (www.reallywildadventures.co.uk) put the pellet right on the spot and killed the rabbit quickly and humanly, I could not have put it better myself a perfect head shot between the ear and the eye, I think the video shows best how well he did on that one.
Next it was Connors turn he favours the Walther RM8 air rifle again in .22 we stalked around and David who was now the spotter saw a rabbit some distance off, So David and I stayed at the gate and let Connor stalk it, It was quite a long stalk in bright weather and a bitterly cold Sothern breeze, Connor was a bit excited and stalked a little too quickly we are going to have to work on that, Although it was another myxy rabbit so was pretty forgiving.
He stalked to about 35 yards and took the rabbit from kneeling shot again another perfect head shot, This Walther RM8 really is a sweet gun, I think the video best describes how Connor felt on that shot and we put yet another myxy rabbit out of its misery from such a horrid disease.
You know I was at The British Shooting show just recently, I had an army cadet major try to tell me a rabbit does not suffer when it has myxy because it can still eat, I was very diplomatic but it came close to me dressing him down and we parted company both with some very different looks on our faces.
Well we went on that day putting both rifles through their paces, first at the grain barns for ferals/corvids and pigeons then in the copse for whatever vermin we could bag.
I will say we all know the quality and the precision of the Daystate Regal and she never missed a beat as we have come to expect from such a magnificently made product, but I tell you this Walther RM8 at half the price is just as good, The build quality is beyond its meagre price tag the accuracy is astounding and the shot count oh man I have not ran her out yet on a shoot, I shot 300 rats a few weeks back with her and she never missed a beat.
As my Pappy would say about The Walther RM8 she is a lady of quality who is as sweet on the eye as she is in your arms, who is as feisty as a tigress and with a Huggett moderator fitted she whispers sweet goodnight on the lips, I think you can safely say I am quite in love with this gun that’s if I can ever get her back off of my young sports that is.
We finished the day with some happy hungry young sports who came home to fresh homemade rabbit sausage pasta bake with garlic bread, This was the end to a perfect weeks half terms verminating in my beloved West Country with my young sports.
Arrrrrrrrrr Tiz proper job I telle mucker.
By Rob Collins.
Aka The Ole Hedge Creeper
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