Sunday, 17 May 2009

A Rabbit and a Wood Pigeon!

Every time I go out hunting these days I make straight for the same spot at the edge of an abandoned orchard - it's such a great place, I've realised: I can see open land and hedgerows in two different fields and I've got very dense camouflage from nettles, fallen trees and overhanging branches.

There were no rabbits to be seen when I arrived there yesterday afternoon and so, after I'd sat there for a while, I ended up taking a few pictures of the Ivy-covered tree above my head.

I'd already noticed some Wood Pigeons grazing nearby but I'd ignored them in favour of a possible rabbit. But since it was now getting late and they'd - by this time - walked up to within twenty yards of me, I reluctantly decided to change the plan. I took aim, waited till the closest one had turned to give me a clean shot and fired.

I'd run out in to the field to retrieve the bird - its feathers were spinning around me in the wind - and I was thinking that all of this commotion must surely mean the end of my evening's hunting. But no, when I finished plucking the bird and looked up I saw to my surprise that a rabbit had just appeared from a hedge about fifty yards away in the next field. I knew I couldn't hit it at that distance so I just sat and watched it through the scope for a while. To my surprise, it then ran towards me and stopped about twenty-five yards away. I'd been sitting with my elbow resting on the branches of a fallen tree and, while this had been fine for keeping an eye on the rabbit, the wind was moving the branch so much that I couldn't keep the cross-hairs steady enough for a shot. I shuffled sideways up towards the trunk of the tree, found a better support there and - despite some pre-shot jitters - fired again.

The rabbit was still kicking when I got to it so I had to grab it by the back legs and break its neck. Back in the orchard, I used the branches of the fallen tree to hold it up at waist height while I gutted it.

Walking back, my hands were messy with blood and feathers; seeing a rusty saucepan among the rest of the farm junk in the orchard, I turned it over in the hope I could use it as a washbasin next time and left it lying where it might collect some rain.

I've never come back from the fields with a rabbit and a pigeon before. The pigeon will make a good lunch tomorrow and the rabbit can soak overnight and make another two good meals after that.

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5 comments:

  1. Thanks for proving my point vs some OBS people. Shooting in the real world isn't shooting at a range and ingenuity and practice are required for the real world, no matter how accurate your rifle is in a machine rest. You often will get muddy, dirty, wet, cold, and uncomfortable too. And you got to dice things up with a sharp knife, too, I'd wager!

    Chin Chin,
    Tom the Curmudgeon

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  2. HH,

    I really like that second photo. I'm not sure what you did to it, but I like the way it came out. It's kinda like frosted.

    Best Regards,
    Albert

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  3. I'm going to add a little, this morning, to what I wrote here last night. I went hunting late on in the day yesterday and - what with the work in the kitchen after I got back - I found myself blogging at 1.00am and, rather than save as a draft and finish this morning, my relentless 'push-to-blog' made me hit the 'post' button before I fell asleep.

    Hi Tom, Yes, I'm often struck myself about the difference, the very great difference, between what happens when I go hunting and the rather idealised view of it you can pick up if you spend a lot of time reading net forums about hunting. My tendency, when I started, was to think that I was doing it all wrong and that the ideal version was the only version. But it's a tricky area though: ideals are a good thing to aim at - but the actual is very different to the ideal. 'How much can I tolerate being different from the ideal?' is a question I find myself asking a lot.

    By the way - oh yes! - the now-sharp CRKT Mirage is a very handy implement in the field now! A world of difference.

    Hiya Albert, & Thanks! I always wiggle the photos around in photoshop a bit before I post them. It's a compulsion! (I think in a way - relating it to the above - it's about making them a bit less disturbingly 'actual'). I do like snapping and fiddling with photos though. I've got another blog where I tend to post my other non-hunting-related photos (http://constructedspace.blogspot.com/).

    Cheers folks!
    HH

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  4. The internet isn't real life. Hunting is hunting. It isn't called "getting". I find your writing refreshing coming from a country where the elite have mostly oppressed the average folks in being able to hunt at all.

    You seem to be a good self-study and are doing well. If I were you, I shan't worry about what anybody said about my methods and you are consistently putting meat in the pot. Those were the standards I accepted as normal on 3 continents, why should that be odd on an island?

    Glad the sharper worked for you, I reckoned it would be easier than an internet post about proper use of wyoming stones.

    Happy Hunting--Always,
    Tom

    Off to go do coyote patrol. May you have a fine day and some sunshine if truly lucky, friend is in Tenby and grumbling about going to the sea coast to be mired in rains.

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  5. Thank you Tom! Tenby is a lovely town - be sure to tell you friend to take the boat out to the Trappist monastery on Caldy Island nearby. It's a great trip and the island - and the monastery where you can take a tour - is a delight.
    HH

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