Monday, 15 November 2010

How to Hunt Rabbits with an Air Rifle

The sticky, boiled down, concentrated essence of the first year of Hubert's rabbit hunting could be expressed as follows:
  • If in the UK, get a rifle that'll shoot at about 11.5ftlb with a variety of pellets (because one that'll shoot 'just under' 12ftlb with the pellet you use most often will still send you to prison if the pellet the police happen to test it with pops the chrono 'just over').
  • Get permission from a landowner. Ask around, dress smartly, knock on doors, don't show up drunk, don't bother asking by post or phoning (you'll just irritate them and lessen the chances they'll be friendly to the folk that actually bother to ask them personally). Accept refusals with good grace and retire politely. Keep going till you get one.
  • Once you have a permission, don't bugger it up by being narky to dog walkers and hikers: one word to the police from an irritated Labrador owner and you are back to yearning fruitlessly over copies of  AirGun Weekly (or in jail). Look after the land that you have permission to shoot on: don't knacker the fences; don't leave litter; don't take a pop at that out-building gutter when you're bored and stay well away from any livestock on the land. You are an ambassador for hunting now and there are plenty of ill-informed people who would have the whole thing banned - so don't give them ammunition.
  • Learn how to shoot the gun accurately before attempting to shoot your dinner. Practising on live quarry is an utter no-no. Join an air-rifle club or a Field Target club - but practise. You do not have to be pellet-on-pellet perfect at 75 yards but you will have to practise a good deal before you start hunting unless you are going out specifically to pointlessly maim wildlife (and you shouldn't be). If you can get consistent groups within one inch at thirty yards - from the positions that you'll be using in the field - then you've reached the minimum level to start hunting proper. There's no need to stay at this minimum level however, so do keep practising.
  • You don't really need a full-body, army-sniper ghillie suit; drab clothing, greeny-brown in colour will do nicely. Don't go out hunting in your safety-orange work wear. Don't put highly perfumed fabric conditioner in your washing machine if you're cleaning your hunting gear.
  • You don't need a scope that can shift focus between your outstretched finger and the surface of the moon when your effective shooting range is only up to 40 yards. In summer, you can go out mid-afternoon and find rabbits; in the cooler months however, dawn and dusk will be the best times to hunt and, because this is so, a scope that gathers as much light as possible will be helpful - as will an illuminated reticule. This isn't to say that you can't hunt at dusk with an unilluminated 30mm objective lens: you can. But something between 40 and 50mm will allow you to hunt for a good deal longer. If you can afford the light-up reticule, then get one.
  • Consider using see-through mounts for your scope. These aren't that easy to get your hands on but I think they might well mean - for scopes around the 40mm mark - that you could use the iron sights as well as the scope, and this might well give you a little bit more flexibility about the shots you can take and the speed with which you can take them.
  • If you can afford that Airwolf, great, (and while you're here, mister Moneybags, can you see that 'Donate' button to the left?) but you don't need to spend a grand on a gun.
  • If what you want to do is get rabbits for the table and you can afford a pre-charged pneumatic rifle (and the kit that goes with it) and you are not too fussed about getting off more than a hundred shots in an afternoon's shooting (and dear God why would you want to?) - then get one. You will hear people going on about the 'romance of the springer' and 'Oh, it's so much more satisfying shooting with a spring gun' but PCP's are more accurate and will put more rabbits in the pot and that's why you're doing it, not for the joy of the action and the challenge (unless of course you are and in which case, good luck to you).
  • If you can't afford a PCP then buy a decent springer and get good at shooting with what you can afford. A well-made springer, in the hands of someone who has learned how to shoot one, will do the job perfectly.

  • Yes, Crosman 2250 Ratcatchers are cheap and nifty - sadly, they don't do the job.
  • Those Chinese-made CO2 rifles are well made, affordable and can indeed, with a bit of fettling, rival the PCP's for accuracy. CO2, however, is not a free commodity and in cold weather you can get a considerable drop in pressure which will have a knock-on effect on accuracy (and not a good one).
  • Dome headed pellets give the best combination of accuracy and efficiency. Cheap pellets are a false economy since they're inevitably less well made and therefore less predictable in flight. If you buy pellets on-line for economy then try to arrange it so that the Postie does not just pop them through your letterbox: the three-foot drop to the floor will render half the tin unusable.

  • If you can afford the PCP it probably makes sense to get it in .177 calibre. There is more whack in a .22 but all the whack in the world will not put a rabbit in the pot if you miss - and it's trickier judging distance with the steeper parabolic arc of a .22 pellet. 

  • Yep, a .20 is probably a good compromise and no, you don't see many of them around second hand.
  • With a springer, I've honestly no idea if there's much difference between .177 and .22 but with a .22 you can reasonably look to take pigeons as well as rabbits because a .22 will drop a pigeon (if you hit it) more effectively than the smaller pellet.
  • Keep the safety on until it's time to shoot. Climbing over fences with a rifle that'll maybe go off if you drop it is a very bad idea: 11.5ftlbs on a pellet into an eye might very well kill you or your mate stone dead.
  • Watch your background. Your pellet will not go half a mile - that's why you don't need a firearms certificate - but it will, if you miss, go straight through that nearby hedge. If you can't absolutely guarantee that there's no one on the other side then you should not be taking that shot. If you hit someone, or their dog, and hurt them, then you'll likely go to jail and you'll deserve it.
  • Walk the land you have permission on; get to know it. Look for burrows; look for paths between burrows; figure out the distances from places you can hide and shoot to likely target areas. If you already know it's thirty yards to that burrow then you can reasonably expect, if you've zeroed at thirty, that you will be putting the pellets in the right place - otherwise you'll be estimating all the time and that takes a while to learn how to do well.
  • Tread softly. Don't wear hob-nailed boots when you're out hunting: rabbits are very sensitive to vibration through the ground so wear light shoes and go easy.
  • Don't cover yourself in eau de cologne before you go out. Rabbits have a very acute sense of smell. Don't chain-smoke while hunting, either - if you do, you won't be.
  • You can camp or you can wander. Camping, settling down a useful distance from a place you expect rabbits to appear, will probably get you some rabbits - but you may need to earn it by sitting or lying silently for a long time - and there's no guarantee that one will appear. Wandering, walking the land in the hope of seeing a rabbit and approaching it by stealth, is much more interesting than camping, but 'interesting' in this context also means 'considerably more challenging'.
  • If you're going to be camping and it's not high summer, dress very warmly: lie motionless on the ground when it's even mildly chilly and you'll soon freeze.
  • If a rabbit pops out in front of you and sits on the edge of its burrow then you should not shoot at it. Rabbits need to be so far from their burrow that you can get to a wounded but still mobile rabbit quicker than it can get back to its burrow. This is important.
  • If you can find a spot where you can watch down a burrow-riddled fence line, then that's good. If you can find a spot where you can look down two burrow-riddled fence lines then that's even better. Examine the intersection of fields: is there a little hidey-hole there you can use?
  • If you're wandering, pay attention to the direction of the wind: there's little point walking towards an area that your scent will visit before you get there. Walk into the breeze if you can. Don't camp upwind of a burrow you have hopes for.
  • Rabbits will not sit around while you approach them in plain sight - sad but true. It is possible, using all available cover from hedges, long grass, nettles, overhanging foliage or depressions in the grounds, to creep up on rabbits in daylight - but it is very, very difficult. Hold the rifle across the crooks of your elbows if you are crawling on all fours; advance when they are feeding or looking the other way and freeze if they look up. Don't try this in clothes you're not happy to get filthy because you will get filthy if you do it properly. Wear a hat. Don't be discouraged by numerous failures - it really is very difficult to do this and reading about it on the internet is not the same as learning how to do it.
  • You should be aiming for the point where an imaginary line back from the rabbit's eye intersects with another imaginary line coming down from its ear. That's where its brain is; that's where you want the pellet to go.
  • If you wound the animal and you are not sitting behind a multi-shot PCP with half-a-dozen pellets ready to go then you will need to get up quickly, get to it, grab it and dispatch it with the utmost haste. Take a sturdy trout priest with you or learn how to break a rabbit's neck (James Marchington demonstrates (to the Suburban Bushwacker) how to do this at the end of this video.)
  • A dead rabbit will need to be - and this is, unfortunately, the correct term - 'thumbed' to clear the bladder of urine prior to gutting. You hold the rabbit by the front legs with your left hand (if you're right-handed), grab the animal around the stomach and, exerting pressure with your thumb, slide your hand down towards its tail; then you repeat the process till the job is done.
  • Rabbits come with fleas. You may decide that hanging your catch on a fencepost for half an hour while they disperse is a good idea; you may equally decide to grit your teeth and get on with gutting the rabbit there and then.
  • It's probably best to gut rabbits in the field. To do so, lay the animal on its back on the ground, pick up the fur just below the bottom of the ribcage and make a nick through the skin beneath. This done, insert the blade of your knife in the nick and, taking care not to slice through any of the revealed intestines (since this will risk tainting the meat), slice the belly open towards the back legs. Pick the rabbit up so that you're holding it with the front legs in your left hand and the back legs in your right and then - holding tightly - make an abrupt gesture away in front of you while turning slightly: the guts - all of them, if you're lucky - will fly out. You may have to tidy up with your knife afterwards. None of this is as pleasant as it sounds.
  • Don't forget to clean your knife when you get home and don't risk cross-contamination by using the same knife for anything else food-related.
  • Hey, you've got a rabbit for dinner! 

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Sunday, 14 November 2010

Why a .177 over a .22 for Hunting Rabbits?

Bpaul wrote in a comment recently:
I'd be curious on the numbers your gun is putting out if you get a chance to shoot it over a chrony.

Also, your decision to go .177 from .22 -- did you blog about that? Be curious to hear why...
Hi Bpaul,

I went for all this, basically, because the opportunity presented itself and the argument about the flatter trajectory of the .177 finally convinced me. With the roller-coaster trajectory of the .22 at 12ftlb there's the constant difficulty of trying to estimate where the pellet will be in its arc when it reaches its target point.

If you zero at 35 yards with a .22 there's a variation over, say, 40 yards of about three inches up and down through an imaginary line from the end of the scope to the target. The pellet starts two inches below this line, climbs up to about an inch above it and then immediately after 35 yards drops below it again in its downwards fall. So there's a three-inch margin for error depending on where the target is and constant adjustments up and down need to be made in the reticule to accommodate this while aiming. (The graphs below are from ChairGun Pro available free here.)

With the .177 at 12ftlbs however, the arc of the lighter pellet will stay within one inch from about 10 right the way out to about 40 yards (.177 RWS Superdomes weight only 8.3 grains against the 14.66 grains of .22 H&N Field Targets). So in theory that means that if you can judge that the rabbit is at a distance anywhere between 10 and 40 yards then you can be fairly confident that a shot at the intersection of the scope's cross-hairs will result in a pellet hitting the target area. If you compare the length of the different pink kill zones on the two graphs you can see that they do bear this out.

My distance estimation is not so great but even I can tell if a rabbit is between 10 and 40 yards; so purely on the basis of this there's a much stronger case for going with a .177 for fieldwork.

To get the pellets out at anything up close to 12ftlb a .177 needs a spring with a few more coils on it than one in a .22 - and you can feel the greater effort needed to cock the rifle now. (The rifle was of course chronographed before leaving the shop and it was doing a healthy and legal 11.78ftlbs with the RWS Superdomes I'm using.) I've heard it said from people commenting here that with this stronger spring the increased release vibration in a .177 would act against any gain that the flatter trajectory could provide. This did seem to make sense to me but (and I can only speak about my rifle, of course) thanks to Tony at Sandwell Field Sports, if anything the gun now fires with perceptibly less spring judder than it did before the work was done.

My damn cold is still hanging around so I suspect I won't be going out today to see if all this theory on paper translates into a greater incidence of rabbit on the table - but I'm hopeful for the future.



Friday, 12 November 2010

The big question: .177 or .22 for Rabbit Hunting?

177 or 22? That - a swift peek at any of the popular airgun forums will quickly assure you - is most certainly the question.

To cut to the chase, the answer's 177.

Why? Well: it seems to boil down to trajectory - the parabolic path that a hopefully rabbit-bound pellet describes after it leaves the barrel of a rifle. It does not go in a straight line, I learned to my surprise, and then drop when it's tired - it inscribes, instead, an arc 'twixt gun and rabbit. But if it does that, then it's not simply a question of 'point and shoot' at all; distance becomes a crucial factor. How can you predict where in its arc your pellet is going to be when it reaches the head of the rabbit that you wish to shoot? Because if it's an inch too high then it will miss, and if it's an inch too low, then it will miss again. Nightmare!

177 pellets have a much flatter trajectory in the 40-odd yards after they leave the rifle barrel than 22's do. It's as simple as that. You can arrange it - I gather - so that in the area, say, between 20 and 35 yards (the crucial area within which the vast majority of relatively humane air rifle shooting is going to be taking place) the pellet will deviate from an imaginary straight line drawn between the end of the barrel and the rabbit's brain by a matter of only so little as half an inch or so. A 22 pellet, on the other hand, will be drawing a line that looks like the path of an amusing roller-coaster ride.

This I learned after I blew all the cash I had to spare on a 22 rifle.

If you want to have a gander at some parabolas, head over to or to the ballistic reticle calculator (superb name!) at and download the free software.

[In my time machine I revisit this post to leave a link to the future where I will write more upon this topic and my decision to opt for .177: ]

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Look away, foodies.

Spy Birch Boletes under tree (Birch tree, in fact) whilst cycling into town. Pick them, take 'em home, chop up, fry with butter and add a couple of beaten eggs (try not to think about cholesterol levels), cook till done.

Then what? Serve with exquisite salad of rocket, fine herbs & ciabatta croutons?

Or slap it onto a steaming lake of microwaved beans?

The latter. Yum bum.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Trump to bankrupt pensioner who argued with him

Molly Forbes challenged billionaire Donald Trump in the courts over the compulsory purchase of her home to make way for his giant Scottish golf course. She couldn't get legal aid and now nice Mr. Trump is trying to force her to pay court fees totaling nearly £50,000 (plus a hefty amount on top of this for 'inconveniencing' him). More here.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Weight Gain and Shotguns in Rugeley.

I was doing the rounds of the charity shops in the nearby town of Rugeley yesterday, still looking for  interview-wear, when I stuck my head into the tiny, packed-to-the-roof-beams gun shop there and found that there were about a dozen big sheets of white cardboard propped up on the floor, each with hundreds of little holes in them.
'I've put on weight', said Ray the owner. 
'Ah,' I said and nodded as if I knew what he was talking about, 'OK.'

'Look' he said, 'all these are up and left.' He pointed at one of the perforated sheets of cardboard  and tapped in turn each of the quarters around the centre, '122, 76, 20, 53 - see? They're grouping up and to the left.'

'Ah,' I said - I still had no idea why he was talking about weight gain but the numbers on the cardboard at least were beginning to make some sort of sense to me, 'You're zeroing a shotgun?'

'Well...', my putting it this way didn't quite hit the mark, 'sort of...'.

Eventually, he managed to explain it to me. He'd noticed that his shooting had become less accurate in recent years and he'd struggled to understand why. Recently it had occurred to him that this might be related to him having put on some weight - that the stock of the shotgun might be sitting a little bit differently against his now slightly chubbier cheek. This, he reasoned, might have shifted the angle of the gun in his grip and therefore had an effect on the spread of pellets in and around the target zone.

So he now had to alter his gun so that he was hitting the bulls-eye again. You don't do this with shotguns the way you would do with an air rifle, , he told me - that's to say by fiddling with little dials on the scope  - you do it instead by altering the way that the gun itself sits against your shoulder and face. The cardboard sheets were the evidence of the shots he'd taken after making changes to the cheek-piece of his gun, tuning it, in effect, to try and bring the area of maximum pellet density back to the centre of his aim. He'd finally settled on one set of changes after he'd begun to consistently produce sheets with more balanced patterns.

I felt rather privileged to go into a gun shop and be involved in a conversation like this. Ray was happy to talk to me about it and pleased that he'd hit on a way to make his shooting more accurate. I've been doing more shooting practice myself recently, trying to improve my accuracy as well, and it was a real pleasure to come across someone with some of the same preoccupations, someone who's engaged with the same set of questions and challenges as I am myself.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Clothes make the man

In the shops today, trying to buy clothes. Can't do it. Can't spend £35 on a bloody jumper. Seems stupid. Jumpers come from charity shops and cost £3.50. Everything else is just wrong.

I have an interview this week and I need - or I think I need - to look like someone who does not spend a good deal of nearly every day sat underneath a hedge; need to show up wearing trousers that haven't had the arse ripped out on barbed wire.

Thing is, charity shop clothing assembles itself in its own good time - it doesn't show up according to a timetable. And a timetable is what I have: 'Look less like a tramp by Friday', is what it says.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The Joy of Ceps

Another day spend 'shrooming. I found some scary-looking, sulphur-yellow Boletes first in a wet & ferny little conifer wood and then, after having pedaled by accident into an enclave of the super-wealthy (lots of signs all more or less saying Achtung Minen!), I paused by the gate on the way out and boggled at a whopping great Fly Agaric.

Before leaving I turned round to cast an eye over the ground beneath a few nearby Birches - and what did I see?

Could that be the holy grail of the 'shroom hunter, the Penny Bun itself? It certainly looked like it - but the size of the thing! I had no idea that they were such giants!

I raced home and (after double-checking it against the 'shroom books) scoffed it tout de suite.

Now, the probably-Birch Bolete I ate the other day was perfectly nice, ditto the Horse Mushrooms and the Parasols, they were surprisingly good - but this! Well, I can see what all the fuss is about, I really can. Fried in butter it was seriously, seriously delicious.

Monday, 18 October 2010

First time on new permission.

A leisurely stroll across the peaceful acres of my unexpected new permission? Spotting fruitful sites for rabbiting reference whilst taking in the cool, still Autumn evening air?

No. Evil cows from hell chase me, corner me & then force me to flee for my life through a hawthorn hedge - whereupon I drop five foot down the side of a steep bank and am dumped, wild-eyed, leaf-strewn and disheveled, straight into the path of a whippet-thin rural jogger.

'Ah!' I exclaim, 'Hello!'

He swerves a little but doesn't break his stride, 'Evening'...

New Permission!

New Permission! Let joy be unconfined!

A bloke in a tractor passed me today while I was off looking for the bike pannier I lost in my cycle-rambles yesterday (the pannier had a sheep's skull & jaw-bone in it, so who ever finds it is in for a mild shock). I'd just cycled past some farm outbuildings I'd often wondered about and when the tractor turned in there I pedaled back and said hello. Turns out that this isn't his farm but the land over the lane is and - yes! - he's more than happy for me to take rabbits off it!

Whah-hey! Lose a sheep's skull in a bike pannier one day, gain a new permission the next!

Here's a peek through a hedge at the land I'm going to have a walk over later today - the silver expanse that looks like a placid reservoir in the middle of the photo is actually the roof of a gigantic & throbbingly busy 'Argos' distribution hub. Still, the fields look wonderfull.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

A Day 'Shrooming on the Chase

I quit smoking yesterday for the hundredth (and I hope last) time. Months of nicotine-lethargy lifted off me at once and, full of energy, I pedaled this morning up onto Cannock Chase. There - shunning the local pastime of watching car-borne couples engage in coitus - I began instead to search for the king of the wild mushroom world, the Cep, Penny Bun or - if Latin's your bag - Boletus edulis.

And I didn't find any. I did however find quite a lot of other Boletes and, since I'd never so much as knowingly set eyes on one before, this made me happy.

Here we are: a schmorgesborg of gnarled Boletes & lurid poisonous Fly Agarics.

Well, I peered at the Boletes and looked at my Roger Phillips and - after much head-scratching - decided that, while these aren't in fact Ceps they're also not any of the few, grim red/orange-tubed poisonous boletes. I think they're probably Birch Boletes - so I picked 'em and put them in the basket.

I left the Agarics, of course. Six hours of hallucinations, delirium, vomiting and then possibly death? Not my cup of tea today, thanks (though they are pretty).

Finally, I found an absolute whopper of a Parasol to close the day with.


Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Targets not rabbits shock

Making sure my zero was still in, I sat down and popped six shots thirty-five yards across a field onto a home-made target. All six shots fell within a one-inch group.

So then I walked the fields for a couple of hours and - pleasant as it was - came home with nothing. Well, that's not true; nothing but a couple of giant, Shaggy Parasol mushrooms - which were, actually, very tasty.

I wasn't the only one scouring the fields. A couple of teens were out diligently looking for mushrooms of an entirely different order. Nothing on earth could make me scoff those damn things (again).

Two Puffball Frying Pan Exit Strategies

1: Peel puffball.
2: Chop it up.

3: Fry it - with olive oil or butter - better yet, with olive oil and butter.
4: Season with salt n' pepper.

5(a): Add beaten eggs to make omelette (Obviously, garnish with chives only if it's your intention to photograph it for a blog) or:

5(b): Slap onto ketchup-loaded wholemeal doorstep.

6: Stuff into face.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Last things & Puffballs

I was wandering about yesterday, squinting into the dazzling autumn sunshine that threw deep, slanting shadows across the verdant green fields around me, mooching for fungus and pondering. I'd spend the earlier part of the day thinking about the wild mushrooms I'd eaten the night before and asking myself, 'Well, how do I feel?'

Seriously to ask one's self the question 'Do you feel all right?' pretty much always leads to the answer, 'Well, now that you come to mention it, in some ways, no.' So I'd gone straight to the 'Poisonous' section of my mushroom book and stocked my head anew with the colourful and excruciating ends that may come to the forager who stumbles uninformed across the Death Cap, Panther Cap, Sickener or - God forbid! - the mighty and terrifying Destroying Angel. I worked myself into a fair old state, in other words.

So I was taking a walk in the afternoon sun (possibly my last, I mused) thinking about all this and peering down at the grass - when it occurred to me that the two activities of eating wild mushrooms and shooting rabbits for the pot had something in common besides both being sourced from the fields.

Which is to say: death. They have death in common.

If you shoot a rabbit and things go well (for you, of course, that is) it dies. You kill it, cook it and then you eat it. The demise of the rabbit is an integral part of getting it to the table so death is an element within the activity of hunting, shooting & thereafter eating rabbit.

And mushrooms? Well, you might say, this is where the analogy falls down - since if anything death is surely something to be most strenuously excluded from the experience of eating wild mushrooms. And yes, of course it is - but I'd argue that it's still there, nonetheless. It's there as a kind of central and necessary reference point around which the activity of gathering and eating wild mushrooms revolves: these ones are tasty, these ones are less so and these ones... These ones will kill you stone dead - so beware.

Just as it is with shooting and eating rabbits, so it is with gathering wild mushrooms: there's eating - and there's death. The elements aren't conjugated in the same way - but they're there just the same. There are, if you like, different plus and minus values ascribed to the elements - 'eat' and 'die' - in the different equations: the rabbit must die if you are to cook and eat it; you eat the mushrooms but must not yourself die.

It's hard to say exactly why this cheered me up but it really did. I think perhaps that before thinking all this the idea of death in relation to eating wild mushrooms had - how shall I put this? - overflowed its boundaries, so to speak. The one idea of death had spread too far within the set of ideas around eating mushrooms and thinking it through in the the way that I had done had ended up re-emphasising the fact that, yes, death was indeed an essential reference point in relation to the set of ideas around eating mushrooms but it wasn't, as it were, the essence of the set of ideas as a whole. So it ended up being a rather cheerful walk. I arrived back home feeling much better and put the whole idea of sudden death behind me.

Today, sitting down outside my flat to smoke, I thought about the fields at the bottom of my road. I very rarely go there since I don't have permission to shoot on the land - but there's a public footpath and people and dogs walk across it all the time. What the hell, I thought, I'll take my pipe and smoke in the field instead.

So, travel coffee mug and well-stuffed pipe in hand, I stepped over the style into the field and, within fifty yards, had stumbled across a very fine Giant Puffball nestled amidst the grass and the fallen oak leaves. I promptly uprooted it and took home for tea. This one, I knew, wouldn't kill me.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Late afternoon stroll

Sturdy fence between me & this guy, thankfully.

Someone else's little pony.

Rural lanes (six of them).

These pods burst eventually & hundreds of little men in S&M gear pop out & start looking for nightclubs.

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Sit waiting on edge of damson grove for something to stir beyond thin camouflage of nameless weedy stalks.

Nothing stirs. Grow bored.

Take snuff.

More boredom. Listen over and over to words of Blondie's 'Atomic' repeating themselves internally (was playing in grisly supermarket earlier when buying reduced bags (seven pence!) of carrots and parsnips.

More boredom.


Observe rabbits 90 yards away. Take blurry picture of same.

Decide to move to where rabbits are at least visible - knowing that this will scare them away but hopeful that after brief respite in burrow they'd re-emerge.

Move. Check for cow-shit. Lie down on grass. Look along now-deserted fence-line.

Wait. Grow bored again.


Teeter on edge of giving up and going home.

See movement.

Shoot rabbit.

Take - for reasons far from clear - picture of dead rabbit and gun.

Walk towards home across fields.

Find patch of mushrooms on way. Observe faint yellow bruising on cap when touched, smell faint aroma of aniseed, note 'cog-wheel' on membrane under cap. Remember as descriptions of 'Macro Mushrooms' (Agaricus urinascens). Pick same.

Walk home with mushrooms and rabbit (admiring, the while, imagined image of self doing same: bespectacled Ray Mears, horny-handed son of rural life etc., etc....).

Struggle through barbed-wire fence with now-bagged gun, rabbit and mushrooms.


Arrive home. Smoke. Drink coffee. Take artfully arranged picture of dead rabbit and mushrooms (again, for reasons far from clear).

Look long and hard at River Cottage Mushroom book. Note that pale yellow staining is absent from base of stem and persists elsewhere rather than going brown - ruling out therefore possibility of their being poisonous 'Yellow Stainer Mushroom' (Agaricus xanthoderma).

Cook rabbit, carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, etc.

Look long and hard at River Cottage Mushroom book again while cooking.

Smoke. Drink tea.


Lick plate clean.

Worry slightly about mushroom poisoning. Check book again.