Hopefully About Three Quarters
One piece of land had a little square barn we sheltered in, in poor weather, the floor was the usual trodden down cow muck and it often held a solitary pigeon. We made it our mission to ‘get the pigeon’. It usually kept watch for would be ambushers from an opening in the gable end above the now non existent door. On countless occasions we staked out the barn from the concealment of a stand of near by trees. Other times we sneaked up from behind creeping round the building like SO19 on a dawn raid. We usually heard or saw it leaving or it didn’t turn up at dusk. Once we had our shotguns SO19 were successful. We deployed the usual tactic one each side and out she went and two and eighth ounces of no.6 Sillier Belliot after it as we both fired.
Early one morning while out on my own, I shot a hare on the same ground. It was huge, and I had to walk three miles home with it. I didn’t have a game bag so the way through the villages along the main road seemed out. So I opted for along the canal and the old tram way, up the fields and home job done. As I walked along there was a mum walking towards me holding a small child by the hand. Oh heck I thought, I swopped hare and gun bag round so I had the hare close to my leg on the far side to make it less obvious. As they got nearer mum was obviously about to speak. I was poised dreading what was about to come.
“Oh look at the hare Philip, that’s going to make a nice evening meal, can he feel the fur. Look at his ears how big they are and his long legs to run rally fast” I may have stood there looking gormless, jaw slack, mouth hanging open. I was so surprised, but what a great attitude.
At the same gun shop I bought a box of Eley BB. I always thought they would come in if I came across a fox. They were 25/-. At school lunch one day a mate said he was off for some cartridges after school as a fox had been in the poultry run two nights running. Oh I said have a few of my BB’s, which he did, three, a full load for his Savage, a bolt action I think. Next morning he looked tired, having sat up all night with no luck. The next morning our fine school corridor rang with profanities, as he approached me word after word, eloquently expressed and enunciated with passion. It transpired he had waited up again to protect his Bantam’s. Eventually Charlie turned up, he aimed and fired, Click, my BB had misfired, he was not happy.
At Uncle Sam’s, as I am sure there were in many country homes of the day, was a shot gun kept just inside the back door. Sam’s was an old single with five cartridges on the butt. Sam’s sat on top of a row of coat hooks, above the level of visiting grand children and out of the wet of dogs and boots. How times have changed from this keep it handy utilitarian approach of the day to the modern day high security cabinet of today.
Uncle Sam did a fair bit work on the estate helping the keeper, and cleared some of the woods for release pens and a path for the power lines to bring electricity to the house. A common sound was the buzz of his chain saw followed by the chug chug of his old blue Fergie tractor pulling another trailer full of logs up the wood shed. Sam took a great pride in providing all the fuel for open fire in the lounge and the burner in the dinning room and kept it warm for many, many years. At the time of the miners strike with its coal shortages and power cuts we went over and he filled our van with logs.
On a quiet warm and sunny afternoon soon after we had our shotguns, we were walking along, nothing was about and we were a bit bored. Zorro brought up his gun and fired at a very large and wet cow pat. Well, we were just a bit too close. Several fairly splashy rained down on us, not a clever idea. Talking of cow muck, the farm yard at this farm was usually deep in muck with the cows moving around in it. Today these old barns and cow sheds have been converted to luxury dwellings, the old yard a pretty garden, I wonder if they know what it was like a few years ago, when we got around using the fence so the muck didn’t slop down the top of our wellies.
More recently I went shooting with a friend from work to a farm over run with rabbits. He had a single barrel 12 bore and I was using my Lanber o/u. We shot loads. We were both in the same job and rely on and trust each other implicitly. On afternoon we were walking along a field with a banking to one side. Bang, “what was that” I said, “rabbit” he replied. I could see the long grass moving. “I’ve winged it” he said, “finish it off for me the case is stuck behind the ejector.” I asked if he was sure, I don’t shoot where I can’t see, but it looked pretty clear cut, “certain he said.” Bang. The movement stopped. I took his gun and he nipped over the fence to retrieve it. He stopped looked down paused then looked up at me again. “WHAT” I said, “Oh dear” he said. My heart rate is up and I’ve got that feeling of a stretch elastoplast being over the back of you throat. “You’ve shot the farm cat”, he said. He bent down and lifted up a black leg. Doom spread through me. “Only kidding” he said and lifted out a black rabbit. I expressed my feelings in several syllables of a choice nature.
We stopped at the top of the hill, where the ground slopes off in each direction, railway line ahead and to our left a dense tree covered banking dropping to a well known brake manufactures test track. I needed to spend a penny and stood by the wall. Bang, right next to me, I jumped and wet my trousers. “What,” I said, “Crow” he said, “Where” I said, “In these trees” he said. We unloaded and searched the woods, we looked and looked, and very unhappily gave up. We walked back down the field. A car stopped on the test track, “Oi” shouted the driver, we unloaded and walked over, “has one of you buggers shot a crow”, he demanded. It looked my mate was not speaking, “Yes” I said adopting the reasonable attitude of the person in the right. “Why” he asked, I gave him an impromptu argument involving pest control and song bird decimation etc my mate was well impressed. “Well” he said, “it’s down here on the track flapping about.” Exactly what we didn’t want, from any point of view. What are you going to do about it then, I asked him if we could come on the track with the aim of ending its misery as we didn’t it to suffer any longer. He agreed. We nipped over the wall, I went along for moral support. We walked up the track and there it right in at the side of the track. My mate loaded up and fired. There was a shower of dust and tarmac, the crow ducked, he had missed, “you do it” he said, I slipped in a cartridge Bang, job done.
I was invited by a colleague from work to go pigeon shooting in Cheshire, not far from Manchester Airport. We met up and drove down a long lane to the spot. It was strange to see heavy jets coming and going in what seemed like close proximity to the fields we were shooting over. A hide was set up for the two of us, I had little idea of what was required or how to do it so learned quite a bit and the art of putting out decoys was black magic but soon we were set up. Labrador at our feet, talking quietly about the this and that of shooting. A huge skein of Canada geese passed over on their way to feed from the near by mere’s, this would not happen after September the 1st. The shooting was slow but it was warm and pleasant and there is no such thing as a bad days shooting. We took a pigeon or two and I was pleased I hit a couple, so not to appear a numpty. We had a coffee took a few more birds and put them out on cradles to improve the pattern. At lunch time while we were having a buttie, two cars pulled up across the field right in front of us. I hope they are not eyeing up the shooting he said. As I poured another brew we heard a car door open and shut. He said I' wonder what’s going on.' I fished my bino’s out of my pocket, 'Have a look 'I said busy juggling tea and keeping the dog out of my crisps. I'ts not shooting they are interested in, 'he said. Half an hour passed, 'give us the binos again' he said, 'bl***y hell he said I am impressed. 'I said 'what we need now if a flurry of pigeons, a load of gun fire and two blokes in cammo gear emerging from no where with guns, put him right off that would.'
It just goes to show, even when you think you are right out of the way on your own, you never know, there could always be some concealed sportsmen trying to ignore nature in the raw.
(This is Episode 3, following 'In the Begining' and 'In the Middle' If you like these posts would one or two of you please put a small post in, it’s not that I am sycophantic, but would know whether to post more of similar cheers guys,, Tom)
Last edited by csl; 31-07-2010 at 18:14.
very funny, keep it up.