I do most of my rabbit shooting on my own from the land rover but now and again it's nice to have some company.I've got two farms that are next to each other and are farmed by the same family.When I visit these, one of the sons,who I am quite friendly with,comes out with me.This is what happened last night.
When I arrived it was raining so instead of going on the quad (which is what we usually do on this ground) we went in my landy.
It had been a poor night with not many rabbits seen,not helped by the persistant rain.By 11.30pm we decided to have one last look around a field by the farm and then call it a night.We crawled around the edge of the field and stopped on an incline below a steep bank.Below us was an even steeper bank.I saw two rabbits and shot them.I put the handbrake on,safety on the rifle and then got out.When I got out I remember thinking to myself that the position of the vehicle was quite safe as it was pointing along the bank and not down it.
My mate soon found the first rabbit but we spent several minutes looking for the second when he suddenly shouted and started to run towards the now sliding land rover.I shouted to him to leave it as I could tell by the speed it was travelling that there was no way it could be stopped.Luckily he didn't get to it before it then careered down the next really steep bank before crashing into an old tree stump.
We trudged back to the farm,got my mates dad out of his bed and went back with the tractor and quad.After half an hour we pulled it out.After freeing the front wheel from the bumper,I limped home at about 1am.
If that tree stump had not have been there,it would have carried on for hundreds of yards and gone into some cottages at the bottom.
I can only come to the conclusion that the vibration from the engine caused the vehicle to move slightly which was enough to start it sliding.
I should have known better.Even though I thought it was safe it clearly wasn't especially with the grass being wet and it being on a slight incline.There were only 28 rabbits in the back so it wasn't a weight problem.I had parked it in a bad place in bad conditions.
I am annoyed with myself for putting my friends life in danger.If he had managed to have got in the vehicle when it was moving god knows where he would have ended up.One things for sure,it wouldn't have been pretty.
From now on any rabbits on any banks will not be shot from a vehicle of mine.
We all constantly think about rifle safety but how many of us think how safe is our 4x4 either in motion or stationary.
Last night could have ended very differently.
My landy can be fixed.The loss of a friend and someone's son and brother can't..
Mind how you all go,