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Thread: culling in close proximity to v. expensive bloodstock

  1. #1

    culling in close proximity to v. expensive bloodstock

    Over the years i have culled a number of deer on farms in ireland where thoroughbred horses were being disturbed.One was an in-foal irish grand national winning mare, who was being harried by a lone red stag in the rut. Recently my name has been given to two places where the individual values of the bloodstock could well be into 6 figure sums. My current set up is a M 03 6.5 x 55 with a T8 moderator, using hornady 140 grain factory loads. Bearing in mind that the minimum legal requirement in ireland is a rifle of not less than .22 calibre with a muzzle energy of not less than 1,700 fps using a minimum bullet weight of 55 grains, are there any opinions out there on reducing noise levels to a minimum. I've worked with horses all my life and they are not particularly bothered by loud noises. Fast moving animals that can jump in and out of their paddocks are a different matter. The noise reduction is more to reduce the concern of management & owners. I was recently impressed by a friends .243 & T8 combination which from behind sounded like an unmoderated .22.

  2. #2
    If you reload you could develop a lighter load, but you will still get a supersonic crack from the bullet whether it's a 6.5 or .243 calibre.
    There are at least two ways to reduce the effect of the bullet noise on livestock. One is to shoot away from them, rather than past them, i.e. get between the horses & the deer!
    Also if possible, shoot from a low position so the bullet flies close to the ground. This will have the result of reducing the sound propagation from the bullet flight path. Obviously you need to keep safe backstops in mind.
    Explain these two theories to the management & owners & ask for their cooperation by maybe keeping the horses confined whilst you are out doing the job.


  3. #3
    Go larger bullet and load subsonic? You'd have to do the maths..........

    Section 161 of the Highways Act 1980 (England & Wales) makes it an offence to discharge a firearm within 50 ft of the centre of a highway with vehicular rights without lawful authority or excuse, if as a result a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered.

  4. #4
    My .243 and MAE T12 is the quietest centre fire rifle I've heard, and have spent a lot of time at bisley! My best mate is a farrier so I've shot a lot around horses (mainly .22, but a fair amount of shotgun and centre fire) - rule is it's not as much the gun as it is the horse - some will flip out at a carrier bag blowing around and some will come over and bump your back as you're shooting bunny's!

    My mate says if you're calm then the horses will be, no matter what you're doing. He also knows all the horses in the yards we shoot at so they're used to him as a safe person before he begins shooting.

    I've personally found the horses I get on with (only a few as not great with horses) are less bothered by me shooting than ones that won't come and say hello.

  5. #5
    SD Regular NorthDorset's Avatar
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    If anybody suggests a bloody bow I'm out of here.

    Sounds like you have a good set up already. I shoot an unmoderated 25-06 around a farm of prize cattle and have done for years to no ill effect.

    We keep ponies not million pound thoroughbreds but all horses are fundementally prey animals like deer. As such they are surprisingly resilient and not prone to sudden miscarriage due to shock. I would be more worried about the hunt going through the area than the crack of a rifle.

  6. #6
    Windy conditions also help as there is plenty of other ambient noise about. It's not the horses, but the owners that are the issue.

  7. #7
    i have shot around ponies (our own) many times, air rifle, hmr and .222. not 6.5 i know but to be honest i would say they were more bothered by the air rifle! after a couple of shots they hardly bother to lift their heads. maybe get them used to bangs first with a smaller rifle but i would say, discuss your concerns/ideas with the owners first so you can get their input and decide on a course of action youboth agree on.not wishing to teach egg sucking etc but i deal with the public very often and 99% of complaints come from poor or incomplete communication. just my opinion obviously!

  8. #8
    I shoot over a farm that has thoroughbreds on it (20 years now), i don't use a mod, all the landowner requests is prior to taking any shot i check where the horses are in relation to wire fences/hedges/gates, if they are close to a fence for example i leave the shot for fear of the horse damaging itself against it, all common sense really and it has always worked for me and the owner.
    If in doubt there is no doubt, leave it for another day.
    Deer stalking and fly fishing opportunities in Devon

  9. #9
    thanks for the opinions. As I see it I have two concerns to address.
    One- the perception by owners / managers that any shot will be ' too loud'. You've got to remember that in the bloodstock world there are no ugly ducklings only swans in the eyes of the owners. Having said that the owner of the grand national mare would have sacrificed any number of mediocre geldings to save her, and the sad thing is that none of her progeny were successful on the racecourse!
    Two-The same deer that stir up bloodstock by jumping in uninvited can have an equally disturbing effect by leaving at speed especially when they are inclined to run up and down fences before departing. It's curious that although deer are tremendous jumpers they will sometimes measure up a fence, that to my eyes is all the same height, in several different places before making an effortless leap.
    I agree with all of you who say that movement is more likely to spook horses than noise.
    My information would suggest that stud farms( and others) have most of their problems late summer, pre-rut when stags come out of seclusion and seem to regard all forms of livestock as of interest. Our season starts Sept 1st, there was a rumour that it would be moved to Aug 1st but it did not happen this year, so by the time i came on the scene the problem could have moved on.

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