Haven't had time to put this post up earlier in the week and todays my first chance.
I work a odd shift pattern, 4 days on and 4 days off which gives me plenty of time to go shooting on my days off, its pretty handy actually. I had arranged on my last four off that me and my mate would go do some serious pest control on a couple of farms that were getting hammered by all sorts of pests. Feral pigeons, foxes, rabbits and canada geese. All which we were more than happy to take out of the equation !
The day started with a pump up of the air arms s400, should i add that we only had a hand pump for the gun and we took it in turns to fill the cylinder up. I had forgotten how long it took to use those bloody pumps! Hard work. But anyway, with that done, we fired a few shots to make sure the Premier rounded point .22 pellets were shooting well and that was the first gun of the evening ready !
We made our way over to a farm near me that always had a few pigeons hanging about. The barns are full of cows and feed so it really makes an ideal place for them to live, i don't blame them to be honest. We loaded the single shot Air Arms and began our walk around, tracking turns in shooting. We managed to creep around the farm buildings without spooking too many of the cows. I always get a bit nervous of the farmer if he sees cows rising around in the barns, i don't think they like it that much.
Being here with an air rifle reminded me of when i started shooting, funny enough on the exact farm, hunting the same quarry over 10 years ago! It was such good fun back then, and it still is now.
We had been at this particular farm for around 30 minutes now and had 6 feral pigeons in the bag, that left on the farm yard whilst we searched for more not even the farm dogs fancied touching. Horrible things.
With the birds in the bag and nothing around, we mad our move to the second farm. Funny enough the farmer was going to ring my mate to say he had a problem with pigeons and ask if we could come over. Well a problem was to say the least, there must have been a good 40 when we turned up !
We spoke the young farmer, he likes to chat this lad, don't blame him really. Farmers probably don't get to do much socialising this time of year when lambs and calfs are being born left right and centre. With the 'quick' chat done, we set about doing as much damage as we could, to the pigeons of course.
It was the usual story of feral pigeon shooting, you go to them, shot 1,2 maybe 3 and then follow them around until the stop and repeat the same process. it saves time, waiting for them to come back and also stops any horrible dead leg or arse from sitting down for a stupid amount of time.
An hour in and we had exactly 27 pigeons in the pile ! Not bad. We couldn't retrieve 4 as they landed on roofs or behind cows with calfs in the clafing sheds so we rather not disturb them for a scraggy pigeon.
We made our way back to the van when we could see two rabbits playing in the field next to the yard, a pair of rabbits would have finished perfectly for the session, my mate took aim and dropped the larger rabbit at 35 yards with a lovely head shot. I had forgotten why the sound of a pellet hitting a rabbit skull had sounded like. It sounded good !
The second ran through the fence onto the yard, stopped for a moment and received a .22 rounded pellet to the neck with disabled it not 25 yards from where we stood ! With that done, we informed the farmer that we would return at night when they were securely in the barns and so we could mop them up ! All good.
We returned home to prepare for a nights lamping, you know that feeling when you now you're going to have a good night, i was smiling before we had even started !
I made sure i had everything i needed, bullets, gun, sticks, lamp, caller, battery, license for the old bill incase we got stopped, coat and snacks. All was ready and waiting for darkness to fall. It was a looking to be very good conditions for lamping, not too much wind, very dark and plenty of cloud cover, had there been a drizzle of rain this would have been perfect !
We started on the farm that we had left, Castell, which is welsh for Castle. We arrived, parked in the same spot, got the air rifle ready and began operation 'mop up'. Within minutes we had picked off 10 extra pigeons. It really is the best was to control these vermin. The shooting was second to none, humane and efficient, no loud noises, no "give me a go" as you sometimes get with other so called vermin controllers. We went here to have fun, we were here to do a job.
With a walk around the yard, barns and buildings, we had picked off a rather healthy 20 pigeons, unfortunately, not all were retrievable as to where they had landed, but the farmer did not mind this, he understood that not all the pigeons can be picked up.
With the beams of the barns and cracks in the walls looking free from pigeons in almost all the locations we looked, we were happy to put the air rifle away and trade in for the mighty .223 !
As this farm is in the middle, tail end of lambing, we wanted to try our best at shooting a fox to minimise the chances of lambs being taken, as the usual story goes 'you don't know you've got foxes until its too late', well prevention is better than cure and we wanted to prevent mr.fox as much as possible.
Lamps ready and rifle loaded, we made our way to the top of the yard to call for a ginger ninja in the rather large flat fields of Castell !
I called for a good 10 minutes, my mate with the rifle in hand, as it was his permission i let him shoot first. The red filter on the light force lance is good at picking eyes but you cannot really make out a shape or body at more than 200 yards. But this didn't matter, the red light being propelled from my light force picked up a pair of eyes that were not there thirty seconds ago. I need not inform my mate of the customer, he was already ready for him. The fox was safe, the shot rung out from the Tikka T3 .223 which only had to travel 80 yards before connecting with the fox, but no slap was heard, only a bullet to disintegrate into grass and the tail of mr fox giving the 'I'm out of here' look ! It was a miss.
I whipped off the filter, and my mate reloaded, we waited for the four legged vermin to give the 'last look'. He was a long way away but still in the same field. He reached the hedge and made is was 90' to our left. He stopped, the white light illuminating his rather fearsome eyes, and his body against the hedge. I called the shot good and the shot was release, we waited for the 53 Grain V-Max Superformance to do its job, and the sound of the bullet hitting the engine room allowed me to release the tense hold i had on the light force. He was down!
It was a long long way down the field, we paced it out and the fox had been 270yards from the gateway which we had shot ! Not bloody bad .
We called for a second but nothing showed. It was time to move on. A text in the morning to inform the farmer is all thats needed now.
We moved to the second permission, this being a 2 minute drive from this particular one. Earlier in the day we noticed a field being cut, we both knew what this meant. We pulled into the field and I prepared the rifle. Before i could even unclip the gun, my mate had spotted a fox having a sit down in the pile of grass that had been drying int he sun only 6 hours ago. I readied the rifle and acquired the fox in the Leupold, a nice long breath out, half a breath in, tight hold and a squeeze of the trigger the bullet connected with the fox, for him to only run a short distance, but enough for him to give us trouble to find it ! We searched for 20 minutes but could not find it, we arranged to come back in the boring with my GWP for a good search. I knew the shot was good and the connection was solid.
Across the valley i had notice a second fox, this was laying up in a ploughed field. We could walk right up to this one i thought, it was one of those foxes ! I handed the rifle to my mate, it was his turn. We walked carefully into the field which the fox was laying up in.
My mate readied on the bipod, the fox was not bothered by us, as a busy road was near by he probably thought the white light was that of a car passing, how wrong he was.
The shot was taken and the fox simply dropped its head in the sudden moment of death. She didn't move an inch. Later we would realise that not only did we do the farmer a favour, we did the fox a favour swell. She was an old thing, missing teeth, brown gums, but a large fox by all accounts, a vixen. Not in cub judging by her underside. How strange. A fine sized vixen like this deserves to breed, both those straggly town foxes.
We hung her on the fence for the eye of the farmer in the morning and made out way back the van.
We made our way to another permission that is very handy, you can drive the lane for a mile landing each field left and right, i had the rifle in my hands, and a fox was spotted about 80 yards from us, a quick load and a shoulder of the rifle and i was ready. A simple, text book shot to the engine room, dropped this young dog fox. He was simply not quick enough.
We continued on our nights lamping, going to the early hours of the morning (3:30) we spotted a further 3 foxes but they were clever and experienced, the foxes i love to hunt. Its those types of foxes that keeps us wanting more, keeps us going out in hope to finally 'Outfox' the fox.
Here is a picture of my retrieved fox the next morning, the shot was good as i had thought and he was found 30 yards from where hew was shot, just goes to show that foxes can run after being shot, even by a v max .223 that took the heart and lungs out !
Happy lamping guyes, its day 4 for me so i gotta go or il be late for work, but i know what I'm doing for my 4 off !