JERRY MOSS

Jerry Moss is in search of sup­port for his work in sav­ing the red squir­rel

Air Gunner - - Contents -

Jerry’s at the Lowther Show,on the Lowther es­tate, drum­ming up sup­port for the red squir­rel con­ser­va­tion project

The sum­mer months see the lo­cal shows and events, and one of the main shows that Pen­rith Red Squir­rel Group (PRSG) at­tends is the Coun­try­man’s Fairs’ Lowther Show, set in the grounds of the beau­ti­ful Lowther es­tate, over­look­ing the cas­tle.

As one of the big­gest shows in our area, it is a great place to have a stand to show peo­ple what we do. The show at­tracts visi­tors from home and away, so we can meet up with friends, landown­ers and farm­ers, as well as in­tro­duce what we do and what

we are all about to a wider au­di­ence. The week­end was very busy and the weather wasn’t too bad, which al­ways helps.

NEW PATCH

A few days af­ter the show, Ando (a PRSG Ranger) and I went over to some land where the owner had asked if we would do him a favour and knock the rab­bit pop­u­la­tion down a bit be­cause the place was get­ting a bit over­run by the grass-lov­ing conies. The area is on the Pen­nine Fells so can be rough ground cov­ered in sieves and some hard­go­ing ter­rain, so it was to be a walk­a­bout in a beau­ti­ful area with some stun­ning views across to the Lake District and on to the Sol­way Firth.

We ar­rived a cou­ple of hours be­fore dark so we could have a look around some of the ground and get some shoot­ing in at the same time. We parked up, grabbed our FX Stream­lines and then set off down a farm track into some mead­ows. As we sneaked up to a fence line, we could see many rab­bits out feed­ing in and around the long grasses. We got into po­si­tion us­ing the fence as a lean to steady our ri­fles. Ando took the first shot and dropped a 35-yarder, I was al­ready on aim on an­other rab­bit to my right, and af­ter Ando’s shot, it looked up briefly be­fore low­er­ing its head again so I got the shot off and dropped that coney as well. We split up and ar­ranged to meet back at the pick-up in about an hour, to be back be­fore dark and get sorted ready for the night ses­sion.

The ‘ be­fore dark’ ses­sion re­sulted in 14 rab­bits picked between us, and there were a few more that Ando and couldn’t find. We were treated to an ab­so­lutely stun­ning sun­set and it was worth be­ing out just to see this.

THER­MAL IMAG­ING

Dark­ness came and it was time to break out the Pul­sar XQ23 Lite ther­mal-imag­ing spot­ter. We use this day in, day out when af­ter the greys and as I have said be­fore it’s a game changer. I po­si­tioned my pick-up across the farm track be­cause we knew that rab­bits came from a wooded area, crossed the track and then on to to the grass fields. The idea was to spot them with the XQ, then switch to a lamp and one of us would shoot the rab­bits as they came across the track. This tac­tic worked re­ally well and in no time we had eight more rab­bits in the bag.

We took a walk around the grass fields, us­ing the Pusar XQ, and then when a coney was spot­ted we switched to the lamp and shot. A very lucky young mouse was for­tu­nate not to get a size 12 boot on top of him. I just caught him in the edge of the lamp beam at the last sec­ond, but judg­ing from the amount of owls we could hear he may well have been lucky to sur­vive.

We man­aged an­other eight rab­bits and then called it a night, but we will be back when time al­lows. Maybe, I will try to get a ther­mal ri­fle scope, such as the Pul­sar Trail XP50, that would look nice sit­ting on top of one of my FX ri­fles. That could well give us the edge for a very good bag, but at a price.

It’s beau­ti­ful but tough ter­rain

The rab­bits just kept com­ing

I find the ther­mal im­ager in­valu­able both day and night

Speak­ing to show visi­tors gets our mes­sage out

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