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