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Do you know how to dis­patch your quarry? The edi­tor asks

Air Gunner - - Contents -

We know from our sur­veys that over 80% of you are hunters, or would like to be, a fact that brings me to a tricky sub­ject – the coup de grâce. This is a French phrase for ‘a death blow’, de­liv­ered mer­ci­fully to end suf­fer­ing. In other words, to kill our quarry hu­manely if our shot wasn’t fa­tal. I be­lieve that any hunter has an in­escapable duty to find any shot quarry quickly, put it in the bag to be eaten later, or to dis­patch it if we’ve failed to kill it out­right, and if you don’t ac­cept the re­spon­si­bil­ity, then you shouldn’t pull the trig­ger.

As­sum­ing that we’ve been able to find the quarry an­i­mal we’ve shot and that it is not dead, what should we do? There are two trains of thought and I go with the first, most of the time; as I shoot, I watch the pel­let strike through the scope and note care­fully the an­i­mal’s re­ac­tion. Then I quickly reload and bring the sights back onto the an­i­mal’s kill zone. If a fallen squir­rel raises its head, I im­me­di­ately shoot again. This might sound harsh, but I want to stop the quarry right there and then rather than try to find it if it crawls away. This is also par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant for quarry that could well harm us if we han­dle it. Squir­rels and rats come to mind.

GO FIND IT

If shoot­ing is not an op­tion and you don’t have a dog to re­trieve it for you, you need to go for­ward and search for your­self. I al­ways reload and ap­ply the safety at this point. It’s pos­si­ble that an op­por­tu­nity to dis­patch the crea­ture might present it­self, so I like to be ready.

If my quarry is a pi­geon that I’ve downed, I’ll pick it and then dis­patch it with a sharp blow to the head with my priest. This is a small trun­cheon-like club used specif­i­cally for this work. One well-aimed blow to the head will end the bird’s life with lit­tle drama and min­i­mal suf­fer­ing. Birds that I will not han­dle in­clude the crow and rook that will in­flict in­jury on us if they’re able, just like rats and squir­rels.

The fi­nal op­tion is to shoot them by sight­ing down the side of the bar­rel, but be sure to an­gle the ri­fle low, so that any ric­o­chets fly safely away from your­self. Please think through these tech­niques and ideas be­fore you tackle any quarry. When nec­es­sary, you have a duty to de­liver your coup de grâce quickly and ef­fi­ciently.

This pi­geon dropped cleanly, but are you ready for those that don’t?

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