DAVE BARHAM

First Blood to the R10!

Airgun World - - Contents -

Ifin­ished off last month’s piece with the news that my old land­lord, Martin, had been in touch with me and had promised to in­tro­duce me to a new per­mis­sion of his that he didn’t re­ally have time to deal with. Well, true to his word, Martin took me to said per­mis­sion and I now have some­where to shoot all of my own.

The place in ques­tion is a stately home sit­u­ated just five miles from where I live, so it’s very con­ve­nient. Martin had ex­plained that there were quite a few rab­bits on the grounds of the prop­erty – about three acres – but when we ar­rived and took a good walk around, there was lit­tle sign of rab­bit life. There were very few scrap­ings, no vis­i­ble signs of a war­ren and very few drop­pings on the ground. It turned out that a pro­fes­sional pest con­troller had been called in some weeks pre­vi­ously and had

“the num­ber of pi­geons that came in to roost was astro­nom­i­cal”

all but erad­i­cated the rab­bits!

I wasn’t too dis­heart­ened though, be­cause dur­ing our recce it be­came quite clear that there was a se­ri­ous pi­geon prob­lem, too. There were feath­ers all over the place un­der­neath most of the trees, which sug­gested to me that this area was prime roost­ing ter­ri­tory, and as we sat on a stone wall chat­ting into dark­ness, the num­ber of pi­geons that came in to roost was astro­nom­i­cal. I’d never seen so many, any­where that I’d shot be­fore.

MUNTJAC AND RAB­BITS

Dur­ing the drive home, Martin told me that he’d pick me up the fol­low­ing evening for an hour’s shoot­ing at the es­tate. He’d al­ready put up a high chair in one of the trees, and he planned to re­move a muntjac or two, which had been wan­der­ing into the grounds from the lo­cal fields and eat­ing all the owner’s roses.

I was well up for that, as you can imag­ine, and although I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to see any rab­bits, it would make great prac­tice for me to dig my­self into the un­der­growth and lie there silent for an hour or two, scop­ing out the grounds whilst Martin sat in his tree seat.

The fol­low­ing evening was per­fect, with cloudy skies and a light breeze blow­ing di­rectly down the field where Martin had planned to sit it out, and whilst Martin climbed into his chair, I dug my­self into some over­hang­ing fo­liage be­hind him and sat there pa­tiently.

Within ten min­utes I spot­ted a cou­ple of large rab­bits mov­ing in from my right. They were too far for me to take a shot, about 100 yards away, but Martin slowly raised his ri­fle and dropped one of them with­out fuss. When we’d fin­ished our shoot, he ex­plained that he was go­ing to leave them as fox bait, and it cer­tainly con­firmed that his ri­fle was per­fectly ze­roed for that all-im­por­tant shot on the muntjac.

Half an hour passed, and then I saw a muntjac doe wan­der out of the brush. Martin left it and waited for a fur­ther five min­utes, when a buck popped its head out of the un­der­growth and pro­ceeded to wan­der right in front of Martin’s wait­ing ri­fle. I saw it all un­fold right in front of me, and with one clean shot the muntjac was down. The light was fad­ing fast, and sig­nalled the end of that par­tic­u­lar evening’s hunt. I didn’t mind that I hadn’t taken a shot, be­cause I re­ally hadn’t ex­pected to. It was just nice to be there and get a feel for the place.

UN­LUCKY OR WHAT?

It was a week later when I called the es­tate owner to see if I could pop over for a cou­ple of hours on the pi­geons. The weather was per­fect and I was get­ting very ex­cited. How­ever, I rang and rang but couldn’t get through. I de­cided to take a drive over to see if any­one was at home, and I ar­rived to find the huge iron gates closed and locked. I called Martin, and he in­formed me that the own­ers had gone away on hol­i­day for a few days – I was to­tally gut­ted. Martin could hear in my voice that I was dis­ap­pointed, so sug­gested that I pop over to the old house that we’d rented from him, where he was work­ing on a fence.

“There are plenty of pi­geons over here, Dave,” said Martin, as I was get­ting back into my car with a frown on my face. “Come over here and have a walk around. I’m here for an­other cou­ple of hours.”

I didn’t need ask­ing twice. At least I would be able to have a walk around with my new ri­fle, and I might even be able to make my first kill with it.

FIRST BLOOD

When I ar­rived, Martin was there in the gar­den, saw in hand. He di­rected me to the field next to his house and pointed to a row of trees.

“If you wedge your­self into that lot, you should get a cou­ple of shots off as the pi­geons keep pop­ping down to feed amongst the stub­ble in the field op­po­site,” he said.

So that’s what I did. I got my­self into po­si­tion and waited. I waited, and waited, but only two pi­geons came down from the trees into the field, and both times I couldn’t take a clean shot through the branches. I won­dered if the pi­geons could see me, be­cause I didn’t have my full camo kit on – it was 26 de­grees and I was al­ready melt­ing. I waited for half an hour to no

avail, and as the sun got lower in the sky the tem­per­a­ture be­gan to drop, so I walked back to my car and donned my jacket and gloves.

When I got back to the tree line I felt quite com­fort­able, and kept telling my­self that I was go­ing to make my first kill. I’d only been stand­ing there for a few min­utes when I saw a large pi­geon crash land into the tree to my right. It was a good 30 yards away, with miles of open fields be­hind it, so I slowly raised my ri­fle and let the crosshairs set­tle on the pi­geon’s head. As I squeezed the trig­ger I could feel my heart racing, and as soon as the pel­let left the bar­rel I knew it was a great shot. ‘Thwack’ came the sound of pel­let on bone, and with two flaps of its wings the pi­geon fell out of the tree to the ground di­rectly be­low – it was dead in­stantly.

Nor­mally, I would just leave the pi­geon there if it had fallen with its back fac­ing up­wards, but it had landed up­side down, so I ran over to pick it up. A quick in­spec­tion showed that it was in­deed a clean shot and I walked back to the tree­line with a huge smile on my face.

All too soon, Martin wan­dered over and in­formed me that he had to go, so I would have to leave too. I didn’t mind, it had been an ex­cit­ing ses­sion and I’d chris­tened my new ri­fle. On the walk back to the cars, Martin told me that he had some proper rab­bit shoot­ing that he would take me to in a cou­ple of week’s time, which made it all the more re­ward­ing. I can’t wait to try my R10 out on the rab­bits, and next month I hope to be able to re­port back with some more ex­cit­ing hunt­ing news.I

Dave had got him­self into po­si­tion at the end of the tree­line, but the pi­geons could see him.

First blood for Dave and his new BSA R10.

It was 25 yards to the crops where the pi­geons kept com­ing in to feed.

One crash-land­ing was soon fol­lowed by an­other.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.