Mick Gar­vey

Mick Gar­vey en­joys some ter­rific hunt­ing in the com­pany of like-minded sports­men

Airgun World - - Contents -

Mick is in the Lake District, and Nor­folk, with fel­low mus­ke­teers- hunt­ing heaven!

This month was al­ways go­ing to be busy. My brother, Richard, and his wife, Michelle, were over from the States for a week’s hol­i­day in my beloved Lake District, and whilst we were up there, we met up with my old mate, Ben, for a care­fully planned night on the rab­bits. At the end of the month, I was in Nor­folk for a 50th birth­day knees up with fam­ily, and some of my old mates from the RAF Reg­i­ment – this proved to be an in­ter­est­ing evening, to say the least.

First things first, and after pick­ing up Richard and Michelle and get­ting them set­tled in we de­cided to have a short ses­sion on the re­cently cut grass fields on my per­mis­sion. At the re­cent North­ern Shoot­ing Show I had picked up a set of En­forcer Pro Se­ries De­coys from DJ De­coys. I had heard many a good re­port on these and I was keen to give them a once over, so after a lengthy chat with Gwyn and Sharon, I found my­self fully sorted with the mag­nif­i­cent-look­ing En­forcer De­coys. The whole pack­age is very im­pres­sive, with car­ryalls for the full-bod­ied de­coys and a sep­a­rate carry case for the floaters. Sep­a­rate com­part­ments for each bird is much bet­ter than stuff­ing ev­ery­thing into an over­sized duf­fle bag where ev­ery­thing gets knocked about and even­tu­ally dam­aged. They would be per­fect for my shoot­ing, and on this short stint give bro’ a chance to pick off a few wood­ies, I hoped.

I de­cided on a more ran­dom pat­tern for the En­forcers, with the two floaters set up at the rear of the rough pat­tern. These floaters have an amaz­ing life-like ac­tion. The wings re­ally open up as the wind gets un­der them, giv­ing the re­al­is­tic look of a land­ing bird, and the 10 full-bod­ied birds have a great look to them, too. Six feed­ers and four sen­tries and the pat­tern looked good. How could we fail?

TWO FROM TWO

I had sorted Richard out with the FX sub 12 ft.lbs., .177 Im­pact and a fixed 10x Sidewinder, and after a zero check us­ing the usual AA Di­ab­los, he was set. I used the FX FAC Wild­cat in .22 be­cause I’d be tak­ing my shots from a greater dis­tance, but my pri­or­ity was for ‘Chard to get his first woodie. This proved harder than I ex­pected. The birds just weren’t there, and a reshuf­fling of the de­coys

“He’d only gone and got one! A nice plump woodie lay life­less in the cen­tre of the pat­tern”

still didn’t get any in­ter­est. I have to­tal con­fi­dence that these En­forcers will be a win­ner – ab­so­lutely no doubt about it – but to­day was maybe too soon on this known hot spot. My log showed that bags of 20-30 have been taken in a ses­sion over the last few years, but maybe it was too soon after the cut, or maybe they had found a flat­tened crop some­where. Time was tick­ing by, and I was will­ing the birds in. My at­ten­tion was taken by move­ment to my left, on an old oak tree, where a squir­rel was scam­per­ing up and down the trunk, but with no clear shot I de­cided just to ob­serve. I then heard the faintest of noises and looked im­me­di­ately to the field. He’d only gone and got one! A nice plump woodie lay life­less in the cen­tre of the pat­tern, a ‘be­tween the shoul­ders’ shot had brought ‘Chard his first wood­pi­geon. I mimed for him to stay put and see if any­thing else came in. and sure enough, a se­cond woodie came straight to the fallen one. One more shot from the Im­pact, and an­other one was down. Maybe this was the start of them com­ing in, but we would never know be­cause we had to make moves and get home. Two from two was enough to keep him happy, though, and we even breasted them to take with us to the Lakes. Next stop, Pen­rith and some se­ri­ous ac­tion on the rab­bits.

VIC­TORY DANCE

We met up with Ben a cou­ple of time be­fore our air at­tack on the rab­bits. Plans were made, and times were agreed. Richard was ea­ger to see how Ben and I tack­led the im­mense tract of land at our dis­posal, so we opted for an early evening start to get ac­cli­ma­tised to the lie of the land. Richard used the FX Wild­cat through­out the day­light hours, and then he turned spot­ter with my Quan­tum XQ38 when dark­ness fell. Ben was util­is­ing his now re­paired Daystate Air Ranger, and I had the .25 FAC FX Im­pact with my new Pul­sar XQ50 trail ther­mal scope. I’m go­ing to say it again – the guys at Scott Coun­try In­ter­na­tional re­ally do look after their cus­tomers, and that in­cludes me. The Pul­sar is not a re­view item; it is mine, bought with my own hard-earned cash and it com­ple­ments the Im­pact per­fectly.

like Olympic sprint­ers, ready to pick off a few rab­bits be­fore dark. First shot was a small young ‘un, and it was a miss by – you guessed it – me! I can still hear the snig­gers now, but that was to change. After a cou­ple of hours, the light was fad­ing slightly and it was only now that we re­alised it was the long­est day and prob­a­bly wouldn’t get re­ally dark at all. We had al­ready taken eight rab­bits be­tween us – Ben had four, and two apiece for Team Gar­vey –but now the ther­mal would come into its own and we steadily worked the fields – one shoot­ing, one spot­ting. and one un­luck­ily car­ry­ing the game bag. The con­di­tions were per­fect and we had to re­turn to Ben’s Tonka truck to empty the game bag be­cause they were good-sized rab­bits and quite weighty. At one stage, we were treated to a lit­tle vic­tory dance from our host as he came back from the semi-dark­ness with four rab­bits, which he in­sisted were taken from four shots. I man­aged three from three be­fore the rab­bits got spooked and headed back to their bur­rows.

FIELD RECORD!

This is a very spe­cial place Ben has, and I hope to be com­ing here with him for years to come. We have a great re­la­tion­ship and I am now fully con­ver­sant with the land so Ben is

“over the moon with the rab­bits and passed on the mes­sage that I was wel­come any time”

happy for me to roam in one di­rec­tion whilst he takes the other. This al­ways gives us our best re­sults be­cause to­gether we usu­ally spend too much time chat­ting, laugh­ing and jok­ing, but one day we will give it 100% and records will be made. Our pre­vi­ous best was 26 and Ben didn’t think we’d break that tonight, but I had no doubt we could do it and the last field we cov­ered was a firm favourite of mine. We weren’t sure ex­actly how many we had, but we guessed an­other six would do it, so it was time to get se­ri­ous – well, maybe for a short while.

I was on point with the Im­pact, Richard on bag duty, and Ben on spot­ting. We worked the hedgerows, pick­ing off ones and twos be­fore head­ing out into the field cen­tre, and the bag was get­ting full … and heavy. In fact, it was so heavy that the straps broke so we had to take it in turns to carry it, and in the end it was a two-man job to lift it over the fence. We had cov­ered the field as a team and shot as a team. Our orig­i­nal es­ti­ma­tion had been slightly out, but with 13 in the last bag we had nailed a to­tal of 30. Ben and I gut­ted them all and put them in the farmer’s freezer for the beaters’ fund. I later found out that he was over the moon with the rab­bits and passed on the mes­sage that I was wel­come any time – great re­sult! After the pictures had been taken and hand­shakes all round, we re­alised it was 2am and not even re­ally dark. We talked con­stantly dur­ing our drive back about what a great night it had been and how per­fect prepa­ra­tion is key to suc­cess­ful shoot­ing.

PRO­LIFIC FLIGHT-LINE

My next out­ing was just about prepa­ra­tion. I was go­ing to meet my good friend Tony, on the Nor­folk/Suf­folk bor­der, and tak­ing the .25 Im­pact just in case any­thing showed it­self, but the main plan was to get to grips with this new land I had been in­vited to shoot on. Now, I don’t ever re­call say­ing this be­fore, nor do I ex­pect to say it again any­time soon, but I re­ally wish I had taken my shot­gun in­stead of the Im­pact. I wit­nessed the most pro­lific flight-line ever. In just over an hour we must have counted around 1000 wood­pi­geons flight­ing down the side of a thin line of trees. The crop was sugar beet, and I have been asked to ac­com­pany Tony after the har­vest when he will take the far end with his shot­gun, and I will set up at the other end with my En­forcers, and either the Wild­cat or Im­pact – from what I’ve seen, it will be a great day.

So there we have it, three of a kind. Three re­ally good mates who share my en­thu­si­asm for shoot­ing. I

De­spite the faces we were very happy with the re­sult.

Richard got quite at­tached to the Im­pact.

Pre-shoot chat.

So, we were off out of the start­ing blocks Ev­ery cor­ner gives an­other breath­tak­ing view.

The deal is done for har­vest time.

How can these En­forcers ever fail, look­ing this good?

Re­lax­ing with big Tony.

Just the two, this time.

An­other two.

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