Russ Douglas is having great success in his quest for hunting permission
Russ Douglas gains another couple of permissions, perfect for airgun use
Following on from my initial pest control articles in the September issue, I’m slowly working my way round the paddocks on my primary permission, tackling the problem areas as directed by the farmer and livery clients. In one problem corner, the burrows are hidden within an overgrown vacant plot, beside some cottages – off a main road – that overlook the paddock from slightly elevated ground.
The rabbits here are a real problem because they’re busily digging multiple holes in the paddock, and they present an extra challenge because they’re particularly wary. I tried static hunting them one morning before dawn, with my usual hide/seat set-up 20-35m along the fence line they inhabit. This was just behind the gable end of a cottage’s garage, but sadly they disappeared when I got halfway across the field with my hide-laden trolley. They didn’t reappear until I packed up an hour later, and frustratingly, I saw a few popping up as I drove by that very spot on my way to work afterwards.
I was aware that the plot was very public when viewed from a busy adjacent road, hence discreetly siting my hide behind the garage.
So, next I wrote the homeowner a polite ‘permission application’ letter, and kept my fingers crossed for a positive response. A few weeks later, I got an email giving me approval, and a second, signed shooting permission followed to add to my records. I then
“was prepared for a worst case, but to my delight got the opposite”
approached the immediate neighbour, to inform them politely of my intentions, and allay any fears should I be seen in the neighbouring garden. I was prepared for a worst case, horrified reaction, but to my delight got the opposite. So, I now have a third garden permission, and another homeowner very keen to get some rabbits for his dinner table – bonus!
I can now set up in the back garden, beside the same garage I sat in the lee of a few weeks earlier. I’ve rapidly discovered that there’s a substantial rabbit population, but they’re particularly wary. I had to be extra-cautious tiptoeing along the noisy gravel drive, and even scared one or two off with a very faint ‘clink’ as my foot knocked against the leg of my trusty Trigger Sticks whilst adjusting my position. My quiet patience was eventually rewarded with three more rabbits for the pot, plus a bonus bunny I bagged in the farmyard, after driving round to collect my tally from the paddock. The barbed-wire fence, plus inner electrified wire, makes for a long round trip to collect them, but I got there just in time, as a cheeky crow started pecking at one of them.
Following this ultra-wary rabbit experience, I made some kit improvements (see page 81), to improve my stealthy approach next time. With both my crutches and Trigger Sticks now in stealth mode, I wanted to reduce the chance that I’d be heard by neighbours or the uber-wary rabbits, so I purchased a Huggett silencer for the Wildcat, from BAR. When asked which I preferred, I said, ‘Whichever is quieter’, so didn’t go for the more compact Belita.
Cue a catalogue of errors; unknown to me the ‘end cap’ which has always unscrewed from the muzzle was actually in two pieces
“He thanked me for considering my possible visibility to the passing public”
– the shroud end piece should have been Loctited in place. It’s now fixed.
I’ve always regarded the Wildcat as quiet, but the Huggett ups this to a new level, and really is a ‘silencer’ not a moderator. The only noise now is from the action, which only the shooter really hears beside their ear anyway. With the weather cooling off, I also upgraded my fleece with a Jack Pyke Galbraith smock – cosy and waterproof.
In case it’s of interest, I’ve just done a chrono’ check both with and without the Huggett in place:
FX Wildcat mk1 – standard shroud, eight shots = 774 fps/11.23 ft.lbs.
FX Wildcat mk1 – Huggett silencer, eight shots = 768 fps/11.06 ft.lbs.
There is hardly a difference at all, and nicely within the legal limit: 799fps using .177/4.52mm JSB Exact 8.44 grain pellets.
As usual, I forwarded scans of my newlysigned shooting permissions to the local police firearms inspector. He thanked me for considering my possible visibility to the passing public, and for notifying the neighbours to keep everyone aware. He also agreed with me that this was another permission perfect for using an air rifle because there’s no safe backstop here for a ricochet-prone .22 rimfire, and this farm is not rated for .17HMR.
Thanks to John for taking the photos – his freezer’s currently full of bunnies, thanks to me, so I didn’t feel too guilty about borrowing him. My first efforts at bunny Masterchef went okay and there are a few portions in the freezer still; barbecued ‘pulled-bunny’ next time.
I hope you find these new pest control forays interesting, and as always – enjoy your shooting. I
Primos Trigger Sticks: £120 BAR / John Rothery Wholesalers Huggett silencer: £90.00 BAR / www.airgunbuyer.com Jack Pyke Galbraith smock: £65.99 John Norris of Penrith
Feel free to contact me with feedback/article suggestions, especially for disabled-related articles or reviews you’d like to see - via RussDouglasAGW@gmail.com Flickr: @RussDouglasAGW: www.tinyurl.com/ RussDouglasAGW where albums carry HD versions of article photos, often including many extra images.
ABOVE: Crutches and Wildcat both silenced. BELOW: Standing is less successful because they see me even after dark.
Setting sun behind me, I’m less visible.
Covering your face is vital when you’re close.
Separating slow-cooked rabbit meat from the many bones.
The plot was very public.
Ta-daa – only this end cap should come off.