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Good Hunting

Yesterday I needed a form signed for the local plod from my landholder for my FAC so I thought I would take advantage and go out shooting with my nearly, son in law. My daughters boyfriend. He has wanted to go hunting for a while and he is looking at getting a FAC himself.

So off we went. Not a bad day for February and I took the shotgun as well so he could try that. I took my full quota of .22, about 550 rounds, and a dozen shotgun cartridges. I also took some old boxes and a damaged steel drum for target practise. As we went in the field you could see a few bunnies down the bottom, about 150 yards away, and some pigeons. We set up the targets and unpacked the weapons and after the safety talk he has a few goes with the shotgun. We then move on to the .22 and we set up some boxes on the drum for target practise. Considering he hasn’t had a go before he is good at it and was hitting the targets well. After about 40 rounds we decided to take it up a notch and go hunting.

We turn to where the bunnies were and every one of them was gone. We could see nothing at all. So I decided we would go down to the area, set up and wait patiently like true hunters. Off we went and we sat down to wait for the return of our evening meal.

Ten minutes later the birds started tweeting and I thought any time now. Half an hour later we could see rabbits and pigeons at the other end of the field but none where we were. The bird sounds were still going but they were small garden birds and none came out from the trees. Didn’t they understand their place in the food chain?

A little later we watched a commotion at the far end of the field a sparrowhawk had caught itself a nice fat pigeon. The pigeon was double the size of the sparrowhawk but didn’t stand a chance although it put up a good try. I thought we would stay where we were as eventually the bunnies would come back and they would have forgotten about us when the sparrowhawk went. We watched the sparrowhawk disassemble the pigeon over the next hour and it seemed to enjoy its meal. So we waited patiently for a bit longer and still no sign of any bunnies or pigeons. After another hour we were fed up so we went back up and spent the next few hours shooting at the targets. Quite enjoyed that and by the end of the day we had fired the last of my .22 rounds and all the shotgun cartridges. The gun worked well but it chewed up a couple of cartridge cases every two hundred rounds as it was ejecting them and it jammed five times and had to be cleared. I though that was OK for over 500 rounds though with the last three being in the final hundred rounds as the gun was quite dirty.

Irritatingly as we packed up and were preparing to leave when a flock of about 6 pigeons flew overhead. Shotgun packed away and no cartridges anyway meant they were rubbing it in. Loaded up the car and went home. No meal and we were hungry.

My daughter was pleased though. She wasn’t looking forward to cooking anything from the wild and we had a nice piece of chicken instead.

All in all it was a good day but it made me think. If that had been a survival scenario none of us would have eaten that day and there were bunnies and pigeons around, They had not been hunted daily by other desperate people and were thus exceptionally cautious. This was just a normal day to them. OK the sparrowhawk had spooked them we could see it hovering around for most of the day and that may have made a difference but that could have happened after an event as well.

I’m inclined to agree that keeping your own is going to be a much more reliable way of getting protien into your diet with trapping being a close second. With the caveat that that you have an area that you have exclusive use over for trapping. Hunting could very well not deliver what you need most days and yet that is the way most of us are gearing up. I already have a large collection of trapping equipment and some books but have never, ever, trapped anything or set them up. One reason is that I don’t have anywhere I can leave the traps but I suspect it is because I would rather go out hunting.

I should really consider having a go with the traps even if all I get are the local moggies.

9 comments to Good Hunting

  • mikebratcher69

    tut tut fancy you having a dirty gun SD.
    Some brands burn dirtier than others and if you buy the cheap stuff it’s usualy dirtier than better known brands mostly, and theres a reason they’re selling it cheap, usualy if not for good karma…

  • Northern Raider

    Theres a chap I have know for decades who has one of the old Mk 4 Lee Enfields converted to .22LR use for cadets to use. He has not cleaned the barrel of his rifle and only squirts to bolt occasionally with WD40 and the bloody thing never fails him.

  • mikebratcher69

    And dont forget you just went into the field fresh from everyday life smelling all clean and fresh.
    Animals can smell any perfumed soap or deoderants or sweat from miles away and unless you sat very still in total silence, they heard all the noise you made too.

    Animals are’nt as dumb as we humans would like to think, after all it’s their life on the line and if they see you enter their home territory they wont be happy till you’ve gone.

    They have to get used to you being there and NOT hunting them.

    If every time you go there and you hunt them you’ll never see much of them, you have to spend time lulling them into a false sense of secuity pottering around till they get used to seeing you with no danger for them.

    OR get in a position in a hide BEFORE they get there and lie SILENTLY in wait like a sniper.

  • Timelord

    In hunter gatherer societies that have been studied from temperate & tropical climates, it is the gathering that makes up about 90% of the food intake, with hunting the other 10%. I think that hunting is pushed far too much in survival circles and with that glamorous & commercial angle.
    In indiginous cultures, hunting had a very important place in society but it has to be understood. As said before, gathering made up about 90% of the calorie intake. It is the other 10% that only meat products can supply. There are some very important substances in this 10% that the human body needs at some point over a minimum few monthly time cycle – This is in a hunter gatherer lifestyle or a survival one where calorific intake is crucial to be able to perform the necessary tasks to maintain the functionality of the body & mind. Hunting has an important place and was hugely ritualised in ancient cultures. Hunting can easily expend an enormous amount of energy with no guarantee of reward. This can be a killer in survival situations. Especially if the wildlife has generally gone to ground due to a mass of other folks trying to eat it or having eaten it already. Practicing of & the mobility of hunting may also increase the likelihood of encountering other people – good or bad.
    Hunting has its place, but it is an organised, possibly ritualistic activity that is a gamble. With more group participants and local knowledge, then the rewards may be more favourable. Historically & indiginously, in a similar way to our survival type scenarios, it was not so much hunting as more being opportunistic. ie, having the equipment and skill, being observant of ones surroundings while moving quietly through the landscape and taking advantage of any fleeting or sudden opportunities that arise to be able to bag a meal for the pot.
    Remember that many hunter gatherer societies operate at extreme levels of efficiency that has taken thousands of years to evolve. They minimize exhertion and waste nothing. In a modern survival scenario, where we may be starting from scratch, we will not have this luxury behind us and so our levels of exhertion are likely to be far higher and so will be the necessary calorific intake. Trapping for meat has categorically a much higher return ratio per energy expenditure. Opportunistic hunting while out & about is highly efficient to supplement the food & resouces intake.
    All the knowledge is already there through our own evolution. We have only to look & appreciate. TL.

    (this mostly does not apply to artic climates, where meat & fat is the primary source of calorie intake)

  • moosedog

    mikebratcher, you are correct, animals are not dumb. I knew a man who was gamekeeper on a large estate (and a poacher on several other large estates!). He was frustrated as the pigeons flew off every time he had his gun, though not when he was without it. He tried carrying his gun like a walking stick and the pigeons flew off. He tried carrying a walking stick like a gun and they stayed where they were. His conclusion, and he was the best hunter I’ve ever known, was that pigeons are not only smart but have darn good eyesight as well. He stuck to pheasants after that.

    • Northern Raider

      The Magpies around here are exactly the same, perhaps more so, not only do they not move if your unarmed and scarper if you are, TWICE I’ve seemn Magpies fly and land among a group of pigeons or crows when ever I’m armed, the buggers try hiding in a crowd.

  • earth pilgrim

    Everyone else has seemed to have posted everything I was gonna suggest what went wrong about this hunting session. I have personally come across crows and magpies on my small holding, recalling my own and other hunters faces and scarpering, we tried rubber masks and other things to hide our faces but after 1 hunting session they seem to know the mask means hunters. Very willey our covid cousins.

  • Stokey

    Perhaps blasting the crap out of targets for a few hours may have gave the game away to the wily critters as well 😉

  • Survivor 123

    Has anyone ever considered ferreting because they breed quickly and you can feed them the gut, intestine ect of the animal they campture and they dont really need training because they run of instinct.

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