CZ 452 HMR explores new permission

November 2, 2015 at 10:33 am

Autumn colours greeted me on my return to the new permission this week, making a fleeting visit at dusk to check out the far end, where it climbs into scrub land.

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A few rabbits became visible in the far right hand corner of the field, as I walked down on the left, the curve of the land and the long grass keeping them hidden apart from the tops of their heads, until they were aware of my presence, then bounding to safety among the brambles. Once among the trees, I was able to find some cover, viewing through the branches a rabbit sitting out on top of a mound a hundred yards away. All I needed was to get into a position for a clear shot without being spotted. With nettles and bushes masking the rabbit for a prone bipod shot, I crept forward looking for a branch to rest on with no leaves in the way. The rabbit was still lying out on it’s mound, when I found the ideal rifle rest, a branch growing out close to the trunk of a bush, with a vertical offshoot. Ideal yes, but only two feet off the ground. I had to kneel and crouch down to look through the scope, by which time the rabbit had got wind of me and gone. Painful in more ways than one. I kneeled and waited, a movement in the nettles next to the mound giving away the rabbit, all I needed to place the cross hairs on it’s head and fire. Success, it fell back into the greenery with a thwack.

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I was now King of the Castle and took up position behind the top of the mound, from where there was a clear view of a quarter of the field, although once again it was awkward to sight through the scope, my knees taking a battering from the rough ground.

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It wasn’t long before my next target appeared, as is the way with rabbits, they sit in cover, then when confident all is well, they hop out and begin feeding immediately. At 60 yards, with minimal breeze, this was an easy shot for the HMR, although the rabbit had it’s back to me and I needed it to raise, or turn it’s head, hitting it anywhere else with this powerful rifle would ruin the meat. This position was uncomfortable and I could not wait for movement. Time for a fatal squeak, sucking in air between pursed lips, the high pitched sound would be inaudible to a human at twenty yards, but the rabbit turned it’s head on cue and died instantly.

Ten minutes later, two more broke cover to feed, but before I could sight on them, the black shape of the landlord’s dog streaked across toward them from the house. The game was up, the dog had been let out to play by the owner and I got up from my hidden location, to show I was there. Having been bitten by farm dogs in the past, the owner needs to see you, before the dog does. The landowner had come home and seen my van, but was unable to spot me, assuming that I was further up the hill, so let the dog out for a run to chase rabbits.

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These two rabbits were promised to a friend, so had done what I’d come for, although a little longer and I would have doubled my money. Any rabbits likely to feed would now stay put for another half hour, by which time the light would be gone. Apologies were gracefully accepted, as I’m sure that I would not be happy to have a virtual stranger wandering my land with a lethal weapon.