Magtech .22 finds rabbits in the bluebell wood.

May 4, 2016 at 7:02 pm

The first days of May came blessed with sunshine, although a cold wind greeted me as I left the protection of the stables at the equestrian centre this week. Regular visits were beginning to have a visible effect on the rabbit numbers and I was keen to keep up the pressure, as now is the time of maximum rabbit reproduction.

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I had not gone 50 yards, before the first sight of my quarry in long grass beside the path and I swung my shooting sticks out to support the rifle, knocking over the rabbit at 40 yards.

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This was a healthy juvenile from an early litter of kits, a result of the mild winter. These make tender eating and go well on the BBQ, or just fried with onions. Twenty yards on, an adult had it’s head down feeding on a lawned area near the training ring, slumping forward from a full on head shot.

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Carrying on toward the wood, I expected to see rabbits along the bordering ride as usual, but today they were absent and pressed on through without seeing any, thinking that my previous efforts had sent the survivors into a nocturnal feeding pattern, having taken over thirty in recent weeks.

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This part of the wood always heralds the seasons, snowdrops of winter, giving way to the daffodils of spring and now bluebells of early summer. The heady aroma of these short lived blooms filled the air as I walked through, the new leaves shielding the bright sunshine of the afternoon. Near the exit from the wood, a ride joins the path at right angles, where I often see rabbits and I slowed in anticipation, ready to crouch down to peer round the corner. As I did, a large brown rabbit trotted from the ride onto the path fifteen yards away and froze. In the scope it was blurred, but sighting on the chest above the front leg, a snap shot bowled it over.

Prone, I looked round a bush at the end of the ride to see two rabbits skipping about forty yards away and resting on my bag got a bead on the first, only for the other to run in front of it each time. This movement went on for several minutes before one stopped long enough for me to squeeze off a shot, which bounced it high in the air. The other disappeared around the corner at the end, then turned and ran back toward me. I missed with the first shot, but hit it with the second, making sure with a third.

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Back out into the bright sunshine, I circled round the outside of the wood, the white flash of tails in the distance the only signs of long gone rabbits and I made my way back to the van, heading out into the traffic from this haven among the houses.