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Shooting in luxury


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This time of year I struggle with the cold, even in the house with the heating and logburner going I still have to wear a jumper and sometimes gloves. My hands, especially my right arm/hand don't get proper blood now, the circulation is not what it was. You have to make the best of it though, so a steaming mug of coffee as the sun brings the world to life, sat by the bedroom window with the Rapid across my knees and the radiator for company.

The pine tree opposite was drawing the crows and pigeons. The pigeons are still courting, despite the heavy frost and an inch of snow on the ground. Then I saw a squirrel run down the neighbour, facing me, house roof. The old girl, Joan, died a couple of months ago and the house is empty. The squirrel has got into the roof, I saw where it went in the other day. It doesn't hang about though and ran down the roof, along the gutter, about 55 yards range to the gutter. Then out of sight. I knew it was at large though, so might appear again.

I sat watching the small birds flitting to the feeders just below me in front of the garden window. I had put out a pile of mealworms on the table when I made my coffee, the blackbirds had come for their breakfast. The sunflower hearts were attracting the blue tits, coal tits, great tits and a host of house sparrows, the goldfinches tend to come later, once it has warmed up a bit. While I sat just watching the birds a magpie flew into the pine opposite, but it didn't linger, they tend not to now! It flew across to another neighbour, they have said it comes every morning and raids their bird table. I suppose it was about two records later I noticed the black head and white chest in the willow right opposite my window. The magpie had made its way back and was preening.

I dropped to one knee and gently eased the window open, just a few inches, far enough that BB's carbon silencer would fit through. I settled the rifle into my shoulder and watched for my opportunity. The head was bobbing as it preened it's breast and shoulders. It is about 48 yards to this bough, so I put the crosshair on the top of its head, the first BDC circle was on the top of its chest and the second one was just under. I was going to hit vitals whatever happened. I expected a head or neck impact. There waas a moment before the solid 'crack' of lead hitting bone shattered the snowy silence and the magpie was bowled over backwards stone dead and went down like gannet diving, not even with its wings trying to open. I felt smug.

As I sat there listening to the radio and watching the increasing bird traffic to the feeders I noticed a shape in the top of our cherry tree, THE SQUIRREL. I eased the window open again and drew a bead. There were a few twigs in the way but this is at zero and the Rapid is pinpoint out to 50 yards, a 12 shot group not much bigger than a single pellet at 50 yards pinpoint. I was confident I could get through and lined up on the base of its ear. Again the strike was a solid one of the pellet contacting bone, like a twig snapping in the woods. The squirrel just rolled sideways and lodged in the mass of ivy and twigs, with a bit of luck the crows will find it and be thankful for it, although one I shot in the woods the other day is still lodged in the tree 3 days later and in plain view still. I looked at my watch, it wasn't 08.00 yet. A great start to the day and I hadn't had to get cold!

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Not many like sitting still and getting chilled to the bones.

I was planning on booking on the marsh for a list flight tonight, drove past yesterday had a look around and not a great deal about.  

I didn't bother as myself and dog would have been sat in water as it froze.

Don't mind snow and ice, but the wet damp that freezes at night just makes my joints ache.

PInking and pellet testing from the summer house with a fan heater blowing on my legs is nice.

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Cannot understand why people who feel the cold dont just buy heated clothing? On the bay of plenty you can get electric body warmer and trousers for around £40, add the cost of a decent power pack (under £20) and you will be warm all day for a running cost of around 5p/day - even on the lowest setting , wearing my chinese cheapy is like having the sun on your back all day, highest setting is uncomfortable.

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Interesting. I was on the marsh from 4.30am until 12 noon. Sat still for 4 hours, my feet in cold water and butter hail battering me. My feet got very cold, as soon as I moved about they were warm again but it was very painful. Electronic socks with a long cable and on/of buttons may be sensible. 

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Heated clothing is ok for me but my dog would suffer. 

I have pocket handwarmers and do take them. But limited with waders. Too much clothing and can't move or mount the gun, too little and freeze.

I'd rather it was 10 below, that don't bother me.

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  • 2 months later...

Sorry I have been missing. The weather and stuff got in the way. Now it is warming up a bit I am looking forward to being able to shoot more often. I bought a batch of cartridges yesterday, so I hope I can use them.

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