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A bit of bunny bolting


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Two mates and me met up this morning for a spot of the above. We did take some nets but the ground was like iron, and it was our intention to shoot really anyhow. Mate and me hadn’t done this for a while and were looking forward to it immensely. 
We started off by missing two out of three on an old railway, and then decided to move into the wood as we were far too exposed and open to the elements....that windchill was Baltic! 
The ferrets worked well and we eventually got our eyes in, bagging a total of 18. 
It was bound to happen but we only had to dig once, but it bagged us another rabbit, though a pick would have been handy to get us through the surface.

There are 15 in the photo’; not sure what happened to the other three. 

image.jpeg

Can’t seem to edit for some reason, but just wanted to add that steel shot makes a mess at these sort of ranges! 🙂

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53 minutes ago, Scully said:

Two mates and me met up this morning for a spot of the above. We did take some nets but the ground was like iron, and it was our intention to shoot really anyhow. Mate and me hadn’t done this for a while and were looking forward to it immensely. 
We started off by missing two out of three on an old railway, and then decided to move into the wood as we were far too exposed and open to the elements....that windchill was Baltic! 
The ferrets worked well and we eventually got our eyes in, bagging a total of 18. 
It was bound to happen but we only had to dig once, but it bagged us another rabbit, though a pick would have been handy to get us through the surface.

There are 15 in the photo’; not sure what happened to the other three. 

image.jpeg

Can’t seem to edit for some reason, but just wanted to add that steel shot makes a mess at these sort of ranges! 🙂

When I read the steel shot point I looked again at the picture and thought they had been blown open, I'm assuming they have just been gutted out?

What load were you using?

Edited by Rob85
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1 hour ago, Rob85 said:

When I read the steel shot point I looked again at the picture and thought they had been blown open, I'm assuming they have just been gutted out?

What load were you using?

Yes, they have all been gutted. 
I wasn’t using steel, a mate was; they were Cheddite 32grm 5’s I think. 
I was using Gamebore Clear Pigeon 32 grm 6’s through cylinder choke.....I  normally use quarter and half for this sort of shooting but was using my Benelli and it was just what was in it when I got it from the cabinet. 
I have shot rabbits before with steel however, which were Gamebore Supersteel 3 or 4’s, and they are devastating even at range. 

37 minutes ago, mossy835 said:

well done thats a good days shooting.

Thanks, we had a great day. 🙂

31 minutes ago, Walker570 said:

Brilliant and nothing beats a day with the ferrets and a gun.  Have not seen a rabbit round here for ages as RHD went through before Christmas.

Agreed, it’s up there with decoying in my opinion. 👍

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3 minutes ago, islandgun said:

Good stuff, Nice to see you have some rabbits. Never ferreted, only ever taken rabbits with a 22 rf, do they run far or is it down the nearest hole

Both really. In big setts they are more prone to pop out and straight back down another just as you’re bringing your gun up, which gets the adrenaline going and requires really fast snap shooting, but it isn’t predictable at all. 
But they can also take off across a field. 
We had all sorts today; one popped up and down another hole a ferret was just leaving, quickly followed by the startled ferret, then popped up again almost immediately before being shot. 
One bolted right past a mate, turned towards me, ran past me no more than a foot or so away, which I shot at and missed when it was going away, jinking through the trees, so I fired again and just clipped it. Judging it to be out of range and lost I reloaded, to see it turn in a big arc and head back within range, when I killed it! 🤷‍♂️It gave me plenty of time. 

When it’s quiet enough you can hear them thumping underground, which gets your pulse going as you know it’s imminent....but maybe not. 😀

They often disappear just as suddenly as they appear! 
If you ever get the opportunity take it, you won’t regret it. 

We’ll be going again when we can all make it; we were there for four hours today but didn’t get the entire wood done, so will carry on where we left off. 

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9 hours ago, mel b3 said:

Bolting rabbits to the gun , is the best fun you'll ever have with your trousers on. Well done on a cracking bag , on a bitter cold day scully👍.

Thanks Mel. It really is that good; a proper buzz. 👍

Yeah, I thought it may be a bit warmer away from the fells, but it was just as bad, absolutely bitter. Well worth it though. 

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Not much in the shooting world beats watching a pigeon spot your decoys from hundreds of yards away, then folding it's wings as it bombs into your pattern , but listening to a Warren filled with rabbits, as they drum under your feet , is right up there with it .

You also see some odd things bolt from rabbit holes .  I once shot two cock pheasants as they bolted from the same rabbit hole 😅.

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I've only ever had a muppet shoot over my ferrets years ago,  I think he was just a rough shooter who had turned up at the farm, stood right over the nets and wouldn't shut up, telling me I didn't need to put nets down as he'd shoot what bolted?

I don't recall him hitting anything,  bolting bunnies take some good shooting to hit.

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I do love a mornings ferreting when the rabbits are there as you said nothing better then hearing the bumbing you know to get ready then. I dont shoot I only use nets I did it 1s with my uncle and I didnt like it it ruined my ferret in my opinion but theres nothing wrong with it. Good days ferreting well done lads 

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3 hours ago, mel b3 said:

Not much in the shooting world beats watching a pigeon spot your decoys from hundreds of yards away, then folding it's wings as it bombs into your pattern , but listening to a Warren filled with rabbits, as they drum under your feet , is right up there with it .

You also see some odd things bolt from rabbit holes .  I once shot two cock pheasants as they bolted from the same rabbit hole 😅.

I’ve seen pheasants run into rabbit holes but never bolted from them! 😀

 

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2 hours ago, Mice! said:

I've only ever had a muppet shoot over my ferrets years ago,  I think he was just a rough shooter who had turned up at the farm, stood right over the nets and wouldn't shut up, telling me I didn't need to put nets down as he'd shoot what bolted?

I don't recall him hitting anything,  bolting bunnies take some good shooting to hit.

I think the secret is not to panic;  as long as you’re ready and not daydreaming it’s surprising how fast you can shoulder a shotgun. 
Mate shot one no more than five yards from the hole it bolted from; I didn’t even see it til he’d killed it! 
It’s like everything else really, just tons and tons of practice. 
But no matter how fast it happens, the thing to remember is, you always have more time than you think.....if you don’t panic.....and ignore the trees! 😀

By being ready I don’t mean pre mounting the gun, that would just get tiring and isn’t conducive to snap shooting anyhow, in my opinion. 
Standing just as you would in a clay stand is all it takes, and staying alert. It often happens that you’re so ready to the extent you find yourself starting to react to wind blown leaves! 🙂
 

2 hours ago, Mikeyalbie said:

I do love a mornings ferreting when the rabbits are there as you said nothing better then hearing the bumbing you know to get ready then. I dont shoot I only use nets I did it 1s with my uncle and I didnt like it it ruined my ferret in my opinion but theres nothing wrong with it. Good days ferreting well done lads 

Thankyou. 👍

1 hour ago, lampro said:

Cracking photo nice to see so many bunnies bumped ground to hard on my permissions atm.old China clay pits so not going until it thaws out well done 

Thanks👍

Edited by Scully
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15 hours ago, Scully said:

Both really. In big setts they are more prone to pop out and straight back down another just as you’re bringing your gun up, which gets the adrenaline going and requires really fast snap shooting, but it isn’t predictable at all. 
But they can also take off across a field. 
We had all sorts today; one popped up and down another hole a ferret was just leaving, quickly followed by the startled ferret, then popped up again almost immediately before being shot. 
One bolted right past a mate, turned towards me, ran past me no more than a foot or so away, which I shot at and missed when it was going away, jinking through the trees, so I fired again and just clipped it. Judging it to be out of range and lost I reloaded, to see it turn in a big arc and head back within range, when I killed it! 🤷‍♂️It gave me plenty of time. 

When it’s quiet enough you can hear them thumping underground, which gets your pulse going as you know it’s imminent....but maybe not. 😀

They often disappear just as suddenly as they appear! 
If you ever get the opportunity take it, you won’t regret it. 

We’ll be going again when we can all make it; we were there for four hours today but didn’t get the entire wood done, so will carry on where we left off. 

I remember reading years ago, that a small gauge shotgun was recommended for bolting rabbits, any truth to this or is it a rural myth..😉 

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42 minutes ago, islandgun said:

I remember reading years ago, that a small gauge shotgun was recommended for bolting rabbits, any truth to this or is it a rural myth..😉 

I really wouldn’t know.  I can’t say I’ve ever heard that but if they were being sold for eating I can understand the reasoning....sort of.
Close range shooting is close range shooting, and I doubt there’s much spread in a pattern at these sort of ranges, regardless of bore, but saying that, a rabbit running directly away from you needs hefty pattern to hit vitals from that direction, whereas quartering targets are fine for hitting vitals.
As much as I can, I place the muzzle in front of the rabbits feet at ground level, but others are met with a broadside of pattern, which is sufficiently effective too. 
Ive always used a 12, reasoning that a fairly open choke is a good compromise for all possibilities. What choke lacks, a good cartridge takes care of more often than not. 
I intend to give steel a good outing in a fortnights time, when we’re due out again, with quarter choke, just to see how it goes. 

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6 minutes ago, Scully said:

I really wouldn’t know.  I can’t say I’ve ever heard that but if they were being sold for eating I can understand the reasoning....sort of.
Close range shooting is close range shooting, and I doubt there’s much spread in a pattern at these sort of ranges, regardless of bore, but saying that, a rabbit running directly away from you needs hefty pattern to hit vitals from that direction, whereas quartering targets are fine for hitting vitals.
As much as I can, I place the muzzle in front of the rabbits feet at ground level, but others are met with a broadside of pattern, which is sufficiently effective too. 
Ive always used a 12, reasoning that a fairly open choke is a good compromise for all possibilities. What choke lacks, a good cartridge takes care of more often than not. 
I intend to give steel a good outing in a fortnights time, when we’re due out again, with quarter choke, just to see how it goes. 

As i remember it, a small bore would be less noisy and in turn less likely to scare the rabbit into sitting tight, as i said ive no experience just recalling old book/s..good luck with the steel

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Fantastic, that brings back a lot of memory's, did a lot of rabbiting in my younger days, unfortunately, like Walker570 this area has been devastated by mixy and RHD, be lucky to shoot two or three a year now.

Bet it was bloody cold, mind you a bit of digging must have warmed you up.

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2 hours ago, islandgun said:

As i remember it, a small bore would be less noisy and in turn less likely to scare the rabbit into sitting tight, as i said ive no experience just recalling old book/s..good luck with the steel

Ah, I see what you mean. 
I can’t say I’ve ever noticed whether a rabbit is more reluctant to bolt when using shotguns than when just using nets. 🤷‍♂️
Tradition has it that ferreting should be done with the minimum of noise, and while there’s probably some truth to it I can’t say it’s anything that’s concerned me. A mate and me used to ferret a lot; we both smoked ( another no no apparently ) and although we never shouted, we never refrained from talking, and we caught plenty of rabbits. The biggest hold up we had was five rabbits ( dug out alive ) backed into a dead end by two ferrets.

I suppose a voice could be an alien noise to most wild animals, whereas other noises, including loud bangs, aren’t. 
We talked yesterday; if it prevented anything bolting I can’t say we noticed. 
The only hold up we had could have been a wounded or already dead rabbit, but I never thought to check. It was dead when we dug it out, and it’s eyes were missing. I know rabbits can die of shock, but whether it was already dead when the ferrets found it or they killed it by attacking its face, who knows? 
There are oodles of do’s and don’ts regarding ferrets and ferreting, but much of it is down to who you talk to, and one blokes method of doing things can be totally wrong in the eyes of another.  🙂

Thanks. 👍
 

2 hours ago, JKD said:

Sounds a very exhilarating aspect of shooting 😀 Good luck for next time,,,, another tale of that would be great 😉

Thanks. I’ll post up on here after our next outing. 👍

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1 hour ago, old'un said:

Fantastic, that brings back a lot of memory's, did a lot of rabbiting in my younger days, unfortunately, like Walker570 this area has been devastated by mixy and RHD, be lucky to shoot two or three a year now.

Bet it was bloody cold, mind you a bit of digging must have warmed you up.

Fortunately we don’t have RHD around here ( fingers crossed ) that I’m aware of, although mixi is common. I didn’t notice any scars on any rabbits yesterday, and only noticed one with fluke, but I wasn’t looking too hard admittedly. All seemed in excellent health ( apart from being dead! ) with good reserves of fat. 
🙂 You’re right on both counts; it was bitter, although good thermals and moleskins under waxed over trousers, plus gore-tex make it bearable. It was the first time I’ve ever worn gloves for shooting...Mac Wets, and although I’m not a fan they did keep out most of the cold. Yes, while we took turns, the hat still came off whilst digging! 😅👍

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