“All rabbits to be shot on sight!”

I reminded myself yesterday or the peculiar satisfaction of small-bore shooting.

A visit to relatives yesterday afforded the opportunity to walk around the grounds of the house with the strict instruction that “any rabbits are to be shot on sight”. Unfortunately, in spite of fencing and the prospect of far tastier morsels left elsewhere in the garden, the little buggers have been steadily eating their way through the vegetable patch.

Even if the Pest Act 1954 and the designation of the entirety of England as a Rabbit Clearance Area under that Act were not enough to persuade us to shoot the blighters as a matter of civic duty, I think we’d still have been motivated to try. Unfortunately, as well as being eternally hungry, they’re also rather wary and in spite of patience and best efforts, we weren’t able to get near enough to any of the handful that appeared to take a shot.

I didn’t go home empty-handed however. Regrettably, I’d had to turn down the possibility of “hundreds of crows” – or so said an acquaintance who tried to persuade me to visit one of the Association’s farms with him instead – as the visit to see family had been arranged previously. I still haven’t heard out how he got on, but no doubt it’ll be three figures or something ridiculous!

For my part, I managed a small bag of wood pigeons at a ratio of 1 for 2 – admittedly at short-to-medium ranges – with Hull’s “High Pheasant” 19g / #6 loading for .410 proving its efficacy once again. A renewed confidence in my shooting abilities and sight of much of the local fauna – a pair of young foxes, some pheasants of a certain age and at least one sparrowhawk, if not two – were my other rewards.

On the subject of the the 2018 “priorities” I listed in an earlier post, I’m starting to be able to turn attention back to pattern testing and reloading. A trip to my local shop didn’t turn up anything except the Hull cartridges, though I asked questions about buckshot as well. 42g / #3 in a Gamebore cartridge was the largest they had, but #3 doesn’t quite meet my definition of buckshot. I’ll be looking further afield in the coming weeks to see what I can obtain.

.410 cartridges, likewise, remain difficult to find. I’ve tested everything I can obtain locally, so it looks like I’ll have to make some inquiries on the online fora and see if folk are aware of any local (or less local) suppliers of the shells I’ve not yet tested.

A final observation: our new carpet is being delivered / fitted tomorrow. This will mark the end of the rebuilding / redecoration of the house since the flooding last year and will probably justify a pint or two of beer to celebrate.