The gang got together for a few trips over Christmas, all the usual lads and lass were up for a good laugh, a few bunnies and as much piss taking as possible.
First trip was to a regular spot in Plymouth which always holds a good few, the estate manager, Dave, comes out for the day with us and enjoys the craic, luckily he was on my side of the hedge so didn’t have to put up with the constant canoodling of Sam and Kelly, every time Sam scratches himself or gets a nettle sting he needs a cuddle, he brings Kelly now cause Sean has refused to do it anymore.
The day started with me waiting for Micky at our 7-15 meet, 7-30 came and I couldn’t get hold of him. After all his talk the night before of an old mate who got back in contact with him for some days out, but was a bit flaky, and here I was waiting for Mr Flaky! I knew the score, he had a few so I left and headed down on my own to meet the rest of them. Dave was desperate to clear a couple of hedges, the rabbits had been doing a lot of damage, the first hedge was one we’d taken a good few out of the year before, but Dave said they were back. Normal procedure for here, stop nets, long nets and run nets through the top of the hedge , once everything was set in went a business of ferrets and we were off…… well sort of. Normally it’s frantic but the rabbits weren’t exactly flying out, 1 then a wait another 1 wait again…. we carried on through the hedge with the ferrets working steadily, and a quick count up at the end we’d had 13 out, to be honest you’d expect double that out of this place… but it was on 11 am and 13 in the bag, most places we go on that’s a decent tally for the day so we were being a bit spoilt
Onto the next bit, just about to set up and the phone buzzes.. Mick had finally risen with a sore head and apologies.. 1 had turned into 10!!
There were 10 or so rabbits sat out as we got to the next hedge, the dogs put them down and we got to work setting up, the same as before we had to do the hedge in 2 stages as Mick had let us down leaving us a bit short of long nets. Me and Dave got to work and quickly had our side ready, a quick glance over the hedge and I notice only Kelly is setting up ( standard practice this).. Sean is cleaning his camera and Sam is taking half an hour working a splinter out, thank god for Kelly. Anyhow in goes a good couple of handfuls of ferrets and out comes a good few armfuls of rabbits, this hedge was going more to the norm for this place. Maybe a slow 10 mins or so then a quick blast of 3 or 4 rabbits as the ferrets got them moving, the ferrets hardly showed through the hedge and after a good hour or so of constant work they started to appear.
We finished the hedge and after a quick count up we’d had 27… it was after 2 and by the time we’d picked up that was it for the day, a decent tally of 40. Yet again a decent day on this place we’ve had a few in the last few years and Dave seems happy enough with our work, we’re definitely no professionals but he enjoys the craic with us and we move a few for him. Sean did take a few photos, not as many as normal ( I’m not sure what he was doing actually )
Our next trip was onto a bit of Sams permission not far from me, Sean and Sam had lamped it a few nights previous and said it was lifting, Mick managed to stay off the ale and make it with his lurcher Jake and his new terrier Dennis, Geth(White van man) came with his pup Blue, I took my 2 and Sean had His lurcher Koda. Sam brought Mark for cuddles as Kelly couldn’t make it.
We got to the hedge and it was massive, long, deep and rough!, Mark was gonna have a fair bit of cuddling to do today. The dogs were marking all along the hedge, there was holes everywhere, so we started our set up, loads of long nets, stops and runs nets and a few of the holes. It needed to be done in 3 stages moving nets as we went, it was an all day hedge. Our side was Mick, Geth, Finley and Me on the other side Sean “I’ll save you” C, Sam “rocky” H and Mark “run my bath”…
It was a fair set up, particularly on our side where we bothered setting run nets in the thick stuff, a bit quicker on the other side where they were worried about scratches, so only set 3 nets in the hedge… catch and release program Luckily they had mark, he was catching them with his hands, no need for nets
So we emptied the ferret boxes in and stood back and waited for it, it took 10 mins or so for the ferrets to properly get on them then it was all go! Constant bolting, lots of shouts of oh f**k missed it from the other side , but luckily Micky the one man netting machine kept in front and we were into a good few. They were steadily coming all the way along, picking up and moving steadily along, Koda had some good runs on the other side, and to be honest I don’t think we missed that many. ( Thank god for Mark and Koda )
Come the end I strapped 20 rabbits over my shoulder and grabbed what I could, Mick grabbed a good few and geth carried 1 , we met the rest of the lads on the other side and the total count up was 56, thats’s our best haul of the season and all from one hedge. As usual great banter and piss taking kept up all day.
The last day out for us before New Year was to a bit on the opposite side of the road to where we had the 56 the week before, prospects were good lovely hard frost but the sun was breaking through and you knew it would be a nice day. The first thing we noticed was the hundreds of pigeons circling the field ( literally hundreds), Sean and Sam vowed they would be back the next day to sort them ( but that’s another story!! ).. Kelly was back and Micky brought his mate Robin, Mark was no longer needed as Sam had Kelly back, Fin came again back to the standard procedure, few dogs, a good sprinkling of ferrets and a few nets.
The first hedge was a fairly simple set up, not to many nets used, we planned to let the dogs do some running ( freezers were full enough so odd missed one wouldn’t hurt).
Just set a few stops and some run nets. In went the ferrets and we were straight in, the dogs were doing well, and the run nets were well set so nothing that bolted escaped. by 10-30 we had 18 rabbits out and thought we’re onto a good score.
The next hedge was one we’d had 23 out of last year, the farmer had told Sam it needed looking at again, so we duly obliged… it just never happened. We managed 5 out of it and that was hard work. It was just after one and we had 23 in the bag, it seemed like we were tempting fate to try any more so after a bit of messing bolting to the dogs ( one bolt, perfectly missed by 3 of them the old border got closest ) we called it a day. It had been a great few trips over the Christmas, we’ve picked up afew new bits to get at so hopefully the next few months will prove to be as productive, if not we’ll have a laugh trying.