I had received
a phone call from a lady near Preston, Lancashire, who had found me via my website, asking if I would ferret her
garden to remove the pests. I had arranged with her a date, and this was it.
I took my air
rifle (BSA Mercury S), 2 of my poley jills (Bandito & Jilly) and my lurcher (Flash).
I arrived at
2:20pm and started off by making my acquaintances with the lady, I was shown
around the large garden, looking across the adjoining land I saw many rabbits
grazing and watching us, and then we had a pot of tea and a chat about ferrets,
ferreting, pests, squirrels, and the local wildlife.
evidence I had found in the garden, the rabbits that she keeps seeing are visitors,
and were using a section of the boundary that was not rabbit-fenced.
I got Flash
and the ferrets from the car, and the lady petted and handled Bandito & Jilly, she had never touched a ferret before, and was surprised at how
soft, gentle & tame they were, she only had the image of Richard Whiteley and his guest's ferret episode. (I said that
ferrets are not normally like that, and very few are biters, which is usually
induced by a bad experience).
We went back up
the garden to the single rabbit hole in the garden, I ferreted it but no one was
home. There were plenty of scrapes, but only the 1 hole, which went about 2 feet
I was then
taken out of the garden and on to the adjoining land, and I had left the air
rifle in the car, straight away we spotted a rabbit it bolted, but Flash
did not see it.
Then we saw
another dive into a bury, so this was the 1st to ferret.
I set the nets,
and entered Bandito,
wearing a locator collar.
I tracked her
underground because of the mass of scrapes & burrows.
She popped in
and out of the many holes, and at 1 point was 10 foot below the surface.
After nearly 10
minutes, the lady left to let her horse exercise in the field, she had not been
gone more than a minute when the rabbit bolted and hit a net. Flash
went to pin the rabbit, and I went to retrieve and despatch it, but the net had
not pursed properly, as the rabbit hit the net it dragged and caught a stick,
which kept the purse open. I grabbed the chord and the rabbit slipped the net,
ran down the banking, and disappeared in the undergrowth. Flash chased, but came back empty-handed.
I let Bandito
work the bury for a couple more minutes, but nothing else emerged.
I collected my
nets and set off in search of another bury, in the direction the rabbit had
to be warrens from a distance were mainly scrapes and the beginnings of new
On the field
boundary where I had seen the rabbits grazing, I found 2 sets of 2-holers. I set
nets on all 4 holes, just in case they were linked. The 1st proved
empty, but Bandito
made contact in the 2nd.
There were a
few faint thuds, and Flash
was ready. The rabbit bolted, the net pursed, and Flash
think a lurcher should not touch the netted rabbits, but I believe that she is
there for a purpose. If the rabbit is pinned, it does not attempt to slip the
net. I retrieve it straight away and despatch it, so she can carry on watching
emerged from this bury, so I let Bandito
worry her flush as a reward, while I collected my nets.
I headed into
the field, so I could walk the boundary watching for movement.
As I neared the
section I had just ferreted, the horse came thundering up the field towards us
and spooked Flash.
All she wanted to do was get the hell out of there, so thought the best place
was to put me between her and the horse.
I climbed over
the sheep netting and Flash
ran back the way she had come, to get back to me.
As I climbed
the fence, a small rabbit shot in to the bury I just had the rabbit from.
So I reset the
nets and entered Jilly
without a collar.
After a minute
or so, there was a little rabbit squeal, and Flash was ready. Then Jilly emerged with blood on her muzzle.
I re-entered Jilly,
to see if she had killed it, or if it would bolt, but it never did. So I entered
wearing her collar, and tracked her to see where she stopped.
She paused in
the middle, 2 foot deep, and then came out. I re-entered her again, she paused
in the same place, and then emerged. So I started digging near the spot.
Unfortunately, I had forgotten my folding spade at home, so had to use a stout
stick and my hands.
I broke through
to the tunnel, and reached in from all 3 entrances, but could not feel the
rabbit. There was a deep drop just within reach from the new entrance, and I
could not reach the bottom.
arrived back at this point, and asked how I had done. I showed her my bag of 1
rabbit, and she said that while I was ferreting the banking, a large rabbit had
sat in the garden washing itself in the same place we had drank our tea earlier.
I have been
invited to return, also I am able to shoot the grey squirrels that
live there too.
When I return
next month, the horse will be kept in, so I can work the boundary with better
effect, and the air rifle won't spook him, or he spook Flash.
When I returned to the car,
she got out her digital camera and took a picture of me with Flash
and the ferrets.
"I'll show this
to the neighbour to prove you've been!" she said.