Rabbiting Tales

by Digger

Another call for help with a rabbit problem, with hundreds being seen ('Not another one,' I hear you say). 'Rabbits everywhere,' the caller said. We agreed to pop over that weekend to have a look round, with seven bags of nets, five long nets (three with baskets) and ten ferrets, plus all the other equipment, just in case.

It took us about an hour to arrive at the farm and meet the owners, who invited us in for a cuppa and chat, which was nice, then we were told tea and coffee and lunch would be ready for about 1:00pm.

We all got changed into out ferreting gear: coats, boots, ferrets collered up, net bags, spades, long nets etc., and had a look down the lane. We could not believe our eyes: rabbits were everywhere, unbelievable. They were in the horse paddocks opposite, all the hedgerows and fields, which we could see before us.

We decided to start on the bank opposite the owner's house, as they were coming into his garden eating his plants, which the wife looked after. A long time was spent setting purse nets and long nets to stop any getting away: with him helping, it would not look good losing any.

It must have been lunchtime when we finished netting-up and his wife called us in for lunch. At least it would settle down, after a large meal of soup, bread, cakes tea, wine, etc. which we found very enjoyable and we just about made it to the front door to carry on ferreting.

We checked the collars and entered the ferrets (I think we had eight on the go) to start with, With two more being entered later. The rabbits started bolting; people were catching, re-setting nets and putting ferrets back down again and again. Dogs were kept busy chasing around holding and driving rabbits into the long nets, they are like an extra pair of hands at times; we could not do without them.

Sometimes we had four digs on the go at any time, with lots of rabbits being pulled out of holes. We had one of the best days for a long time, in the end we caught eighty-five rabbits, which was to be repeated on another ten days over there. We had some great days ferreting, and word quickly spread and most weekends people would turn up and help out.

Apart from good company, lots of rabbits, good food, one of us had the front of the car taken off turning round, which I think is still there today, and another person had to borrow the farmer's car and go back home to Middlesex to get a spare set of keys.

Rabbit population reduced, good days ferreting, and good company.

(First published in NFWS News - #97 Autumn 2013)