First Ferreting Trip of 2004

Sunday, 4th January.

I arranged to meet up with Andy Beattie and Kaye Fitzgerald-Gorham (who were coming from Halifax) at Gargrave.

Andy had brought a couple of his poley jills - I had 4 albino jills with me plus my two lurchers. Kaye, who runs a lurcher rescue, had come along with two of her young lurchers to see what they would do when confronted with a bolting rabbit.

We started off at the bury close to the road. Four ferrets introduced into the bury, two of Andy's and Arwen and Flower. We did get one bolt from the bury but it shot out of a hole that we hadn't netted up. A case of too many holes and not enough nets - and besides which we couldn't be bothered... after all we did have 4 lurchers with us. The rabbit legged it across the field towards Erin who promptly set off after the it, Kaye let Todd go and he went the wrong way - hadn't seen the rabbit. We ended up with all four lurchers across the other side of the field when Todd put up a rabbit from a scrape, I think it was purely accidental on Todd's part... he tripped over the rabbit!
( Rabbits 2 - Ferreters & lurchers 0 )

We moved on to the single holer down in the bottom hedge. Arwen went in to investigate the hole... we heard a couple a thumps and a rabbit screamed. I checked with the locator, Arwen was a foot down and stationary. I got the spade and started digging... after a few minutes Arwen came out with a bloody nose and licking her lips... Andy finished off digging and broke through into the tube... one buck rabbit.
( Rabbits 2 - Ferreters & lurchers 1 )

Andy hangs rabbit in tree out the reach of the lurchers - 31Kb

We moved on up the hedgerow and netted up the next bury, Bandito went to see if anyone was at home... a few thumps and a squeal - quick check with the locator to discover that Bandito was pretty near the entrance. Andy managed to grab the rabbit's back legs and haul it out with Bandito still hanging on to the rabbit.
( Rabbits 2 - Ferreters & lurchers 2 )

The next buries down the hedge were water logged so we moved on up the hill. The next bury was under an oak tree - we set a few nets and Andy put a gate net across the gully. Three ferrets went in... a big buck went to bolt, saw Lucy and dived back under the tree ... ferrets appeared to be a better option than the lurchers.
( Rabbits 3 - Ferreters & lurchers 2 )

After a fairly long wait Bandito and Flower surfaced. Arwen was a couple of feet down so I started digging... then the fun started - I thought that Arwen was on the rabbit but it appeared that the rabbit must have been up on a ledge. The digging disturbed the rabbit - this went on for something like an hour and a half. Just to spice Arwen after 2 hours underground - 20Kb up the proceedings Todd put up a young buck rabbit and chased it into the same bury, but up the hill from the oak tree. After a quarter of an hour the young buck decided to leg it from under the oak - he didn't get far. Lucy caught him. Then it was the waiting game again... that darn old buck was leading Arwen a merry dance... but he wouldn't bolt. Arwen finally surfaced after nearly two hours underground, she looked like she was wearing rabbit fur mitts on her front paws so she'd really been in contact with him.
( Rabbits 3 - Ferreters & lurchers 3 )

We decided to call it a day... he'd got the better of Arwen and us... after that length of time he had earned the right to be left to his own devices.
( Rabbits 4 - Ferreters & lurchers 3 )

The bury under the oak tree - 50Kb

The bury under the oak tree

Andy and Lucy wait for a bolt - 35Kb
Andy and Lucy wait for a bolt

Kaye with the four lurchers - 48Kb

Kaye with the four lurchers

(First published in the March 2004 issue of the NFWS News)

Articles, stories etc. from NFWS Newsletters