First outing with the TTR2

For a change, Tuesday 19th of Feb was a lovely sunny day, warm and bright, a real anticipation of the spring to come, hopefully.

Having only played with the TTR at home before and being in the need of a serious back-up for the HW100, I decided that the time had come for this toy to prove its worth.
Since I had a few issues with this gun already (trigger/constistency/barrel choke/accuracy with magazine), this first outing was going to be a make or break for this Theoben. 

So I loaded up my beloved Trooper with all my hiding gear: hide poles, nets, lofting poles, decoys etc. and headed to the stables at Brookefield Farm.
Once there, I hauled my stuff to a tranquil spot where I know both pigeons and corvids like to roost. I found a niche in the holly bushes and set up there a quick hide, turning then my attention to lofting the deeks. I decided to loft three pigeons and the little owl, just to maximise my chances. But perhaps the pigeons were a bit too close to the owl and their pulling power didn’t work as well as it could have otherwise.

Anyway, with all the props in place, I slid into the hide and set myself to wait.

hide

The quickly set up hide

view from hide

View from the hide. Notice the owl deek in the enlarged square

After a short while, a well enraged crow landed on a tree next to the owl and, completely oblivious to my presence, started harassing the decoy. That was my chance and luckily the Theoben didn’t disappoint, taking the crow cleanly. Now, with the dead crow right in front of the decoy and the other corvids already on the alert for all the noise the first crow had done, the scene was set for a corvid madness frenzy, with all the opportunities that this brings. 

After just a couple of minutes the madness started. A nicely assorted corvid mob was now abusing the plastic owl: although most birds were flying all around, many were barking at the owl from nearby branches. As these started dropping dead, the frenzy came to a climax after which the birds started to suspect foul playing and would either not land on a tree or leave altogether. 

TTR2

I must admit here I did not exploit the situation to the full. There were a couple of misses and probably a couple of wounded walkers I did not find afterwards. On the ground, three dead crows and two magpies, all in the space of ten minutes, with super fast action, super enjoyable sport.

After all this excitement, my hope was to bag some roosting pigeon but that was to prove elusive. One pigeon was only wounded due to ill pellet placement (the TTR has a much higher scope arrangement than I’m used to) and another was missed to the wind on the 40 meter range. 

The best option seemed to just pack up and go, so just as I was stretching my limbs, I noticed a squirrel feeding on an ivy tree at a lasered 37 meter range. The first shot hit a twig unfortunately and the squirrel fled into the thick ivy foliage. But just after a few minutes the bugger was back on the branch feeding, this time offering a better view of itself and dropping dead soon after as a consequence.

TTR2 and bag

With six in the bag and having taken a few pics, I was happy to pack up and go, quite glad with how the Theoben had performed. 

all my gear

Posted in Crows, Hunting, Magpies, Squirrels, Wood Pigeons | 5 Comments

A bad day turned good

dawn-lys-mill

Last Sunday I decided to visit a permission I’ve had for a while but where I had never been before, with large fields of rape surrounding a narrow stretch of young woodland, providing good cover to set up a hide and a few decoys.

Well, with the first hours of light it was clear that, as you would expect, my chosen ambush spot was far away from the birds’ flight-paths. Another pointless day was seemingly about to unfold, so I started to concentrate on what was happening in the wood behind me. A few pigeons landed on a couple of trees some 50meters away and trying to stalk them was mandatory.

At 35 meters from my chosen target, I rested the side of the HW100 onto a tree and released the shot aiming at the pigeon’s neck, half a mil-dot over.  Oh man, how satisfying it was to see the pigeon tumbling down stone dead.

Back to my hide, I took a photo, packed up all my gear and moved on towards the centre of the wood.

hw100-pigeon

While slowly making my way to a good sitting spot, I noticed a couple of feeders and plenty of signs of rabbit and squirrel activity, so I finally decided that being able to catch one of them crossing the wood on their way the feeders was my best option.

I had just got into a comfy position when I saw a pair of squirrels making their way on the canopy towards me. At one point they stopped, then they separated and started to go different ways. I couldn’t get a clear shot and had to let it go.
I had the impression they knew exactly what and where I was, so that their diversion succeeded in leaving me not a chance for a shot. Clever little animals. I wasn’t bothered at all, rather pleased with my own self-control instead.

After about ten minutes, another one turned up, just as wary as before but this time I was lucky enough to find a gap through the branches and place the tiny 8.4 grain of lead nicely into its brain. And so it was that the first squirrel joined the pigeon for a photo.

hw100-pigeon-squirrel

After no more than half an hour another squirrel fell to the Weihrauch and I was starting to wonder whether I was going to have a good day for a change. The time however had flown already and it was now lunch time, so out came my two frugal ham sandwiches which I proceeded to devour. I was just half way the second sandwich when I saw a squirrel crossing the open ground in front of me at no more than5 meters. Now, I had a sandwich in my hand, not the gun, so as reached for it, the squirrel started to put meters between us, only to stop for a quick look half way the trunk of a tree, at which point I was ready and sent a pellet into its skull. I left the gun on the ground and didn’t bother putting the gloves on just to retrieve the squirrel, but I should have done because when I got to it, this large male was still alive and managed to scratch my thumb pretty badly. Luckily I had some disinfectant with me.

A couple of hours passed and I bagged two more squirrels, but failed to drop a pigeon with a chest shot. The pigeon flew off for a few seconds and dropped dead god knows where. I should have avoided that.
A couple more pigeons looking for a roost landed high on the trees above, but too many twigs were in the way of a successful shot and I left with the one pigeon and five healthy squirrels that – just as I write – I am marinating for tomorrow’s cooking.

hw100-bag

back-wood

Posted in Hunting, Squirrels, Wood Pigeons | 4 Comments

A difficult start of the year

With the new year’s weather being so bad, I only managed to go out a couple of times deeking pigeons on rape fields, sadly without much success.

The main reason for my failure was that I could not set myself close to the pigeons’ flight lines: here a public path prevents shooting, there it’d be too close to the road or there wouldn’t be enough cover to set a hide there. Typical, the pigeons seem to love feeding in places that aren’t in range of an airgun.
At times it seemed as though the pigeons didn’t like my decoys, other times, when some did finally  land, I wasn’t ready and my movement spooked them. Oh so frustrating.

Here are a few pics of the beautiful setting in south Oxfordshire but poor results I got..

lewknor-view

lewknor-deeks

hw100-squirrels-pigeon

hw100-deeks+pigs

Posted in Hunting, Wood Pigeons | 2 Comments

2012 Results

Here’s my tally for the year just gone.

C. Doves: 2
Crows: 1
Jackdaws: 14
Jays: 9
Magpies: 16
Rabbits: 53
Squirrels: 34
Woodpigeons: 80

Total: 210

This new 2013 should be even more fruitful as I’m now in the process of sorting out some night vision gear, so I’ll be able to do some proper night rabbiting and ratting.

Posted in Hunting, News | 2 Comments

More hiding

I wanted to spend a whole day out trying to bag as much as possible. So I went to Robin’s early in the morning for a spot of rabbits, but in two hours I only managed to stalk and kill a young magpie.
So I decided to move on and have a go at John’s stables with an impromptu hide round the troughs. But just as I was making way, I noticed an adult magpie in the middle of a paddock. Luckily, a horse truck was there to help the stalk and get me into position for a prone shot. At 42 meters, I saw a puff of feathers from the neck and the maggie laid still. A good start.
Because in the paddocks with the troughs there were a few horses, I decided to try and set this hide in a totally different place that I knew would not be as busy. Shame. So boring in fact it was that I ended up having a half-an-hour nap there.
At last the paddocks got cleared and I could finally move where all the pigeon action was.
So the hide was set up again and so were the decoys. The hours passed easily with a steady trickle of pigeons. The remarkable happening of the day was when this squirrel started snarling somewhere behind me, with that sound they do, similar to a magpie. It had probably got my scent and didn’t like me being there. At some point it came in the open on a branch above me, no more than 3 meters away and kept snarling and barking at me. I slowly raised my gun and got it into my crosshairs but all I could see was a blurred shape of fur. I estimated the holdover to about 3 mildots and shot. It did stop him snarling. The pellet connected with his right cheek just below the eye and back through the skull. Deadly shot, my closest to a squirrel. He just dropped at my feet, so that I didn’t even had to get up to retrieve it. A good day, 9 in total, with two maggies and six pigeons.

Posted in Hunting, Magpies, Squirrels, Wood Pigeons | Leave a comment

Another great evening at Robin’s

Monday 20th August: another great evening at Robin’s. As I was approaching the gate I noticed a big buck sunbathing on the field down the hill. Saved for later, I thought.
I made my way to the usual ambushing spot and nailed a 3/4 grown doe. After just 5 minutes a young magpie landed about 35 meters behind me, so I slowly turned around, composed the shot and missed. Too high. Reloaded, composed and magpie down. Back to the rabbits now.
As I was scanning the field I noticed a squirrel on a fence just staring at me. This was an awkward shot, and a longer one than I thought, so the pellet struck about an inch low on the squirrel shoulder. S**t, I thought, but the squirrel started heading towards me on the fence, only to stop at one point and receive a pellet right on top of its skull, shutting it down at once.
So I decided to leave cover to retrieve the shot animals and try my luck with the buck I had seen earlier. To be fair, I didn’t know it was a buck just yet.
I started my stalk about a hundred meters away, well hidden by the hill and with the wind  gently blowing in my face. At about 50 meters I raised my head to scan down hill and luckily the guy was still there. Another 10 meters of very slow and painfully sweaty stalk. Man this was about the hottest day of summer this year.
OK, check: the rabbit is there but he’s now looking towards me in a alerted stance. A couple of minutes of rest then, to allow the steam on my glasses to go away and the rabbit to calm down a little. The grass was too high to use the bipod, so from prone, I very slowly got in a seated stance, composed the shot and wow, what a beautiful shot. The rabbit just rolled over out of my sight because of the grass. I went to retrieve it and it was stone dead, the shot was a little low but still deadly.
I returned to the ambushing spot where I bagged two pigeons grazing slugs before a good night sleep. Typical, but this time their greed proved fatal.
A nice bag in the end and what a fantastic stalk, so much more rewarding than any sniping action.

Posted in Hunting, Magpies, Rabbits, Squirrels, Wood Pigeons | 4 Comments

No sweat Sunday

The view in front of me

After two weeks of not having been at Robin’s, I thought I’d spend a couple of hours there and see how the rabbits were doing.
It was a beautiful evening, warm in colour, a blue sky with few dense, white clouds, the air was cool enough, just right. As I was driving up the farm hill, a squirrel and a jay teased me, along with the usual pigeons bent on pecking god knows what.

The view from behind me, the second rabbit came from here somewhere

I had already decided not to bother stalking, but just settle behind my favourite logs and watch. So I was quietly making my way to this spot when I noticed a rabbit feeding about 40 meters away. I covered the last few meters to the logs crouching down, well hidden to the rabbit, a moderate wind blowing sideway left to right, only the sound of my steps in the 3 ft high nettles possibly giving me away. I slowly got in position, the HW100 rested on a log, the rabbit, now some 30 meters away, looking at me but still feeding. An easy shot. I did not hear the pellet smack but the rabbit rolled over and stayed motionless.

Success! But now it would be a fair wait before some more action. Yet, not ten minutes had passed that another rabbit was cautiously making its way from behind me towards the one I had shot. The bunny was now behing the logs, I couldn’t see it but I knew it was only a couple of meters away. It had not seen me and it had not smelled me, as it was standing on my left. The only thing I could do was wait. After a few minutes it appeared right in front of me, moving slowly toward its mate. At about ten meters, I squeaked to claim its attention and released the shot. This guy just flipped to its side and stayed put.

Not a shot fluffed, thanks to this solid set up

After that, I had to wait for a good 20 minutes before something showed up, but this time it wasn’t a rabbit. A pigeon decided to land on the ground right in front of me, not too far from where the second rabbit had fallen. After a few minutes of hide and seek, as it too was hidden by the logs, the pigeon came on the clear, giving its back to me so I placed the crosshairs in between its shoulder blades, took the shot and it laid down still.
In a excess of luck, two more pigeons followed the first, landing in front of me for no apparent reason, and falling there with a nicely placed shot.

With three pigeons and two rabbits in the bag, I decided not to test my luck any further and head home. I had quite a bit of plucking and skinning ahead of me before I could go to bed and the thought of the dreaded office work waiting for me in the morning wasn’t pleasant  but hey, I had just had a couple of hours of some fantastic sport, I was well happy and charged for the week.

My final bag

Posted in Hunting, PCP, Rabbits, Wood Pigeons | 2 Comments