It is always a problem to know when to start the ferreting season. There are many factors which will determine the start point and to have all these factors lined up is the ideal start time, however the pressure to start rabbit control for clients is pushing the season start date closer to mid October.
This year, with the cold snap from mid October, we decided that now is the right time.
So, I hear you ask, what are these factors?
As I said there are lots, but we usually use a few guidelines to make the decision.
- Firstly, where are the rabbits? Are the still above ground and not using the burrows for protection from the weather? There is no point in going to loads of effort clearing burrows of brambles etc if the rabbits are still running around you.
- If they are underground, will they “bolt” (this is the term used for rabbits running out of the hole when a ferret is put in)?
- Has there been sufficient cold to flatten down the undergrowth, allowing us to find the holes – they always bolt from the holes you did not find of course!
- Are the ferrets fit and ready? They have to work hard and get pretty bashed about by a large buck rabbit when they get up to them.
- Are the rabbits seen all adults? You spend the day digging out the ferrets if they kill young part grown rabbits.
The list does go on, but at the end of the day, ferreting is one of the most effective ways of dealing with rabbit problems
and controlling rabbits.
I remember as a kid, Grandad used to wake up one morning and declare the season open – we would then rush to get ready and be out of the door! We used to load the bicycles up with all the gear (Grandad did not drive) and off we would go for the day.
I always remember being freezing cold, but in those days the cold weather was a bit more predictable I think! Grandad always knew it was the right time and we used to catch 20 – 30 rabbits in a morning – hooking them onto the crossbars of the bikes and riding home, arriving totally exhausted with all the extra weight, but that was a good source of income and our pocket money sorted for the week.
This week we started with a small job in Newbury – a garden has become the home for many rabbits over the years and despite all attempts to rid the problem by the owners, it was time to call in the rabbit control experts
– Rapid Pest Control!
Once we located and cleared the first burrow, we netted up and popped in one of the older ferrets – the first rabbit was in the net within seconds! Now this garden did have some challenges – not least of all the 6 foot fence and old crumbling wall which meant that we had to keep passing things to and fro over the fence and making things very awkward.
With such established burrows, it is difficult to work out the hole patterns and routes, but once the ferrets go in, you can track their progress with the radio collar – in some cases the holes went down over 12 feet – a bit scary if you have to dig that deep!
Anyway, this opened the season and tested the ferrets nicely – so all in all a successful day.