I am often asked why I got into pest control. The answer is simple…I love my job!
This is a picture of sunrise yesterday. So my day started at 4am (much to the wife’s annoyance!) as I was booked to travel over to Basingstoke to undertake some rabbit control on a farm which has been plagued with rabbits for many years.I have been providing the rabbit control on this farm now for just over a year, and have now controlled the problem to such an extent that a rabbit is rarely seen. Or philosophy on rabbit control is quite simple; hit them hard, maintain the pressure, then monitor activity constantly. On this farm we have employed just about every rabbit control technique possible – its a big farm, close to 2000 acres – so there is a lot of ground to cover.
Over the past year we have extensively ferreted, gassed and shot both in the early mornings, and at night with lamp and night vision equipment. All this work has paid off as the farm has extended our agreement to cover a further 2 years, and included the rodent control, wasp control and bird proofing.
My favorite way of rabbit control on farms by far is dawn shooting with my trusted quad bike and .17HMR rifle. This combination has proven itself time and again as being highly effective and deadly.
So why at dawn? Well rabbits tend to be a bit “off guard” in the early morning light. They tend to sit up on their hind legs a lot, offering a perfect shot to the head. The .17HMR is incredibly accurate at long ranges and head shots are relatively simple at 80 – 100 metres, so they have no idea whats coming until it’s too late. Consequently, you can generally shoot several in a group as confusion sets in as to whats happening, making this sniping method very effective. We always prefer a head shot to inflict a very fast, humane kill. All the rabbits we shoot go back into the food chain, so our game dealer relies on us to provide top quality rabbits, with no damage to the body. We cannot abide waste, so those that dont make the grade end up as ferret food – we have a lot of ferrets to feed!
The other reason is simply that dawn is the best time of day. There is nothing like the peace and quite of the early morning, the chill of the fresh air and then the sun on your face….pure magic.
Yesterday it was pretty cold, so I had to jump off and run about a bit to warm up, thats when I took this picture – the sun rising over Basingstoke, the mist over the corn and a dozen rabbits in the basket on the front of the quad – a perfect morning. Just after this picture was taken, I sat and watch 2 deer feeding peacefully in the hedgerow, again it reminds me of all the great wildlife we have in this country and how lucky I am to have such a wonderful office…..