Long Walk, Little Rifle

Stepping from the motor into my own frosted breath, I applauded myself for adding an extra base layer to the shooting attire this morning. The low winter sun wasn’t going to win against a scything Easterly breeze today. Before donning my shooting mitts I loaded two magazines with .22 Air Arms field diablo pellets. I … Continue reading Long Walk, Little Rifle

Wildscribbler’s Diary – December 2019

Dawn is an enchanting time for the shooter and wildlife observer. Today, on the cusp of the winter solstice, it came late and allowed me to linger longer in the comfort of my bed. I woke to wind and rain battering the south-facing bedroom window, yet the temptation of lazing was immediately dismissed. For today … Continue reading Wildscribbler’s Diary – December 2019

Wildscribbler’s Diary – October 2019

The mellow Autumn morning mists have given way to more sombre weather already. We’ve yet to see a first frost here in East Anglia but the overnight temperatures have hit middle-scale single figures. The driven-shooting fraternity are two weeks into their sport where the birds have matured. I won’t join in, despite generous invitations. Put … Continue reading Wildscribbler’s Diary – October 2019

Wildscribbler’s Diary – September 2019

I stepped outside and the cool morning mist caressed my face like a lover's gentle kiss. The swirl of vapour swathed the motor and for the first time since winter, I had to scrim the moisture from the windows of the vehicle. The yellow halo of a veiled sun was already auguring an Indian Summer … Continue reading Wildscribbler’s Diary – September 2019

An extract from ‘Hunting and Fieldcraft …’

Crop, Shrub, Tree, Flower and Fruit “Growing crops are often why the landowner gives you, the hunter, the mandate to shoot vermin species on their fields. Spend some time studying crops. Know how to identify them during the various stages of growth. Understand when the seed is likely to be drilled, which creatures will attack … Continue reading An extract from ‘Hunting and Fieldcraft …’

Wild Time, Precious Time

I’m of an age now when sitting behind a leaf-net, as I did this morning, sometimes feels like wasting precious time. The purpose of the exercise today was woodpigeon control and it was effective. It usually is. Of late, the absence of my old cookpot mainstay (the rabbit) means that the woodpigeon has become a … Continue reading Wild Time, Precious Time

A Boxing Day hike in Grouse Country

Our Boxing Day walk is a long standing family tradition which is withering as fast now as the family tree itself. The top end of the tree is thinning out through natural wastage (worryingly, I’m just fourth from the top now!). There is a lack of new growth at the base of the tree and … Continue reading A Boxing Day hike in Grouse Country

Control and Conscience

  I cross between two coverts following the tractors trail between a thigh high crop, under a cloudless azure sky. The fronds are still glistening with dawns dew and my trousers are soaked. A head pops up just five yards from me, amid the barley, startling me. Then a second head. Then a third, a … Continue reading Control and Conscience

Where Did All The Rabbits Go?

The decline of the humble rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, across many areas of the UK has been notable. This has been reported by many country folk, hunters and conservationists. Yet the dearth of rabbits in distinct areas is matched by reports from some areas that the rabbit is alive and kicking in healthy numbers. So what’s … Continue reading Where Did All The Rabbits Go?