Good evening all.
As you probably noticed, my writings like my journey has stalled in the past couple of weeks. This tends to happen, like in life, when you have to rely on other people for that journey to progress. Unfortunately that has tended to happen more than I would liked recently. And mirrors in fact some of the reasoning in embarking on the point of my writings in providing for myself, by myself. I think I have gone as far as I can in preparing for the task ahead. Now, I’m all for preparation. Poor planning can, and does, more often than not result in failure. Planning does not guarantee success, but gives you more of a chance. And I dear reader have had planning and preparation until it’s coming out of my ears, and it’s frustrating. In equipment, I believe I have everything I need, ( including a new gun bag, more of later). I have what seems to me the perfect rifle for the job, of course the Hatsan AT44-10. I have the clothing and the knowledge to keep me warm, in which is likely to be a cold winter for me, indoors and out. I’ve plinked at 10, 20, 30 and 35 yards till I’m sure I can get target groupings within the size of a two pence piece. But as I’m not intending to shoot in Rio, target shooting is getting tedious.
If only that was enough to put food on the table, and entertain myself enough from stopping from going insane. A paper target shows no resistance, self preservation or eagerness to stop me putting a humane hole through it with a lead pellet. I’m grumpy, very grumpy.
I’m by no means deluding myself that I’m able to successfully go out, hunt, track down, stalk and kill my prey, but I’m confident I can do no more sitting here wasting my beautiful H&N Target Trophy Pellets on Jamie and a paper target.
Which leads me to answer your question, ‘what am I doing sitting at home instead of out in the fields?’
You may or may not know this but every piece of land in England is owned by someone. It may sound obvious to us, but in other places such as the US this is not the case, and providing your prey is in season, you can go off and hunt. Even in our national parks, the land is still owned privately by someone.
So here in England, to be legal you must get the permission off of someone to be on that land. Now you may think that a farmer might be only too happy for someone to offer, without recompense, and to allow someone to aid in ridding their land from pests. However, farmers are a funny lot and if not approached in the correct manner are easy to upset. And upset one, then you risk upsetting the whole community. Therefore leaving you with no hope in getting access or permission to shoot.
There are two ways to get this permission from a farmer. Ask directly, (which is more difficult than it sounds), or rely on someone for an introduction.
There is streams of advice around on how to approach your farmer, which seems to me is even more difficult than it will be to approach a rabbit. Dress smartly, but not too smart. Your not inviting him to the local Ball.
Some say write first, and if no reply is forthcoming swiftly, on no account should you follow this up with a phone call bothering the farmer who might just be to busy with running his farm to write back! So you have dressed smartly, you turn up and explain you are no juvenile delinquent and would like permission to freeze your self silly on his land from just before dusk till just after dawn in the hope of shooting some of those pesky rabbits. If he says no, we are told that not in any circumstances are we to try and persuad, cajole, or bribe said farmer. We are to thank them for their time and back away in a responsible manner.
I have to tell you I haven’t tried this yet, well kind of, but more of that in a bit. I do have an opportunity of being introduced by someone who already has permission to shoot, and I can join him when he goes I guess, but with the whole kind of ethos that I’m trying to achieve, I want my own permission and my first hunt and kill to be a solo one. It is my journey after all and I don’t want to cheat any more than I have to by having help. It’s me against mother nature. One on one. So although I asked for said introduction a month ago, I’m still waiting. I just have to be patient. Which is difficult but such is life.
So I have indeed asked permission off a land owner to do a bit of pest control and in the act of this feed myself too. And no it isn’t a farmer. I live on the edge of quite a big town and not far away is a few acres of fields just sitting there. So ten days ago I have a meeting with the person who is, ultimately responsible for the land. Our glorious town leader, the Mayor. Yes dear reader I don’t do things simply or by half.
He does know me of old, so it wasn’t just a random phone call, and we arrange to have a civilised coffee. I explain the legal bits and bobs. I need permission in writing, nothing as complicated as a affidavit. And as long as it’s 50 feet away from the centre of the closest public highway, everything will be fine.
He has two concerns. The first is the local rag. He doesn’t want the publicity of being the Mayor that gives permission to slaughter lil bunny rabbits. He can see the headlines now! Secondly, he sees a problem with setting a precedent. However I don’t. If there is another person who wants to do the same thing, he will have to go through the same process as I have. I’m sure the Mayor has the confidence knowing my past that I’m responsible and would not do anything to break the law or put anyone’s safety at risk. And if I do he can always rescind the permission. If anyone else asks he can give or refuse permission on a case by case basis. If someone with a history of firearms offences turns up at the town hall with his gun in open view asking to shoot the place up, then there’s probably enough reason to say no.
But then again I’m not in politics.
p.s. As we mentioned the law, and hopefully at some point going to actually do some hunting. I will need a suitable bag for my rifle. I don’t really have the cash to afford one but it’s a necessity. So, having bought my bipod, which is excellent value, from the people at CVlife on Amazon, I once again head there. There’s a very good looking case for around £20 and I go ahead and purchase. I’ll take a few pics and tell you what I think sometime soon.