Si showing hunting can be done in plain clothes.
So how did it all start?
VerminHuntersTV was an idea that I was contemplating whilst serving a 5 month period in Canada with the military in 2011.
It was a time when I was busy editing a charity DVD that I and another 7 friends, Davy being 1 of them from the Hunting Life forum had filmed.
This DVD was called The Rise of the Verminators. The idea was to give all the proceeds from the sales to a forces charity called Treats4BritishTroops.
At this time Davy already had his own YouTube channel called DavyT63 and I had a channel called Zinaroon which was named after my patterdale terrier Zini.
As we became better friends we shot together on many occasions including in making appearances on each others channel from time to time.
We seemed to always do well together as a team either lamping of static hunting. While both our channels were doing well and getting quite a few subscribers, one particular subscriber sent me a message suggesting that me and Davy should team up together and do more filming together as he really enjoyed the team episodes, maybe even have our own channel together.
After contemplating the idea for a while I emailed Davy from Canada and asked him if he would be interested in teaming up and having our own channel together, which he was. From that moment on VerminHuntersTV was born.
How long have been shooting?
For me I was just 13 when my Uncle Brian a gamekeeper let me have a go with his old BSA air rifle and I was hooked.
He showed me the basics of shooting and I then practiced and practiced until I was able to shoot bottle tops at around 20 paces with iron sights from a rested position.
A few years later I got my own air rifle from a second hand shop called Steptoe’s and sons in Mansfield Notts. This rifle cost about £36. It was a Relum Tornado fitted with a 4×20 30 / 30 ret scope. That’s when I started to appreciate the real accuracy of an air rifle especially for shooting vermin at close to medium ranges.
And why air rifles?
I have shot many different types and calibres of rifle in my life from a .22 rim fire right up to 50 calibre sniper rifles, enjoying them all, but none of them matching the pleasure that I get from actually shooting an air rifle.
The skill needed to accurately place a relatively slow moving .22 pellet on a small target in a breeze at medium to long ranges was always a big challenge to me. I loved it when I got the shot right and hit the target. This for me was what I enjoyed. I suppose I just liked to challenge myself to see what I could achieve.
Which rifles do you own. And use?
At the moment I own 7 rifles, but sadly with my new work I don’t get the time to shoot them all now so I’m wanting to sell 2 of them.
The ones I now own are
.22 Weihrauch HW100KT
.22 Sandwell Field Sports tuned VHTV Spectre
.22 Sandwell Field Sports tuned Weihrauch HW97KT
.177 Sandwell Field Sports tuned Weihrauch HW98
.177 BSA Ultra SE
The ones I use the most are the .177 HW98 which I use mainly for HFT, but now after fitting the Matt Winser silencer hunting as well. This rifle I would say is my most accurate rifle that I own and from a bench rested position it will group tighter that all my other 6 rifles putting 3 pellets under a 5p at 55 yards in calm conditions almost ever time as long as I do my bit with the trigger technique and correct follow through.
The other rifles that I like to use are my .177 BSA Ultra SE for rabbit shooting fitted with the Nite Site NS50 and NS200, the .22 HW100KT for a change from shooting my spring rifles in the day time. This I shoot in conjunction with my laser range finder. Lastly my .22 Spectre and HW97KT get out from time to time when I fancy a mooch or a shoot at my club after work.
And using the ghillie siut from Jack Pyke.
Now do you have a “GOTO gun”. The old favourite?
Yes of course I think we all do don’t we!
I have to be honest and say that for along time it was my stage 2 tuned Sandwell Field Sports .22 HW97KT.
This is a Tony Wall from SFS work of art and has on many occasions also shot 3 or 5 pellets under a 5p at 55 yards from a rested position using H & N FTT pellets in calm conditions.
This rifle I used almost all the time, even favouring it over my pcps until my wife Laura bought me the HW98 from SFS as an early wedding present.
Once I saw the potential of the stage 1 tuned SFS HW98 with the Falcon Accuracy Plus pellets my mind was blown.
Once calibrated using the method me and Davy use (called the near and far) this rifle was precision along its full trajectory.
I even have scored my life time best score with this rifle at HFT even beating my previous best score that was shot with a pcp.
This is the rifle I probably take out most now if I’m honest.
Which calibre do you use?
I shoot both .177 and .22 calibres, but my favourite calibre is by far the .22 calibre. Its one I find the most challenging to shoot due to the more pronounced parabolic trajectory. As I do more hunting that anything else I prefer the heavier, harder hitting 16 grain pellet that the lighter faster 8.4 grain .177 pellet.
This is nothing more than a personal preference as both calibres kill just as well as each other as long as the shot is placed correctly in the quarry’s kill zone.
Do you think that the air industry is promoted well. Via the different media outlets?
Yes I think that the various magazines and now emerging airgun DVDs made by the magazines are getting our sport out better to the wider public.
I personally think that some of the articles in the shooting media could do with being updated a bit as the air rifle industry as come on leaps and bounds since the early 90s and equipment and ammunition as massively improved becoming more accurate so able to achieve better results.
I do understand that not everyone is a very good shot and that people need to be guided into what’s responsible to do when shooting, but on the other side of the coin its also good I believe to inform people of what the rifle can achieve with lots and lots of practice.
YouTube as also become a massive source for airgun shooting information and how to clips that I think is getting more popular day by day. Some of the clips on there are good but yet again on the other side of the coin some are very bad and bad practice is displayed giving the sport a bad name.
What is the most memorable shot or hunts?
The most memorable hunt for me in the last few years was when I had spent a lot of time calibrating my .22 HW97KT and then practicing with it before shooting a rabbit while filming with Davy for an episode of VHTV.
The rabbit was at long distance (69 meters), but on retrieval of the rabbit the shot was perfectly placed in the kill zone.
This shot and episode of VHTV became a big discussion point on many of the airgun forums and especially on one very popular forum where it went to 9 pages of posts all posters apart from 2 or 3 people calling me irresponsible and a bad ambassador for the airgun sport. This I found quite strange as 90% of them never watched the clip before commenting in a negative way towards me, and most of them had never heard of VHTV or who Si Pittaway was.
The 2 or 3 people that did comment in a positive way towards the clip actually knew me very well and knew the hours and hours of calibration and practice that I had put in to enable me to make the shot humanely in the still condition on that day.
I think from that day on I learnt a big lesson about long range shooting on vermin with a sub 12 foot pound air rifle and now when I do it on VHTV I try to explain better my thinking before taking the shot. Its sort of me justifying myself on camera to reduce the impact of what I know will come my way later.
Do you prefer hunting or pest control?
I do like pest control as it usually means big bags of quarry for me and Davy which is usually really satisfying. I do also some days just love to go hunting and sit and chill 35 meters from a rabbit warren static hunting and sniping bunny’s as they exit their holes.
If I’m honest I just love shooting as a whole and so being out in the warm weather and fresh air is a real privilege.
Do you think the technology available like night vision and the Nite Site have added a new edge to hunting and pest control, or made it harder?
Oh definitely, the new technology out there now that air gunners can now afford is amazing. The likes of Nite Site and their equipment is brilliant and me and Davy have had the privilege now for about the past year and a bit to be equipment sponsored by Nite Site to use their products and show the wider shooting community what the equipment can achieve when fitted to our air rifles. It’s definitely brought a new dimension to our shooting and allows some very large bags of rats and rabbits especially where quarry as become lamp shy to when used and setup correctly.
I highly recommend air gunners to try Nite Site equipment if they are thinking of buying a NV setup.
Any advice for our younger readers on how to shoot?
I would say, don’t get disheartened when you’re not shooting well. Everyone shoots poorly from time to time. Has I’m writing this I’m going through a bad patch myself where I know that my results that I’m getting are not by far my best. Sometimes a break and rest is better than battling on when things are going bad.
Read up on the marksmanship principles, trigger technique and follow through and practice until you take the shot instinctively using them all.
Try many different brands of pellet before settling on one. All barrels like a certain pellet better than another brand and so finding the right one is important for longer range accuracy.
Any tips for gaining permissions. And keeping them?
Yes I would say keep persevering in asking land owners politely and introducing yourself to them. Sometimes it takes a long time but once you get a “yes” it’s the key to bigger things.
Ensure that you have shooting insurance as this helps show them that you are a responsible person and take you’re shooting seriously.
Once you get permission show the land owner the results you’re getting. A happy land owner will almost always pass on your details to other land owners if you’re doing a great job in keeping their pest under control.
Oh the mighty hunters softer side.
So how many viewers and subscribers do you get a week?
Umm this changes weekly or monthly but for example last month we got 671 new subscriber and 123,478 views which I think is pretty good for a little channel like VHTV that as only been running since Dec 2011.
Is there anything you have not done but would like to? Stalking, boar hunt, bow hunt etc?
No not really. I have qualified and earned the German Jagdschein (hunting licence) and have a European FAC licence which I no longer use, and so have hunted deer and boar in Germany in the past. I still prefer rat and rabbit shooting better than any other shooting though.
And final words from you to your fans and followers?
Yes thanks very much for all your support and kind words and comments that you send to us daily.
We are always trying to think of new things to do in regards to the channel to make it interesting for not only the hunters and pest controller out there, but HFT and target shooters as well.
Thank you Simon.
Please contact Simon via his youtube channel.