The Farmer and the Huntress.
As I sit here on a damp miserable mid-October evening, thinking about a recent days and nights sport, with the smell of a homemade pizza cooking in the oven, and a glass of fine French red wine I can’t help but smile.
You see for this old country boy remembering recent or long forgotten days and nights, out in the field with a young sport a mucker or family really fills my heart, as full as my belly is soon to be. I have travelled all over this world but it’s time and time again the memories of field sports and times out hunting that fill my heart and enlighten my soul. I will try in the next few sentences to tell you of an awwwww inspiring day and night that literally made me so proud to be a father and mentor to many a young men and women.
We start off the day with my Daughter Emilie, a true chip off the Ole Hedge Creepers block. She absolutely loves being out with me and her favourite field sport is ferreting, just like her ole Dad.
But this day we had to go push the vermin off the silage pits, for my farmer friend so it was a job for the simply brilliant Air Arms Air Rifles, and in Emilie’s case her S200 I had got her for her birthday. To say she was a little excited was an understatement as the yippppeeeeeee she let out when I said what we were going to be doing, I think they heard her in the next county.
Blimey she nagged me to hurry up and I had not finished my third cup of tea yet, what was the hurry lol… oh to have that youthful excitement again, and the energy that goes with it as mine seems to have left the building.
I couldn’t hold off any longer as I thought she was going to burst, so to the farm we headed with air rifles all charged up and ready to go, or so I thought as Emilie loudly shouts, “STOP THE CAR NOW DADDY?”.. What? What?
Had I ran over the neighbors moggy or had a child been splatted? “No she said I need your keys” and off she ran leaving me looking around the car thinking what in god’s name just happened? She came back all smiles pheeeeeew “that was lucky Dad, I nearly went hunting without my lucky Who’s Says Girls Cant Hunt cap, you got me in Bass Pro when we were in America you know that could have jinxed the hole hunt Dad!”..
I wonder where she gets her superstitious side from? As I am always trying not to upset the hunting gods laugh out loud. As I look at her with my Daddy stern face she just smiled I melted and all was forgotten about the heart attack she gave me, I wonder how many of us Dads out there, has their little huntresses who have us wrapped around their little fingers eh?.. Upon getting to the farm, Emilie’s eyes were like a hawk scanning every blade of grass, tree top cattle feeder and hay bale.
I stopped the car and we got the guns out as Emilie says in a whispered voice, “wait here Daddy I have spotted a Monty (magpie)”, and she was off in a flash and as silent as a Kestrel and well disappeared behind a hay bale. So I sat there and watched her do what I had taught her to do, since she was just 2 years old and now 11 years old, she is a natural. I spot the barrel of her gun come out from the hay bales, the Monty (magpie) was sat on the cattle feeder, feeding away none the wiser, with a cracking safe back stop of silage she knew this was a good safe shot.
As I sat there it all happened in slow motion I heard Emilie give a mouse squeak the Monty (mag pie) looked up then THWAAAAACK, she smacked it good and hard straight between the shoulders, and it dropped stone dead in a puff of feathers. Emilie appeared from behind the bale with a smile like a Cheshire cat with thumbs up “saying he never knew what hit him did he Daddy”, I have tears in my eyes right now just remembering it and looking at the picture. So off we stalked around the yard and the pigeons etc. were right where I thought they would be right on pit 2.
Emilie tucked in under a broken down tractor and I positioned myself with the S410 covering the mill behind her, with the tractor wheel as a back rest, to shoot the rats. As I sat there I saw this big rat come out and start munching on the milled seed so I took aim, and THWAAACK I gave him a lead aspirin that cured him of his addiction to my farmer’s grain. As Emilie shouted at me “Oh Daddy I was just about to shoot a pigeon then you scared him off you best have got what you shot at?”
Cheeky little madam and yes I did get it I will have you know I said to which point she says “well good you have been exercising too much lead recently?” What you carry on like that and you can pay for your own pellets I say as she starts giggling and says “I am only playing Daddy”, Laugh out loud that girl is a live wire and god help the husband she finally chooses when she is older lol, he will have to get passed my blessings first though eh lol.
Emilie says “don’t move Dad a woodpigeon just landed” as she carefully takes aim THWAAAAACK as the woody does summersaults and drops stone dead she only bagged a perfect head shot.
That girl does not know how to miss I telle, and puts her older brother and sister to shame when it comes to air rifle shooting, and gives me a run for my money I telle. The rest of the afternoon when on with me bagging more rats in the mill until I say right girl time to go at which point a woodpigeon lands on a water trough Emilie was on that faster than I could blink THWAAAAACK and a big puff of feathers as the woody goes straight into the water with a splash.
She retrieved it saying “see told you I would bag the first and last vermin of the day, it’s all down to my lucky cap, ah Daddy”. Hmmmmm I am beginning to think she is right, so if you see me wearing it you know I am just edging my best with the hunting gods. After dropping Emilie home as her time with me was up, I headed down to another mates farm that had a major rat problem. He had his new air rifle he wanted to try on the rats and I had the simply amazing NS200 NV unit from NiteSite.
So with him leaving the barn lights on and positioning himself onto an old chicken house, he would cover the feed mill and I would cover the old barn, with the NV unit as there were no lights in there. Blimey as soon as I turned the NV unit on, there was a ratticuss staring right at me, a bloody big scaly tail dirty rat.
So I lined the cross hair up on his head and let rip from the Air Arms S410 air rifle, and THWAAAACK I hit him so hard he didn’t even twitch. I will say the Air Arms and the NiteSite really do make an amazing no awesome combo, and for a couple of hours I waged war on the rodents I may not have won the war but I most certainly won the battle.
Now my ole farmer mucker really loved his new Air Magnum. I could hear him taking as many shots as me, so when I walked over to find him smiling like a Cheshire Cat with a pile of dead rats, almost as big as mine,
I thought he was about to do a jig. After a bit of banter and a good laugh and me having a go with his new rifle, we headed over to the free range chicken unit, as his Dad said we had problems there too. My young farming mucker was excited, when I said he could use the Air Arms and the NiteSite. I would just watch and re load for him when he needed me too.
So we climbed onto the verandas as they call them, and turned the NiteSite on straight away, there was a huge ratticuss, and let’s just say it took a cracking head shot by my young farmer to stop him. I think the excited squeak’s of “I got him I got him” said it all. The rest of the night went on much the same, bagging rat, after rat with the awesome combo of the Air Arms S410 air rifle, and the NS200 NV unit from NiteSite.
I telle boys that gear really does what it says on the tin. I packed all the gear away whilst my young farmer shovelled up all the rats, and put them in the incinerator. We finished off with a lot of banter and a glass of fermented apple juice, (farm cider) to celebrate another brilliant hunt on the rats.
I hope you enjoy this article and please keep the letters and emails coming. Both Greg and I try to answer as many as we can, but must apologize if we miss any as its getting pretty hectic at the Countryman’s Diary offices now.
Take care and until the next installment from The Ole Hedge Creeper, remember Pass It On Young Sports motto “TOGETHER WE CAN INSPIRE”. Pigeons Corvids Rats & The Young Huntress By The Ole Hedge Creeper Aka: Rob Collins.
pic 1: Emilie with her pigeons and Monty (mag pie) Pic 2: My Box of rats from the mill pic 3: Me bagging rats in the old barn with the simply brilliant combo of Air Arms S410 and NS200 NV unit from NiteSite pic 4: Young farmer in the free range chicken shed bagging rats with the simply brilliant combo of Air Arms S410 and NS200 NV unit from NiteSite Regards Rob Collins (Chairman)