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Into the beginning of November and I was still wondering where winter was hiding. Leaves still on the trees and I hadn’t pulled out any of my thick jumpers. I spoke too soon as heavy rain, snow and frosts were just around the corner. As last month was very hectic I'd put some me time aside, I enjoy taxidermy and have been an enthusiastic amateur for the past 3 years. In my workshop mounting birds, foxes and deer. I really immerse myself when given the time. Plus visiting my good friend Wayne a professional taxidermist who helps in many ways. Also making time to zero rifles, loading ammunition and sharpening knives ready for culling starting at the end of the month up to Christmas.
But I did have had a few red pricket to do and in my time I've culled hundreds of reds from spikes to 40 plus point animal. Nowadays I always offer the cull animals to friends as many do not get the opportunity to do so, unless they pay. My deal is simple if your free and you wish to shoot all I ask is for the help dragging, gutting etc. So couple of my shooting friends came up from Warwickshire for the day. Taking two animals and as my client does not like strong meat, the carcass are skinned the same day and broken down. I then butchered it all 2 days later when set. It's always enjoyable having company while shooting even more so when it's friends.
At the beginning of the month I spent the day on a local estate helping with a grey squirrel problem, they are causing so much damage to young trees, eating every nut in sight along with emptying the feeders. I did not know what to expect as I've never done much squirrel culling. I chose a large wood to spend the day in starting with stalking. It's was very soon apparent the .22 LR was the wrong choice. The trees were alive with them, but nothing on the ground. After lunch I went back into the wood and and found the squirrels coming from the maze cover crop, unfortunately I was an hour or so to late as they seemed to have fed and heading home only managed to take four.
Fortunately I saw the gamekeeper and he said if I came back in a week or two he'd have a high seat up and I could sit and wait for the greys.
On my return to the wood I arrived at lunch and as Chris had gone to all the trouble to erect the seat, so I was going to see the afternoon out. What an afternoon it turned out to be, I've not had that much fun in ages. Those I shoot with know I'm not a long range rifle man, but I'm extremely quick and fast free hand shooter. From the wood to the maze was 10/12 yards and the ally was no
more than 70 yards before the open field. I had approximately 3 seconds to pickup, follow, aim and shoot. It was like mini running Boar, I missed the first few, but soon had my eye in. It was fast and furious for a couple of hours, I'll be going back in December for sure.
The highlight of the month for me hasn't been the the hunt but having my daughter accompanying me lamping. On Friday's after dinner my wife has been packing Willow and I up for a couple of hours up at the farm. There have been a few valuable lessons learnt; Don't give a six year old a bright L.E.D torch and second there's very little chance of vermin as she can't keep quiet for very long. But we've had some great fun sitting in the straw stack. Watching the owls swooping in and out the barn under moon light, Willow Grace wanting to know all about everything while drinking coco and sharing a bag of pick n mix, it's been priceless.
With cooler weather the Reversible Ridgeline beanie hat came out of the box. Either green or black within the same hat it blends with most things I wear. Although I prefer a cap they don't keep your ears warm in the wind. This hat isn't waterproof, or wind proof, nor made from a new NASA Space age material. It is however rugged, well made and wearable in the field or out on an urban safari.
It's a great hat that can fit into a pocket and weighs little and costs less than a box of factory centre fire ammo. It's a must sitting on a hill or high seat in late autumn as well as just slipped into the side pocket of the van. But all things come to an end as my daughter has taken a shine to it. As its the only thing that Ridgeline do that fits her. Plus it makes her feel like part of the crew.