Air rifle from field to table.
We get many great things at the office, but we had a nice packet turn up the other day! A DVD from one of our Northern friend’s Steve Henderson, The Geordie Hunter. Now many you tube fans know Steve In his slightly unusual way of gutting rabbits, by squeezing the lower half of the rabbit and popping the guts out of the anus. Now Steve is a full time pest controller and Warrener, covering many shoots, and the main weapon Steve uses is his HW100 PCP air rifle. His YouTube channel has some cracking footage of Steve out hunting, but the best he keeps for his DVD releases, which he kindly sent to us Here at the Diary. This DVD comes in a camo Print case with green and white font, it looks a bit busy to the eye, but on inserting the dvd, and hitting the play button, you are welcomed into Steve’s world of professional pest control. With clear footage and nice commentary throughout, you are taken on a journey through hunting rabbits for the pot, Steve’s accent is a thick Newcastle one, but as the film rolls you pick up how he describes things with ease, from how far the Conny was, to shot placement with wind and distance adjustments. Now being a fellow hunter I felt it was a nice and relaxed approach to showing the pest control world, Steve mentions the history of the rabbit and the numbers that are around, also how many rabbits a breeding pair of Connie’s can produce. And as the dvd draws to a close you are treated to a bit of butchery and peeping Gordie style, with Steve showing his unique style to preparing rabbit for the table, along with his gut squeeze, he also uses a clever to behead them and remove the lower portions of the legs. And a very fast way to remove the pelts. Priced at just under £15. Its a very good dvd , with clear filming, and a lifetime of knowledge and hunting wisdom. And just as you think its over Steeve dons a pinny and treats us to a Northern special, that is rabbit and black pudding pie. And the dvd runs for 1 hour. Which go together very well, with a drop of real ale. Available from our shop or Steve’s site. And a few words from Steve: About Me ! “The Life of a rabbit catcher” My name is Steve and I was bornTyne and Wear United Kingdom. I spent most of my childhood getting up to the usual mischief like most kids but at the age of 14 we moved to another part of Tyne and Wear where my passion for hunting rabbits began. One day when I was collecting conkers in nearby woodland I met an old local hunter who was a tall guy with a shock of grey-white hair. He was a bit of a loner that spoke to everyone politely but never seemed to get involved with anyone personally. The locals called him the “big white hunter”. He was ferreting and I always remember he was killing a rabbit as I walked up to him, I was intrigued and I began a lengthy questioning session that he was only too obliged to answer. He told me that if I wanted to see all his ferrets I could go to his home and see them. (I know this day and age the poor bloke would have been arrested for suggesting that) I went to his home that very night and learnt that his name was really Bob and he was an ex joiner. He showed me numerous ferrets and had me handling them and explained about their habits and how he cared for them. Then he opened the last cage…. He produced this beautiful albino Jill that looked like she was going to explode as she was so fat and told me that she was having babies within a week and that I could have one if it was alright for me to own one. At the time I lived in a brand new built house with a lovely snug Concrete shed so I had the place and with lots of moaning and manipulative words I was told at home, yes you can have a ferret but, I had to look after it myself ! I was over the moon as it felt like all my Christmas’s had came at once so I quickly told Bob that all systems were go and he said he would pop round and build me a cage. About a month later I was the proud owner of a young albino Jill ferret called Snowy. I took Snowy everywhere with me and it became a big part of my life, the cage was secondary really as she more or less lived with me and when I was off school I went rabbit catching with Bob. By this time I was possessed with catching rabbits with Snowy and to be honest my schooling began to suffer. At this stage I would rather go out by myself catching rabbits than go to school. By this time I also had air guns that became an extension of my arm and a real education of sub 12ft/lb air guns at that stage in my youth, I needed to branch out and use more methods of hunting to catch rabbits, I was showing a massive interest in long netting, snaring and using lurchers and terriers. I did not see much of Bob at this time as he was ill and could not get out, but when I went to visit he always used to tell me “go to school, the rabbits will be there at the weekend” but I couldn’t help it, I had to catch more rabbits! Things took a turn for the worst when I was caught by the school after they notified my mother I was hardly attending. At that point I suppose I went off the rails, I was nearly 16 and counting the days down so I could be free of school and get on with my passion ( Catching Rabbits ). By this time Snowy was nearly two years old, and I remember this as if it was yesterday, I removed her from the hood of my coat and placed her in her cage for the night. The next morning I opened her cage to find her curled up in a corner stone dead. It devastated me. At the time I thought there would be no replacement for Snowy so I concentrated on my air rifle to catch rabbits, I must admit by sitting and waiting near warrens and high populated field sides I became quite a good shot and became to understand the capabilities of the rifles I owned, hence making me more precise and accurate gave me superb returns in terms of clean kills and it was not long before I could get a good bag of rabbits on every outing. Since leaving school officially I have had numerous jobs and a lot of them have been self employed ventures from buying and selling second hand goods to taxi driving. In the 80’s I met the love of my life who is Tracie, my wife who stands by me and helps keep the wolf away from the door with her job. I began using spaniels to flush game and being granted with a shotgun / firearms licence made this a very exciting time for me and my wife just loved the presence of the dogs. We still keep ferrets to this day but I never get the chance to clean them or feed them as this job has been taken over by my wife, who as you can imagine loves the ferrets probably just as much as I did when I was 14 years old ! My main interest always has and I suspect always will be rabbit control, I have had a business doing this since the early 90’s and still operate this to the present day. I will not disillusion you in any way and say this has made me wealthy as times have been hard over the years but my passion for what I do has never been dented so every day still feels like the very first day to me. I was doing most of my rabbit control using a .22 Rimfire rifle ( CZ 452 ) until recently but I am now drawn back to the sub 12ft/lb air rifles, and because I have aged at 48 years old and am maybe remembering them early days of my air rifle hunting I choose to use a PCP rifle Weihrauch HW100KT in a .177 cal that does all of what I ask it to do but also keeps me conscious of how good your stalking and field skills have to be for the rifle to be effective. With the progress of technology we sometimes loose field skills or abandon skills that made our experiences so much more memorable and sometimes we need to reflect on where we began and why we are good at what we do using traditional methods we grew up with. After all this time I still love the challenge of Rabbit hunting. I can conclude this by saying it is great doing a job that provides a service to assist landowners protect their land against rabbit damage BUT beware to all newcomers to this game, it can get a hold on you and become so addictive it may well rule your life. Steve