Family Matters

Family Matters.

Let me start by wishing a happy new year to, you, my loyal reader.
I hope Santa has emptied his and delivered you some goodies and a few surprises.
The time we spend with our families is precious and should be enjoyed by all.
Saying that there are times I could do my family members serious harm.
What follows is one such occasion involving my dear “little” brother.
Let me take you back a year or so to a balmy spring day. The sun bathed the earth in its life-giving rays. Birds sang and flitted about the trees and houses. The female population seemed to have put all their clothes on before heading out of doors and those immortal words “it’s too warm” fell from the lips.
 Gods own county, Yorkshire, was resplendent and blooming. By gum, it looked grand.
After a few calls on those mobile thingies, the decision was made “let’s hunt”. The Oldfield males were going out with the intent of giving Mr Cottontail a serious bashing. Rifles were checked and air topped up. Real Tree clothing was donned and the car loaded. My son and me went and collected my Papa and his gear then of to collect my little brother.
A few words on my brother dear reader.
He is four years my junior and stands around five foot eight inches tall. He weighs in around sixteen stone, has dirty blonde hair and a cheeky chappy smile that hides the temperament of a menopausal great white shark with a headache. Has an unnatural ability to repair cars, which he at one time raced in banger races and won .Top all these traits with the finesse of a wrecking ball wrapped in high explosive and a natural hunter he is not.
So once all of Team Oldfield was aboard my car we set off across the Yorkshire Moors to our little piece of hunting heaven.
Guns were uncased and made ready. Boots were put on, magazines loaded, knives clipped to belts and hats or face veils donned.
By gum, we looked good. Papa, my son and me. Head to toe in Real Tree patterned material (others are available) rifles shouldered our voices lowered and our eyes already scanning the areas of the permission we could see.
Then there was little brother.
A baseball cap of some undetermined colour on his head. An Army surplus DPM jacket encompassed his manly frame. Jeans that were once blue (I think blue was the original colour) covered his legs, then we come to his footwear of choice to go about the delicate task of stalking spring rabbits. A pair of bright beige, orange, rigger boots.
Dear reader have you ever seen three grown men of the country all staring in disbelief with mouths agape?
That was us
“What the bl*@dy hell are you wearing?” spoke papa. “You intending to kick bunny to the after life son?” The boy child and I were bent double expressing our mirth at brothers hunting garb as well as miming playing the fiddle (think
Deliverance dear reader).
“Squeal little piggy…”, “hey Cleatus you brought the moonshine?”
Oh how we laughed.
Probably not the wisest of moves, mocking little brother, as soon he would be armed, as you shall see dear reader.
Composure regained we armed ourselves with our weapons of choice.
Papa was using a BSA Ultra MMC in .22 caliber. The boy child’s weapon of choice is a Daystate Huntsman mark II in .177 caliber. My shooting iron was, as always, my trusty Air Arms S410 in .22 caliber. Little brother was trusted with Papas Weihrach HW 95 in .22. A true lump of German engineering and deadly accurate, in the right hands.
Car locked we set off down the lane to our permission. As you proceed along the lane, you skirt the edge of our shooting ground hence you get a view of any rabbits that may be out and about and the rabbits can see you coming. Halfway down the lane is a tin hut. As we got level, I decided to relieve my bladder. As I’m stood in mid  flow closely inspecting the rust and grain of the tin sheet at eye level minding my own business whilst doing my business the air resounded with a clang of metal on metal and a whine of a pellet sailing off into the ether. I swear I felt the air part near my parts. “What the blooming hell!” I exclaimed ( or words to that effect)  All eyes turned to little brother who was stood some 15 yards from me with the rifle pointing in my general direction , his face split in a wide sheepish grin ( more malevolent if you ask me).
“Who said to load son?” asked papa. “We aren’t on the permission yet ya soft sod”
“Oh great” says I” shot in the butt by Cletus”
The boy child was doing a poor job of hiding his mirth. Little brothers response “I missed didn’t I?” Oh how we laughed.
Note to self…do not give little brother a weapon and NEVER turn your back on him.
Let me now give you dear reader a brief out line of our permission.
At the northern end lies a road with a pub. The eastern side has a single-track rail line of the North Yorkshire railway running along its length. The western edge boundary is a large beck that sweeps around to mark its southern boundary. Access is via a track from the farmhouse and through two gates across the rail track. The area we have to shoot over is roughly twenty acres and forms a natural valley. The land holds sheep, cows and horses. Small but its ours.
Papa normally sets up along a fence line near the entrance to our land. He is not as agile as he once was.
The boy child normally goes walk about and I tend to wander down to the beck and follow its course to the south of our land then bimble back northwards following the rail line.
This being little brother’s first outing he was unaware of routines and all he saw was a target rich environment.
Now the day we visited followed a brief spell of showers, which resulted in the beck becoming a river and large puddles forming. Now these puddles had attracted a few ducks, which were happily paddling around without a care. Little brother saw dinner so promptly cocked and loaded, shoulder the rifle and fired. His disgust at missing the shot was palpable. He reloaded and fired again and missed again.
Papa, boy child and I stood aghast at little brother’s performance. Two shots and he had missed. We all three shook our heads in disbelief.
Before you put question my brothers shooting ability dear reader let me explain that the ducks were about a hundred yards away. As you may know, a Springer is effective unto about thirty yards in the right hands. Little brothers were not the right hands.
Papa explained to the brother about the distance he could expect to get a hit. After assimilating the information, he stomped off towards the ducks. We stood and watched.
Now when stalking your quarry we all know to follow the tree, wall or fence line. Little brother pounded off across the field scattering sheep and cows before him. Papa, the boy child and I were creased up laughing. We could hear brother chuntering to himself as he ploughed on regardless. We three watched transfixed as brother closed the gap to the ducks, which, unsurprisingly, had spotted his advance and were moving away rapidly.
Did I mention little brother is as subtle as a brick to the forehead dear reader?
“Dad is you sure it’s ok to get the ducks?” he bellowed across the field. As you can imagine every rabbit for miles bolted for the warrens. Birds exploded from the trees. The sheep ran and I am sure the cow’s milk curdled.
Needless to say, we shot nothing that day but watching little brother crash around the permission was highly entertaining.
Needless to say, he did not get any ducks. He did loose off a fair few pellets so the Weirach did get a work out. Also, little brother has declined to join us on future forays into the wilds of Yorkshire. He has decided to stick to cars.
So that’s all for now dear reader.
Stay safe and shoot straight.