• by steven light
  • 04 Feb, 2017
Ferreting in oxfordshire

A Days Ferreting in Oxfordshire

Shire Pest Solutions were recently approached by a prospective client to have a look at their rabbit problem .
We arranged for a survey to make sure that ferreting was the right option for this problem. We turn up and are shown around a large Oxfordshire garden not far from the town of Wallingford . Before we got out of the vehicle we noticed signs of rabbits, trails all over the garden.
The client pointed us in the direction of some warrens. First warren was a nice size with 15
holes with plenty of fresh rabbit droppings all around so we new the rabbits were active in this rabbit warren . Next, a smaller five hole warren, again with fresh droppings. These were two that the client showed us. We looked around  and found a further three used warrens.
We had a discussion with the client and it was decided that ferreting in the
traditional way, with purse nets, would be the  easiest option considering the time
of year.
Ferreting day arrived so we wrapped up warm and set our target on the largest
warren first. We could smell the scent left by the buck all over the garden already
and the ferrets were excitedly scratching at there boxes. We cleared what we
needed to for easy access to the holes and to stop nets being tangled as quietly
a we could. We netted up the holes and put extra nets in our pockets to replace any that
the rabbits removed on the way out.
The nets used for this job are called purse nets.
They look like a normal net but at one end is a sliding loop that when a rabbit
hits the net allows the net to close around it, this is to stop the rabbit escaping
quickly. We chose our two ferrets both albino Jill's (girl ferret) and placed them in a hole
either end of the warren. Silence, until we could hear some
thumping from inside the warren (a rabbit warning other rabbits of danger as they sense the ferrets) and a rabbit bolts and is caught in the purse net. This was quickly picked up by my ferreting partner who was the closest and the rabbit was dispatched quickly and humanely and the hole again netted up. Before we could rest there was another in a net and another, then the warren went silent for a few minutes.
The next thing we knew there was a rustle beside us and a rabbit appeared from an unseen hole under a thick fir tree, looked at us and made its escape. We gave chase to find where it went and discovered a very well hidden warren but unfortunately was half on somebody else's property, which we did not have permission to ferret.
We carried on for a further ten minutes but all that showed were our ferrets.
Warren empty and 2 in the bag.
The next warren was a small three holes warren, very close together. We netted up quickly as we had nothing to clear and slipped a ferret down one of the holes. Seconds passed before a rabbit hit the net, which was passed to me for dispatch while my partner for the day netted up again. A second rabbit hit another net but escaped. I gave chase
as it was running to the first warren we had already cleared but fortunately for us we had left the nets on this warren for this exact reason.
The rabbit was caught in the net and I had another rabbit in the bag.
Onto the third warren now, which required a lot of clearing, being very careful as sharp rusty metal was sticking out of the ground.
Once cleared, we netted up and slipped a ferret into the hole. A couple of
minutes later and a rabbit hits the net, number five caught.
Then a rustling and we see a rabbit pop out of nowhere and run. We looked for a missed hole but nothing in site.
Maybe he was sat in the undergrowth deciding should i run or stay? Your guess is as good as mine.
All silent again and then a rabbit hits another net shortly followed by the ferret.
Another rabbit makes 6. The ferret showed no interest in the warren after that.

Successful day and a very  happy client, who took more pictures than we did.
We cleared all our nets away and made our way home, back  in the warm.
Hope you enjoyed recounting a successful days ferreting with me.

See you soon happy readers.
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