• by steven light
  • 18 Aug, 2017

Controlling Rabbits 

rabbit problem
Rabbit shooting at night
So we embarked on a new job, rabbit control by shooting at night . It's not everyone's cup of tea so for that I'm sorry but, it's about many more factors than just killing rabbits . a local golf course has an oversized rabbit population and needs help to lower the numbers.
The rabbits are causing damage to the greens by digging and the unsightly view of large amounts of rabbit droppings.
It started with a discussion with the head greenkeeper to make sure we all had the correct understanding of what was going to happen and come up with a plan. We come to the conclusion to control the rabbit numbers rather than dispatch all in sight. At the end of the day, they are pests in large numbers.
Rabbits can get to these large number quickly which is why we at shire pest solutions offer bespoke solutions to your problem. Some people want to control the numbers (the best way in our view) and others wish to get them off their land altogether be it by trapping, ferreting, shooting, or proofing. Anyway we now had the go ahead for night shooting (only acceptable time on a golf course due to human traffic) although many other methods like live trapping are currently being deployed we believe that at night time when the rabbits feel safe to leave the warren in numbers, is the best time to do a full recon of the situation. We decided on a day and it was sorted.
Night time comes and the shire pest solutions team met up in the car park and come up with a recon plan, we phone the police to let them know what's happening and to get a reference number. This is something any responsible shooter should do, along with getting the written permission from the correct person.
We put our written shooting permissions in our pockets and studied the map. We have only trapped this place previously in certain safe areas away from the public, this was to stop damage or theft to our live catch traps and to stop any unnecessary suffering to any rabbits the public may come across in our traps.
So with all the knowledge of the large rabbit problems in certain areas that we knew of our game plan set, we decided that if we have issues that bad we should also take the guns on the recon.

The guns chosen in this case were to cover all bases and to allow for the safest shot.
We used three different Guns all are customised and included upgraded infra red units:
Hatsan .22 mod55s air rifle with a Tasco scope and a scope mounted lamp.
m&p 15/22 22 rimfire plus (made by Smith and Wesson) with a pulsar sight.
rabbit shooting
m&p 15/22 22 rimfire
Browning T bolt .17 hmr with Swarovski 6x43 sight

Browning T bolt 17hmr with Swarovski 6x43 sight
We started in the car park after the game plan and straight away we spotted six rabbits against the hedgerow, the back stop was perfect for the shots and We ended up with three from the off. In this area, the rabbits are very wary of anything so this as a good result. Off we went to explore area two. Up the track and we see movement we scan the fields through the scopes and see movement but as we scan we notice a cat stalking the rabbits here, this isn't going to present a safe shot so we leave this area for the night. On to area three. We are approaching area three and spot activity straight away (at night time I can only describe it as looking forward and seeing a change in the darkness) so we check with the photon and discovered a good amount of activity. The green keeper knows his rabbit problem and he wasn't wrong. With the distance of this which ranged from 100/200 meters, the air rifle wasn't the correct choice so we set up with the 22 rimfire and 17hmr and started to scope the area. We noticed 23 rabbits in the open but we settled on a target of six. Don't forget this is only a recon and we wanted to keep disturbance as minimal as possible to get as much info as we could. we actually managed 4 in area three and if we could afford to spend the time to let them settle it may have been triple that easy.
On to area 4, all I can say is we have trapped this previously with success but tonight it produced nothing for shooting so we must be doing something right but this was a long walk for nothing in the dark.
Next, we reached area 5, this was active also with 13 rabbits in this area within our field of view. By this time the rain had slowly started so we decided this would be the last area for the night. Three of these rabbits presented unsafe shots so it was down to the other ten, they seemed skittish/nervous so we would only shoot any rabbit that presented a safe shot. A safe shot includes a safe backstop for the bullet to hit if it went through the target or missed the target it lands in a safe place as well. the grand total for area five was 7 out of 8 shots so not as nervous as first thought, once we tried to get the cross hair on another they wouldn't sit still and the others were back in the hedge row and we wouldn't risk a shot in this type of situation.
Now it's back to the car park to make the guns safe, pack everything away safely for the journey home and say our good buys.

I wouldn't say that's bad at all for 3 hours last night on a recon and our first time in the dark on this job.

All in all a good night. we managed to get a good idea of over half the land to control and ended with a good result.
My Advice:
Even when you personally know the job it looks very different at night and it increases the danger of what you are doing so if embarking on a night shoot or any night job, I would advise doing a weaponless recon the night before. This is to get your bearings/set up, your shooting positions, approach to those positions etc this is on top of the legalities of gaining the correct permission, having the correct insurance, and hitting what you can say you can hit.

Hopefully, the second part of this blog and the second half we didn't get to recon will be added in due course.

We wish all our loyal readers all the best and any questions then get in touch.
Having problems with Rabbits?  
Then give us a call on 07709323095 or get in touch with us here
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