Stalking

Stalking is the only thing that will really allow you to become good at hunting. No matter how accurate you are, shooting accurately with an (12 ft lbs) air rifle at ranges longer than 45 odd metres is extremely difficult/ impossible, so you must get closer to your target. How?-- by stalking. Part of the secret of stalking is camouflage- not just the clothing, but moving so that you blend in. For this reason, always walk slowly and don't make sudden movements when quarry is in the area, wear cammo clothing if you have it (including gloves and cap) and put dark bars of cammo paint on your face. Human hands and faces are pink / white- for this reason, squirrels and birds have come to associate moving patches of pink and upraised patches of pink (upturned faces) as threatening, so make sure that your hands and face are as obscured as possible, and don't hang around staring into trees! Be quiet, too- if you hunt in pairs or groups, don't talk to your companions except when essential. Be quiet when closing car doors before you enter your shoot. Rest assured that rabbits and other wild creatures will know this sound and be wary of it. Even young animals will be basically wary of any loud noises such as this.  

When creeping up on your target, always approach from downwind. Even if your quarry cannot smell you, there may well be other creatures in the area that can, and will stampede, scaring off your target. Be wary of pigeons in trees, especially at night. These are hard to spot, especially in thick vegetations, and when alerted, fly off with huge noise of wings and cracking of branches. This will alert other animals in the area. Before you put all your weight down, make sure that there are no dead twigs or leaves under your feet that will crunch or crackle when you put the rest of your weight down. If stalking through dry leaves, quietly and SLOWLY brush clear patches for your feet with your feet. (Trainers are best for this, but obviously not bright coloured ones. With good camouflage and not too much movement, a bird may believe that you are a tree- if you are wearing bright orange Nikes, this is less likely!)

Again, stalking is all about practice. At first, you are bound to be disappointed- you set foot in one side of a wood, and all game leaves via the other side! (or so it will seem). Trust me, with practice and an understanding of the areas you hunt in, you will improve. In time, you will recognise the inevitable moments when your target becomes spooked, and stop moving, blending into the background. The rabbit relaxes again, and on you go, closer and closer until finally you are within a safe range, and your finger can caress the trigger...  

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Do you have any hunting tips to share, or hunting stories? Mail me them, and I will put them on. Disagree with anything I've said? Mail me, and I will argue with you! Your feedback is appreciated...