Looking back over the last two weeks I can say that this has been the worst fortnight’s shooting of the year. First – as per the last post, we had a night of thick fog, followed by three nights of heavy rain. After that I did manage to get out, but blanked.
The Saturday night I drove over to an ornamental gardens where the owner was distraught about losing so many of her exotic birds – mostly these were various rare ducks and geese, but what really upset her was the loss of her treasured black swans. Sadly, the local farmers – all of whom are fox hounds people, pretty well laughed at her. I was therefore asked to visit. To cut a long story short, I called a large old dog fox out of the gardens and put a bullet in it.
Since then, however, I’ve not shot a thing. Granted, I lost three evenings to rain, and stayed in one night, but I’ve worked really hard on the five nights I have been out, and not seen hide nor hair of a fox.
I have to admit that I sacked it and went home early last night, possibly the first time I’ve ever done so. The sky was completely clear, which meant the temperature was very, very low and the moon very, very bright.
The ground was so covered in sheets of ice that it was like walking over panes of glass; covert movement was simply impossible. This, in turn, meant that you had to move even more slowly than usual, so almost no body heat was being generated. Within minutes my fingers – under an inner pair of cotton gloves which were then topped-off with a pair of new Sealskinz, had turned to blocks of ice.
Although there were quite a few bunnies about, there wasn’t the slightest sign of any foxes, unless you count the one call I briefly heard about a mile down the valley.
In the end I realised that my trip was utterly futile, so I headed home. Even that journey through the back lanes wasn’t easy – there was black ice all over the place and to make matters worse, fog started developing in thick patches. Fortunately, I was home in time to watch Part 1 of the excellent Snow Wolves documentary!