Hunting Rabbits using Ferrets
Every rabbit'er knows about ferreting for rabbits. Its one of the core methods for hunting rabbits because its used in so many different ways. From falconry to shooting. In essence, its using a ferret to clear holes of rabbits so they can be killed. This can involve nets, guns, dogs and even flacons.
Im not trying to call you stupid here, but you'll need a ferret. A pet ferret is really common nowadays and its easy to buy them for a fairly good price. But its also very possible to pick up ferrets off other ferret owners who haven't controlled their breeding. Its also worth trying an animal shelter, they are often inflexed with unwanted newborns.
You'll also need a ferret finder.
In short, its a tracker and a collar that makes finding your little friend underground a breeze. Its a 100% must have bit of ferreting equipment. Without it you'll be putting your animal at risk each time you put it underground and there's no reason to not use a finder!
Next up you'll need a spade. Well there's no point in tracking them underground if you cant dig them up is there? You want a nice steady ferreting spade. It has to be light enough for you to carry around but strong enough for digging hard ground. You'll often have to break tree roots so a sharp edge wont go amiss. Yet again, a must
For hunting rabbits.
If you plan on hunting rabbits without the help of a gun, dog or bird you'll need nets. You can of course use
, but most people who go ferreting for rabbit use purse nets. These are small, meshed nets with a 'guide line'. This guide line is what makes the net purse around what ever hits it. For a good trip out you'll need atleast 20 of these, but you should buy depending on how many holes are in each warren.
How its Done
Hunting rabbits with ferrets sounds so simple. Just slap the ferret in a warren that's covered in nets and wait for the easy kill. But im glad to say, its not. Its a great spot that will test your skill, speed and focus.
The first step is to find some hunting grounds. You need a area where you can easily get to, holes that are under thorny hedges and such will be much harder to net. Then get the land owners permission and your away. Tell the land owner what your up to in detail, just to avoid any problems later.
Get your self ready to start hunting. Prep your guns, ready your dogs or do what ever it is you need to do. Get your ferret collars on and check they are working. Find your holes and start hunting rabbits! If your not planning on using nets, skip the next two paragraphs.
Netting the holes is simple but you need to be careful. A badly placed net is useless and you can forget all about hunting rabbits if you cant get it right. You need the guide string to go around the hole fully. If its not then there's a good chance the bunny will just hit the mesh and it wont close on them. Also make sure the peg is firmly in the ground or you can simply watch the net fly away.
While the ferret is hunting rabbits underground you need to stand ready. They will hit the net at high speed and you'll only have a few seconds to grab them before they work their way out of the net. They will wiggle, kick and even chew their way out, so make sure your on the ball and quick! Its also important you replace a net as soon as the rabbit hits it, or you risk losing the next one.
Working the Ferret
When your ready, place the ferret in. If its the first time the ferret has been worked there's a good chance it wont understand at first. It'll be experiencing a lot of new smells and sights so don't rush it. Once it gets going the chances are it will know exactly what's going on, they where born to hunt this way!
It'll look around all the routes and paths in the warren until it sees its prey. It'll lock onto that rabbit and chase it until losing it. Hopefully, it'll lose it out of the hole! If your ferret pops up at any point take it out and try it in a different hole until you have tried them all. As you go hunting for rabbits more you'll get a feel of when there's no rabbits in a set of holes and when and where to stick them back in.
Now of course it never goes that smoothly. Some times the rabbit will run to a dead end and be blocked in by the ferret. This is where the ferret finder comes into play. If you have been waiting a while use the tracker to carefully scan across the tops of the holes. Narrow the signal down as much as you can until your happy you have it in just the right spot.
If you find that you cant move the tracker off of one spot then the range setting on the tracker will give you an idea of depth. Then comes the fun bit, the dig. Sadly I cant give you any advice to make this easy, its a grind and always will be. Just dig away checking with the tracker every so often (to make sure its still there) until your spade breaks into the tunnel.
A lot of first time ferreters are worried that they will hit the ferret with the spade once they break into the tunnel. I have never seen this happen and I have seen hundreds of digs. Iv never even heard of this happening, so you have nothing to worry about. Well, other then the ferret biting you when your reach into pull out the rabbit...
Other Pages You Might Find Useful:
• How to kill rabbits Humanly and Quickly
• Using Ferrets and Shotguns
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