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No snow….

Unlike the rest of Britain, Dumfries and Galloway appears to be avoiding the worst of the snow, but we’re making up for it by having serious sub zero temperatures at night to keep hold of what little dusting we had last week.

The cold is having some odd effects on the game birds and local wildlife.

Large numbers of snipe have gathered together on the farm, and they pass their days crouched around the frozen streams as if they were waiting for something to happen.

They are joined by the occasional golden plover, and the rag tag groups of delicate wading birds look decidedly out of place on the icy moor.

Woodcock also seem to be concentrating their numbers, and one or two regular flightlines are emerging on the farm as the birds begin to establish a routine flying back and forth from their roost sites at dawn and dusk.

They’ll present some excellent opportunities for shooting, but a few more days reconnaissance are needed before I head out with the shotgun.

Despite the finger-numbingly cold conditions up at the farm, the snow has brought with it a major bonus.

At last I can see where the vermin is moving.

I followed fresh stoat tracks with high hopes on Tuesday as they moved towards one of my tunnel traps.

Inspecting the mouth of the trap’s housing, I saw from the tracks that the stoat had peered into it, but instead of stepping inside to meet its maker, he had doubled back and vanished into the dyke ten feet back.

I suppose it’s only a matter of time before he steps in to investigate, but it was frustrating to see how near I had come to taking him out of the picture altogether.

The views expressed on Patrick Laurie’s blog are the author’s and not the views of Shooting Gazette, ShootingUK, IPC Media or its employees.