The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

The effectiveness of ferrets

Ever since I started ferreting, I have been wondering what else my ferrets would be able to bolt besides rabbits.

I?ve read stories of little owls, rats and fox cubs coming charging out from the safety of a rabbit hole when they feel threatened, but always took most of these tales with a pinch of salt.

Of course, it makes sense that other animals would use rabbit warrens, and an old warren must be made up of many feet of tunnel that are no longer being used by the original architects.

Fox cubs are distributed across rabbit warrens during the summer, but since ferreting is essentially a winter sport, it is hard to imagine a ferret coming across an adult fox which has squeezed its way into a warren and not left any indication that it was in there, either through a larger spoil heap or the distinctive smell.

On the whole, I was hoping that my ferrets might add some variety to my excursions by bolting unexpected animals from rabbit warrens, but I didn?t exactly expect it to happen as a matter of routine.

While ferreting in the last half hour of light last Saturday, some friends and I erected the new long-net around a large warren at the base of an old blackthorn tree.

The ferret went in, but the wind was picking up and it was almost impossible to hear if he was working effectively.

Suddenly, a tiny weasel burst from a hole directly opposite me and tumbled like a dead leaf under the long-net and away into a nettle patch.

So there it is ? after six weeks of working ferrets, I am now convinced that carnivores share warrens with rabbits, although given how small this weasel was, I would imagine that it would probably struggle to do much harm to its landlords.

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.