The Jolly boys tackled a hedgerow planted in the 1800s, which was housing rabbits doing a lot of damage – this was industrial ferreting.
Knowing your quarry’s behaviour always brings home more bunnies, and the stop-nets through the ancient hedgerow between warrens caught out every rabbit that tried to escape.
The Jolly boys worked systematically and, after back-filling the holes we had dug, we started on the adjacent hedge. This offered fewer warrens, but as my dog, Bella, was now replacing the tired Joe, her mark was born to be rewarded.
The rabbits in this trackside hedgeline had different ideas. Bolting like thunder, they were almost intent on running around rather than straight down the hedge into our nets. Out came the spades again, but this time the digs were a little deeper. I decided to enter more ferrets to force the rabbits’ hand, and this tactic worked a treat.
Once above, Bella herded them into the nets, but not before demonstrating how strong her drive is. One rabbit decided to run around the inside of the hedge, but Bella followed it, not around the hedge on the nice short grass, but directly through it among the brash and brush. To her credit, she caught her rabbit and almost winked as she relinquished her prize.
We ended the day with more than 20 rabbits. Not the greatest bag but I am confident we left nothing behind to damage the fields. Out of all of those rabbits, more than half were buck rabbits, which is an effective way of breaking the rabbits’ breeding cycle.