When preparing to ferret, ensure you have all of your ferreting equipment in your truck. You’ll need spades, a ferret finder and collars, a probe, nets, food for you and drink for you and your ferrets, your ferrets and dogs, clearance tools such as film, cutters, loppers and secateurs.
Once on the warren, quickly assess it and decide in which manner you are going to tackle it, and with which ferrets — do you need a quick, nippy team of jills or the more bullheaded, yet consistent, hobs?
Once settled on a plan of action, lay your nets precisely and quietly, as there is nothing worse than watching a rabbit escape from a sloppily laid net. Take your time and don’t enter the ferrets until you are happy that all avenues of escape have been covered by your ferreting equipment.
You must decide whether you should lay scores of purse nets, or a few stop nets though a hedge to curtail the escaping heroics of rabbits hugging the hedgerow.
If ferreting solo, ensure you can keep track of the ferrets if moving above ground. I tend to use white or light-coloured ferrets as they are easier to spot in this situation.
Fit your ferret with a ferret finder and test it is turned on and working, especially the new Mk3M kit. In a small warren, enter the ferret at one end, but on larger workings, enter more ferrets sporadically and evenly to cover the most ground.
The most common fault with modern-day ferreters, especially those new to it and using a ferret finder, is to lose patience quickly and try to locate a moving ferret, but resist the urge to start trampling over the warren. You must let the ferret do what the ferret does best. You will soon start to learn when things have turned sour.
When your patience has been rewarded and a rabbit has bolted into a purse or long net, kill it in the net. The despatch must be swift, efficient, humane and effective. Once dead, remove from the net, hang up on a game carrier and store in a cool, shady spot. After the nerves have stopped, paunch the rabbit to avoid any unwanted contamination of the meat. In warmer weather you may want to place a hessian sack or one of the deer carcase mesh sacks around your carrier to deter flies.