Why do bolting rabbits appear to possess a mysterious ability to unnerve the safest and most experienced of Guns? Is it because you get no warning of whether it will be a rocket-fuelled bolter or one that shuffles casually out of a hole at a snail’s pace, followed by a ferret? Is it down to
the irregular tangents they run at and their low centre of gravity that ensures they can suddenly stop or start and turn on a sixpence?
Perhaps it’s the mentally demanding discipline of staying completely focused on a set of holes, before finally giving in to temptation and making a hasty decision after long periods of inactivity above ground. Or is it that the length of the day takes its toll, particularly if you haven’t eaten or drunk enough? If you’re not careful, your mind can start to play tricks when staying mentally and physically alert waiting for a bolt. You go into a sensory overdrive and think a sudden gust of wind, rolling of leaves or a robin coming down to feed is a rabbit bolting.
Anticipation feeds your adrenalin. You have to be mentally strong as you only have the time it takes a rabbit to get out of your shotgun range — about three to four seconds — to make all of the checks. Only then can you pull the trigger. This is a very quick yet instinctive mental risk-assessment, one that you must get right every time.
Making safe decisions and having the discipline to pull the trigger only once you’re happy, are the cornerstones of success or failure in bagging a bunny or three.