Ask the experts: How to improve your fieldcraft

I consider my stalking technique to be pretty good but I’m struggling to creep within range of the rabbits on one of my permissions. How can I get to grips with these crafty conies?

Our expert says…

Stalking within range of rabbits can be extremely difficult, especially when frequent shooting pressure has put them on edge. The best way to overcome the problem is to abandon mobile hunting tactics altogether and set up an ambush. This static approach almost completely eliminates the movement and noise that’s alerting rabbits to your presence, and gives you the added advantage of taking rested shots from the prone position.

Look for active burrows with fresh excavations

Look for the places where rabbits are most active – areas where their excavations and droppings are most evident – and pick a spot that’ll put you comfortably within range when they venture out to feed. Ideally, it’ll be downwind of the bunnies so your scent will be carried well away from their nostrils.

Although some shooters like to sit behind a blind, I don’t usually bother with a hide. Instead, I sprawl out on my belly to keep myself away from the skyline, and will often put on a head net for improved concealment. Shooting prone also means that you can shoot from the support of a bipod, which, with practice, can significantly increase your effective range in still conditions.

During the warmer months I like to get into position an hour or so before nightfall and pick off rabbits as they emerge to feed at dusk. However, don’t get up and retrieve rabbits as soon as you shoot them, as the disturbance caused by tramping close to the warren will put others on edge – just leave them where they drop, ready for collection at the end of the session.

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