Thursday, 6 December 2012

If it moves.....

Just got back from walking the Jack Rascal Terrorist across seriously frozen fields. The road outside Chez Hogday was solid ice which set in around 9pm last night. You could tell that from the sound of passing cars and their revving engines and spinning wheels. Generally, the drivers of said vehicles around these parts tend to be newly graduated wankers playing `rally driver` in either their parents car or in some old hacker with a dustbin sized exhaust tailpipe, a plastic fin across the boot lid and an insurance premium that exceeds the value of the vehicle to the power of ten.

I was up at 06 double-O to make the sexydelicious Mrs HD her breakfast of porridge, sliced peaches, Lyles Golden Syrup and a mug of builders tea. I then wrapped up, nipped outside and scraped the ice from the widscreen, side windows and lights of her car, finally starting it up and setting the heating to full before she set off for work. Once the dawn broke I was out with the pooch and striding up the frozen road for a klick before striking out across the wide open spaces.

We noticed a particularly large number of these guys creeping through hedges and across drainage ditches before twigging our presence and then sprinting off into the sunrise. The JRT loves to chase but when these guys change into second, with 3 more gears to go, and he realises he's in overdrive with nothing left to draw on, he stops. JRT's are always dotty but rarely stupid. Then we heard the guns, at least six, probably a dozen, banging away about quarter of a mile distant, beyond a small copse, accompanied by a chorus of canine yelps. There was a hare shoot in progress. The JRT heard all of the aforementioned but refused to translate the barking for me. He likes to keep some things a secret. I think it gives him a sense of power and control over me.

I used to rough shoot, I used to clay shoot, I used to wildfowl. One thing I never did was shoot handguns in a gun club, before handguns were banned, as I felt no need. I was kept well trained in small arms by the police and when you've been trained to shoot at human beings, knowing that your point of aim and the weapons you were using could be terminally detrimental to their vital organs and then trained for the far more difficult task of assessing when not to, you tended to lose the desire to do things, like paintballing, for fun. I also lost my desire to hunt. It happened almost overnight. I just decided one day that it was over for me. I sold my two remaining shotguns, a Savage Stevens pump action and a Greener GP with its beautiful Martini action. I bought a decent camera and started photographing wildlife. My Labrador retriever became a non-working dog overnight. He took to his new life like a Labrador takes to water.

I went on a hare shoot once. My former in-laws were all rustics working in agriculture, more agri than culture. We turned up at the shoot and one of my brother in laws friends looked at me and said, "Is he safe"? He was assured I was. Later that morning this rustic was banging away with a Remington 1100 semi automatic shotgun (very `sporting`) at a jinking hare that was running straight at the line of guns. Safety rules dictated that one stops shooting when it runs towards the gunline but young Clem's adrenaline was up. He was swinging his aim towards me and I heard, rather than saw, his last shot as I dived to the deck and covered my head. Someone had a quiet word with him and he looked a little sheepish. If he'd looked a little hare'ish I'd have considered a snap shot in his general direction.

I learned that country types may have a born right to shoot on their land but they don't have the born skill to do so, that comes with training and experience. However, what is most worrying is that his type always think they're so bloody good with a shotgun.


Blue Eyes said...

I'm such a soft city boy. The first time I fired a real gun I was put off for life. It was only an AK...

Hogdayafternoon said...

Blue: Of course, you is from da sarf Lundun massif right. Respec for da AK man

Blue Eyes said...

Yes, the Sarf London Back-Packing in Cambodia Massive :-D

Once I'd done with the AK I was offered a grenade launcher. At that point I politely declined and begged my motorbike taxi chap to take me to a place of relative sanity.

sparkflash said...

Rabbits, pheasants, partridge and grouse have all seemed fair-game, but I must confess to a soft-lad aversion to shooting hare - there's something a little too magical about them. The mad bastards.

BillB said...

Years ago when I was stationed in Germany, on a hilltop overlooking the NATO airbase at Ramstein, I had on occasion guard duty at the gate of the old radar base.

Towards the evening these German hares would come up to look us over.

Those suckers were BIG.

I swear - the tops of their ears seemed 3' off the ground.

And here I had a .45 - it was tempting but then I was wondering what a 230 grain .45 ACP would do to a rabbit ;-)

Not to mention the Army's insistence of checking out 7 rds and coming back with 7 rounds - unless you had a very good excuse - paperwork to follow.

BTW on taking the JRT out for a walk - my German Spitz, a.k.a. Mr. Tobus, is so used to going to the dog park yesterday it is pouring rain, I am trudging the mile - getting soaked, just so the dog can run in the mud for a few moments. I am wondering "who is the master of whom?"

(Now that I can't send you my Viagra ads I guess I owed you a rabbit story) ;-)

Trobairitz said...

Here across the pond where pretty much any gun is legal, you can't enjoy the countryside anymore. People are off shooting for no reason, just to make noise. Well that and there are a lot of hunters around.

My mom was an avid hunter. I don't know how she did it. Although I've done target shooting, there is no way I could kill a cute and fuzzy bunny.

Dave Pie-n-Mash said...

Breakfast in bed... warm up the car... walk the dog. Santa will definitely have you on his Good Boy list !!
As for the clown who "looked a little sheepish" he should have been apologising profusely I think?
I have to admit to being a little bit of a gun lover. I own a Glock 17, a Glock 26 and a Kel-Tek 2000 rifle that takes a Glock 9mm magazine. All fine guns that each can be purchased for less than half the price of my annual cable TV bill (a fact that, as an Englishman, I will always be amazed at).
Its not that I want to shoot anything with a pulse, but I very much enjoy target shooting. I have taken a handful of classes on gun safety, gun maintenance and usage and although not fit to lick your boots HD when it comes to handling a firearm, one thing I know very well is that Im the biggest danger and not the gun. Initially, when I bought my first gun, I had trouble coming to terms with having a gun in the house so I tried to locker it at a gun club. I was shocked to learn that here in Minnesota it is illegal to do so as the weapon must be located at the address you are registered at. I find that to be a little strange to say the least. As much as I like my guns, I am uneasy abut having them in the house and with people knowing I have them and so the guns remain locked in a gun safe that cost way more than the total price of my collection (another thing that amazes this poor Limey).
But still, I love shooting the crap out of things and doubt I will ever stop loving it.
Blue Eyes - where you really offered a chance at a grenade launcher or are you kidding? Now there's something I'd like to have tried.
Sorry - didnt mean to post such a long message!

TonyF said...

Not fired a weapon since demob. Was a good shot with the old SLR (L1A1). A good tool in the right hands. I know people complained that ours were not fully auto, but to fire one on full auto, unless you were built like a brick outhouse, any round after the second would only scare low flying ac. Or someone seven miles down range. A large Regiment Gentleman (ok, Rock Ape)demonstrated this effect. We were mightily impressed.
As a youngster, we used 12bores for anti vermin purposes. Until we found that the local pubs payed good money for rabbits or pigeons that were not full of lead. Fell back to air rifles and became a good shot.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Spark`: I didn't turn ALF anti, I've seen them do far more damage to wildlife than good.

Bill: Big suckers indeed, and mysterious and slightly mad. (I don't mind the viagra, its the begging letters I want to stop)

Troubairitz: Big rifles can fire a bullet for miles! That's what worries me, despite the wild odds.

Dave P&M: Always welcome to write. Skill at arms is a great hobby and our tradition (longbow practice on village greens - the green in Alton, Hampshire, is still known as, "The Butts") goes back centuries. I'd love to take it up now its not part of my job, but Blair banned everything I'd want to shoot, handguns. I've had old folks with zimmer frames shooting an MP5 accurately at 50 yards in the police range, but a handgun takes serious skill. Keep it up! BTW, if you get that Kel Tec to fire full auto, you have a nice sub machine gun! What kind of strange neighbours do you have up there? Do you live near Brainerd by any chance???

TonyF: I fired a 7.62 FAL with the Flint Police Dept (Michigan). You can keep it in target via short bursts of 3!

simple lady said...

Canadian farm girl..every year the idiots from the city gather up their guns and go on that hunting adventure into the wilds.

The wonderful Americans that fly in for hunting season, most go further North but not everyone does.

Never considered my farm (360 acres at the time) to be someone elses wilds. It being posted and all.

The headlines usually read:

Farmers paint COW on the sides of animals to prevent continued "mistaken identity".
This of course didn't help as farm tractors, almost every road sign you come across and even some building take fire during stupid season.

When your out in the woods, on your own property, riding a sorrel horse, with 4 dogs and idiots starts shooting nearby - you wish you had a bullet proof vest, along with the horse and the dogs.

Unfortunately there were no "ability" tests for those who decided they wanted to buy a weapon and partake of the annual hunting ritual...not with weapon or eyesight. Register it and the ammo but proficiency test at the time was nil.

Don't get me wrong, I am a farm girl. I was raised with .303 and .22 about the house, they were necessary. Bear, coyotes, bobcats, wolves and rabid skunks were a few of the critters that you might encounter on the farm. Not to mention if there is an accident and something needs to be put down.

My respect for weapons and the damage they do makes them far more than toys that any silly sausage should be playing with.

Some people look at them and think, that's awesome.

Ever see a van full of drunk people take out a bunch of guns and start shooting at some tree?

Lived near an area behind the military base that seemed to invite that kind of behaviour.

Used to let the air out of tires of people that crawled through the fence onto our property right beside the signs saying no hunting, no trespassing.

Then we would put the animals in the barn and watch the deer hop the fence behind the barn into the hay mow.

It is amusing to hear stories of someone putting the rifle down to take a dump and as they are squatting a deer strolls up..looks at em and walks away.

I knew people that respected weapons, you touch one of theirs you risked losing your fingers.

They were trained, able, and kept their weapon collections so secure that to get at em you needed to break into a secure room and then through locked cases, and gun locks.

I lost my fascination for weapons when I saw a hunter mess up trying to take down an animal and 7 shots later it was still suffering.

That was before a friend and co worker was murdered, by shotgun through the back.

It was not the weapon's fault, it was the user.

The user thought that weapon was cool.

My friend never saw his baby daughter born.

So when I hear people go on about how cool guns are, I see the photos of my friend that the DA dropped in court.

Afraid I do not think they are so awesome.

They are one of the least respected and most dangerous tools that man has access to.

Dave Pie-n-Mash said...

Hi HD. I live in Saint Paul, in a neighbourhood called Como Park. I have visited Brainerd, but it's a bit of a shlep. It's a popular place to own a vacation cabin - but I can't afford it!

As for what sort of neighbours I have, Como Park is a decent lower middle class area and it's 99.9% peaceful and safe here. Safer than I ever experienced in London.
But burglaries are on the rise and typically burglars are looking for guns they can sell on afterwards. Home invasions seem to be becoming popular too but to be frank it's not rife. Although I believe in being able to protect one's own life - especially in your own home, I think, to be honest, I know my limitations and I think maybe I am a coward and wouldn't have the courage to shoot someone. So its for all these reasons I am cautious about guns in my home.

I have a neighbour who took in his nephew after he got out of jail for burglary. I caught him at the entrance to my garage one day looking shifty and I marked his card for him, just in case he was thinking of doing something un-neighbourly. He never burgled my place but he did burgle the homes of two other neighbours. He got caught and did more jail time for it. My neighbour is still there, and I still don't like him. He's from Chicago and therefore thinks he's a tough guy and it sticks in his throat that I am not quite the softie he first thought. He grudgingly now has an appreciation for boys who grew up in 'Nam. That's Dage'Nham in case you're wondering:)

But at least his nephew has never been seen again.

Anonymous said...

Much the same happened to me Hoggie - one minute I was beading in on a magnificent hare, the next only shooting at targets (and the odd human - no qualms there). I have a lab these days and he doesn't take to water - the last one would try to lift manhole covers to get at the stuff and would have taken swimming lessons down at the sewage dump.

JuliaM said...

"However, what is most worrying is that his type always think they're so bloody good with a shotgun. "

Didn't think you had to be good with a shotgun. Just close... ;)

Justthisguy said...

Yeah, well, when you get right down to it, handguns are designed and intended for shooting people.

I keep a revolver. I intend using it (God forbid) only for shooting BAD people.

That aside, it is fun to shoot at paper targets with the thing.

Justthisguy said...

I just left a comment here,

Google made it disappear,

Nobody gives a shit.

You can't help us with a Writ.

powdergirl said...

Hi HD!
Just popping into catch up on your inimitable stories and to wish you and the Missus SD a fantastic twenty-ought-thirteen. May all the very best things in the world surround you and yours.
(pretty anticlimactic with that whole Mayan calender thingy, innit?)

Hogdayafternoon said...

Belated thanks for all the comments. Thanks Simple Lady - very interesting comments. Chip in anytime.
PG: All good things to you and yours too.