3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 Subscribe to one of our Airgun titles today click here

Do you know how to dispatch your quarry?

PUBLISHED: 16:02 09 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:02 09 March 2018

This pigeon dropped claenly but are you ready for thise that don't?

This pigeon dropped claenly but are you ready for thise that don't?

Archant

The editor touches upon a tricky subject – ‘coup de grâce’

We know from our surveys that over 80% of you are hunters, or would like to be, a fact that brings me to a tricky subject – the coup de grâce. This is a French phrase for ‘a death blow’, delivered mercifully to end suffering. In other words, to kill our quarry humanely if our shot wasn’t fatal. I believe that any hunter has an inescapable duty to find any shot quarry quickly, put it in the bag to be eaten later, or to dispatch it if we’ve failed to kill it outright, and if you don’t accept the responsibility, then you shouldn’t pull the trigger.

Assuming that we’ve been able to find the quarry animal we’ve shot and that it is not dead, what should we do? There are two trains of thought and I go with the first, most of the time; as I shoot, I watch the pellet strike through the scope and note carefully the animal’s reaction. Then I quickly reload and bring the sights back onto the animal’s kill zone. If a fallen squirrel raises its head, I immediately shoot again. This might sound harsh, but I want to stop the quarry right there and then rather than try to find it if it crawls away. This is also particularly important for quarry that could well harm us if we handle it. Squirrels and rats come to mind.

Go find it

If shooting is not an option and you don’t have a dog to retrieve it for you, you need to go forward and search for yourself. I always reload and apply the safety at this point. It’s possible that an opportunity to dispatch the creature might present itself, so I like to be ready.

If my quarry is a pigeon that I’ve downed, I’ll pick it and then dispatch it with a sharp blow to the head with my priest. This is a small truncheon-like club used specifically for this work. One well-aimed blow to the head will end the bird’s life with little drama and minimal suffering. Birds that I will not handle include the crow and rook that will inflict injury on us if they’re able, just like rats and squirrels.

The final option is to shoot them by sighting down the side of the barrel, but be sure to angle the rifle low, so that any ricochets fly safely away from yourself. Please think through these techniques and ideas before you tackle any quarry. When necessary, you have a duty to deliver your coup de grâce quickly and efficiently.

More from News

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The editor looks at an innovative field bag that might just suit his needs

Read more
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Meet Anglia Tackle & Gun – where you’ll find a huge variety of guns, gear and advice

Read more
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Tim Finley enjoys a jaunt with the Crosman MTR77NP

Read more
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Has the editor found his perfect plinker in the Benjamin Wildfire?

Read more
Thursday, August 30, 2018

Phil continues his series on the essential techniques all hunters need to master

Read more
Thursday, August 30, 2018

The editor has found a ‘legal carry’ folder that’s suits his needs well

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Phill Price looks at a new rifle package from Spanish giants, Gamo

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The editor looks at a lesser known break-barrel from the BSA springer range

Read more
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Mick Garvey celebrates the arrival of the summer weather

Read more
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Every rifle owner needs a work cradle, the editor says

Read more

Subscribe today

Follow Our Titles

Airgun World
Air Gunner

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Latest expert advice