A 'wheelie' clever way to hunt
PUBLISHED: 14:57 03 April 2019
Reader, David Elliot-Smith, has invented a ‘wheelie’ clever hunting hide
I have just returned from a session on the farm, shooting from the Binerminator – a hide that I made from a wheelie bin. My first job of the day was to get my dive bottle filled at my local gun store and then I returned home to prepare my pair of .22 FX Wildcats for use later that day. I topped up both rifles to 230bar, checked and filled two magazines with my trusted JSB pellets, and then packed my rucksack with; a red LED headtorch with spare batteries, gloves, balaclava, laser rangefinder, binoculars, penknife, four distance marker pegs, and several loops of Paracord, for securing the legs of any rabbits I take.
I always carry pellets in a plastic tub, after giving them a roll around on kitchen paper, and several good drops of gun oil once in the tub, which is much quieter than the tin, and I’ve never had any problems with accuracy when using a lightly oiled pellet.
Also in the day sack was a bottle of water, a flask of tea, and two apples, should I get peckish.
By lunchtime, I was happy that I was good to go, and arrived at the farm at 14.45. The first job was to carry out a 30-metre zero check on both rifles; the day-time rifle was fitted with my preferred MTC Mamba Lite 4-16 scope, mounted on a Picatinny rail, and the night-time one with a Yukon night sight. I always use one of the barns for my zero shots because there is no wind, and the barn is exactly 35 metres long, so it’s perfect for my needs.
I use a large slab of beech as my backstop, with a 3ft square piece of flat, white plastic sheet in front of it, on which I draw a couple of 1cm circles – a plain circle for the day sight, and a blacked-out circle for the Yukon because it picks up the blackness better. Once I’ve finished my session, I just patch up the plastic with some white Gaffa tape – exactly as we used to do on our military ranges all those years ago.
I always take one of the AA lithium batteries out of my Yukon, to prevent them becoming discharged. I had a pair go dead on me once, so by removing one battery, I know that the sight has not been left on my mistake. I replaced the second battery, and started my zeroing by taking two shots with each rifle, but no more were needed – if anything, the Yukon was shooting about 3mm high, but I was more than happy with that. There was a good chance that anything sitting 30 metres away from me tonight, would be missing breakfast!
I collected the rest of my kit from the van and set off to the field where my wheelie-bin hide had been sitting for three weeks, and as I approached, I realised that the wind was totally in the wrong direction for the night’s shoot. Moving the bin around 180º was a big no-no because I would be facing the farmhouse, so I just pulled it out from the hedgeline, some 20 metres into the field, which I hoped would take any scent from me across open ground, and not along the fence line, where the rabbits were.
I dropped off my rifles and bag, and took out my rangefinder and four marker pegs, which are a godsend when shooting at night because they give me the range distance to target, that otherwise can’t be guessed.
They are just four pieces of one-inch wide, aluminium strip, painted matte black, except for the top two inches, which I have fitted with reflective dots; two dots = 20 metres, three dots = 30 metres, and so on up to 50 metres. They are great for daytime use too, but once the IR lamp hits them at night, it’s easy to work out holdover or holdunder if needed. If you are into night shooting, make some up for yourself, and give them a go.
Ready for action!
Now my markers were out, it was time to make ready my Binerminator hide. This is a quick job of opening the entrance hatch on the side, removing the shooting hatch from its moorings, and sliding the seat into position. Once I’d brought in my bag and positioned both rifles at the front, I shut the entrance door, and I was ready for action.
It was now 15.45, and in the past, I had seen the first hungry rabbit emerge from the disused railway line at around 16.15, so I had time to enjoy a slurp of tea, and get myself comfortable.
Sure enough, although it was around 10 minutes late, the first rabbit showed along the skyline of the crest of the railway bank, and from then on, it was just a matter of minutes before it popped out into the field, right next to my marker at 30 metres –what-a-mistaka-da-maka, as they probably don’t say in Italy!
I opted for the daytime rifle because there was just enough light to see my target clearly – if I wind back the zoom to halfway. Wallop! went the JSB, completing a perfect head shot.
Once he was down, I kept an eye out for Mr. Fox. On a previous visit, I witnessed a fox patrol along the railway line, I knew it was a fox because their eyes are different to rabbits, and the crafty fella thought he would nick my downed rabbit! He would have, too, if I hadn’t shouted at him and then jumped out of the bin, just in time to retrieve my kill.
With number one rabbit in full sight from where I was, I was happy to leave it there, and have a celebration cuppa, whilst looking and listening for movement along the bank. It just got too dark about 20 minutes later, though, so I swapped rifles, and started to run the IR lamp along the hedge line, looking for tell-tale glows from eyeballs. There were about five rabbits running around some 70 metres away, so I was happy that they were okay with me being there, and not spooked by smell or sound. That’s the only downside of my bin hide; I have to be very conscious of noise and banging around in there – after all, it’s just a big bass drum with a bloke inside! So, slow movements, and lots of padding on edges, seems to be the way to go when using the shooting door at the side of the bin.
Another ten minutes elapsed, and whilst scanning the hedgeline, and passing the peg with three dots on once again, I noticed two extra little lights, side by side this time, and not in the triangle shape of my marker peg. Yes, it was my next visitor, sitting there eating quite happily, just a few feet away from rabbit number one. Once the red cross of my Yukon was on target, I slipped the shot, and following a few back flips, it was alongside the other one in the grass.
Great stuff, and time to finish off my flask. Time was knocking on, and I had about another 30 minutes of shooting time before I needed to pack up and secure the gates on the farm before leaving the land. As soon as I’d replaced the flask into my bag, I scanned the hedge once again, and there between the 30- and 40-metre pegs, was rabbit number three. Once again, another JSB sent it horizontal, so I squared my stuff away, opened the door, and stepped out into the night. It had started to drizzle by now, I’d been unaware whilst sitting in my bin – it was warm in there, too!
Once I had the pegs in my bag, I put the three rabbits on the roof of the bin, and walked back to the van, through the farm with both rifles and bag. After locking the rifles in the van, I went back, this time with a white light torch, to collect the rabbits from the bin lid, and what did I see on my way across the field? A pair of eyes close together that belonged to Mr. Fox and he was not going to budge. I walked straight at him with the light reflecting off his eyes, and he held his ground right up to the last point, before running off. I don’t know about being crafty, but they are gutsy, for sure. I collected the rabbits and headed back to the van, whilst closing up behind me as I went. So, another successful afternoon’s hunting has provided my wife with a few rabbits to make our number one choice – Rabbit Chowder. Thank you, Rosie Barham, for your recipe – it’s the tops!