Legal UK Quarry
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A Guide To Legal UK Quarry
This page is a short guide to the different quarry you are legally allowed to hunt in the UK.

Thanks to the lads from Total-Pestcontrol for the pictures I used on this page!

The Black Rat
Rats are one of those animals that have more diseases than we know what to do with. When hunting rats a .177 rifle is usually better as it has a flatter trajectory. When looking for them, look in areas like drains, sewers, under houses and where food is easily available.

Where this is 1 rat there is many. If you find a rat roaming for food, expect more to come. They tend to come out at night more than day, so a good lamping kit may be needed if the area isn't lit well enough. Wear a good pair of wellies or tuck your trousers into your socks because sometimes rats run up your pants!

If you are finding it difficult to get the rats out into the open to get a good shot off, try and bait them out with such things like food scraps and waste. Or if shooting on a farm they will usually feed on the silos or around the pig sheds.

At the end of the day, collect your rats with gloves on! The diseases they carry are nasty. Either burn the dead rats or put them into a large dug hole and cover them up, but I would recommend burning them.
The Crow
These birds are known to have feathers like kevlar armour, so use pointed tipped pellets or the "bullet" shaped ones when dealing with crows. Just so you can get maximum penetration. Many times I have shot a crow with various rounded head pellets and I've watched them bounce off the crow, and the crow has flew away like nothing happened. Try and hit them just under the centre of the chest or of course the head shot.

To find crows you will easily find them in farmers fields, in over grown woodland and often in urban parks. You'll usually find them in pairs feeding, or on their own. If a farmer is ploughing his field however, you will have more crows than you know what to do with. They all feast on the up-turned earth.

The best way to hunt crows is probably by using a hide. Build a good hide in an area where either their nests are, or where they feed. You could try and bait them about 30 yards away from your hide with another dead bird, because the crows will come down and start pecking it's eyes out. Also you could use eggs broke open in a fake nest or a nest you find, just place it on the floor on the edge of a hedgerow, or base of a large tree. Just make sure you put the broken eggs on something like clingfilm so the yoke doesn't run through, and it's within range.

The Ferral & Wood Pigeon
When out for the pigeon they have similar characteristics to crows. You'll find them in woodland, and in farmers fields where food is plentiful. Also in hot weather (when we get it) they will need to drink quite often, so if there is a small lake or water source near, it'll be worth it if you had a look there. July is the optimum time to find the different pigeons.

They are often in small groups just dominating a tree or group of trees, and will tend to have a favourite tree/roof to sit on. So if you can set up a hide with range of that, and get into it without them noticing're laughing! If you are lucky enough to have the sun grace your presence you should have a good number of pigeons to shoot. Just remember to stay out of the sunlight because you'll stick out like a sore thumb.

If you want to encourage them to come to you. Try and use some decoys, but don't go crazy with them and scatter 20 all over a field! Try positioning them carefuly in places like on top fence posts, lofting poles or in trees. You could also try using flappers to bring in birds from further away. You could make use of the first few pigeons you shoot as the decoys, or as the flapper. A flapper is a pigeon placed on the floor, held up with sticks or poles, with its wings spread open and it's head facing in the direction of the wind. With the wind making the dead bird flap around, hence the name flapper.

When you have collected your dead ferrals you have to treat them as you would rats, because these too are ridden with various diseases. However the woodpigeon meat is lovely to cook with.
The Grey Squirrel
I don't really know a great deal about hunting grey squirrels as I have never had the chance to do it. The only information I can present is what I have been told, or picked up along the way. For a start when stalking squirrels you have to have a good sharp eye for detail because these animals are very good at hiding in the trees. The reason they are so hard to spot is beacuse of their fur blending in with the tree bark. When you are sitting looking for them, keep looking for branches moving suddenly, or listen for twigs snapping up high in the trees. They are very quick and if you let them see you, forget it! When you spot one, raise your rifle very slowly and take your shot as quickly as you can, but don't rush it.

You will be able to locate the grey squirrel at such areas like open woodland and park lands. To easily find them in the area you are hunting, try and find oak and beech trees. Also look for where toadstools are growing on broken trees, or on the main trunk of large trees. You will also find them prowling round chestnut trees later in the year too.

When it comes to talking your shot you have to be careful. They have very thick skin on their underside, so if you are looking at them at this side go for the head shot. If you are looking at their back, place the pellet at the base of the neck. This will cause the most damage to their nervous system.

I have read about people cooking them....but I think I'll give them a miss for now!

The Magpie
When it comes to magpie hunting you have to make sure you are covered up from head to toe. They can spot a human lurking like a turd in a swimming pool. What will give you away the most is if your face is revealed. Use a head veil or similar clothing to disfigure the dominant head shape. Gloves would also be a wise piece of kit to use.

When stalking them try to use as much cover as there is available. Whatever you do don't go out into the open unless you have to. A hide is a good approach to shoot the magpie, but stalking them is probably equally as effective. If you want to bait them there is 2 techniques which I prefer. The first is to buy a full size Owl decoy, and place it on a fence post or something similar. Make sure you are hiding well and watch the magpies attack the owl. Another effective way of baiting them is to use frozen chips! Sounds crazy but works better than you would think.

I've never heard of eating magpies....somepeople have said they've tried them, but let's not eh?
The Rabbit
When hunting rabbits you have to remember how clever they are. You have to move very very slowly when approaching them. The slightest movement will scare them off. The minute you see a rabbit, from then on you will have to make every movement with extreme caution. When rabbit hunting I would strongly suggest a .22 rifle. It has been know when using a .177 rifle to penetrate right through the rabbit, and the rabbit to walk away afterwards.

They will usually be found in long grass, where their burrows are near. If you see one feeding expect others to come out and show their face. If you find their warren you are set for the day. Just find a good hide within range and don't let them see you, otherwise they will use alternate exits from their warren, and you'll look like a fool sitting there. If you find an area with quite a few rabbit dropping, this indicates a feeding area and if you sit tight you should see them moving in and out for a feed.

They usually dig in soft sand like soil, and like to run in long grass and are very rarely found in woodland, but I have come across a few. The summer months of the year are the best times to stalk rabbits. Early in the morning just after the sun rises, or late at night is a easy time to find them. Using a lamp at night with a red filter is a very good way of stalking them, because apparently rabbits can't see red! I don't know?

If you plan on taking them home to cook, just make sure you paunch them when out on your shoot, because if you do it in your house, it will stink for a week.