Rabbits, rabbits everywhere! Possible the biggest and most damaging pest in Europe, rabbits are a massive pain to all the farmers, crop owners and tax payers. They dig up fields, chew on crops and kill trees by stripping bark.
This is where ferrets come in. They have been used for years in the farming and controlling of rabbits and ferretinghas become a common past time for a lot of hunters and county men.
Ferreting uses all the natural instincts of the ferret and some specially designed nets. The rabbit holes are covered with ‘purse nets’. These will close around the rabbits and are held in place with a peg in the ground. The ferret then enters the warren of holes and the hunt begins!
As ferrets like to get their nose into every corner of every place they can, they will run around the warren until they see a rabbit and give chase. When a ferret is used like this for the first time its never to sure, but as soon as it sees the rabbit its knows just what to do.
The rabbits will run out of the hole into the net, then its up to the men above ground to catch it. It might sound easy, but the hunters will only have a few seconds before the rabbit manages to kick its way out of the net. Once caught the rabbit is quickly killed and the net replaced, in case another comes out.
Its not always as simple though. Some rabbits will curl up underground and wait for the ferret to give up. Now if you know ferrets, you know that isn’t likely! The hunters will use a device called a ‘ferret finder’ to track a small collar on the ferret. They will then dig a hole and catch the rabbit.
Ferreting is often called the most humane way of controlling rabbits. It also leaves the meat unspoilt and most importantly of all, the ferrets love it!