The true countryman rises at dawn. Charlie Portlock explains
If you are that certain sort of early bird, the prospect of crawling through a slowly brightening field wielding a rifle may well be just the thing to get you up and out before the dawn chorus, and at this time of year rightly so.
Late summer has much to offer the hunter and there is something special about being able to welcome the sunrise in the last days of this elusive season. If you mean to make the most of the long evenings, then now is the time to set the alarm for the gathering light and to creep quietly from the house, as all about you is still but softly breaking silence....having some decent binoculars to hand you can ensure that you don’t miss a thing.
A late Summer morning is the perfect time to be observing nature. Summer evenings can be muggy and the afternoons filled with flies, so if you’re out to bag a rabbit then the fresh early hours offer a welcome respite from the close, fly blown experience of twilight shooting.
Although usually less active at dawn than at dusk, rabbits will happily feed in the early mornings as the sun touches the fields to warm the damp grass. They’ll be particularly active after rain, so paying attention the weather will yield good results.
A decent pair of binoculars is always useful when we are out in the countryside and, although the harvest season will mean a reduction in the amount of ground cover and a better line of sight, the disruption of the combine will mean that rabbits stay closer to the warren than they might at dusk.
Spotting them with the naked eye can be a challenge in the half light and by having some decent binoculars to hand you can ensure that you don’t miss the spectacle of fallow deer grazing beside troops of buzzards busy hunting on foot for invertebrates in the stubble.
Lamping on warm summer nights may be lucrative, but it’s a missed opportunity compared to seeing the sunrise over the glistening pasture then bagging a brace of coneys for the barbecue. Not everyone has the mettle for it of course, but for those that do, the late summer dawn holds a special reward. Set the alarm, you won’t regret it…
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