View Full Version : A little story about ferreting for rabbits

May 18, 2009, 03:48 AM
My first time ferreting i was about five years old. I can remember getting all the gear into the car with my dad and we would head off to either a place called Little River or Bacchus Marsh.

On our way the the ferrets would be scratching at their box trying to get out below my feet, and as we got more into the bush the more they would scratch.

In my younger years i didnt do much except carry the gear around from warren to warren. But as i got older i participated a lot more.

For anyone who is interested or does not know the art of ferreting here is a little insight on how it's done.

First you find a fresh warren, or a set of burrows. A set of burrows is usually 1-12 burrows, a warren is greater than 12. There is no set rules on the amount of holes, its just what we used to go by.

After quietly inspecting the burrows for signs of fresh we then would set the nets. Things too look out for are spider webs over the entrance of the burrows, if there are webs then no rabbits. Also any sticks or bundles of leaves in the burrow entrance was a sure sign of unoccupied burrows.

Signs of fresh were fresh poo, the night before diggings around the top, and freshley moved soil from the holes.

Setting the nets is quite easy. You put the pin which is attached to the net of top of the hole as an anchor point. You then place the net over the whole burrow then folding it in slightly towards the burrow on the bottom. It forms cup like so when the rabbit bolts out it forms a ball of net around the rabbit.

When setting the nets we would walk around looking for the escape hole. The escape hole is usually a burrow no bigger than the diamater of a full grown rabbit, and if there is any vegetation around then it will be camouflaged amongst it. We were always guranteed to miss an escape hole

Once the nets were set we then would get one or two ferrets out of the box and place them down one of the burrows. If using two ferrets one would go each end of the warren.

Now the fun starts with the ferrets down i would take position above the burrows not in front of them. By being in front if a rabbit was bolting out, it would then stop if they saw you and return down the burrow.

By staying completely still and quiet, after a couple of minutes you can hear the thudding under ground. Thats the rabbits bolting around with the ferrets on their tail. The thudding would get louder and louder until a rabbit would come bolting out the burrow into the net. Sometimes the ferret would follow if so i would pick it up and place it down another hole.

My dad who i was usually with would have spare nets over his shoulder and place one back over the burrow as soon as i was out of the way. The smaller sets of burrows could produce anywhere from 1-6 rabbits. The larger warrens were unlimited. The most i can remember is netting 19 from one warren. We only had enough nets to cover half the holes.

Once all rabbits were out the ferrets would soon follow and slowly make their way out. Some were cheeky and as soon as you went to pick them up they would dart back down.

We had to be sure not to over work the ferrets as they would make a kill when under ground then find a nest and sleep. We had regular occurances of ferrets staying under ground. If so i would try smoke them out, dad and i would gather bundles of dried grass stuff them in the entrances of the holes and light it up. More times than not the ferrets would make their way out.

Dad and i would carry 4-6 ferrets to try and avoid these encounters. Ferreted rabbits are always the cleanest as we would always bleed them straight away. The meat was nice and white.

Any questions anyone has on ferreting please ask:)

May 18, 2009, 06:11 AM
Great story for those of us that have never done this before and to myself very informative. I do appreciate you sharing this because I doubt I ever get to do it but enjoyed hearing about it from a childs prospective.

May 18, 2009, 12:25 PM
That's great! Thanks for typing it up!

May 18, 2009, 12:39 PM
I have heard of this sport from a Kiwi hog hunter. Sounds fun. How often are the ferrets lost (run off)? How often are the humans bitten by crazed ferrets or terrified rabbits?

May 18, 2009, 01:03 PM
Nice story butta! I always wondered how that was done and it sure sounds like a good time.

May 19, 2009, 02:11 AM
No problems at all boys.

Hogdogs to answer your questions. The ferrets generally wont run off after coming out from the burrow. Sometimes they might pop up behind you and start sniffing around, before you know it they could be 20yds away. There is no problem in catching them though, the main problem was them making a kill under ground. If the ferret's made a kill likely they would have full stomachs and want to take a nap.

As a kid i was bitten quite a few times and let me tell you it hurts and they dont let go. Mainly because i was unsure how to handle them. Some ferrets i had were quite tame others as vicious as a lion.

The way to find out if one was going to have a nip was to first make a fist and slowly put one of your knuckles towards its mouth. By using a knuckle the ferret could not take a hold if it decided to take a nip.

The way to get a ferret off your finger once it hasd latched on is to blow air very hard into it's face. They hate that and will soon let go.

My dad was bitten by a rabbit once many years ago, it drew a little blood.

May 19, 2009, 11:53 AM
sounds fun. my daughter has 2 ferrits but dad would be in big doo if one got lost.:mad:

when i was young one of my buddies had a minature rat terrier, that little bugger would ride in his game pouch with his head out, awww so cute till you went to pet him--- very sharp teeth. put him in any hole and whatever was in it came out.:eek:

funny as c--p watching that 4 lb. dog drag a 18 lb ground hog out by its

May 19, 2009, 09:35 PM
I bet you noodel for cat fish as well!

Kidding though, sounds interesting. Sort of like using a cormarant to catch fish.

May 19, 2009, 11:49 PM
jekyll, No dog has learned to hold their breath... We get a hog caught in a swamp mire and risk a drowning... Best to leave them lovey dove dogs at the house...

May 21, 2009, 09:09 AM
noodling is sticking your hand up holes under water to grab catfish.
sometines you get snapping turtles altho they always go in head first.
really scarry stuff when your little. kinda spooky now that im big too.:eek:

May 21, 2009, 09:35 AM
Yeah taz I heard of noodlin' even got a "girls gone noodlin" video. I would rather teach my bulldogs to do it though. I ain't fond of intentionally getting bit...