Beyond The Urban Fox by Bob Redwater

I sold all of my guns. The time had finally come for me to retire from an active life of hunting and poaching. It was my lack of mobility and fitness rather than a sudden attack of  guilty conscience that made up my mind. I need two sticks for walking and am no longer able to outrun a gamekeeper.

Most of my secret hunting activities took place on private estates owned by the gentry and run by their tweed clad servants. I was able to feed my family with a healthy diet of wild meat as apposed to battery reared animals and fowl which had lived a miserable life before they were slaughtered. My hunting methods were many and varied, perfected by trial and error over a lifetime. Rabbits were my mainstay but we also feasted on Hare, venison, pheasants, partridge, goose, duck, salmon and trout.

the young poacher

As well as firearms, my hunting tools included catapults, boomerangs, ferrets and dogs. I studied hunting methods of so called, “primitive” tribal peoples and Australian aboriginals, long before Ray Mears appeared on our TV screens and taught us all to start fires worldwide, adding flames to global warming. Ray was good in front of the camera; I preferred to be invisible.

I gave up using rabbit and pheasant snares after I accidentally walked into a strand of fence wire one night behind Edinburgh Zoo.The wire caught me across the throat and almost choked me. It was a painful experience.

There was little waste from those creatures, their bones made good soup and their skins and feathers were also used. Deer skins made rugs and goose wing feathers fletched the arrows for my longbow. Duck and goose breast feathers were excellent for topping up our shrinking downies.
My cooking skills improved with the abundance of fresh meat and it was unnecessary to use expensive ingredients to make fancy game dishes that would cost an arm and a leg in a high class restaurant and qualify for a place on “Masterchef”. A fresh fillet of venison tasted great, fried in bacon fat.

Every cloud has a silver lining…

My lack of mobility had other benefits. Country walks became shorter with plenty of rests along the way. When you sit quietly and still, in a wood, or on a hillside, animals and birds will come to you. I have to admit that I’ve been very fortunate in observing wild creatures at close range, being at the right place at the right time is partly luck.
My powerful urge to hunt has diminished with age. I have nothing to prove to myself. I still have the skills to survive in the wild and feed myself. I enjoy observing nature and all creatures in their natural habitat. Now I use my skills to watch and write about what I see and hopefully share with others.

Bob Redwater talks about nature by Raggeduniversity on Mixcloud