The New Forest Spring Fair 2015

So it was May Bank Holiday, and the first show of the year – The New Forest Spring Fair 2015!

Sunday
We all arrived on the first day, amid the drizzle and cold, we set up the display, laid out the race course, and readied ourselves for the onslaught of wide eyed spectators! Initially, the weather had appeared to have put some off, but the word soon got around the best part of the show was in our area – dancing sheep, ferret racing and the beer tent! And so they came …

We rushed in to action, sleepy fuzzy friends did their bit, enjoying the attention and fuss, as they were stroked, petted and loved, then it was ready for the racing! Nervous and untested voices were brought to the fore, as Mark gallantly leapt in to the fray as MC, regaling and astounding the onlookers with facts and flair! Then the PA battery went dead!

A short interlude as the battery was changed, and the ferrets were up and running, frenzied betting ensued and it set the theme for the day ahead!

Monday
So after a successful first day, we returned on the Monday with heads and hopes high, and the sun came out!
The warm rays of light and hope descended on everyone, the fair filled up, and everyone once again flocked to the dancing sheep (good pun there!) and the ferrets, the beer tent was a mere side attraction!

After the endeavours of the previous day, our MC had a slightly croaky voice, and so helpful backup was provided by the other members of the club, who stepped into the breach and entertained the audience, each in their own unique way, some madder than the others, but all to great applause and cheers from the crowd.

It was a great show, setting us up for the rest of the years with renewed confidence, and dare we say it, we were even more popular than the dancing sheep!

To see the fun, click here

The Further Adventures of Baldrick and Turnip

Well due to technical issues (The laptop died!!!), it’s been awhile since the last update of our fantastic adventures in ferreting, but now it’s here!

So it’s a flashback to that sunny Easter weekend, when a band of enthusiastic ferreters and their fuzzy friends (and Baldrick) spent the weekend at a number of different permissions, seeking the elusive Easter Bunny!

Our first trip took us back to our favourite golf course and riding school, where Baldrick entertained us with stories of playing poo sticks in his youth (don’t ask any more, there were some very disturbing revelations!), and his best friend and carer, Turnip (it’s not that he looks like a turnip, he’s just very close to Baldrick …), enthralled everyone with his uncanny ability to find every single electric fence in a 5 mile radius!

Overall it was a very productive day, with a good catch of bunnies, Turnip having gotten a new frizzy hair style, most of us in shock from Baldrick’s revelations, and we even had a good at coursing a rabbit! The only problem was that we didn’t have any dogs, just a bunch of not-to-fit ferreters! That meant it took a bit more effort and time than it should of, and the rabbit almost won be at least three, as various ferreters fell gasping to the ground after running more than 200 yards!

Lets just finish that one by saying the drink in the pub that night was well deserved!

So undeterred by the previous day, we set off for a second day, this time at a glorious manor house and grounds, in the middle of Dorset! It was a fantastic time, with well kept gardens (no brambles, gorse or electric fences!) that made our job easier and a lot more pleasant! Once again, we have a fantastic haul, helped out by Baldrick acting as a lookup up a tree (don’t ask), and even a great show of rugby skills at one point, with a diving tackle to catch a rabbit, followed by a quick backward pass from the ground to the following player! Thankfully he didn’t go for the drop goal!

Then as after all good rugby matches, it was down the pub for a refreshing pint, pats on the back for a couple of good days work, followed by tears, as we realized the season had come to an end until September. Then another pint and a big cheer as we realized it was the start of the show season, and long hot summer full of ferret racing, displays and beer tents! We’ve got lots to look forward too!

Too see more, visit the gallery here!

Experimental Ferreting

So we made another visit to the golf course, and it was a very successful one!
Our biggest haul of the year, doubling the seasons catch and finally making it into double figures! We have decided we can now call ourselves “True Enthusiastic Amateurs”!!!!
So as an experiment, I decided to take a new, untested fuzzy friend out for the day.
Now I like my ferrets, and I know I do spoil them a bit, but not as much as others seem to think! So when Biscuit was introduced to the happy band, I was a bit deflated when someone looked at him, picked him up and said “That’s not a ferret, it’s a badger!”. I think he’s just big boned …

Anyway, big or not, Biscuit had a great day out and actually did a good job, so there!

So the next experiment is to find a replacement for hawks and dogs to catch the bunnies that make a run for it, so it’s time to get a cheetah …..

A Day on the Ranges

Having recently acquired a new permission, a few intrepid members of The Wessex Ferret Club, with varying degrees of experience, set off to help at a golf course with a rabbit problem, and on a crisp and clear morning (we meant it was freezing!) we all huddled together with our ferrets and made our plan of attack!

The warren was scouted, the purse nets in place, the long nets rolled out, we had a cup of coffee …

And it was down to business, in went the ferrets, and we made our first mistake! As we patrolled the long nets in front of the warren, the rabbits had other ideas and went in the opposite direction, while one ferret decided in liked the warren and had to be helped out by digging a new hole! This called for a re-think of battle plans!

We re scouted the area and found another warren! This was besieged with nets on all sides, and we had another cup of coffee …

This time success! After several other rather empty outings we finally caught one of the little critters! This lead to a celebratory cup of coffee …

So filled with the pride of actually having caught something (and coffee) we continued working our way round the course, with our bunny tally slowly increasing, and after 7 hours, we had a fair few to show for our work, a better idea of the lay of the land and a happy landowner, who asked us back to have another go later in the month.

And then we got a nice surprise! We were asked if we wanted to work the ferrets on part of the land used as a riding school, and so we were lead to this new area with looks of intrigue on the faces of our more experienced ferreters. When we got there, these looks changed from intrigue to wonder, as their little eyes widen and tears of joy welled up (a bit like Scrat seeing the giant acorn in Ice Age 2), as we saw a piece of land that was a ferreters dream, full of brambles, gorse and rabbits! Then someone said “We haven’t got enough long nets!”

So it’s back to the golf course in a few weeks, and making more long nets in the evening, ready for a dream day out at the new bury!

Micro-chipping Or How Not To Stab Yourself!

One of the services that The Wessex Ferret Club is happy to provide, and encourages it’s members to take part in, is the micro-chipping of our fuzzy friends, at to this end several members took a jolly into the wilds of Wiltshire to learn this mysterious and sacred art, so that the club could continue offering this service to it’s members.

Those that arrived early were treated to that great traditional British greeting of the breakfast fry up, and many a happy full belly was seen!

After this, a rather sleep deprived trainer appeared, and we were introduced to the dark arts of the micro-chip! The theory lesson and supporting booklets provided a wealth of information, that will soon be appearing on this site, and once everyone was happy, it was on to getting the ferrets out and the much anticipated practical!

At this point, its nice to point out that no ferrets were harmed or mistreated, but the handlers and micro chippers didn’t do quite so well! But practice makes perfect, and on the second attempt, everyone was confident enough to get the job done without the onlookers giggling!
So at the end of a successful and informative day, we learnt more than a few things –

  1. Micro-chipping is definately worth having done
  2. If you micro-chip the handler, they may be sent to you if they get lost
  3. Don’t eat too many beans when offered a fry up breakfast!

A New Permission

The club was lucky enough to get a new permission for ferreting this week, so pretty much a new comer to the working side of owning ferrets (come on they make brilliant pets !!!), I was invited to tag along and learn all about it.

So today we set off for darkest, deepest Dorset (well, Christchurch), and I learnt about getting new permissions, and what you need to do on the first visit and get the lay of the land.

  1. Make sure there are actually rabbits there (probably the most important!)
  2. Find the holes and warrens
  3. Check that you don’t have to cross fences, etc onto neighbours lands, and if you do, make sure you ask for permission!
  4. Get consent from the landowner and arrange a date
  5. Go down the pub and congratulate each other (by far the most important!)

So we checked, worked out how many people and ferrets we need, and what equipment we need, and its back tomorrow!

So this afternoon is sandwich making, thermos cleaning and generally making sure everything is ready for tomorrow.

How knows, we might actually see a bunny this time!

Ferreting with Baldric

Well it was a crisp and somewhat cool Sunday morning, and several members of the Wessex Ferret Club (including a slightly dubious looking escapee from Blackadder) braved the elements to take on a new permission and help a local land owner out with a rabbit problem, having been reliably informed “There’s thousands of ’em!!!!”

So under the expert eye of Baldric, I mean Pete, we set the nets, excited the ferrets and got ready for the rush!

7 cold hours and several empty coffees later, we decided that rabbits were smarter than us and had gone somewhere warmer! But at least the ferrets (and Baldric) had a good day out!

So having had loads of fun and having learnt lots about rabbiting, we informed the land owner and set off for the pub, with one member uttering the immortal phrase …

“At least it beats decorating ……”

2015 – A Year of Change

2015 is going to be a year of big changes for the Wessex Ferret Club, with a new committee, a complete new show routine and lots of changes to both our facebook page and this site!

Keep coming back to see what’s happening!