Fieldsports Britain - Giant rat hunting in Louisiana from an airboat + kit from ShotShow 2012

Uploaded by fieldsportschannel on 18.01.2012

Welcome to Fieldsports Britain, coming to you this week from a little old gun trade
show way out in the Wild West.
Coming up: we're chasing rats across the swampland of Louisiana.
We're after a cousin of the roe deer, America's favourite deer: the whitetail.
But first, it's the biggest hunting and outdoor show in the world, the Shot Show in Las Vegas.
Well, you're going to see a lot about the Shot Show on our show over the next couple
of weeks and I'm going to run out of ways of saying the words big, and new, and Oh My
First, let's find out what's hot for American hunters.
The New Product Center - looks like a rich hunting ground. Let's have a look.
Well, this I like. Effectively, it's a rubber strap-on. It goes on the front of your gun
- in this case a rather aggressive machine gun (dagadagadaga) but you could pretty well
make one yourself, and it's got laser sight, torch and look, press this button here and
it's got a bipod as well.
Now next to it is a slightly more hilarious idea. I guess she's the good guy, because
she's got a camera. This guy's got a gun. I guess he's the bad guy. And what you do
is you have to shoot him not her. And to make it more difficult there are the tank tracks,
so you can run it across your garden.
Here you are: a gun rest you can fix anywhere. That is a good idea.
Now, as a bit of a techie, I just love this. 25lb in weight of metal with a little bit
of leather and rubber on the top. It does everything you need if you want to zero your
rifle. This one spins backwards and forwards. This one goes up and down there. It's got
a joystick on it. Perfect.
A couple of funnies to finish on. This duck decoy is great but presumably only for very
low-flying duck. Not for ones that are coming in from above. My duck are slightly more three-dimensional
than two-dimensional.
And over here the gillie suit for the man who misses his beard. The gillie with the
OK OK - one more. This is a small rodent Punxsutawney Pete type thing. Hit it with a bullet and
it does that. Can it be long... [Laughs ] as it smashes into the camera. Can it be long
before starts selling these.
More about the Shot Show later. First, the great thing about flying here from the UK
is that you have most of the USA to stop off and go 'hunting'. We choose Louisiana, where
every bumper plate reminds you it's 'Sportsman's paradise'. This week Ian Harford of Team Wild
TV has an unusual assignment in a swamp.
Now, it's over to David on the Fieldsports Channel new fountain.
This is Fieldsports Britain news.
Do you shoot right handed but have a left dominant eye? An American company that specialises
in sights for pistols has come up with an illuminated bead for the end of your shotgun.
Hi Viz sights work like mini riflescopes. The MagniOptic shotgun sight shines light
through a lens on to a bead. When the bead is bright, you are on target, when it's dull,
you aren't. Visit
There are plenty of products for self defence at the Shot Show. Swiss gun manufacturer Sig
Sauer is keen to promote the fact that you can use its handguns even while underwater.
At last, jewellery that's actually useful. Swiss Army knife company Wenger has launched
a range of necklaces and pendants that feature not diamonds but kit including knife sharpeners,
screwdrivers, wire strippers and bottle openers. Visit
Back in the UK, and a Freedom-of-Information request by the Countryside Alliance show that
young people with shotgun certificates pose absolutely no threat to public safety whatsoever.
The Alliance believes these statistics prove conclusively that young people take the responsibility
of handling shotguns seriously and efforts to stop them entering the sport of shooting
must be condemned.
And finally, America is not all about the United States and Fieldsports Britain News
is not just about hunting and shooting. Danish angling TV show Kinetic Fishing has brought
out a superb film about fishing for huge bluefin tuna off Nova Scotia. In the days when drift
nets forced herring to the surface, British anglers caught fish off Scarborough up to
a record 851lb. Well, all the fish you are watching here weigh in at more than 1,000lb.
For more information, visit
You're now up to date with Fieldsports Britain news. Stalking the stories, fishing for facts.
Thank you David. That's a really good look.
Now, one of the nice things about coming all of the way out here is that you can stop off
anywhere in the USA to go hunting. We choose Louisiana which, every bumper plate promises,
is a sportsman's paradise. First up, Ian Harford of Team Wild TV has an unusual appointment
in a swamp.
[Roar of stag]
Nothing gets the blood pumping like shooting rats in a barn. Well, today we're after giant
rats from an airboat.
One of the reasons I love hunting is the sheer variety of people, places and of course quarry
you come across. I am in the Deep South, close to New Orleans. It's not famous for its big
five but it does have a big rat problem. Known as coypu - or nutria over here - this South
American monster rodent is a nuisance, destroying habitat and undermining the banks of the Mississippi,
reaching pest proportions, a scenario wildlife managers all over the world know all to well.
Arthur is going to be my guide through the swamp or bayou. I've really been looking forward
to this high-speed adventure. But when I get on the boat, I feel less Captain America and
more Captain Cavemen.
When he is are running around you just grab him anywhere.
You grab him and hold him down and then I will come in the front and grab him by the
tail and you do the honours or whatever - knock him on the head or however you want to kill
him. I might try a few shots with that bullet gun.
Any special technique?
Right behind the head, like a rabbit punch - right behind the head, round the top of
the head. The body isn't going to do any good. You have to hit him on the head.
Well, this is the first time I've ever been out clubbing small rodents to death. It seems
like my guide is pretty experienced. He knows what he is doing. He is going to give me some
pointers on technique and hopefully we're going to help rid him of some swamp rats but
- yeah - it's a unique experience for me.
We meander our way through the channels and its teeming birdlife.
So apparently these blue heron can swallow alligators up to two feet long.
Toss them in the air - swallow them straight down.
Then Arthur hits the gas and gets this 450 horsepower machine flying across the water.
He tells us that he and his son take about 200 alligators out of this water each year.
Another source of income for him is tourism.
Even the nutria has its financial rewards.
To claim a five-dollar bounty, he has to prove his kills to the authorities by presenting
their tails.
He has already been out this morning and picked off enough to pay for his fuel today.
So, Arthur, tell me about the nutria - the rats here. How much of a problem is it?
It's a very big problem. The gulf is getting eaten up with that coastal erosion and everything
and the nutrias are eating their way out. They call it eat-outs. They eat in the marsh
and they stay in a certain area, and there is no vegetation to hold the soil, and whenever
the hurricane comes, it just washes the land away.
So how many do you take out a year?
We get thousands. Thousands a year. We shot so many in a lot of the leases that we hunt
in, the landowners are cutting back because they are closing up the duck ponds.
But I hear you get paid for them. There is a bounty on their heads.
There was a four-dollar bounty, now it's up to five dollars a bounty. But it's a kick
in the butt. I mean, you ride round, get drunk, shoot rats all day long. It's a kick in the
Sounds like the perfect way of hunting and it paid for your diesel for wildfowling this
Paid hunting - it's my kind of hunting. Give you an idea of how many they got out there,
I hunted them the first year they put the bounty on them. In fifteen days of hunting,
me and my son and a couple of other guys shot 6,800 of them.
I think we have found one of Louisiana's true characters here.
Clearly these guys know this place inside and out...
And has a story to tell, which is awesome.
Did you get that?
Looks like the only way to travel in and out of these areas is by this airboat.
Oh well, I tried.
Arthur puts the airboat through its paces and we finally arrive in Rodentsville, Louisiana.
The nutria are easy to spot but, like ratting elsewhere, they don't stay put for long.
Like Hemingway with his first elephant and Roosevelt with his first bear, I am about
to get my chance with my first nutria.
There you go. That's it.
Thankfully, it's a clean kill.
See the big choppers on it?
My goodness.
Two or three inches long.
They are actually bigger than a beaver.
They are actually similar to porcupine teeth.
Similar - yeah, yeah.
A lot of whiskers on there as well.
The fur is not a pretty fur like mink and everything. When they make jackets and stuff
like that they call it a rough cut and a fine cut. You take the rough hairs out, the big
hairs out, the inside hair is almost like mink. It's a real soft fur. But it's a lot
to process so you don't get much money from them.
There is not as much fur on there as I thought. It looks a lot thicker.
Yes. Certainly is a load thicker.
So, how do I feel about that? Pretty good. Saving the environment one nutria at a time.
Arthur spots another and he brings out a Ruger 10/22.
Ah. I grazed him - I didn't kill him.
God damn.
Taking too many shots to kill one rat. Out of practice.
He peppers the bayou and finally gets his rat.
This rifle is the most customisable rimfire in the world and Arthur's is no exception.
A friend of mine did this. It's got the bull barrel on it with a synthetic stock and fibre-optic
sights. It's a high dollar twenty-two. A regular twenty-two like this, a Ruger, would cost
you about two to two-fifty. This one here will probably cost you a grand. I had somebody
build this for me. A hunter that comes with me all the time. He took one of my old twenty-twos
and he used the guts inside and he has redone it for me.
The Ruger 10/22 is a fantastic self-loading twenty-two.
Yeah. Right now we are just using these ten-round clips. But they have got fifteen, twenty-five,
thirty up to fifty-round clips they've got for these twenty-twos.
Arthur feels that my initiation is over and I can now safely move from club to gun.
You shot him up the arse.
You've got to shoot it where it's going, not where it's been.
Thank you for your helpful words there Arthur.
Put the thing on. Put it on safe. Put it on safe. Get it ready.
Low. Low. You crippled him. In a minute. In front of you - another one.
Big rat shooting can be tricky. Matching the movement of the boat with a fleeing rodent
is a test for any hunter.
This is some of the most exciting vermin shooting I have ever done. It's actually pretty similar
to shooting rats in a barn. As soon as they spot you - as soon as they can see or smell
you - they are heading for the hills. So, we have got a couple in the boat already and
Arthur is going to take us to find some more.
The nutria are easy prey for the predators of the bayou, including the bald eagle, which
has just arrived back at its nest with one in its talons.
They feed on a lot of those rats, especially when they are young. They come down on a nest
and they will grab one in each claw. Ain't too particular about what they eat. They will
get in those tall trees and watch for rabbits, rats, snakes. They eat almost anything.
Sometimes the tables are turned and the pesky nutria bites back.
The worst bite I ever had on a nutria was one on my dog. The dog bit the whole nutria's
head. He swallowed the whole nutria's head. The nutria bit the dog from the inside the
throat, had his teeth in him, I had to jump on the dog and hold him down, break the nutria's
teeth, prise the dog's mouth open and then it took me fifteen or twenty minutes to get
that nutria out of the dog's mouth, because every time the nutria would bite, the dog
would bite and then it took me forever to get the nutria out of the throat. It left
two big holes in his throat but he lived through no problem.
It's an amazing afternoon's hunting and this awesome boat makes it even more of a crazy
experience. This is a pretty impressive piece of kit.
Tell me a bit about your boat.
I've had them for over twenty years. I've got all sizes and shapes. My son has got a
little mini one with an ultra light engine like you put in an Ultralite. This one here
is running a 496 putting out about 450 horsepower. I've got some that are running up to 790 horsepower.
It takes a lot of horsepower, especially in the summer when the marsh is green. It's really
sticky. This time of year in the winter, a regular 350 will across the marsh any way
you want to go. But its able to go anywhere and everywhere. It's not like a regular boat.
It's more like a plane than a boat.
And it will run on land as well as one the water.
Yes. Anywhere and everywhere. It's similar to a hovercraft I guess. A hovercraft goes
over the top. We have just got enough power to push across, there’s a flat bottom underneath,
just runs everywhere and anywhere, where regular boats can’t go.
Arthur and his machine were on hand when Katrina hit and that’s something he never wants
to go through again.
We worked three days rescuing people in New Orleans, till the military finally showed
up, with our boats we picked up thousands of people, took them off the roof tops and
brought them to the helicopters and the helicopters could take them out, bus them out. I’ve
seen all the dead people I want to see for the rest of my life. Dead animals, dead people,
rotten sewers it was disgusting.
Time to tally up our haul of fur farm tear aways. You need a cane knife for the job.
We’re not rich but there are few bucks for beer.
I know this doesn’t look much, but these are going for 5$ a piece at the moment . That’s
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 25$ for about 15 minutes work.
Case of beer, yeah.
I’ll split with you yeah?
On the way back to shore we go through some spectacular Scooby Doo swamp. Movie makers
have used this location for years and I’m even trusted with the rudder. Nutria may not
have been the top of my hunting experiences, but ratting on this scale is pure red mist
Now that has got to be one of the most intense vermin control exercises I’ve ever done,
that was pretty sweet, not only where we went and what we were shooting, but how we got
[Roar of stag]
Stefan part of the show is coming out here and shooting guns isn’t it?
Yeah sure, if you look around this is the place that big kids have a lot of fun. You
hear it all kinds of calibres, big bangs all over the place, rapid fire, small calibres
and obviously it’s a good place to present new products for us.
You are a very senior person at Zeiss, are you allowed to be a big kid as well?
Yes, sometimes, I mean in between the serious stuff we do here, we have to talk with the
media, the people, we sneak out to the other areas and try some new stuff, some that other
companies present. It’s a lot of fun.
Now you are also seriously launching the new Conquest HD binoculars tell me about those.
Well, we were in England two or three months ago and we had to bring prototypes with us
to test them in the low light conditions and now they are ready they are here and we are
now testing them in the dust. It’s a bit windy today and after half an hour they are
they already look like used, 20 years old. The response from the media is tremendous,
they are testing it obviously in bad conditions, it’s too bright, you just don’t see the
advantages of the product too much, but everybody liked them so far.
Well we had a chance to take the Conquest HD binoculars out stalking with Stefan after
muntjac back in Blighty.
The UK not only has big deer but little ones too.
This trophy wall shows some prime examples of the Chinese water deer and muntjac that
inhabit this part of the UK. Bedfordshire farmland supports plenty of both: the Chinese
are happy to be on show while the muntys keep a low profile in the woodland undergrowth.
And it's the muntjac we're after today with the guys from Zeiss Sports Optics. It's the
perfect test for the new Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars. Stefan Buehring who works for
Zeiss in international sales has one of the first examples off the production line and,
since filming this at the beginning of November 2011, we have been sworn to secrecy.
Scott is our guide this morning and we are heading for a highseat in a small wood. On
the approach there's a Chinese buck in the field. Although the camera can capture the
glorious sunrise it struggles to pick out the deer.
Stefan has a clear view, thanks to the new glass. But more of that later...
Scott and Stefan go up in the world while we stay at ground level. It's not too long
before we get a female stopping for a bite to eat on the ride. She eventually continues
on her way. Before the highseat gets uncomfortable a buck shows himself. He's only 30 or so yards
away and Stefan hits him hard.
Even with a good shot the buck still makes it 30 yards into cover before dropping.
Yeah he’s been fighting he’s lost the tip off of this one, got both his tusks as
It's just the sort of animal we were hoping for - and it's Stefan's first muntjac.
We have to come over here to the UK to get something like this it’s amazing, look at
the little tusks, it’s a nice species which we don’t have in Europe, yes last year was
the year for the Chinese water deer and now we are here for the little muntjac and thanks
to my guide, did a fantastic job.
Scott works with Zeiss pro stalker Paul Childerley. They take just four-to-five bucks from this
area as there's a lot of pressure from other estates.
She’s a lot more Chinese than muntjac, but we have some nice examples of muntjac as well.
So we shoot a few nice ones.
So, he’s a good one to take.
Yes, a perfect one. We wanted a nice little example of one, he’s got both his antlers
although one is a little bit broken, both his tusks he will look nice on the wall as
a shoulder mount, his cape’s good, yup perfect.
Stefan is thinking about taxidermy - but we ask him to talk us through the new Zeiss binoculars
and how effective they have been for him this morning, using them the first time in the
The new line really performs on a different level, when we looked over the field area
we saw a Chinese water deer, we went into the forest where it was really dark, we had
some really nice images, this is the new Conquest HD which is a new entry level into the premium
segment. We have changed a lot of things in this new line, so we were looking for light
transmission, colour fringing, were the edges sharp, field of view, all the normal bits
that you test during the first step when you go into the production series.
So the glass, the technology, the look and the feel of these new Zeiss binoculars is
something the German manufacturer is now able to share with the world... and of course Stefan
has his first muntjac.
Now a rather bigger deer and a larger-than-life band of happy hunters. Back in Louisiana,
I take my Chevy to the levee, where I am going deerstalking Cajun style with some good ol'
boys from the swamp.
Clint Seneca and his buddies were offered the main parts in the popular Swamp People
programme about the alligator hunters of these parts, but they turned it down. Too much of
a circus.
We head out deep into the Atchafalaya basin, the largests wamp in the United States, in
the early morning gloom. Clint and a dozen friends have the lease on 1,000 acres and
it is home to America's favourite quarry animal, the whitetail deer, a cousin of Europe's roe
deer. The undergrowth is too thick here to walk up on them. The only way is to wait.
So it’s a year and half old, first year horns.
Is it shootable?
No. We try to wait till they’re four and half years to shoot. They need to mature.
And deer we see: deer after deer. Clint takes deer management seriously and refuses to shoot
them. He is after a barren doe or a rack buck of more than four-and-a-half years that's
past its prime.
We also see other wildlife. It's like a cartoon castlist, with Bambi and his mother, the Secret
Squirrel hoves into view in front of us and even Woody Woodpecker makes an appearance.
There are brilliant bright cardinals, and smaller brown things: let's call them ordinals.
There - maths joke for you.
Today is the last day of the deerhunting season here. It's ending early this year because
of a flood that swept through this area taking much of the local wildlife with it. While
we hear a great deal about hurricanes lashing New Orleans from the sea. Southern Lousiana
has another flooding problem: the Mississippi river.
Where we are sitting right here was about 15 foot under water.
Where we are 10 foot up in the air.
Yeah this dam was under water.
Did you come out to see it?
I drove a boat right down these shooting lanes that we are hunting. It was something to see.
In 1973 it did the same thing. This past year was the first time since 1973 it did it and
what it is, is it’s the flush structure for the Mississippi river, when the Mississippi
river comes up to flood stage, they can open these structures and it floods this biou way
to keep the Mississippi river inside of its banks. So it doesn’t get into residential
or commercial areas.
So dead areas.
Clint tries to call the bucks with a bigger buck call. The even bigger bucks do not respond.
Clint Seneca is from an old Cajun family. And there's nothing he likes better than a
get-together for a weekend hunting. Once you're in the swamp, time seems to go more slowly.
You probably know Cajun because of its fiery sauces with names like Gator Guts, Butt Burner
and Slap Ya Mama, but this is an entire culture that's too hot to handle.
Originally called Acadians, they were a band of French-speakers whom the British expelled
from Nova Scotia in Canada. They headed to what is now the USA and the only place they
could find a home were the swamplands of the Deep South, between the Mississippi and the
Atchafalaya rivers. If we British thought we had stamped out their culture, however,
we were wrong.
Whitetail aren’t that easy to shoot are they?
No it’s a very difficult animal to kill, a mature one is as you saw this morning, the
smaller ones will sit out there and let you watch them, the mature ones won’t, whether
it be a buck or a doe.
And we find it I suppose in Europe quite extraordinary that Americans are obsessed with whitetail,
it’s all you guys seem to talk about and want to do.
Oh, it’s a challenge, it’s definitely a challenge and we like challenges.
Here is a whitetail that Clint’s shooting buddies shot earlier and here’s how to age
a whitetail.
You can tell from the weight of their horns, from the beadiness at the base down here,
the size of the head and also the size of the body. We cut the jaw bones out after we
kill them and you can tell a whitetail by looking at the teeth. That’s the only real
way to tell.
So do you count in terms of how many points it’s got?
No, age doesn’t have anything to do with the points.
On our way back to the camp, everyone we meet wants to talk about the hunt, the whole hunt
and nothing but the hunt. First it's Wes whose wife is real mad because she didn't shoot
a deer the previous evening.
You should have seen her after she missed that second deer. I swear she looked like
Then it's Travis who has just come back from Texas with a whitetail buck that cost him
several thousand bucks.
Now, if you have 1,000 acres of flat woodland cut with paths, how would you get around?
A camo golf buggy of course! Clint and I go back out to the same highseat. There are two
deer there when we arrive.
Of course they are a doe and a fawn. We see lots more deer like these two. In all, more
than 30 deer come past the stand, all healthy, from fawns through yearlings to button bucks
and the occasionally head that will be good for some hunter in a year or two's time. Clint
talks about his choice of rifle for whitetail.
I use a .270 short Magnum, I normally shoot 200, 250 yards and the 270 short magnum is
a very powerful rifle which shoots flat at a long distance.
You’ve got a Browning A Bolt, why did you choose that one?
At the time it was the best on the market and it probably still is, it’s the flattest
shooting rifle they make pretty much and the whitetail deer is a strong animal it takes
a big bullet to kill them.
We end in darkness. Two deer come out into the ride.
We’re about five minutes too late.
Could that have been the one?
It could have been.
Not really, it’s not all about the kill.
Well we are back next week with more from the Shot Show including an unfeasible and
almost laughable selection of guns. If you are watching this on YouTube please click
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This has been Fieldsports Britain from a pirate ship that plays pop music in the desert, in