International Guild of Knot Tyers

Long Netting & Net-Making - A Rabbit Catcher’s Guide by Jon Hutcheon

Long Netting & Net-Making - A Rabbit Catcher’s Guide by Jon Hutcheon

The Crowood Press 2006 ISBN 978-1861268211

This up-to-date hardback book does what its title suggests, explaining how to reduce pestilential rabbit populations by the effective method of long netting. Within 128 pages, sub-divided into an introduction, 12 chapters, a glossary and an index, it includes: the quarry and where to find it; the types of nets and equipment that are available; the different and correct ways of setting nets during both day and night; the use of dogs; how to use traps; how to craft long nets and purse nets by hand; and the advantages of hand-made nets over those that have been made by machine; together with personal anecdotes by the author. The text is enlivened with over 60 black-&-white photographs and more at least 30 sketch plans of nets and how to deploy them. Acknowledgements include one to the firm of Bridport Nets for supplying twines and netting, as well as friendly and excellent service. Jon Hutcheon began beating for the local gamekeeper on a 1,000 acre estate at the age of 11 and has since been involved in most field sports. He is a keen conservationist and an experienced rabbit catcher with a passion for bagging them by means of net, ferret and dog, but admits, ‘I think the first forty nets I made [from the written instructions of a kit bought at a game fair] were probably the worst nets ever.’ He went on to teach himself, by trial and error, how to make and use them expertly. I am qualified to make just three criticisms. A crucial ring hitch is said to be ‘difficult to describe ... the closest official knot is a clove hitch’ [which he illustrates with a slipped overhand knot]; and, on another page, a drawing of an overhand knot is labelled ‘clove hitch’. Then again, he writes that, in knitting nets, nylon has a ‘nasty habit of cutting into your fingers and hands’. Fair enough. But he adds, `... I am just completing a batch of 100 12oz nylon nets for a friend and my hands as a result are cut to ribbons.’ Oh, come on now! Surely that is an exaggeration. If not, you are doing something wrong. Nevertheless, modern netting how-to books are rare and so this one should be welcomed by all who might use it; and it will, no doubt, also be sought by those KM readers who - like me - cannot resist the urge to acquire any publication with the words ‘knot’, ‘hitch’ and ‘netting needle’ in it.

G.B.