Country Life talks to traditional rabbiter Simon Whitehead, who will be giving a demonstration at Cornbury Park in June.
Simon Whitehead of Pakefield Ferrets
Pakefield Ferrets provides traditional rabbit management and control.
Describe what you do:
“I specialise in traditional rabbit control, the cornerstone of this is ferreting – this is what I do for a living and how I provide for my family. The traditional rabbiter is the most environmentally friendly and organic means of pest control as we don’t use chemicals, so there is no risk of secondary poisoning to livestock, wildlife or pets.
“The business has grown from there really, and I now do a lot of the media side too: displays and demonstrations, YouTube videos, the odd TV appearance and I write for Shooting Times. I’ve also written three books and countless DVDs and I help educate chefs on how to harvest rabbits.”
How did you get in to your line of work?
“I’m originally from the north-east and following the demise of the steel industry, moved down to Suffolk thirty-four years ago. I’d always had an interest in ferreting and keeping dogs so when I reached a crossroads professionally, I decided to take it up full time and work for myself controlling rabbits.”
What is your USP?
“Experience. I feel strongly that when people look to others for advice, the response given should be based on actual work, results and experience. I have a unique mindset which separates me from the rest – I don’t just look at the job in front of me, I look to different sports and cultures to improve my technique. I’m a naturalist as well, so I try to sympathetically understand the world around me.”
Why should people come and see you at the Cornbury Park Field & Country Fair?
“There are plenty of pest control bodies and sportsmen out there, but not many full-time rabbiters, so I would encourage people to come and see what we do. My aim is to educate others on this craft, and realise there is no wastage in the cycle as the rabbit makes for an excellent nutritional and healthy food source too.”
Simon Whitehead’s Pakefield Ferrets (www.pakefieldferrets.co.uk; 07766 168 817 / 01502 568 571)
To purchase tickets, and find out more about the Field & Country Fair at Cornbury Park visit: www.fieldandcountryfair.com