A hill farmer has devised a cunning plan to rid his fields of a plague of rabbits. Paul Coppen, 69, camouflaged his vintage Massey Ferguson tractor as a cow – complete with a firing platform and a gunslit.
He admitted the disguise – a black and white cow under a tree painted on a wooden board fixed to the side of the vehicle – was not foolproof.
The former technical manager for ICI in the north of England said: "One of my neighbours, Stan Mitchell, came up with the idea and helped me out, and I just went with it. I hoped the rabbits would ignore the fake cow, thinking it was another member of the herd, presenting a stationary target for the rifleman as I drive about."
"A driver-cum-rifleman was camouflaged behind a picture of a tree above the cow. Maximum angle of fire was achieved by pointing the air-rifle through a horizontal slit above the cow, like the firing positions in Second World War pillboxes."
"Not all rabbits are fooled. Whereas cattle do move around, trees usually don't and that may be a problem."
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