Basically ferreting is an old country persuit now declining.
It is an old way of rabbit control. The fact it exists in white colonies shows that it was used many centuries ago.
There are no formal rules but some tips to keep in mind (listed later).
The most common way is ferreting and netting:
Rabbit warrens located, net put on the mouth of the warren, rabbit netted and killed with a karate chop to the back of the neck. Doesnt spoil the meat and can be sold to the butcher.
2) ferretting and shooting, rabbit bolts out of the warren and shot on the run by waiting guns.
3)and least common and my personal favourite: i call it sporting ferreting. It gives an equal chance to the rabbit to escape and hence it is not popular as its not very effective for population control neither for selling. (spend more on cartridges than what the butcher will give you)
Now i dont hunt commercially and neither do i sell the meat but this is just for members' information.
The sporting ferreting is also the most exiting and a very good practice for ISU/olympic skeet. Actually... it might be the other way around.
Usually in ferretting, a warren network is located and ferret sent down a hole; the other holes are sealed by mud/dirt so that one knows where the rabbit is going to emerge from. That way one can net the particular holw or wait to shoot at that hole.
However in sporting ferreting, no holes are sealed.
Now if you have seen a warren maze, you know that there are several holes every few feet.
When the ferret goes in a hole, one doesnt know which hole will the rabbit emerge from. One doesnt know how long before the ferret flushes the rabbit. So the gun cant be premounted unless you are mr. olympia and keep the gun mounted for several minutes and still have enough agility to shoot fast.
When the rabbit bolts, it comes out of one hole and goes into any random hole in any direction. It is already running so one gets just a couple of seconds before it disappears into the second hole. If you are lucky, the rabbit might choose to go into a furthur hole giving you maybe 4 seconds.
But thats not all. If its not a clean kill resulting in instant death and the rabbit goes into the warren and dies or if it is a clean kill but while it is entering or exiting the warren, then again its dead body falls into the hole.
In any case you have to stop shooting as the ferret will now begin to eat that dead rabbit and then maybe snooze. So there goes your sport and possibly the ferret. The ferret keeper/owner (if not your own ) wont be too happy due to this.
One also needs to keep calm and not jittery or trigger happy because if there is no rabbit, the ferret comes out of the hole/some other hole. If exitable, one is wont to shoot the ferret instead
So the 'rules' are:
no shooting while the rabbit is entering or if youre quick, just exiting (yeah, if you have reflexes for this, why dony you try F1 racing) the warren.
It has to be a clean kill or your day and possibly pocket is ruined (ferret cost plus compensation if lost). And the word gets around so less ferret owners willing to work with you.
When waiting for the ferrets to flush the rabbit, keeping the gun at hip level, muscles ready to mount the gun any minute/second or hour, the adrenaline hits you, the muscles are tense already anticipating the mount and that feeling is amazing. These things make for a bad gun mount so one needs to relax but every time you see a leaf, or pebbe move, the gun is already to your chest level before you check the move. To the newbies, i would like to point out that though we might have moved the gun, the finger is still OFF the trigger. (sorry about the caps but cant stress safety enough)
Think of it as skeet with unlimited delay, can go in any direction (but in a single plane-ground) and a chip is counted as a miss.
There are many people who offer ferreting service however its not such a big deal. A ferret is a natural at flushing rabbits, needs less care and training than a dog. My close friend has a ferret and if not for him, i would have got one (or two) myself.
I have posted pics of rabbits which were shot while ferretting but next time i will try to get pics of ferret, warrens etc.