I had planned on going out early this morning to try to deal with a few troublesome foxes for a farmer. Unfortunately I hadn't planned on such a rude awakening as the one I had - Just as I was about to get dressed our damned smoke detector went off for no apparent reason and set the fire alarm off so the fire brigade had to turn out (Fortunately they are less than 200 yards from our home) I invited them in to show that there was no fire so they checked the smoke detector, cleaned the contacts and re-set it and the fire alarm master board and all was well so I thanked them for turning out and they left.
Anyway, with all that happening by the time I had made a brew and a flask of coffee to take with me and got all my gear out it turned out to be just after 04:00 when I got to the farm and parked up - A little later than I had planned as it was already light. As I made my way to where I wanted to settle to watch the earth with a good backstop I disturbed a fox that was out hunting. It ran off but rather than go straight to the earth it went off at right angles and disappeared over the skyline.
I settled down in my chosen position with the earth about 130 yards directly in front of me and a gentle breeze blowing from left to right. About 20 minutes after finishing my coffee a young fox appeared from the skyline over to the right of the earth and slowly made it's way towards the earth. I let it get to where I wanted it and gave a bit of a bark which stopped it in it's tracks. The moderated .270 gently barked and the fox went down without even a twitch. I quickly and quietly retrieved it and it turned out to be a young vixen. I suspect that this was the fox that I disturbed when I arrived but obviously I can't be sure of that.
I settled back down and waited for what seemed an eternity and just as I decided to pop a Worther's Original I noticed that a slightly larger fox had appeared from one of the holes in the earth and was looking almost straight towards me. I steadily (Or so I thought) got hold of my rifle, took aim and let a shot go. Unfortunately I either pulled or rusher the shot and the fox very rapidly turned and disappeared below ground unharmed. The time then was about a quarter past five. I'm still telling myself off for missing that one.
Next to appear was another small vixen at around 05:35. She came in from exactly the same place as the first vixen had so it was a repeat performance - Allow her to get to where I wanted her, give a quick bark to stop her and let the rifle do it's business. She dropped on the spot and I once again quickly retrieved the carcass - That was number 2 in the bag!
The next one came from directly above the earth and slowly made her way towards the earth totally oblivious of my presence or the greeting I had waiting for it. I let the round go with her facing directly towards me. I aimed and and hit her straight in the bib with the bullet exiting just behind her rib cage so once again she dropped on the spot.
Shortly after that the cattle decided to make an appearance not too far from the earth and one promptly went and started walking about straight on the earth so that put paid to that.
Even so I was pleased with three vixens to show for my early mornings work and I suspect that the landowner will be even more pleased when i phone him and tell him how I got on.
Below are two photos - One showing the three vixens (I have chosen not to zoom in on them and have tried to place then so as to make them look reasonably presentable (Hopefully not too "gorey or gruesome" but you have to remember that these foxes have been hit hard with 130g soft points fired from my .270 so they were not really a pretty sight) The other photo shows the cow standing right in the middle of the earth which is why I decided to call it a morning when I did.
(Sorry about the poor quality of the photos, they were taken with my old and about to retire pocket camera)