Sorry just realised how long this ended up being!
Taken me a little time to get this story up but thought I'd share the story of my 1st fox since getting my .243 Tikka T3 Supervarmint.
To set the scene I'd been out a week previously with a Dan and Alex, and we'd seen some eyes in the lamp but even with some persistent squeaking we couldn't bring them in to range.
So the following week I was back on the phone to Alex asking if he fancied another crack at those eyes. He didn't need any convincing especially as, during the week, I'd managed to fill the .22rf slot on my ticket; so bunny would also be on the menu. Also put in a call to another friend, Adam, who is a keen airgunner but is new to the powder burning scene.
The evening came and conditions weren't looking favourable, clear skies and a 3/4 moon, and I was close to knocking it on the head before it even began. However as we neared sunset the clouds rolled in and we decided to give it ago, even if it was just for the bunnies.
We started out around one area of my permission that was more likely to produce rabbit than fox, and sure enough Alex opened the account with 4 rabbits in 4 shots. However it was not rabbits that we saw most of, for each rabbit we saw 6 hares. Now these are not on the menu at present however if the problems with the dog men continue we may have to consider thining the numbers.
We then headed off to the fields that we'd spied the eyes in previously. We pulled into the field and I killed the headlights as we busied ourselves getting both the .22 and .243 ready. With Adam on the rimmie and the Tikka ready just in case I flicked on the lamp and FROZE.....staring back at me, no more than 50 yrds away, were 2 sets of eyes. I flicked off the lamp, passed it to Adam and chambered a round. On my nod Adam flicked on the lamp and I bought the scope to the glowing eyes and.....chuckled....squinting back at me were a pair of black and white stripped faces, looking most confused as to why their foraging was being interrupted.
We left them to it, and began to circle the field (one side of which borders the each of a quarry). Adam managed to bag 2 rabbits and if I'm honest I was beginning to think that the foxes may have to wait until another night.
We came to the corner of the field where the gate way to the next field is. From previous experience I know that the left hand hedge just through the gap is a favourite spot for rabbits as behind the hedge is a 20ft bank from the quarry. I swung the truck in giving Adam a perfect view of the hedge and flicked on the lamp. Glinting back at us were another 2 sets of eyes but this time they were accompanied by the unmistakable silhoutte of a fox. With the lamp of a readied the .243 and very slowly opened the door to allow me a rested position. On my nod Adam bought the light on with the eyes showing the foxes still there. With the scope on target it was clear we were looking at 2 1/2 grown cubs. I centred the cross hairs on the chest of the closest cub, squeezed the trigger and the thump of the rifle in the shoulder confirmed the 58gr Vmax was on route. The cub disappeared from view and to be honest there was a pang in my chest as I thought I'd missed. I cycled the bolt and scanned the area, within 5 seconds a cub was silhouetted in the beam. I thanked my lucky stars for the second chance and again placed the crosshairs on its chest. This time with the report ringing in my ears I saw the cub slump.
With the rifle safe and the lamp plugged into the battery we began to walk towards the cub, as we got within 30yrds of its position the lamp picked up a pair of eyes cantering towards the hedge. A quick squeak on the back of the hand stopped the cub 5yrds short of the hedge about 70yrds away from us. I lay down and bought the cross hairs over the cub, however it was at the corner of the hedge and the there was no clear backstop. A few more squeaks and the cub began trotting towards us. 20yrds later the shot was safe and a quiet cough bought the cub to a stop a moment before it slumped to the grass.
After a quick scan with the lamp, we walked to the 1st fox and low and behold no more than a couple of yards away was the 1st cub I thought I'd missed.
So 3 shots and just under 2 minutes had taken my tally from zero to 3. Hopefully this is the beginning of a very happy and fruitful relationship with the Tikka.