A friend left a message earlier today asking me to attend to a fox that had gone in this morning and killed a load of chickens in his paddock. He was very upset as he’d only bought the majority of the birds five days ago. Anyway – I told him I’d be over once it was dark, so got myself kitted up about an hour later and set off to see if I could find the culprit.
I have permission on quite a lot of land around his smallholding, and on my forays I’ve seen - and often heard, one Charlie in particular. He – for his eyes shone like a dog fox, seemed to have the luck of the devil though, as he always managed to be in places where I couldn’t shoot – such as the local caravan site, or next to the main road. In the past he’d been wise enough to avoid my vixen calls, so I knew that I’d have to up my game if I was going to take him down.
Pulling into the lane that leads to the adjacent farm, I drove down to a small Dutch barn that conveniently stands a few feet to the right and parked up. I had a quick scan with the NV mono over the corn field which lies beyond, but didn’t see anything fox-like. I therefore connected the battery in the Foxpro caller and placed it 60 paces out in amongst the stubble. Although I’d used it a lot on the local farms, I couldn’t recall using the ‘distressed rat’ track, so thought that would be a good place to start.
One of the issues I had to take into account was that the main road runs nearby. This presents two main problems – firstly there were the obvious safety concerns, and secondly, the field was lit up by car headlights every few seconds, so I knew I had to take great care to conceal myself if I was going to remain unseen. A lesser complication was that the noise of all the vehicles masked the sounds produced by the caller. I dealt with the headlights by positioning myself just inside the barn – that way I was hidden by the interior’s nice dark shadows, and, I was pleased to discover, from there the field also rose conveniently away from – so it was safe to shoot.
I knew that if the fox showed, it would most likely come out of the hedge that ran some fifty yards downwind, and that if I was right, I’d get precious little warning of its arrival. I therefore tried to ensure that everything was well prepared. I cleaned the lenses on the IR lasers, got the rifle up on the sticks and my feet in the right shooting stance, checked the NV riflescope was correctly focused for the anticipated range, and so on. When I felt that I was as ready as I could be, I set the caller going. The high-pitched squeaks which echoed around the place sounded perfect, and my mind was on full alert for action. No matter how hard I looked through the NV, however, I couldn’t see any sign of Charlie. I did see several small rodents scuttering about in the stubble though, and I hoped that their presence was a good omen, as it meant the fox I was after should be used to hunting them.
After about ten minutes, I switched to the small thermal that hangs around my neck – the NV mono was starting to mist up in the wet air, and I wanted to double-check that I wasn’t missing anything in the shadows. Just as I raised it to my eyes, a large white form appeared in the monitor – there was no time to switch the thermal off, so I just let it go and reached for the controls on the riflescope. I picked the fox up in moments, and immediately arched my trigger finger upwards to release the Sauer’s safety catch. My intended target was still running towards the caller, but just before it got there it paused very briefly and looked in my direction. In that instant I put a bullet straight into the top of its chest. There was a loud ‘Whop’, and it dropped on the spot with a large gaping hole where its throat used to be.
It was, as I suspected, a very large dog fox - I considered opening him up to see if he’d been eating chickens, but as it would have meant kneeling in the deep mud, I decided against doing so. Instead I drove the short distance over to my friend’s house – when he came to the door I gave him the good news. He was absolutely incredulous – in fact his words were ‘What, already?!!!’. I’m hoping that he’ll spread the gospel and that I’ll get some more land to shoot over, which would be great as he lives within two minutes of my doorstep – fingers crossed!