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Thread: This Year's Foxes

  1. #1

    This Year's Foxes

    Having put some considerable time into my foxing since Jan 1st (90 so far), and listened to the experiences of others, it seems that this year is somewhat unusual where Charlie is concerned. Whereas we'd normally expect to see a new set of cubs at the beginning of summer, we now have two almost distinct sets out there. One lot is too big to be called 'cubs' - I refer to them as sub-adults, while the others are a little small for what you'd expect at this time of year.

    On top of this, I saw almost no fox activity during April and May, despite being out almost every evening with both thermal imaging and NV kit. Every now and then I'd see a fox way off in the distance running between two lots of cover - but none of the usual territorial patrolling, ad hoc hunting, and so on.

    I've given the matter some thought, and have come up with a hypothesis - namely, that the dominant vixens mated as per usual in November. Given their two month gestation period, this would produce cubs in Jan/Feb. Since the other vixens in the social group are kept infertile by the behaviour of the dominant female - usually by a form of bullying, she is able to determine whether they are allowed to breed or not. This decision appears to be made based on food availability. As we had an unseasonally warm period in February, there was a lot of food about - for a start, there were rabbits everywhere. I think this meant that an unusual number of subservient foxes bred too. That would explain the two distinct cub sizes we've been seeing.

    I also think the reason why there were so few foxes around in April and May is that the dogs had cached large amounts of food during the early warm period. Because pretty well all the adult vixens had cubs (of one size or another) they were out of sight, and the dogs had little time for wandering around, so spent most of what they had running to and from their buried food stashes.

    At least that's what seems to have happened around here - what do the site's other foxers think?

  2. #2
    yeah i have also seen this i shot a fox last week which i thought was the goose killer i have been after but because the paddock i was baiting is only 40 yds long the mark was blurred in nmy nightforce as i couldnt pan down any lower in mag and due to being so close got a very blurry pic in the scope but gave it the good news as didnt have time to faf about it turned out to be a well grown cub vixen and not the goose killer that i got on my trail camera whis is a big adult but have another pic on the camera of another much smaller younger cub so it does seem that two sets of litters have appeared this year down here as well also seen adults moving fast over ground like they were on some sort of mission most of the ground here is still full of high cover and other food sources ie young rabbits mainly are plentyfull and i hav had nothing on trail cam for a week

  3. #3
    In north west too i was out foxing one night think it was april when i was in UK never seen any then when dropping my shoot buddy off near a KFC for his car we seen 3 small cubs playing in the car park ? then last time i was home in June i shot 11 including 3/4 growns then when i got home i seen again a very small cub running across road and hiding under a car..there does seem to be different times.

  4. #4
    Yep, I shot what seemed to be a sub adult and an adult vixen recently. I've also seen some still fairly puny cubs around on my travels. It is a bit wired but at least with more about it means more to shoot!

    I was driving through Worthing the other night and conted 5 within a 300yd stretch! Shame I can't Patrol with the Hornet.

  5. #5
    I think we had some very early litters this year, they were very vocal 2nd week in December. Also huge ammount of cover this year which has made things very difficult. Last week we accounted for some mid sized cubs, but prior to that many appear sub adults. One i shot in Devon last sat was a v big sub adult (I think). Last night I had a smallish but clearly adult vixen under belly fur had regrown but was short. We are weeks away from the wheat being cut only then will we get a real idea to whats about.


  6. #6
    We have only had the big strong early cubs round here. I have had 5 since Monday. We dont seem to have any of the young ones you seem to be getting. I think our weather went so bad after the early snap I think disease could have stopped the second broods you are seeing.

    The crops are coming off now so we will see but I have not seen a single cub run over this year and I cant see that boding well for fox numbers this time, round here at least

  7. #7
    All full grown cubs here too. Had one adult from last years crop a few weeks abck apart from that we arent seeing the adults at all.

  8. #8
    Have adjusted 7 so far this week, everyone has been word perfect, good coat and brush, bright eyed and bushey tailed.

    The now good as dam it, fully grown cubs are in perfect, heavier than ever condition, compared to last year which saw scrawny mange ridden foxes and adults, hopefully they are a little healthier this coming year

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