Record Week On the Foxes
My Missus was away last week so the perfect opportunity toget a serious session under way for the foxes. It has been a pretty good yearafter a slow start and the tally has been rising steadily. In fact coming tolast Saturday I was only 1 fox short of my previous best years tally (Jan toDec)!!
Saturday morning saw me out stalking and looking to get somesigns of the fallow rut. After about an hour and with the time at almost 8 o’clocka fox stepped out onto the ride at about 60m. A snap shot with the 30-06 left alot of fur and innards on the track but the fox made it into a heavy brackenbed on a steep slope. Couldn’t pick it but done for for sure. Record nowequalled!!
That night I was due out with a mate and we decided to do bitof a tour. The chicken farmer had reported a last light sighting so I went downand waited. Nothing showed and then my mate turned up. We decided to move onand return later. However as we left we used his thermal stuff and saw a foxtrotting towards the sheds. A quick u turn in the truck and we scurried acrossthe field to the sheds. The fox was lurking around the sheds in a grasspasture. There was another a way back in a wheat field. It took a moment or 2 for me to find the nearone in the NV as my mate was viewing through the thermal and it gives noindication where it is pointing. The shot was good and we had a vixen!! Theother one scarpered
We then moved on to look around another farm where thefarmer claimed to have seen a fox on his lane end. 2 hours with thermal/NV/andlamp showed nothing at all. At least we must be getting on top of em there.
Back to the chicken farm and there was another fox sniffingaround the shed hatches. It seemed to spot us at 200m regardless of the fact wehad no light and cleared off REAL quick!! As we went around the other side ofthe farm there was another one (same one looped around?). I thought it wasgoing to scarper too but then it stopped and scented a rabbit I had shot beforeI left the first time. It went straight to it and started eating. Another shotand we had a dog to go with the vixen. Hopefully the hens are safe for now (areturn later in the week showed no foxes). We have only had 15 foxes of thatfarm this year so hopefully that also shows we are winning.
Next onto another farm with a sighting. However nothingshowed and I was home in bed for 3.30!
Sunday was a blank
Monday I was meeting a guy who wanted my old 22/250. He hasn’tdone any lamping so I agreed to nip out for an hour or so and show him theropes. We went to a farm locally where I believed there was a wily fox. I tookthe NV too and gave the guy the Archer to spot through. I thought we would alsoshoot some rabbits but all the grass has been sprayed off so that nailed thatplan.
I set up on a suitable vantage point and started calling.There were a few rabbits and hares showed themselves but not much more. Wemoved a few hundred yards and tried again. This time after a couple of minutesI could see the guy studying something through the NV. I put the rifle in thatdirection and there was a fox sat looking at us. I shot it, a vixen with half alower jaw missing (healed) which would explain her wariness. The guy said “Iwondered wether to tell you but I wasn’t sure what it was!!”. So a bonus fox
Tuesday saw me out with a farmer friend on his ground. I hadsnuck a fallow pricket in the early evening so I was already on a high. Westarted on his neighbours farm and no sooner had we pulled through the gate asthere was a fox. Lamp off, NV on and a vixen in the bag. There was a second oneon the same field but needless to say it didn’t hang around.
We then did a boundary tour. There was a young dog in agateway and he was an easy shot. The next one sat up on rising ground and was agood way off but he was down too. As we returned into the heart of the farm wediscussed the fact a usual suspect hadn’t been seen for a while. Almostinstantly we saw a flash back from a gate. I assumed it was a parked trailer. Iwas assured there were no trailers there so I set up on the bonnet and startedcalling. A fox appeared and started cutting across us pretty fast. I still don’tknow if it was calling or clearing off on a preferred route. I had to whistleto stop him and dropped him at about 200m. An old dog with a healed butmalformed back leg. 2 injured foxes in the week!! As we got back into the yardwe got a final set of eyes but they were hidden by a tree. My mate was tired sowe left that one for another night. Four at this time of year is a rightresult!!
Wednesday saw me back out with the keeper and his thermal.We went back to the last farm from Saturday. Into the first field and hethought he saw a flash of eyes but we couldn’t find a fox. Into the secondfield and another flash. Even with the NV and thermal we couldn’t find it, mindyou stone walls everywhere don’t help. Into the third field and even I saw theeyes in the headlights. I was very quick and dropped the young vixen before shefled.
We then sat atop a high point using the thermal. My matedecided a suspicious blob a kilometre away was a fox so off we went. A longwalk and he was proved right. I took the shot off a wall top t about 180m, wegot a good smack and the fox slid/slipped down a steep slope. It then seemed towalk slowly off. We couldn’t get down there so that will have to count as amiss.
Nothing more seen that night.
Thursday was poor weather but I popped down to the chickenfarm but nothing showed.
Friday and I was back out for fallow. As I snuck along adeer track in the woods a fox stepped out of a gully not 20 ft from me. We bothfroze!! I decided to try and get set up, I used my tripod sticks as a monopodfor speed and whipped the 30-06 up. She stood looking for cover. A quick shot,a bit far back, but a young vixen taken none the less. A bonus!! Needless tosay the deer didn’t play ball.
I then went on to a mates farm with him. Half the farm wasdeserted. We crossed the road to the other side and we got a set of eyes in thelamp about 400m away. We only use the lamp on his as he likes to see what isgoing on. I started squeaking and the fox came in as if on a draw cord!! In theend it was 40m away and I had to shout to stop it. Easy shot and a young dog,it has been a long time since one calledas confidently as that!!
Saturday and I was due to meet a friend on his pheasantshoot. There has been very little fox activity but its always worth a look. Atthe last minute he called off so I dusted off the archer and went alone. Iwalked for 3 hours and didn’t even get a hint of fox, although I did see a goodlot of roe. As I started the home run I thought I got eyes from over the riverbut lost them again. More squeaking and they came and went, was it an owl? I moved coser and called and again got a flashof eyes. Again they went. It was in longish grass so I concluded it was a foxcurled up and not bothered to come but curious. I used the river bank as coverand got as close as I could. Using the NV and laid prone on the bank I squeakedagain. This time the fox sat up. I aimed just below the eyes and the smackconfirmed the 50gr Vmax had done the job!! I left it to pick this week as theriver was far too deep to cross and I was knackered for walking all the wayround.
So that is it. A superb week. 12 foxes in all, breaking myrecord for a week. A new annual record 85!! And still counting. We have clearedup 3 foxes that farmers were complaining they had seen, and that’s good forrelations and reputation, and I have had 2 interesting injured foxes. I washoping for a couple more nights to extend the run but the fog has come in BIGSTYLE, so a week or so off is on the cards now.