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Thread: Wildlife Management - Foxes

  1. #1

    Wildlife Management - Foxes

    I shoot rabbits and the occasional roe on a farm relatively close to where I live. The roe are not really a problem to the farmer because the population is not huge, but there are significant numbers of rabbits, which I am slowly decreasing.

    The land also contains one fox den that I know about, and there is always plenty of fox sign around. When lamping it's an unusual night if I don't come across at least one. Now, since the farmers main concern is the number of rabbits and the foxes will undoubtedly be taking out a fair number of these (along with the buzzards that nest on the land and the badgers) should the foxes just be left, or in the interests of wildlife diversity should some be removed? Up until now I've just left them alone and accepted the rabbit control assistance.
    There are no sheep lambing on this land, and as far as I know no poultry are kept locally.

  2. #2
    Im sure many will disagree, but if they're not a threat to lambs or poultry then you could leave them be. In forestry foxes are known to help reduce vole populations within new plantations, thus reducing damage to newly planted trees. I'm sure they will be assisting in reducing rabbit numbers too.
    There is also an argument for leaving a stable fox population alone as shooting a dominant fox will result in an influx of younger animals into the now vacant territory so increasing the population and subsequent predation on wildlife etc.
    Depends a lot on other factors too, eg land area, if its a small farm then the neighbour might well be shooting them on site so makes little difference what you do to them.
    If your happy to have them around then leave them, if you think they're detrimental to local wildlife, ground nesting birds etc then fire away

  3. #3
    It depends on what the farmer does. Not only do foxes kill wildlife (hedgehogs, skylarks, woodcock, snipe, etc., etc.) and livestock, they spread a number of diseases including:

    a) Neospora - a parasite that causes spontaneous abortion in cattle, sheep and horses
    b) Toxocara canis - a horrible parasitic worm
    c) Lungworm
    d) Tuberculosis
    e) Sarcoptic mange

    And others. So if none of these affect what he farms, then leave the foxes alone.

  4. #4
    Shoot the foxes as you see them, they too need control as they have no natural predators. The rabbits they take will not be as many as you think.

  5. #5
    +1 roll em over when ever you see one that you see in your scope !!
    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger22 View Post
    Shoot the foxes as you see them, they too need control as they have no natural predators. The rabbits they take will not be as many as you think.

  6. #6
    If there not causing any problems leave them alone , you don't have to wipe out everything that moves

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Markfox View Post
    If there not causing any problems leave them alone , you don't have to wipe out everything that moves
    Agree, they are as much a part of our native fauna as deer (more so as most of our deer Spp are non native). Personally deer cause me a lot more trouble than foxes, if deer were treated the way many treat foxes there would be uproar on this site! eg indiscriminately shot on sight, females shot during breeding season with no regard for dependent young etc

    Just a thought

  8. #8
    Fox den equals problems for any poultry , no matter how far away they are .vixens will travel miles hunting in spring to feed cubs.Best shot on sight.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Markfox View Post
    If there not causing any problems leave them alone , you don't have to wipe out everything that moves
    Nobody has said wipe them out, the damage they do to other wildlife alone justifies shooting them. It's not all based on damage they do to human owned animals.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger22 View Post
    Nobody has said wipe them out, the damage they do to other wildlife alone justifies shooting them. It's not all based on damage they do to human owned animals.
    True they can have a detrimental effect on other wildlife, particularly vulnerable species that are under pressure from other things such as habitat loss etc. But the op mentions wildlife management of foxes, I think that for example a large well managed estate with plentiful habitat will hold a sustainable fox population that is not detrimental to other wildlife. As I said before shooting out a mature dog holding a large territory will alter the population dynamics and may increase the number of foxes in the locality.
    Its about knowing your ground, sure if you have a intensive arable farm, with bare hedges and no ground cover then charlie will hoover up the few ground nesting birds that try to breed there. The ground I manage has had massive habitat restoration and surveys show that ground nesting birds have increased year on year despite there being a large (unshot) fox population.

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