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Thread: Vixen first, or cubs first?

  1. #1

    Vixen first, or cubs first?

    I read recently, on a new forum dedicated to foxing, that the preferred/recommended method of clearing a vixen, and cubs, is to shoot the vixen first, followed by the cubs. When I questioned this, the reason given, was that if one or more cubs are killed, the vixen will move them to another den. The shooter said that once the vixen is killed, he would return either the next day, or in the next couple of days, to kill the cubs.
    Okay, so I understand that killing the vixen first, and then the cubs, is tactically(?) the best way to do it, but - legally, surely the cubs should be killed first, regardless of the possibility of the vixen moving, or, the den should be dug up, and the cubs destroyed immediately (especially if you are going to talk about it online)?

    Okay, so I admit, that, up until a few weeks ago, I wouldn't have known, or, even been bothered, but I have recently had reason to make a detailed study of Best Practice Guides AND the 2006 Animal Welfare Act, for a personal project that the local Police Wildlife crimes officer has shown an interest in.

    The fact that foxes are pests or vermin, does not detract from the fact that they (in common with all other animals) enjoy a certain level of protection under the aforementioned act, OR, to put it another way, that shooters can be prosecuted for contravening the act.

    Thoughts anyone?

    Am I being pedantic? Unrealistic? Do I read too much?

  2. #2
    Fit a good sized boxed mag & clear em one go,, No seriously, Pop whatever shows first & stick with it till the activity ceases.
    (The Unspeakable In Pursuit Of The Uneatable.) " If I can help, I will help!." Former S.A.C.S. member!

  3. #3
    It is an emotive subject but the reality is that it would be impossible to remove cubs first in most cases, wet Vixens will be getting shot now away from the earth and hopefully effort being made to locate and deal with the cubs after, I personally would rather wait on the earth if I find cubs first and deal with adults visiting as they return.

  4. #4
    im my opinion it doesnt matter shoot them all ,they all got sharp teeth ! , if you find an earth watch it shoot the dog and the vixen and then mop up cubs at your leasure they wont go far!

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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by leec6.5 View Post
    im my opinion it doesnt matter shoot them all ,they all got sharp teeth ! , if you find an earth watch it shoot the dog and the vixen and then mop up cubs at your leasure they wont go far!

    Took the words out of my mouth...I learned the hard way...saw a vixen and two cubs one day near some gorse, shot a cub, the vixen grabbed the other cub and legged it before I'd cycled another round...seemingly, they don't stop running till the next county...

  6. #6
    Natural England gave a pre guidance note on fox removal, gamekeeper rights to using dogs to clear an earth etc these should be taken on board firstly and fully understood prior to any clearance

    in a lot of circumstances fox cubs left orphaned by removing the parents cannot be accounted for, that leads to the cubs particularly if they have not been weaned being deprived of food as well as parents. In scenarios like that it is better for the cubs that they are removed first and if the vixen moves what is left, the problem has been halved and has moved on. That in some eyes is not good but the chance of cubs starving to death is avoided and the cruelty issue is abated

    better to wait until the cubs are grown on and freely moving around outside and remove them. Until the cubs have been removed then the parents, the last thing you want is someone reporting you that you shot mum and left the cubs to starve.

    keep within the natural England publications and avoid any cruelty at all times, removing foxes is an emotional barrier in some peoples views and they will utilise the law against people who they see as being cruel to animals


    keep inside the parameters of fox control guidelines or legislation and all should be well

  7. #7
    Philip, that is exactly the way that I thought kt should be done to be legal. I was however, unsure how to get this across on the other forum, without coming across as a pedantic 'know all' and potentially causing a big argument!

  8. #8
    Equally how many of us have shot vixens that have milk dependant cubs underground. You could then extend that to rabbits. How far do you go with it? Must admit...vermin or not....leaving cubs underground to starve to death isnt a pleasant thought.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by teabag_46 View Post
    Philip, that is exactly the way that I thought kt should be done to be legal. I was however, unsure how to get this across on the other forum, without coming across as a pedantic 'know all' and potentially causing a big argument!

    Hi Teabag

    there are very many old style "approved methods" of fox reduction some going back through man a boy, mate to mate etcetera

    most methods don't wash today, whatever control methods we use for whatever species has to be seen to comply and be target species friendly irrespective of the species.

    common sense prevails here and the main criterion is to manage numbers of a species and minimise pain and distress to the target animal as best as you can, that's what the wildlife and countryside act and natural England are there for to protect the animals from us.

    we have a pretty sound foundation to manage wildlife and pest species with the methods shrinking every year.

    to undertake wildlife reduction and not adhere to what regs we have now will certainly cost us later on in legislation to further reduce

    its time to let go with the grandfather rights style of control and think outside the box, comply with what we have now and slow down further amendments to the w&c countryside act which will no matter who we are, will effect us all.

    there excellent reasons or grounds to stabilise wildlife management as a necessary obligation some people will be looking to stop it. We shouldn't give em ammunition, there are more non shooting people in this country than us

    work with what we have now and the future, the past is fuel fodder for anti shooting circles, in a nutshell wildlife management has got to be seen as the best it's ever been, well planned, considerate and humane target species friendly management

    in some areas we have to get our head out of the sand and take a look around to see what's happening around us before it's too late

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by leec6.5 View Post
    im my opinion it doesnt matter shoot them all ,they all got sharp teeth ! , if you find an earth watch it shoot the dog and the vixen and then mop up cubs at your leasure they wont go far!
    Lee's post will echo the opinion of any professional keeper out there, I note as yet those on the site who's livelihood depends on producing game birds for the paying gun have not replied. A professional keeper will know all the historic dens on his ground, and will have noted any new ones, He will deal with the parents by all legal means at any den whether shooting or snaring any fox seen above ground. The recreational stalker merely shooting the first fox he sees above ground will merely shoot I or 2 before they are moved to safety, its not rocket science, just using common sense to achieve the best result within the law, and recommended best practices for using snares, the best practice guidelines on snaring have just changed, best to read up on them. As regarding leaving the cubs to die underground by shooting the returning vixen to the den, what's the difference in a stalker killing a wet vixen from a high seat with no knowledge of a nearby den, when out after a deer, cubs will still die. The professionals do a professional job nowadays, and are well aware of the current legislation. deerwarden

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