Homemade fox caller works a treat!

zambezi

Well-Known Member
I manage a small permission near me with rabbits top of the list of pests to manage, then pigeons and finally foxes. Rabbits are a constant problem as they burrow in the middle of fields which hazards cause lameness in the herd animals. Most years the farmer is happy with the lowish fox numbers, but this year numbers jumped and he has seen a couple hunting his chickens by day, and different ones roaming near his stables. I keep on top of the rabbit numbers pretty well with my .17HMR and the farmer is happy with that.

At his behest, I took just two foxes last year, both with the .223. To get them I used an ambush technique based on a week's crittur cam data which gave me the local foxes routes and times of movement. Seemples. This year's foxes seemed more random in where they presented on the property also popping up at different times of day. My strategy of the previous year was drawing a blank. So I decided to try and call them in instead. Using guidelines on YT re how to fashion a Tenterfield/Tumbarumba whistle, I fashioned a piece of stainless steel sheet metal into the object you see below. It takes a bit of practice to create the distressed rabbit sound, but once you master it, it is definitely repeatable. But could I make a sound that fooled a fox?

The second dilemma I had was that I usually carry the .17HMR as most of my shooting is for rabbits. I have never used that calibre on foxes and was apprehensive. After lots of web research I realised that most professional fox managers agree that the .17HMR is sufficient for foxes at ranges below 100m. So I decided to go out this evening with both rabbit and fox on the card using that one small calibre.

It could not have gone better. I collected 4 rabbits in fairly quick succession, the furthest being at 77m. All head shot off sticks, so clearly both rifle and myself firing on all cylinders. I then moved slowly and quietly through the sheep paddocks to the woods at the far side. [I know I am moving well when the sheep don't scatter as I pass] I took pains to open the gate to the woods quietly and, once inside, to step back into the shade of a large tree with my back to its sizeable trunk. Wind was not in my favour as it seemed to be blowing toward the denser growth ahead which was my natural arc of fire. Hey ho. I readied rifle and sticks and started my distressed rabbit routine. In less than 10 minutes a dog fox trotted into view about 50m ahead of me and turned side on. A gift! Any lingering doubts I held regarding .17HMR effectiveness on foxes evaporated as the dog crumpled on the spot as the little rifle's report resounded through the forest.

I waited motionless for an age. Slowly I heard the resumption of birdsong and an air of normacly return. Thrilled that my first call on my homemade whistle had worked, I started up a second round of distressed rabbit calling, pretty much just to relive and remember what I had just done. Well I was blowed if a second fox didn't trot into the top of the woods! This time a young vixen. A few more rasps and she drew near to the 50m mark and stopped sat upright. Chest forward. A second gift! And once again the fox dropped cleanly on the spot.

Look, I don't think I am Croc Dundee or anything, but I am pretty chuffed that fieldcraft, range work and DYI have all come together so sweetly. Happy days.

Foxes_13082018.JPG Fox_caller.JPG

 

spandit

Well-Known Member
Nice work. I 3D printed a fox whistle and it seems pretty effective too. Whereabouts on the foxes did you hit them?
 

User00025

Well-Known Member
I must admit that my .17 HMR has surprised me as a foxing tool. To date, whilst rabbiting I have shot a good many foxes at ranges up to 150 yds. Everyone has dropped on the spot with chest shots. Yes a couple have kicked for a second or two, but most have just dropped. Usually if foxing I would use the .243w but am quite happy to use the .17HMR if the opportunity comes along.
My .17 is quite happy using 17gr Remington ammo or 20gr CCI and will group both in a 1.5 inch circle at 100yds. Only ever had to take a second shot once and that was down to my judgement and no fault of the rifle.
I used and liked a 22 Hornet many years ago but the ammo aint cheap anymore and it would only give me a bigger choice of foxing rifles.
 

reloader54

Well-Known Member
always satisfying when a plan comes together, well done sir,,, and extra kudos for making the call yourself,, [ everyone is in the shed now with tin lids,, Im gonna try it.]:thumb:
 

rhhudson

Well-Known Member
Yeah as above thanks for sharing that YouTube clip. I'm going to give it a go and see if I'm as lucky as you.
 

zambezi

Well-Known Member
Yeah as above thanks for sharing that YouTube clip. I'm going to give it a go and see if I'm as lucky as you.

There are several YT clips out there to help you get started using a Tenterfield whistle or others on the market. These are a couple I found useful:
 
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John Gryphon

Well-Known Member
A very easy one its to burn the plastic out of a couple of .12g shells and doing that it anneals the brass section.
Punch the spent primers out and using a thumb run it around the inside of one brass end and stretch it (very easy) enough so as the other one slips inside,give it a smack with the hammer and you now have a 12g shotshell fox whistle.Seating depth can change the pitch too,you will work it out but it takes all of 2 minutes once the plastic is burnt out. In the fire is best as the good heat anneals nicely,or if wifey isn't home burn on the gas stove..with fan going and all windows open.
 

FISH BOY

Well-Known Member
Nice work fella. The HMR is truly a very accurate and deadly calibre for small game.

Nice work on the whistle, I have a shop bought one and they are very effective, however I only use mine when i have clean hands...
 

zambezi

Well-Known Member
... however I only use mine when i have clean hands...

With that very consideration in mind, I made one arm of the whistle much longer [the end to which I attached the lanyard] and that end never enters my mouth and is the end from which I handle the whistle. I.e. even if my hands are less than pristine, no part of the whistle touched by my hands ever reachs my lips.

Also, the material is cut from a sheet of stainless steel [salvage from a commercial kitchen splash back sink surround] which means I can easily sterilise after each outing.

Stainless.JPG
 
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FISH BOY

Well-Known Member
With that very consideration in mind, I made one arm of the whistle much longer [the end to which I attached the lanyard] and that end never enters my mouth and is the end from which I handle the whistle. I.e. even if my hands are less than pristine, no part of the whistle touched by my hands ever reachs my lips.

Also, the material is cut from a sheet of stainless steel [salvage from a commercial kitchen splash back sink surround] which means I can easily sterilise after each outing.

View attachment 99884

Very clever. Interesting to see on the video that he can use the Tenterton without his fingers inserted in his mouth. Havent tried it like that as I always thought you needed a thumb and index finger to couple it to make it work.

Will defo be trying his method.
 
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