Urban Fox

Ever since my lurcher bitch saw a neighbours black cat walking along the fence behind my kennels, she’s always run flat out up to the top of the garden first thing in the morning and barked. There’s never anything there but it’s a peculiarity she’s developed and we all know what dogs are like with their habits, especially collie crosses!

Before I moved into my present house, there used to be an active earth at the top of the garden where my kennel block is now, which goes to show that the urban fox is not only coming to town for its free feed, albeit of an untraditional nature, such as takeaways dropped by the ever increasing number of drunks which frequent my towns streets, but it is also breeding there, although this time using more time honoured methods i.e. an earth. Time after time I have been out foxing with the dogs and not had much joy on the lamp, only to find that when I got back into town that I saw more foxes there than I had all evening in the fields. My wife regularly sees a mange ridden specimen using her companies car park as a short cut and I will go far as to say I see as many foxes as I do cats in certain parts of town. I can remember one instance when I had just unloaded my dogs from the boot of my estate car and as they milled around on leads under the sulphurous glow of the street lamp casting its sickly yellow light on the dark street, a fox was 20 yards ahead of us on the path. Actually it was in the gutter next to a parked car and consequently in the shadows so not seen by the dogs straight away. Another 20 yards further on from the fox was a guy walking towards us completely oblivious to this fox. Once the dogs had scented this static vulpine, the black bitch started whining and straining and the lurcher bitch started barking. What was obvious to me was not so obvious to the poor bloke walking towards me and the look on his face told me he thought the dogs were intent on killing him as he genuinely hadn’t seen the fox! As he stopped, I called out “fox” and pointed and I think he thought I was egging the dogs on to him! It was only when the fox shot over to the other side of the road and down a cut between two houses that he stopped looking as though he was experiencing his last moments on earth!

The same thing happened to me last night although this was in a much more rural area and one where I have taken a few foxes before. I’d been out on the lamp but nothing too strenuous as my terrier bitch had just come out of season and the lurcher bitch had just come into season, so it was little more than a stroll after work. We’d seen a fox in a field bordering my permission and I worked my way into a position with a mind to call it over to my land and then have a run. Once I’d gotten into a decent bit of cover, I flicked the lamp on to make sure that the golden eyes were still there and then started calling. After a few squeaks I lit the field up again to see if he’d come any closer, only to see him racing away into the distance, with just a cursory glance behind him to make sure nothing was following. Ah well, I have the same effect on women!

The rest of the night passed without incident and it was only on the way back to the car that we got another sight of what I am sure was the same fox. As we came off the last field, a land led to an unregistered road which was in pretty much the same condition as most unregistered roads up and down the country i.e. Doctor Fosters worst nightmare! This road led to a quite posh street which had bags of old fashioned style street lamps but the road we were walking on was totally devoid of light. This meant that the fox ahead of us on the road couldn’t see us, but I could see it. I say “I” as the dogs hadn’t seen it yet. The thing was he was walking straight towards us. As got to within 40 or so yards, the dogs still hadn’t seen it, so I crouched down holding them in close. At this, they knew something was afoot, and as they cast around they must have clocked the fox as the whining started! This of course alerted old charlie and he was off and away through some gates that led to my wife’s bosses driveway. Obviously I wasn’t going to slip the dogs here, so I struggled as best I could to retain some sort of order and finally managed to get them the short walk to the car and to home.

Waking to the sound of the alarm the next morning, I quickly chucked a t-shirt on s I’d forgotten to put the central heating on again! I don’t know why I bother with an alarm clock actually as the dogs know that 5.30am is feeding time and I am generally awoken by them getting up and stretching on the wood floors downstairs about ten minutes before this. My mornings have the same routine and this day was no different. As I opened the back door, the lurcher would run up to the top of the garden and bark at the imaginary cat and the terriers would forego emptying out in anticipation of the food. This morning was a little different though.

Right on cue, as soon as the door opened, the lurcher was off, only this time she’d gone only a matter of feet before she started barking, which signified that something was wrong to me. The terrier bitch had scooted out of the door as she’d obviously realised quicker than I had that something was on and the next thing I knew I was hearing contact! As I ran out of the back door in my bare feet, the security lights came on revealing the terrier bitch on the floor with a fox engaged in a passionate embrace! The first thing that went through my mind was “thank god it’s not a bloody cat” but then the hour of the day came into my head combined with the fact that my neighbours wouldn’t really relish foxes being killed within metres of their house….well one side wouldn’t anyway! With that, I knocked the security lights off and after the crash of a few terracotta pots and my watering can, the one-sided struggle was over as soon as it began. I dragged the fox out of the way and pulled the terrier off, which was easier said than done as she just went firing straight back in. Once I calmed her down the fox was weighed and was a 14lb dog which I didn’t think was too bad for an urban specimen.

I don’t know what that particular fox was thinking off coming into my garden like that. There are kennels at the top and a ferret court half way down. Maybe the fresh rabbit I’d thrown in with the ferrets had tempted this fox into my garden or maybe these urban foxes just don’t actually care about the scent of dogs all around them anymore. I’ve known that the urban ones are as bold as brass for some time, but to flaunt that in my garden was a big mistake. The last one this fox ever made.

I’ve known lads say that they’ve got foxes on their doorstep before, but I’ve known it be quite as literal as this!

All the best