During this time when it is impossible for some to get out and shoot , I thought I would share my shooting with you all so that you may experience although vicariously an evening of fox control on a poultry unit , I hope this helps to while away a few moments of imprisonment .
Over the last week I’ve been attending a free range egg producer with the aim of reducing the predation from foxes . Signs of kills were everywhere , and it was clear that there was more than one culprit . I hadn’t been to the farm for a while as I’ve been on an extended holiday . What a difference a month or so can make !!!
The first fox I shot was from my favourite and most productive vantage point which is a pallet of celcon blocks , which overlooks a small sloping paddock at the back of the farm. There is a deep ditch with lots of bramble and cover at the bottom . This seems to be where a lot of foxes spend the day and at last light cross that paddock to access the chickens. As if on cue I switched my thermal on to have a scan as it had got too dark for the binoculars and there was the familiar white glow of a fox shape stood at the edge of the brambles sniffing the air and aware of something not quite right . He was right and I flicked the Digisight on and quickly lined up the shot and dropped him at about 60 meters . I spent time scanning with my thermal, I could see foxes all over the place , the farm is set at the bottom of a deep bank , which is dotted with patches of cover and a Christmas tree plantation . But no other shots presented themselves that night .
The following night I sat in vigil but saw nothing around the chickens and packed up and was driving towards the entrance but continuing to scan from my truck when I noticed a fox . I pulled up got the rifle on the bonnet gave a couple of squeaks to stop him and dropped a big dog fox , in fine condition.
The following night the farmer called me to say there was a fox in the run with the chickens. I came straight away and sure enough there it was , sat watching the birds without a care in the world . Shooting it would not be easy as it was behind a big galvanised fence . A bit of a think was called for and I asked the farmer if he had a step ladder . He ran off and fetched it and I set it up against this giant feed silo/ hopper . My creaking and clattering hadn’t disturbed it and I somehow managed to drop it off steps in broad daylight at 50 meters .
I’d been seeing foxes all over the place and decided that last night I was going to bring them to me . There is a flatbed tractor trailer parked in this one field which I shoot off , it offers a good vantage point with a safe backstop . I brought out the icotec fox caller and walked out and set it up . I also scattered a tin of cat food in a large area around it . I went back to the trailer and turned on the caller and got the thermal out . Straight away a fox was coming in and I hadn’t even got my rifle loaded, fumbling around and cursing my stupidity under my breath I somehow managed not to put it off . I looked through the digisight and it was grazing on the cat food , oblivious to my clattering and the clunking of the bolt . It stopped to eat and presented itself perfectly for a broadside chest shot at 60 meters . I reloaded and scanned around , “bloody hell” there was another in the field and seemed to be intent on a cat food dinner , it was to be disappointed however as the 223 50 grain vmax homeload quenched its appetite. I felt sure that that would be it in that field and put on my latex gloves to go and pick them up . But before I went I picked up the thermal, the rabbit distress caller had been going the whole time and to my utter disbelief there was number three moving towards the caller and winding the cat food . This was like shelling peas . The third and final fox was brought to book at about 90 meters .
The noise had brought the farmer out to have a chat and I proudly gathered up the three foxes which he slung in the bucket of his tractor, otherwise I would have taken a photo. This is the fox I shot off the ladder .
Planning another trip out soon as there are more foxes on the bank making a problem .