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Short Foxing Trip!


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For several weeks i had been hiding bait on a field down the road from me. When i say "hiding" what i mean is putting bait down out of sight of corvids and buzzards. I knew there was a fox about because i saw it one night, however it also saw us and trotted off. I didn't bother trying to call it back as experience has taught me that all that would achieve is educating it to calls. I decided to bait the field and just randomly wait for it sometime later. To get to this field i have to walk or drive through another field which is a tad over six hundred yards long. At the end of which is a low thorn hedge approximately four feet high. There is a gate into the bottom field which is the one i will bait. This field is two hundred and seventy yards long and is the last one before the marsh. Down the right side of it is the "sea wall" or flood bank and that is around twenty feet high. This bank also sweeps round to the left at the bottom of the field and forms the boundary of another three fields that i have permission on. At the extremity to the left on this field is a tidal gutter. I decided to bait the bottom end of the field this side of a bridge that crosses the gutter. The reason i chose that spot is foxes often cross that bridge and mooch along the edge of the gutter looking for whatever they can find to eat. The grass along the edge is a bit tussocky and is ideal to kick your foot into to create a small tunnel to put bait into out of sight of prying eyes. I often walk down there to train and exercise my dogs so every few days i would take some breasted out ducks or rabbits that i cut in half, given to me by a mate. I would put out between four and six baits at a time. They would all of gone by my next visit.

As it was a dry night with no rain forecast i thought i would give it a couple of hours on Monday night. As i normally do i phoned my mate to see if he fancied going and as per norm he did. We set off from my house at seven fifty five and three minutes later he was opening the gate for me to drive onto the first field. There is a hard track down this field which ends at another gate that goes out onto the marsh. At the end of this track i made my way left for thirty yards then i turned right till i arrived at the low thorn hedge. I parked the Jimny facing the hedge so that i could stand on my platform on the back and look over the hedge down the baited field. If a fox turned up to the baited area and stayed there it would be a two hundred and fifty yard shot. The previous day i had checked the zero up at our syndicate shoot and had shot a one and a half inch group at two hundred and sixty yards so i had every confidence in the rifle no matter what happened. After i had parked up i noted the wind was five to eight miles an hour and from the NW, so blowing in our face slightly from the right, perfect! After setting the rifle up and checking the scope and illuminator switched on i switched both off and began scanning with the thermal. 

From this vantage point it is possible to see all around for hundreds of yards except directly to the left as that is the flood bank. I saw plenty of hares and Lapwings which where dispersed into little pockets all over the fields. I like the Lapwings, they have warned me of marauding foxes on numerous occasions. I watched a hedgehog doing its rounds. I could hear Widgeon just over the bank and a noisy bunch of Canadas. After about fifteen minutes i saw a heat source around five hundred yards away on some ground that rises up and is planted sparsely with saplings. I whispered to my mate that it may be a fox. To check the identity properly i switched on the Drone/srx and promptly found the source of the heat. It was a fox indeed and it slipped through a sheep wire fence onto a field with ease. I switched off the scope and watched it through the thermal as it made its way towards us. It had travelled perhaps one hundred yards in our direction when suddenly it stopped and went back the way it came. In front of the tree line there is a gully that runs virtually to the flood bank and as i could no longer see it i reasoned that that is where it was. Five minute passed and it popped into view heading towards the flood bank. Another few minutes saw it working its way along the bank following it round towards where i had been baiting. At around the three hundred yards mark it changed course again and went up on top of the bank occasionally dipping out of view. I had every confidence that it would eventually make its way down the bank again and go to the bait area. I was surprised to say the least when it didn't and it continued to follow the bank round towards us. It would of been two hundred and fifty yards away at this point and even if it stopped there was no safe shot, a miss would have seen a bullet travelling through a village at a fair rate of knots. It dipped out of sight again and i hoped it wouldn't come all the way up to us on top of the bank. I told my mate to get behind the jimny on the nearside where he couldn't be seen if it came upon us. I switched the scope and illuminator on and pointed it as far to my right as i could get. I also knocked the safety off and set the trigger at this point. I continued to scan along the bank for several more minutes when all of a sudden it popped back over the bank and descended about six feet down. Whether it had seen us at this point or not i don't know but it stopped dead in its tracks. Although out of focus at that range i could clearly see it in the Drone and as soon as the reticule was on target i touched the trigger off. It crumpled instantly and slid a little way down the bank. It had come to within twenty yards of us from around the five hundred yard mark. If i hadn't been ready for it i dare say it would have disappeared back over the bank in a flash. On collection it turned out to be a good healthy vixen.     

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Excellent write up as per Sir

I've asked the missus for the Ianm book for Christmas, "memoirs & pi§s takes in my Jimny". I'll leave her scouring the Internet another couple of days!! 😆

Edited by BenBhoy
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