Three out of four foxes prefer Federal 50grain hollow points.It was awful out earlier on. Bad showers on and off, so I hadn’t a notion about going out. Dried a bit then and I got that urge. Besides I wanted an excuse to test out the Yukon Digital Ranger. Off out I went and it started lashing again. I had to sit in the car a good while in one spot before I could get out.
Off I went, and it wasn’t too long before I saw those lovely bright eyes! I switched off my lamp and revved up the Yukon! Since it was a darkish night I switched on the big IR as well and +’d it up full blast. Wow, great stuff. I could see foxy lying down on a rock, side on if you know what I mean. I could tell when she was looking ahead of her, away from me and of course towards me when those big eyes started to shine. She was around 185 yards away.
Since the fox was above me lying on a rock there was no backstop so I needed to work my way closer to her through some very wet bog. Had I known what kind of a treacherous bit of swamp I was about to go onto I’d have left her well alone, I’m never going to venture into that spot again. tiny foot sized islands of vegetation, moss and black slimy little streams everywhere, the bottomless kind.
Even if there had been a backstop I’ve always liked to get in as close as I can when I’ve the opportunity to do so, long shots are great but definite kills are better. Fortunately she moved off the rock for me and headed across a marshy flat and up a large hillock. She stopped for a look about three quarters way up. By this time I had had navigated the swamp and settled on a nice rock near where I’d seen her first and placed the Nightforce crosshairs on her chest. She sat down for a moment and I bowled her over on her ass with a 50grain Federal hollow point. It was a 140 yard shot.
I was bring the fox back to a handy spot where I could pick her up the next day when I saw more lights around the hillock. I heard some calling being done and saw the lights shining away from me. Someone’s being naughty! But, since I figured they’d spotted a fox I sat myself down on a rock and waited. Nothing happened for a while besides the calling and lamping. I thought maybe it was a mate of mine trying to rise me then with a caller on, so I made my way over. When who ever it was saw my lamp they made their exit rather quickly.
I headed up to the spot they’d been in, just a bit up past it actually and had a shine around myself. I saw a fox well out in the bog so off I went again. I tried three or four places for a shot but this fox is lying on my side of a hillock in an awkward dip so I can just see eyes and ears. Bugger. There’s a lake on the downwind side, I’ve not perfected my walking on water routine yet, and if I go upwind the fox will get my scent. I’m screwed either way so I take a chance and head upwind and as I thought the fox gets my scent and heads for the hills. Can’t get them all.
After that I headed off to another spot for a shine around. More bog land. I’m often envious of the lush green fields I see on posts here, although I’m sure those hedge rows are a right pain at times and after watching a DVD last night where a jeep sank to it’s axles maybe I’m alright as I am. I’m walking and shining around for a while then I spot a bright flash a good distance from me. I walk out to a hillock and there’s a fox, on the far side of a lake looking at me. Still too far for a shot. I shine around and find a headland that might be alright for a shot, I get to a downhill bit and proceed to loose my footing and slide on my arse down it with over three grands worth of rifle etc. on my shoulder…
With only my pride bruised I get to a rock and the fox vanishes. He’s going around a hillock his side of the lake and I think maybe I got too close and he’s doing a runner. Quick call and I see a neck and head pop up from behind a rise with a nice little hillock directly behind the fox. I drop him with a hollow point to the neck. Not bad so far. —- Next day, it’s pouring down, big fat rain as Forrest Gump would have put it. I’m collecting my tails for a local lad who did me a big favour once, when I’d a major fox problem and no gun! This is a big lake, there is a short cut across via stepping stones but I’ve done it once in dry summer conditions and like the swamp earlier, once is enough for me. I get to where I think I dropped the fox. Look around for a good half and hour, not a bloody sign of him. As you’d expect doubts start creeping into my mind, I did hit him, didn’t I? I’m sure of it. Did the rifle flip hide a hasty fox exit? Can’t have. Well annoyed and disappointed I make my way home. About 50 yards down the sheep path there he is, almost stepped on him! Turns out, since the side of the lake I shot him on is very flat and I’d not ranged him, he was a nice distance farther than I’d thought. 170 yard shot, a vixen dropped where she stood.
On my way home I figure I’ll test my luck at another spot. I’m doing my usual walking and lamping. I see a fox under a hillock lying down. I have to move around a bit to get the hillock directly behind him. I got to get very close for this and creep in slow with the lamp dimmed on low power. I can’t believe how quiet this fox is! I get in to just over thirty yards of him!! Then I shoot him in the chest and that’s that. Why did he stay so quiet? He’d been in a rubbish bag and was devouring some of the contents!
Saturday January 13thThat fourth fox I saw last night, I’m not done with him yet. I head out again to the same area. I park up and head off down an old bog track, which people use to harvest turf (peat) and bring it home, on foot. Off out to my right in another swamp, we are truly blessed with them, I spot eyes. It can only be a fox. I head slowly down the track to a small hillock and verify through the scope, here’ssssssss Charlie! I get myself sorted and take aim for the heart/lungs area. Squeeze, BOOommmm! Feck me he’s off like a rocket. Running flat out from right to left as I see him. Reload, and I hope he’ll pause for a split second on the track to finish him off. No such luck he zooms across it. *Insert quite a bit of silent cursing*. OK, tall reeds on the left-hand side of the track and then he’ll be in open country again, maybe I’ll get a second bite at the cherry? I’m on the same hillock, my head and lamp on a swivel scanning desperately to find some flash of eyes or fur. Not a thing showing. Now, I’m pretty sure I had him dead to rights in the scope. So after a few seconds and no sign I take a wander down that track all the time looking in the reeds. Aha! He’d not even made it as far as them, the end of his nose laid beside them. Fair enough, saves me walking into another God forsaken swamp. As near as I can figure it he took a step forward as I was firing, so I hit slightly behind where I was aiming. It happens, just took seconds for him to expire though. He was 84 yards away when I shot him.
Tuesday January 29th (I think!)
Not too much of a story to this one. I think I have the date right as it wasn’t too long before I went to England to train for the new job, I’m only getting around to writing it now. I was making my way along a piece of land just up from the shoreline. I turn a corner and there’s a little inlet with a fox mooching around in the top of the shore. This land I’m on will get used around March as a nice grassy field for ewes to lamb in. Not quite the ideal habitat for Mrs. Fox, at this time of year anyway. I get myself settled up and foxy sits down and looks at this bright thingy shining at her. I let a 50grain Federal loose to zip through her chest and down she goes, very quick, very humane and kind on the lambs! I slid and slipped across the shore to her to get the tail for my mate and neglected to take a photo. I think she was around the 60 yard mark when I shot her.
There won’t be a February report, I’m taking the month off and going on a world trip with a couple of curvy blondes – yeah, I wish lol. Promised myself a break and I’m working lots lately so late nights don’t match up too well with early mornings. I’m starting lambing myself around the 25th of March, and my Dad’s flock not long after that so there’ll be a general clean up done before then!
Author : John Galway