Out Foxing Charlie 13.
Unlucky For Some.
Before I go any further with this article, I want to make one thing clear, I do not go and shoot foxes or trap them etc unless they are attacking live stock, all this if its red is dead nonsense or if it flies it dies if it hops it drops rubbish really gets my goat, I was brought up as a countryman and that is we respects all quarry, so as I said in my very first article on this subject I only deal with foxes that attack live stock, also this using the biggest gun to take the quarry and for want of a better word exploding it really goes against all I was taught from boyhood, I was taught you use the correct caliber hammer to hit the correct nail/bullet in the hole, so using a 308 to shoot rabbits is nothing more than proving your manhood is bigger than your mates or possibly trying to make up for something if you get my drift, anyway rant over lets get on with this article.
We start out on a cold wet windy night in the darkest deepest depths of my beloved Somersetshire, one of my agricultural pest control contracts was complaining of fox predation on his free range ducks and hens, also something was taking piglets from the piggery, there were foxes also attacking in the early lambing paddocks, I was called in to see what I could do and give my professional opinion on what and how was attacking the live stock and how I would cure the problem.
I arrived late afternoon a couple of hours before dusk as I had to check my rat traps/cage traps, I did all the traps in record time having dispatched several rats in the cage traps around the piggery, I then tracked and stalked around the lambing fields, of course I took the trusty 243 with me just in case Ole Charlie fox decided to try his luck early on the day old lambs, it was not long before I had worked out how and where the foxes were getting in and how they formed their attacks and gaining access to the piggery and the fowl too, I worked out he had about 5 foxes visiting him on a nightly basis, there were 2 pairs of b Dog and vixens coming in, as it was around the time they paired up, one big dog fox and what I knew must be a vixen coming in from the livery stables next door, the other not so big dog fox and a vixen were coming in from the organic garden centre across the road, then there was what I assumed was a small vixen or dog fox coming in from under the shed of the house next to the farm entrance, my gut said it was a vixen but I could not be sure until I saw it or had shot it.
I took up position in top of some haylage bales to give me some height and a better all round view, the dusk started to draw in and the light started to fall, I heard a vixen scream over towards the livery stables, I thought here we go wont be long now, I had the Ole Browning 243 set up with a NiteSite Eagle mounted on it as I scanned the area with the awesome NiteSite Spotter, about half hour passed nothing but then I picked up a pair of eyes, I could not get a clear shot due to trees and other vegetation, so I decided to move down to the gate at the bottom of the hilly lambing paddock, I was glad of my Jack Pyke Evolution gear and my beard as it was bitter cold.
There I was down in the gateway watching for the fox to appear when I saw a flash of eye shine again, there she was 125 yards out sniffing around a huge dung heap, I switched to the rifle from the spotter and waited, Now in shooting position rifle mounted on top of my trigger sticks I followed her every move with cross hairs locked on, she paused right in the middle of the ding heap to take a pee, I squeezed the trigger on the 243 lead injector and administered a lead aspirin to the engine room, she dropped stone dead on the spot less than a moment later the dog fox appeared from my right hand side and trotted out to the dung heap too, the wind was blowing a hooley so he must not have heard the shot even thought I have a moderator on the gun it still makes a crack, I tracked him all the way out until he stopped by the vixen, again another text book shot with a perfect back stop of this massive dung heap, he fell right next to the vixen.
I went out to retrieve both foxes then brought them back and hung them on the gate post next to me with some bailer twine, I stopped for a quick cup f tea from my flask as farmer came out of the lambing shed, I take it that’s two down he said as he came over and saw the ones hanging on his gate post, I think his smile said it all as he shook his fist at the dead foxes, I explained your troubles are not over yet as I know there are three more foxes coming in, I also had a report of the white van dropping off town caught ones less than a couple of miles away too, I only saw one more fox this night and it was what I thought was a little vixen, she came round and sat right next to the road and no amount of calling or anything was going to move her to a safe shot position so she was left.
I went back the next day and installed a cage fox trap, I baited it with some of the ducks and hens that had been killed a couple of nights previously, within a couple of days I had her in the cage trap, I quickly and humanly dispatched her in the trap, that was three foxes down with two left to go, I spent several nights there even putting the Ico Tec GC500 caller out, but those last two foxes were having none of it, I was sure they could see the IR of the NiteSite, I could pick up two sets of eyes but they just would not come in past the 300 yard mark of the boundary hedge and present a safe shot.
I left farmer my Dads phone number just in case we caught any more foxes in the cage trap, I was heading off to the shot show in Las Vegas Nevada USA and would be in Utah too for the best part of a couple of weeks, all in all I would be in The United States Of America the best part of three weeks hunting shooting and fishing whilst being at the show to, I had a wonderful time there with my mate Robert Kearl a professional trapper, we pitted our skills against each other from shooting to fishing to tracking.
I especially enjoyed the tracking and trapping as it was back to pure skill and field craft, we tracked Cotton Tail Rabbits/Jack Rabbits/Mule Deer/Cougar/Bob Cat/Coyote/Ring Tailed Cats different types of foxes and of course our Red Fox, all in all I think I impressed my American Brother as us Brits are not known for our tracking abilities, I must admit I really enjoy tracking and piecing together the picture of what’s been left behind, I have tracked all over the world with everyone from Native American Indians to African Bush Trackers and each of them have taught me something new, my Pappy (Grandfather) was a great tracker and started my passion off for tracking and traditional field craft.
I saw the NiteSite and NiteSite America boys at The Shot Show in Las Vegas, we had such a laugh, I was very impressed with the new NiteSite Sentinel a small hand held spotter that was good out to 100 yards, I explained my problem foxes and that I thought they were seeing the IR from the NiteSite Eagle Rtec, I arranged the collection of a NiteSite Eagle Rtec Dark Ops from them at the British Shooting Show when I flew back to the UK, a few days later I flew home from Las Vegas, I landed back in the UK and only three days later I was at The British Shooting Show 2019 at the Nec Birmingham, I got to meet Gavin Thornett the UK Sales Manager for NiteSite for the first time and my old mate and top Countryman Mark lewis on their stand, well after I had set my stand up that is, we all got on like old friends, had a quick photo shoot picked the new Dark Ops up and off I went to run my own stand, WOW what an awesome show The British Shooting Show really is, I really must send a massive well done to John & Annie and their BSS team, I swear that show just keeps getting better and better as each year passes.
I head home and hardly have a chance to unload the van, the phone wont stop, I have Commercial/Domestic & especially Agricultural Pest Control Clients phoning, I was away for a month at both shows and enjoying myself state side so what did I expect, The next day I started to tackle the vast amount of work ahead of me, the Commercial and Domestic work was a walk in the park so no real issues there, it was the Agricultural Contracts that were a problem as I raced against the clock getting all the traps out and everything set.
Then that phone call came, it was the farmer with the fox trap, he was having attacks in the lambing paddocks, his ducks and hens were hammered and he saw a big dog fox running off with a piglet, Nothing else for it head down armed with the browning 243 lead injector and try out the new NiteSite Eagle Rtec Dark Ops, I set up in the hay barn next to the lambing pens, the dusk fell and I started to hear a vixen screaming from over by the livery stable, I knew it would not be long before they made their move and come in to attack the live stock, I sat and waited with the Dark Ops, I used the spotter a bit like I would a lamp, as soon as I saw any eye shine off it would go, then I would switch to the Dark Ops Browning lead injector combo.
I saw the pair of foxes coming in from 400 yards away, but the route they took meant it would not be a safe shot from this angle as they would come right through the live stock, so I quickly moved position before they winded me and hid behind a 5 tone haylage trailer, this worked like a dream they came right in across a big pile of rotten bales the farmer was getting rid of so a great back stop, I lined up on the big dog fox and tracked him all the way in, the vixen disappeared out in the field, the dog fox was on attack mode for the piggery I think he had a taste for pork, I did a mouse squeak to stop him right in front the rotten bales about 40 yards away, he paused for just a second to take a look, one paw off the ground like he was on point, too late as I was already on him and had his card marked, I squeezed off the shot with a perfect shot to the engine room, he dropped on the spot stone dead with that 58 grain Norma Vmax round my favourite bullet for live stock thieving Charlie Foxes.
I quickly span around as I knew the vixen was out there and the wind may just have hidden my muzzle report enough to get her too, I was right there she was walking around a ewe that was quite clearly in labour, I have seen foxes take lambs before as the mother gives birth, but no safe shot there there were too many ewes and lambs close by for and I could not dare chance hitting one of them to save another, that’s not how its done, I saw video of someone recently who will remain nameless, they were shooting with Night Vision at a fox among a flock of sheep on the crest of a hill, very bad marksmanship qualities and shows extremely poor discipline and bad judgment, no back stop and shooting live stock or worse, I don’t know how they have kept their FAC I really don’t.
Nothing else fr it but to try out the Fox Magnet Call I have just helped develop with another sporting company, this was the prototype so I had not really field tested properly, I put it to my mouth using the hare call side I blew with all I had t be as loud as possible, I changed the frequency using my hand so I could give the call back pressure, the vixen froze on the spot and bolted right at me, I am always amazed how fast an animal can cover ground, she did a 150 yards in the blink of an eye, I had to shut to stop her she came in like a steam train with flames coming from her heels, she skidded t a halt just staring at me, she then sat down as I composed myself and checked it was a 101% safe shot, I squeezed the trigger and the rest was history, I breathed a sight of relief, this pair could definitely see the IR on the normal Eagle but this Dark Ops unit they did not see and it has revolutionized my night time agricultural shooting from rats to rabbits to foxes well you get what I am saying.
A few weeks later I received the amazing NiteSite Sentinel spotter through the post, WOW what an awesome piece of kit, I have only had chance to use it on rats at the moment and at a NiteSite demo evening on a farm for some farmers and local pest controllers, all who wanted to see the gear in action before they bought some of their own, typical farmers and pest controllers tighter than a ducks back side and that’s water tight.
Until the next time, I hope you have enjoyed this latest part of my humble scribbles in this series, go and read my article The Silk Moths The Dark Ops and The Sentinel feature in that article on the rats.
Out Foxing Charlie 13
By The Ole Hedge Creeper www.theolehedgecreeper.co.uk