Out Foxing Charlie.
Here we are in part 14 of my out Foxing Charlie series, those that follow my articles will know this is actually part of my article Shooting The Silk Moths part 2, that was all about a rabbit/rat job I had on, but that was only half the job the other half was a fox problem on the same venue, so I would recommend you reading that article too if you would like to get the full picture and fill in the blanks.
We start of in The City of Bath well actually just out side Bath on a famous estate and manor house, I was called in to deal with a huge rabbit problem on the ornamental gardens that also had a huge lake too, my client kept rare breed fowl, I met Eric & Ernie the guard Emus as soon as I got there, below is a snippet of what I wrote in the other article.
I was shown around the most wonderful ornamental gardens with ancient trees and indeed with it very own lake, the severe rabbit damage was quite apparent, then I was shown around the palace of a chicken run that was almost an acre in size, fenced off dug deep into the ground and 6 ft high security fence all the way around, my client was at a loss how the foxes were getting in killing his prize rare breed fowl, firstly I said you need to electrify the fence or an outer fence, secondly you need to move those big feed bins next to the outer fence, why he asked?
I had tracked the foxes and worked out how they were getting in already, I told him as we walked around the boundary of the fence there is your entrance jumping up on the feed bins then over the top of the fence and in, you have even provided them with a small step ladder next to the bins, he agreed to move them away from the fence, now for the inside of the pen how were the blighter’s getting out whilst carrying a big duck or hen?
I tracked the inside boundary of the pen, ahhhh there it is the exit, it was right in the corner where two straining posts held the corner post up, I could clearly see the claw marks on the posts running up and fox fur on the top post as they jumped out of the pen carrying said duck or hen.
So our story of foxes continues, I shoot some rabbits that day with the Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter and hung them out on a garden fork with their guts split open to attract the fox to where I wanted to shoot them, I also hung out some of my infra red glow sticks in the no safe shot zones as the safe shooting angles are very tight on this job, there is a funny story that goes with those glow sticks and my fellow co owner of the Countryman’s Diary Magazine big Greg, lets just say he lights up well under night vision, let me tell you the story if you see me at a show etc, like I said I hung the IR sticks out to remind me in the blink of an eye where I could and could not shoot in the pitch black, its one reason I walk every bit of the land in daylight to get a real feel for the land, so that when the night falls I have it in my minds eye.
This job has turned into a really tricky one, with very narrow safe shot angles and undulating ground and very long grass being part of it, client said he only had one fox, this I know now not to be true and its a several foxes not just one, I have seen seven at once and shot four so far, we will get to them in due course.
First night I settled in under an old beach tree just out from the huge run, I thought the tree would mask my body shape well, I had already tracked the place and new the foxes were coming over from the country house next door who had a vast amount of land and an orchard, I now have her as a client for all her deer control but we will get to that later, I sat there as the night started to come in quite peacefully listening to the sound of rodents scurrying through the under growth, a few bats flew around me I could hear their clicking, a barn owl silently glided into my tree and sat there preening itself, a pair of rabbits hopped out by the bee hives.
I sat there watching them on the NiteSite Eagle R Tech Dark Ops, then right on cue a fox appeared at the gate some twenty yards from my rabbits, it sat there looking I swear straight at me then another a much bigger one doing the same, I gave a small rabbit squeak and both foxes bolted for cover, I thought to myself these foxes have been educated, probably squealed at before then shot at and missed, so I wont be doing any more squealing from now on, this night came and went and the foxes did not come black, a couple of days later they attacked again so the client called to say come back please.
I went back a couple of days later, this time with my chum Alan and his thermal spotter as I know they were there watching me I just could not see them in the undergrowth, with the thermal it gave us the edge to see them coming and be ready, I also had the client pin the gate back as if it were not for the gate I could of shot them before, the night drew in and Alan cranked up his thermal spotter, right there bang on 10pm the foxes returned from next door, they did not come over the ditch they stayed right inside the next doors ditch so no safe shot, we decided to go for a stalk around the lake and ornamental gardens, this was when we spotted a huge dog fox on the main lawn, we played cat and mouse with him but he out smarted us.
We decided to stalk back quietly to our seats under the Beech Tree, low and behold there was a fox not twenty yards from our seats, we just could not get a clear shot through all the bushes/trees etc, we stalked in but the fox wind scented us or heard us or something and disappeared around the end of the stable, then I saw another heat source on the thermal spotter, another fox just in from the gate, Alan dropped his stick mounted and shot in one smooth action in almost complete silence, it was a real pleasure to watch him shoot, half hour later the first fox appeared on the ditch bank and Alan shot him too, that was 2 foxes in the bag so we called it a nigh leaving a very happy client.
A couple of days later I got a call again, bloody fox has attacked and killed my favourite Cockerel this time come back and bring the army with you, I laughed but thought why not take carter my Young Sport Ambassador along for some rabbit shooting, it would be great experience for him learning how to stalk these rabbits on the manor house too, his Dad my ole mate Niall came along too as a spotter using the sentinel, Carter had a cracking time stalking late sunny evening rabbits whilst his Dad and I watched on, both of us smiling with pride as we watched the boy put into practice what we had been teaching him on the range as well as in the field, he bagged a cracking shot on a bunny by the lake house from a prone position that he stalked in on his belt buckle, the smile on his face was priceless as the rabbit did a back flip and dropped stone dead to the boys shot from that little air Arms S200, His Dad and I cheered him on I think his smile said it all.
Night was coming in so we got back in to position and awaited the foxes, bang on 10.23pm the first fox stepped out, Carter was asleep on the patio chair next to me, Niall had gone off for a stalk with the spotter to see what was about around the lake, I fixed my cross hairs on the fox and not making a sound I slipped my safety off, I could see him as clear as daylight on The NiteSite Eagle Rtec Dark Ops unit, he stopped to take a pee that’s all I needed a split second, I sent the Norma 58grn Vmax lead aspirin down range and administered the sleeping pill to the foxes engine room, it dropped stone dead on the spot, the shot woke young carter up with a start as he nearly fell off his chair, I did chuckle at that as Niall appeared did you get it, daft question that I am not one to waste valuable ammo.
About an hour later another appeared almost identical to the first, in fact it all went exactly the same as the first, apart from the first was going left to right, this one came from the right to the left, it stopped to sniff the blood from the first kill, that’s all I needed as I slipped off the safety of my old Browning 243 and sent the lead sleeping pill down range, this time both Niall and Carter jumped a mile, I could not tell them there was a fox or it might of heard me, So I just got on and shot it.
That was 2 foxes in the bag now, I could sense I was being watched, I could feel it more than I knew it, I said to Carter come for a stalk with me leave your Dad here to watch for foxes, we can pick that 2nd fox up when we come back, I stalked around the long grassy field stealthily telling Carter to mirror my every movement, if I stop you stop, we stalked around using the NiteSite Sentinel to guide our way in the dark, that’s when I saw it a huge Dog Fox, I had to double check as I thought it was the owners German Sheppard out again, but no it was one of the biggest foxes I have ever seen.
I am not sure who was stalking who here, I would get in place give Carter the Spotter, drop my trigger sticks mount the gun, just like that no fox it had vanished? I would turn on the wind trying to get a line on it so it did not wind scent us, then there it was behind us wind scenting us, this was one clever fox he knew the score alright, I bet this is the Boss Fox who is the main trouble maker feeding all the others I thought, last I saw of him was disappearing over by Niall, I said to carter lets go retrieve that other fox we shot earlier.
I was retrieving the fox and could see Niall’s IR from the big NiteSite spotter lighting us up on the screen of the Sentinel, I thought he was just watching us, but no what he was watching was that big Dog Fox he was no more than 20 yards from us watching what we were doing from the safety of the ditch bank, I even had that sixth sense I was being watched and span around with my Night Master pocket lamp, I must have looked right at him but I could not see him in the brambles.
We got back to Niall and said did you see the size of that fox right by you? No we didn’t? as we relayed the stalking story with Young Carter doing the actions, it was now almost 2am and we decided to call it a night, the next morning the client messaged me and said a huge Dog Fox was right by the gate at 7.45am, Thermal will be the way forward with that switched Big Ole Charlie Fox as he knows the score, I will get him it may just take a little time and a new position.
I have to go back and see the next door neighbours in the big country house, like I say they have a deer problem in their orchards and have commissioned me to put in place a deer management plan, you never know I may get that Big Ole Dog Fox over her side after all.
Oh and before I forget, have you got your Gun Ice yet? If not then why not, you must be mad to go out in the field without it, as the mantra says ALWAYS CARRY NEVER USE, check out the website and order yours right NOW Gun-ice
I hope you have enjoyed my humble scribbles, catch up with the other part of this story in my Shooting The Silk Moths series part 2 Out Now.
Out Foxing Charlie 14
By The Ole Hedge Creeper