Countrymans Diary

Timing is everything

 

So tonight had planned to set up at 19:00 for a fox due at 20:35, but phone went, could I solder the wires on a new light in a tractor, so said, yep, bring it up at 18:00. So they arrived at 18:15, and got the soldering iron out. Took a bit of work, as the wind kept cooling the wires as fast as I could heat them, but finally got them soldered and wrapped in insulating tape. Then tried the light, nothing, they hadn’t put bulbs in LOL


So bulbs out of the old lamp, and into the new, all working, screwed it back up, and off they went
Then it was quickly walk the dogs, make a thermos of coffee, and go set up.
By the time I was set up it was 19:25, but plenty of time
Got scanning, every two minutes, and 20:35 came and nothing but a cat. But then the cat left, so good chance something was coming (although this fox was at the bait amongst about four or five cats the other night, as I had a photo of it).
Then suddenly, a flash of the trail cam, and I switched the IR on, and swivelled the rifle down, and there was a fox.
It looked up as I flicked the safety off, so hit the record button for video, and quickly took aim and fired before it had chance to decide to run.
FOX DOWN 20:46
Then went and collected it. A nice dog fox, very old, but still in pristine condition, despite the mass of silver/grey hair on his underside
Quite heavy too, so well fed indeed

And here he is


Right, final report on this evenings foxing.

Today was a cold day, didn’t get above 2c all day, rain, sleet, and gusting winds.
No jobs to do, so spent the day playing with the dogs.

Had to get bait from the butchers, but they don’t have it ready until after 17:00, they prefer around 17:30, and as I was expecting above fox at 18:41 and like to be set up around an hour early, it was going to be tight.

So, at 17:10, I had the bait aboard, and was on the way home.

Got back at 17:20, and took both sets of dogs for a quick walk again, and then made a thermos of coffee, and had had a quick mug of tea.
18:10 and i was set up in my loft, ready for Charlie.

At the moment it’s getting lighter by about 7 minutes each day, so was expecting the fox to come slightly later.

18:41 came and went, no problem, as he was there to 19:05 yesterday, so kept scanning every two minutes for a minute as I usually do, hoping for a glow of eyes, but nothing.

Then at 19:21, the sound of chicken bones crunching (I always chuck a few bones about in the field, usually the foxes will take one or two on their way into the bait, and the sound of the bone being crunched gives me early warning of a fox)

Patiently waiting for the fox to appear from behind the barn, suddenly a  bloody van pulls into my yard, and turns around, it’s headlights shining all over the field, and then pulls up in front of my back door with its engine running.
DAMN and BLAST, that’s the fox gone.

So, I go to see what they want, and it’s appearing on land of a  neighbour of mine, looking to see if I had seen his horse, someone had broken down the fence last night, and the horse was gone. However, he said chances are that gypo’s had it, as they were seen looking at the horse yesterday, and it disappeared in the night. Odds on favourite they’ve taken it, and as it was an old horse with only one eye, they will sell it for meat to a slaughter house over the border. NOT NICE NEWS.
At 19:40 he went again, and I decided to set up again in the hope that the fox was waiting somewhere near, for it to quite down again.
Back to scanning for a minute every two minutes again.

20:00 came and went, and temperature dropping fast, hands and do feet getting cold, as wasn’t dressed for a long night, and I hadn’t lit any handwarmers, so kept drinking some hot coffee to try and do warm up.

Finally at 20:10, eyeshine between the bars of the iron fence that sticks up above the wall. Damn, not a good place to shoot into, as that iron fence has horizontal, vertical, AND diagonal bars of about 10-12 mm thick, and if I hit one of those, the bullet will ricochet God knows where, and I will end up missing the fox, and just making it even more nervous.

I took the IR slowly back off it, waited a minute, then back to see if it had come out from behind the fence, but NO, it was stubbly stood there eating, so it had obviously managed to sneak in under the trail cam without triggering the IR, and got itself some chicken.
So took the IR slowly back off him, switched on the camera, slipped the safety, and slowly went back to it.

Took aim slightly down and left and behind where it’s eyes where, as I could just make out the shadow of its body.

All being well, my ATN X-Sight II HD 3-14x with its T50-940 on my CZ550 will do its job, and I have superb confidence in my home loaded 22-250 Rem rounds, topped with a 50 gr VMAX at 3800fps. They print sub 3/8″ at 120 metres, so if I miss, it will be a bar in the way.

I squeezed the trigger, and bang, a whisper of smoke in the IR light, momentarily losing sight of the fox, but eyes still there, so quickly racked another round into the chamber, just in case it needed another.
But no, down it went, and the eyeshine slowly faded, fox down 20:13

I went out and collected it, and it was a nice dog fox in pristine condition.
No lamb’s for this fella.

So, final reports on tonight’s exercise LOL

This morning went to the farm that I usually shoot pigeons in his barns at, and I had set a camera and bait there for foxes, as he lost a ewe in lamb last week, and they had then almost pulled the lamb out of the side of the ewe, and half eaten it, so definitely a fox problem.

So had checked the other day, and no bait taken to speak of, but left the camera and bait there to check today.
All the bait had gone this morning, and he informed me he once again had a pigeon problem (they roost and just in the barns, and crap over the animal feed, tractors and implements, doing doing a lit of damage).

i had removed five the other week, and now there we more. If he had informed me via text, I would have been and removed them then, but no problem, said I would be back later.

Took the camera and set it up on another farm exchanging the SD card, and went home, and checked the SD card. FOUR foxes, so decided I would get at least one tonight, and combine that with going early and getting the pigeons as they came in.
So went back just as it was getting dusk, and dropped two pigeons, then started setting up.

Then the farmer came and said another two pigeons just flew in, so dropped one, but the other flew back out of the barn, and went somewhere safer LOL.

Took the two pigeons, and some chickens carcases and bit, and spread them around where I had placed the bait previously.

Then went back, scanned the area, noting where I could shoot, and where not. Only one danger area, a house directly in front, but about 500-600 metres away, behind several hedges, and not where I would shoot. I would shoot to the left of it (where the bait was set) or to the right of it (where I expected the first fox to appear from.

As it was already down to 1c, I was expecting the fox early, so hunkered down at 20:25, and scanned every two minutes for one minute using the he fox he ATN BinoX HD 4-16x with the night mode switched on. I had the first fox on camera at 22:09, so he could come anytime before then, and I had to be alert.

The cold started creeping in, and as I wasn’t expecting a long night, i had not lit any handwarmers (usually 1x in each thigh pocket, keeps legs and feet nice and warm, and 1x in each side chest pocket, which keeps my torso and arms warm, and can pop my hands onto them to warm them as needed).

22:09 came and went, and no fox, and by now my feet, legs, and hands, plus my butt, were absolutely frozen, and had gone past pain, and were now totally without feeling 🙁

Finally, at about 23:20, I spot the fox coming in from my right, exactly where I had assumed he would appear. Quickly put the Binox down, and grabbed the rifle, switched on the IR, and snugged my eye up to the ATN X-Sight II HD 3-14x

I switched on the video, and followed it further across, and this fox obviously had no experience of IR, as it peeked up a couple of times, but carried on, nose occasionally to the ground, but making a beeline for where the bait was. Finally he stood still, and I took aim, aiming for a spine shot directly above the shoulders.

I started squeezing the trigger, but started shaking a bit with cold, and hence squeezed off early, as couldn’t feel the trigger pressure.

Boom, and the fox takes off, damn it, MISSED by a hairs breadth, so I follow it with the IR keeping it in the sight, and it stops and sits, looking around, obviously never been shot at before, so I lifted the IR off it, and racked another round into the chamber, putting my hand into my pocket for a minute to get some feeling back in it.

Then layed the sight back onto the fox, aimed, a little lower this time, and fired, and it spun around, flipped around a couple of times on the ground, and then lay still. FOX DOWN.

I stayed observing it, incase it needed another round, but it stayed down.

So put the rifle down, switched off the IR, donned the headlamp, and went into the field to collect it. Do you think I could find it ?
NOPE, I searched and searched, but whereas from the elevated shooting position it was clear as daylight, from ground level it was almost impossible to see, the field dipped and rose, little bumps everywhere, and the grass quite long.

FINALLY, there it was, and I went over and checked it, dead as a doornail.
The bullet had entered about 2″ down from the spine, just behind the front leg, and exited about 4″ down from the spine, just behind its rib cage.
A dog fox, in pristine condition, not particularly big, but heavy for its size.

Took a photo, picked it was up, and trudged the long way back to the shooting position where my 4×4 was too.

I couldn’t feel my feet or hands, and I was that cold, I couldn’t even lift the fox with one arm to shoulder height to drape it over the wall, so used two arms LOL, and decided to call it a night.
Packed everything back into the wagon, and exited the farmyard. Stopped and closed the gate, texted the farmer I had a fox, and then headed home, where I walked my dogs, and then had a well earned mug of tea.

Now got the electric blanket on, and trying to warm up prior to going to bed.

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