Out Foxing Charlie 11
(Protecting The Flocks & More)
Actually that’s not quite correct it was a little different, you see its not out of the ordinary that the corvids attack and kill the day old lambs, its normally one or two of the crow types that start it and the others move in, that’s what its like around here, but this year it was different a huge mob of corvids had moved into the area, the local corvids had been having a running battle with them for ages a sort of turf war I suppose.
Now this new mob of around about 60 birds strong behaved out of the normal compared to our resident murder of corvids, these were very aggressive and very sneaky too compared to my local lot, as the day old lambs were being born they literally mobbed in killing the lambs and feasting on them, the poor Ewes were helpless to protect their young, so the farmers started keeping the lambs and ewes inside the sheds.
Not even a minuet after the farmer walked away from the carcase the corvids were in on it making one hell of a racket, so much so they never heard my shots from the moderated 17hmr tucked away in the straw bails in the hay loft over 100 yards away, I fired 3 shots and killed 4 birds that’s when they realized something was up, they all hovered above the carcase in circles cawing at their very dead mates, that was until one decided to land and that was his mistake as he was added to the pile, corvids 0 Ole Hedge Creeper 5.
I did not get to use the 22 rim fire this day as all the shots were out at a long range or in the sitty tree, but the 17hmr gave them corvids hell as did the Air Arms Galahad air rifle, what can I say about this day, we evened the score on these murdering corvids, Todays score Ole Hedge Creeper a pile of the corvids in the bag and 1 to them as they killed the lamb before I got there, I left one very happy farmer and some ewes and lambs feeling safer as they knew The Protector was their guarding the flock, The Protector is what the farmers wife nicked named me as she watched me in the hay loft she said I looked like a sniper protecting the flock, I shot there for several weeks and only lost 1 more lamb on my watch, instead of 7 or 8 a day when I was not there on duty.
I put the first 3 foxes in the bag on a sheep station in quick order, using field craft and the NiteSite and squealed them in to shot range from 50 to a 100 yards, all pretty much text book shooting, I had to put my Jack Pyke moderator cover on too as I was getting glare back through the scope from the moderator, oh before I go any further I forget to mention, I always say to be any good with night vision you must first master the traditional lamping skills and field craft, I will pick up on this a little later in this article, right this is when disaster struck? I had used those 3 rounds and so when we got to the next farm that was having problems, I simply set the gun up as normal loaded up and carried on.
My wing man Nik could not believe it either, what happened? I don’t know I said? We both looked at each other in complete disbelief, Nik said you know the report didn’t sound quite right it was a bit dull almost like a 223 report, must have been a dodgy round we agreed it happens from time to time, bugger we just educated him what a shot is, he will be hard to get now, on we stalked a few fields over a vixen was sneaking around the hen houses about 50 yards out, I steadied myself cross hairs on the engine room she was mine, I squeezed off the shot she jumped about 12 feet in the air and ran off? What in gods name was going on and the report was defiantly muffled, the shot went right under her I saw the dust cloud go up behind her on the big bank that was acting as a perfect back stop.
Now as I said earlier to be good with night vision you must learn your craft and be good with the lamp and learn real field craft, for night vision is good but its still a sort of lamp so its no good relying on technology to fill the gaps in your short fall of knowledge, its only from time spent in the field making mistakes learning your craft practice on the range both day and night that you will improve and become more successful, you also must fully understand your quarry and how to track etc, I have written about this many times.
I started off with a heavy motor cycle battery in an old army gas mask bag with a motor bike head light as my lamp, many years ago now, how many of you can remember doing the same, the battery used to leak rot my cloths out and my bag too and it was a ghastly heavy affair, that coupled with a pile of rabbits or even a fox when hunting with my game keeper/farmer uncle got even heavier, so as you can see I learnt my traditional craft from the old masters and by trial and error and making mistakes.
One was always be aware of the wind for that can whip around and give your game away as fast as standing there with a flashing light on your head, back to the foxes we had to go back and deal with the missed foxes and this was not going to be easy I tell you that, those foxes were now educated to not only what a shot is but also what the dim glow of the IR on the NiteSite was, so I would have to use every ounce of my cunning and field craft to get on top of these now educated foxes.
The first fox we saw out skirted us and stuck to the road hedge, not a safe shot anyway no back stop and a road behind it so we let that one go on undisturbed, we crossed into what we call the marsh paddock and immediately my 6th sense kicked in, lol a lot of the lads say I am like Crocodile Dundee in tune with nature as when I get that feeling something is going to happen, its never let me down and this time was no exception I telle, I put the spotter on and there was a big dog fox trotting back to his earth with what looked like a chicken in his chops.
I sprang into action mounted the 243 on to the trigger sticks steadied the rifle in my shoulder and turned on the NiteSite Eagle Rtec and pressed record, I gave him a rat squeak he stopped on the spot right at the bottom of the big bank, a perfect safe back stop were on, I squeezed off the shot and he dropped like a stone then got up and limped off into the ditch, Nik looked at me cockled as he was watching on the NiteSite Spotter, he said you hit him right in the engine room what happened? I said its ok he will be dead in the ditch lets go over.
I was right 20 yards from were I shot him he was dead as a door nail in the ditch with the bantam still in his jaws, as I feared these PPU bullets are too much bullet for fox, but alas this was all we had so we had to use them and this made me think I had better to do head shots, I don’t like head shots on deer or foxes, you see heads move engine rooms don’t, I have seen too many deer and indeed wounded foxes with folks taking head shots, I never have had it as I know my ability and I more than capable of taking head shots, but I choose not too out of respect for the animal who deserves a clean humane kill, but alas these bullets are hard hitting so head shots it is then.
We walked over to see were we had shot her and why she was able to get up all be it only for a few seconds, the spot I had shot her on there was a lot blood loss with some heart and lung fragments on the floor, this was what I would expect, and when we walked over to retrieve the fox I simply could not believe she was able to stand for those few seconds with the wound damage, but there you go foxes are tougher than most folk realize, we retrieved both foxes back to the farmer who added them to the dead stock to be incinerated.
Then I got that deep feeling in the bottom of my guts something was behind me, I pulled out my Night Master Venom with the green pill and had a quick shine around the nursing paddock we were stood in the gateway of, bugger me there was Charlie fox out flanking us not 60 yards to my six(directly behind me) I swung the rifle round still attached to my Primos Trigger Sticks whispering Fox behind to Nik, Nik never had time to see the fox as I dropped the sticks to the floor cross hairs on and BANG a perfect engine room shot right behind its left front shoulder, this big dog fox gave a little flick of its tail and that was it stone dead.
Farmer came out from the lambing shed asking did you get it? Of course I said he is over there by the piggery, bloody good job too as that’s the bugger that’s been taking my piglets, so all in all a good night protecting the flocks and learning some new things too, as my Pappy always said those that proclaim to be an expert have a closed mind, you will learn something new every day and still not know enough if you live to be a 100 years old, we bid this very happy farmer good by after a well earned coffee in the farm house and headed home for some bacon sandwiches as it was 5am.
Then that eerie silence comes over the warren like all hell is about to break loose, almost like the calm before the storm, the first rabbit to bolt came as always from an unnetted hole, it matters not how many nets you lay you miss one hole and you can bet your last quid a rabbit will find the one without a net on it, this first rabbit was no exception, he bolted right across my right shoulder so with some feet movement Fred Astaire would have been proud of and a snap shot I bowled this big buck rabbit over with a clean right barrel of my little side by side 410, this is a sweet gun I bought for my daughter Shannon many years ago and she still gives me good service to this day, that was a good investment that little gun even though my daughter no longer uses her as Shannon prefers to hunt on horse back now days, Brook retrieved the rabbit to me in fine style then the rabbits really started to move as the ferrets had them on the run.
Cheers From THE OLE HEDGE CREEPER