Out Foxing Charlie 24 +
The Tale Of Foxes Hollow
The first call out came from a very new client of mine who's children now come to my Young Sports Rifle Range for Marksmanship Coaching, we met on my pest control stand at The North Somerset Agricultural Show back in May of 2022.
I was originally called in to deal with rat infestations on their small farm as they breed an assortment of fowl, sheep, pigs and cattle, this client and indeed the kids love to watch me work, often helping me spot the rats etc with the awesome Night Pearl Thermal Spotters as I shoot them with the Air Arms/Night Pearl Seer thermal scope combo.
One night the kids favourite hens got killed, the whole lot killed in the pen and not one bird taken, my client was not happy and said can I deal with these foxes, like me he left them alone to live a natural life, but when these fixes attacked his live stock they had to go, the kids were heartbroken and the youngest boy stamped his feet telling me to get these nasty foxes, I explained to the lad they were trying to find their dinner, but none the less the boy said they ate tufty so get them, I always say as I was taught as a boy, where you have livestock you have dead stock, none the less the foxes had attacked the live stock so it was my job to go and deal with them,
My client and I sat out at dusk waiting for these chicken thieving Charlie foxes, the night went on and nothing, then as usual my sixth sense kicked in and I went for a little walk, there were two foxes in the yard literally next to my truck, no safe shot due to back stop, live stock etc, I watched them disappear under the barn area and into the back field.
My Client and I out skirted them and came back round on the wind using the farm track and trees for cover as it was a full moon night, now where had these foxes gone as we both scanned frantically with the Night Pearl Scops Max III thermal spotters, I already had my 223 mounted on top of my Primos Trigger Sticks ready for action with the Night Pearl Seer 50 Thermal Scope switched on.
But no fox to be seen in this 19 acre field? I know they are here I saw them come into the field, then all of a sudden this big dog fox came out of nowhere heading straight for us, I knew these blighters were using the farm track and why not its the point of least resistance like a game trail.
I took off my safety, breathed then exhaled as the fox stopped for a pee approximately 60 yards out, I squeezed off the shot, crack and thump as the fox fell stone dead with a perfect shot to the engine room, I don't like head shots, not because I cant do them I just prefer and engine room shot, the head moves the engine room don't unless the whole fox moves, I am the same with deer stalking too, my client was very happy as the video aptly shows when he retrieved said fox.
You know this fox had a mouth full of field voles if you scroll in you will see them, now where did this other fox go? We stalked around leaving this fox in the gateway to pick up on our way back, we saw deer, rabbits, hares, bats and even a tawny owl but no second fox, we made our way back to the farm yard for a much needed drink, this was when my sixth sense kicked off again, I feel like Spider Man with my spider Sense, something was calling me to the back horse paddock near the river, I went into stealth mode with my client shadowing my every step, I stayed in the leigh side of the thick hedgerow in the dark shadows as the full moon made it like daylight out here, I managed to get to the gate without the very friendly horses spotting me leaving my client stood still 30 yards behind me, I scanned this back paddock with the Night Pearl thermal spotter, ahhhhh there he was the second fox sat against the hedgerow at the bottom of the river bank, I mounted the rifle on to the trigger stick, slipped off the safety and squeezed off the shot, I would like to be flamboyant here and say what a momentous shot it was, but it was just a good text book shot, I called it a night here at nearly 2am, all the other fields were not gut and the grass too long to see, I said book me again when the grass is cut and we will deal with the others I know are there, I bid farewell and as I pulled out of the yard bowl me over there was another fox sat in the middle of the farm track, I laughed and said jovially he will live to fight another day.
The next Job I was called in to was a funny one, another new client, a friend of an old client of mine, I was highly recommended to this new client, they were real old school farmers, as it turns out we have many mutual friends, this old boy knew more about agriculture and dealing with pests than most, as he said this is one tricky fox, it had even attacked his farm cats to which he had many, his entire young stock of meat hens had been wiped out, I said are you sure its a fox, oh yes he was adamant it was a fox, I tracked the area and saw where said fox had possibly got in, it was a 6 feet high pen that looked more like a prison, completely wired in to the ground and all round, the gate shut tight against a foot plate, said pen electrified, the roof properly meshed over, this was where the suspected fox got in and indeed out after killing all the young hens? I was sure this was not a fox and my knowledge and experience said it was a mink, there was an over hanging branch from a willow tree next to the river ditch, I just knew this was the way in and out, but this farmer was insistent it was a fox.
I agreed to stay on into the night, I scanned around at dusk and indeed there were all the cats, wandering about trying to catch voles and the likes, one cat sat on the post and rail fence 25 yards away jumped down into the long grass and curled up and went to sleep, or so I thought looking through the Night Pearl Scops Max III thermal spotter, 11.30pm still light enough to see with my eye as it was the longest day of Summer, I continued to scan around with the rifle at the ready on my Gen 3 Primos Trigger Sticks with the Night Pearl Seer 35 Elite mounted on her, I scanned across to the cat asleep in the long grass not 20 yards away from me, this was when the cat stood up had a stretch and sat there looking at me, this was when a light bulb went off for both of us, it was like someone reading me the book Little Red Riding Hood, my my what big ears you have, all the better to hear you with, my my what big teeth you have, all the better to kill hens with, my oh my what a big Brush (tail) you have, all the bigger to show you a clean Brush disappearing through the hedge with.
That fox lay asleep there the whole time watching me, I could of shot it a 100 times over, but again I though it was a cat, so unless I have 101% a definite quarry identification and a 101% safe shot, the shot does not get taken, I roared with laughter, he was there all along, this is what I love about what I do, every day is a school day, I will be back Charlie we will dance again, next time I will make sure the area is clear of cats and foxes first.
I returned a days nights later, I parked up in a good shooting postposition, I wanted to use my truck as cover, plus this gave me a great elevated position shooting down on the paddocks from the hill top, I took Goose y Cocker Spaniel out and we walked the whole area, I was armed with my shotgun just in case ole Charlie bolted from the grass again, I was not having him do it to me twice, Gosse and I were happy the whole area was clean of said cats and foxes, we headed back to the truck, I set up the rifle on the Gen 3 Primos Trigger Sticks with The Night Pear Seer 35 Elite, as dusk fell and the night came on it never really got truly dark, I heard the magpies kicking off to my right, I knew Charlie was about ole Pica Pica (Magpie) told me so, I made myself ready, I was just about to scan with the Scops Max III thermal spotter from Night Pearl when I saw the fox perfectly in the dim light not 40 yards from me, I mounted the rifle very slowly for he would of seen me if I had not, I could not call him or make a sound, this fox was switched on as he had been shot at before by the farmer etc, I watched and waited knowing he would stand still at some point, he stopped right near the pen where the hens had been massacred, again this all happened in a matter of 30 seconds it felt like a life time, I slipped the safety off, took a breath, ex haled and squeezed the shot off, crack and a dull thump told me that was a text book, ethical, humane shot to the engine room, I breathed easy, this was one fox that will live in my memory forever, the client was very happy and paid his invoice straight away the next morning.
I still was not happy it was a fox killing the ones in this pen, I know this dog fox had taken some of the free range older hens, but not these in the pen, Farmer had repaired the roof two days later bought some more young hens and was happy, two days later he got hit the very same way again, this time I got there fast and said don't touch anything, upon inspection I found black hairs on the whole in the chicken wire the culprit had gotten in on, a mink I was right, so I have now set up trail cameras over the area, left everything as it was less the dead hens and baited live trap mink traps inside the pen, I will write about this in another article about mink trapping, but for now the story continues.
I was called to a very old clients place, this client over the years has become a very dear friend too, I have called it Motorway Foxes and Rabbits as it takes me a long drive down the M5 to almost Devon to visit this client, I was called in firstly to deal with a fox or foxes that were hitting his rare breed fowl, he had tried everything to keep the foxes out, electric fences, high meshed fences with a mesh roof, scare crows you name it, but still he was getting hit, secondly the rabbits, his exact words these rabbits are eating more grass than my sheep and cattle.
I got there in the late afternoon to try two fold to deal with both job being linked, by this I mean I can deal with the rabbits in the afternoon into dusk using my 22 rimfire rifle using the deadly accurate Eley Subsonic Ammunition, thus Paunch (Gut) the rabbits I have humanely dispatched out in an area I want to deal with the fox or foxes, putting out the Paunch (Guts) in a shallow bucket or tray means I can easily dispose of them in the muck heap, plus the fact that aroma will carry on the wind to the foxes like the Bistow Gravy advert, put into you tube Bistow Gravy advert and you will know what I mean for those to young to remember the TV advert from our childhood.
I drove my truck out on the worst hit headland after having a patrol round and picking off the odd rabbit, I determined most of the farm was a no go area due to live stock and no safe shot angles or the grass was to long and needed to be harvested, I concentrated my attention to the 20 acre field as this was where a major rabbit damage area was, I also knew this was where the foxes were attacking from, as I sat there in the truck with the ole 22 rimfire rifle loaded with the Eley 22LR Subsonic Ammunition drinking a mug of tea from my flask, I was surrounded by rabbits, I am a Countryman first and a Professional Pest Control Technician second, I was torn between my Ethics of a Countryman and my Profession here, you see all these rabbits were squeakers very young rabbits, not even big enough to be what I call a fryer big enough for the pot, So I told myself leave these young rabbits as decoys and wait for the bigger ones to come out on the field of play, this worked great indeed and I managed a few nice shots before dusk fell and I had to change to fox control, of course I could of just stayed shooting rabbits with my awesome Night Pearl Marten dedicated thermal scope and Eley Ammunition on my other rifle, but no I had to get on with dealing with these foxes.
I moved position to the other end of this huge field near the pens that were being attacked, I did this for a few reason, first it put me in between the foxes and the pens, second I need the truck to hide me as again it was a full moon, third the wind was at my front taking my scent away and the aroma of the Paunch towards the foxes.
The plan was set, the field of play was set, I only Paunched out 2 rabbits as I needed some with the paunch still in for a game prep lesson the following day at catering college where I teach chefs how to deal with the game from fir and feather straight from the field, no cellophane in sight, the night came on and I heard a vixen calling in the distance, the 223 was mounted as usual on my Gen 3 Primos Trigger Sticks, this time I had the Night Pearl Seer 50 mounted on the rifle in case I need that slightly longer shot, I would as normal be spotting with the Night Pearl Scops Max III thermal spotter my favourite spotter in the range, I placed out the paunch in a tray 60 Yards out up wind, this worked like a dream.
The first fox did exactly as I thought, came in stage left in between me and the paunch, went to turn towards me and the pens, stopped like a pointer one front leg in the air and trotted out to the paunch, again I would like to say this was a momentous shot, but alas it was pretty text book, cross hairs on, safety off, bang and the fox is down stone dead, quickly, humanly and ethically.
The next Fox came on from my right as they do here sometimes, there is a gate up the hedge and they come under it, like I said before its the point of least resistance just like any game trail everything uses it, as he came along the bottom of the ditch bank I gave him a vole squeak to stop him, he did perfectly as I took the shot, then something happened that had never happened before, a cracking heart and lung shot, if it were not for the thermal I would never have seen it, the bullet opened him up like I had unzipped him with my hunting knife, dropping his heart. Lungs and entrails on the floor, he ran on 10 yards and sort of fell in to the deep ditch, what in gods name just happened, I pride myself on clean, ethical, one shot humane kills, I went straight over with my Helios UK Aether lamp, I could clearly see him stone dead in the bottom of the ditch so I breathed easy as it never got far, I would of hated to have to have tracked a wounded animal for a second shot, occasionally it happens on deer but never a fox for me, due to the dangers of trying to get him out I decided to come back the next day.
A short wile later the vixen appear under the same gate and headed straight to where the dog fox was in the ditch at the bottom of the big bank, she sat almost on command and a text book shot on her too as she rolled down the bank into the ditch not 3 feet from the dog fox.
I spoke to my client and he said don't worry about coming back he will get them out in the morning, this he did and said my shot on the dog fox was right on the money, but after inspection he could see the bullet had bounced off the ribs and shoulder blade and gone down unzipping him, he also said the crows were enjoying the heart, lungs and entrails when he got there, I will say that's a first for me, but as I said ever day is a school day, again my client was very happy and said The Resolver gets the job done once again.
Out Foxing Charlie 24+
By The Ole Hedge Creeper