Fox Patrol

Taking the occasional fox during your rounds can have many advantages. Matthew Rogers reveals his satisfaction in dispatching this wily quarry. 

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(Above: Woven into the fabric of a days stalking, taking a fox can have many benefits) 

The shooting life often presents fantastic little moments that bring a smile to your face, even when things are not going as planned. For some, it could be the 'pogo stick' like movement of a Fallow as it 'pronks' away from your clumsy advance, or else maybe the whistle of the Sika during the rut, warning of presence.    

For me, however, one of the biggest 'cheesy grins' in shooting comes from bowling over a fox with a .243 and watching it paint the sky with a cartwheel of legs and bushy tail! 

Foxes may have a their admirers - in some quarters - but they also have a lot of enemies. My prized garden was once tunnelled under by a mangy family of the brutes and polluted with their various forms of disease and decay, both biological and psychological. The silenced .410 soon put these down, in what has to be the most "up close and personal" exit I have ever performed; but you just can't quite beat glassing one of the brutes through a high powered scope and thumbing the safety off.  

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(Above: Nothing lost on this occasion as Matthew also manages to dispatch a Fallow Doe a short time later) 

There is something awfully busybody about the fox, as it picks its way across a field looking for bits and bobs or critters to attack. It is a true predator and entirely common. Thus it's very enjoyable stopping it in its tracks.  

Farmers will thank you as much as gamekeepers. Aside from the usual anecdotes of pheasant pens and chicken coops being decimated by foxes, who seem to kill for the sake of it and not even for food, there are worse to come. One farm which I stalk over reported having lambs mauled and killed by foxes in some truly horrible ways, with long protracted deaths. 

While instances of foxes quarrelling with deer are less documented, one cannot imagine they are welcomed by our little family groups of roe attempting to raise their newly born offspring. Some might argue that "nature must have its way" to which I reply, man dispatching the fox with a rifle is just as much a part of nature. 

Bopping a fox, often about half an hour before last light can have some unwanted repercussions, having sat patiently waiting for jittery fallow to break cover from the tree line a shot will surely send them across to the next county! But if taken sensibly and woven into the fabric of an outing, taking the occasional fox can provide an excellent diversion, endear you to the landowner and also test your aim, all whilst serving to remind you of days gone past when out with your rim fire.  

To read more about Foxing, follow this link: why-cull-foxes

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