The disaster, the elation and the shame!

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Bigpete

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I've been predator hunting this past week. I found where a dog fox was lying up and in the week had a misfire on him!
I visited twice more and I never saw him but knew he was in the overgrown hole with lots of wind blown timber down.
Then yesterday it all changed. A storm arrived in the afternoon. I dug out some old eley primers that I remove the anvil from and crimp the cap so they sit on a nipple secure. They are very potent. I didn't want another misfire from my normally reliable 10g.
I entered the pit hole very very slowly. The wind on my face and the sun illuminating where its lair is. I scanned every step.
I hadn't been in there long when something drew my eye. Across the marshy bottom no more than 17yds there he was. I had disturbed him but with the storm it was confused and it was staring into the sun trying to work me out.

I slowly got the 10g cocked and leveled on the side on fox. I loosed the left barrel loaded with #4 buck.
This is when the disaster started!
You would think wouldn't you that 20 count #4 buck shot at 15 yards would of pulverised Mr fox wouldn't you? But it didn't! Recoil was none existent!
The fox arched up, lunged forward and I frantically like a novice attempted to shoot again without the right barrels hammer cocked!
By the time I did get the second barrel off it was a futile shot!
I reloaded. I pondered the first shot. I think the powder is damp! The gun has been powdered for over a week and I think it needed fresh. The power was certainly down.

What followed next was 2 hours plus looking for blood and searching.
I found three leaves with blood on them and that was it!View attachment 118255
I did not have Jess with me, I should of gone and got her.
Feeling disappointed I discharged the gun and went home, incidentally the reloaded gun felt much stronger!

All night I was troubled so first thing Sunday morning I was there for fist light. No wind and a little frost. I had Jess and encouraging her she picked up a scent and followed a line. This gave me hope.
Eventually after a few attempts we ended up in a wooded slang of trees, beech, chestnuts and maples when I notice Jess take off on a line nose to the ground. Next was her growling that sounded like sweet music to my ears. She had found it!
View attachment 118256
I don't know what went wrong with the shot but do suspect damp powder. As many know, no oil goes in my breaches at all!
Just one buckshot passed through its chest and one through the flesh of a foreleg.
I am glad I got him but it was a shameful affair! Had I just used #5 or #4 shot it would of worked out much better!
View attachment 118257

Years ago I was hunting with a work mate in some samphire flats dotted with patches of phragmites and lignum,he with a pump action 12g and I with my 22wmr. A fox bolted from a lignum patch and he bowled it with a load of BBs. I skun that one,then we walked about 20m further and found another one dead ! I skun that one too,and found a single hole from a BB through its chest. We didn't even see it !
 
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When young in the late 1950's , and through the mid 1960's , as a family living in Greene Co. S.W. Pa. , hunting season was never over. We hunted legal small and big game in season , and vermin the rest of the year. Crows in winter , ground hogs in summer. Farmers liked to see our vehicle cruising the back roads . We hunted ground hogs w / rifles out to 800 yds.. The Pa. Game Wardens came to the local sportsman club meetings and said , "If ya want small game to hunt , killing preditor's was a must." They would take a tally of our kills for some studies they turned in w/ their monthly reports. Since the fall migrating large Red tail hawks , made our neighborhood their winter season hunting grounds , they were fair game for our ground hog rifles , on foggy Sunday afternoons in March. Inclement weather made them sitting "ducks" with damp feathers , along tree lines in farmer's fields. All this preditor control , allowed a bounty of small game for us to harvest in season. The summer ground hog season also , put the young ground hogs , on some poor folks dinner table , that might not have much meat for their families.
The balance of small game populations changed rapidly to a negative position , when the Fed. Govt. made Raptors illegal to hunt , somewhere about 1969. In the N.C. Pa. woods where I now reside , couple deer seasons ago , my friend and I , drove back to the huntin' camp late in the afternoon , A distance of 9 miles. We counted 17 Raptors perched in trees , waiting for the very few grouse , rabbits , and squirrels , feeding in the woods. While on our hunts that day , we saw a total of 2 grouse in the woods. Last time I saw any small game in the woods , was at least 3 years ago , and I spend hundreds of hours in the back woods. Too many preditors ?..........Far to many.............oldwood
 
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The populations cycle. I spent most of my life in places where I could watch it happen. Some years in the Yukon I could get a limit of grouse in an hour or two they were so thick. The next year I might hunt all day for one or two. In a few years it would be back to birds everywhere. The same with rabbits, coyote and lynx. What people call the balance of nature is real but it sure isn't anything like a stable flat line. It may be over the long haul but in the short term of a few years the populations are way up or way down or somewhere in between.
 
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No, I'm not offended, I'm just curious. I think you and I have casually discussed this before, Brits, and that you know I don't shoot predators unless they have my chicken in their mouth. I was just curious as to why you never miss an opportunity to kill a fox. I have long been aware of the problem with foxes in your country, have seen many pictures of them in the back yards and gardens of city folks. That doesn't really seem to be interfering with your ability to get whatever game you go after. I've rarely seen anyone more successful in their hunting, so the idea of foxes eating all the game so you can't find any wouldn't seem to be the problem. I thought you might be shooting them for their pelts, but I guess that's not the case. So, if they aren't eating all your game, you can't eat them, and you can't sell the fur...why shoot them?

Spence
Spence, it is due to the fact I pursue fox on places I hunt that makes it attractive to game.
On a side note I wish I could legally tend to the buzzards! They are an issue in my observation.
Back to fox, my gauge for observing a good balance is observing the numbers of meadow pippet and skylark. If a piece of ground is over run with fox you see none of them ground nesting little birds.
Get the fox numbers down and them little birds return. That is my gauge.

I have long held the belief that if a field has eight foxes on it, non of them will do well. Take six out and the two left will benefit.
Remember, the fox over here has no preditors except a few men. Thus the fox soon over populates an area.
Why even government has had to reverse a law on total ban of badger killing foolishly made years ago because of the cost to the tax payer!
The compensation payed out to farmers for loss of cattle herds due to bovine tb being spread by badgers is billions! Not to mention vehicle damage by striking badgers on roads at night.
I could go on and on on this subject, I guess I'm trying to say balance, it's a balancing act. That is why I pursue foxes Spence. Plus it keeps me active, outside and not dependant on TV, or as an old friend calls it, "the fools lantern".
 

Toneloc

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Just wanted to say impressive exchange back and forth without getting defensive or nasty on either side. Pretty rare nowadays, especially on an Internet forum. Appreciate the honest discussion.

Congrats on the fox. Didn’t know you could post video like that….enjoyed it.
 
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Just wanted to say impressive exchange back and forth without getting defensive or nasty on either side. Pretty rare nowadays, especially on an Internet forum. Appreciate the honest discussion.

Congrats on the fox. Didn’t know you could post video like that….enjoyed it.

A well armed society.....should be a polite society.
 

flashpoint

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They are left Spence.
I understand how that may sound repulsive to many.
There is no demand for fur any more. Fur garments have been stigmatised here for decades now.
The country is over run with fox. They can upset local wildlife by hunting everything especially ground nesting birds and not just gamebirds. Usually the big ones start to take lambs and chickens, farm geese and piglets.

They are now living in towns. Many are caught. Home owners don't want them destroyed so the contractors transport them to the country and release them. This is cruel and borderline illegal but it happens.
I'm afraid they rot Spence but I do see more variation of wildlife on my places than most around me.
That said within ten days they are replaced! It's a never ending job.
The shepherd here, old chap. He would tell of if a ewe got stuck on its back in the night by morning it would be a skeleton! That was before I arrived here, 30years ago now.
I'm sorry if it is offensive. As I get older it gets harder. I do admire the fox. Some are extremely smart. I have a vixen now that out smarts me all the time. She is one of many that have out smarted me over the years.
Long live Charlie, when I'm gone, they'll still be here!
Very nicely said.
 
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I have observed a parallel to your dealing with Fox in dealing with feral cats.
where i live we have snowshoe hares, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, and of course wild song birds of many type.
when i notice a drop in the population of any of these indicator species i know there is a cat in the neighborhood.
i hunt feral cats much as Brits does fox and for the same reason.
 

Bigpete

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I have observed a parallel to your dealing with Fox in dealing with feral cats.
where i live we have snowshoe hares, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, and of course wild song birds of many type.
when i notice a drop in the population of any of these indicator species i know there is a cat in the neighborhood.
i hunt feral cats much as Brits does fox and for the same reason.
I used to love hunting feral cats with my Jack Russell 😍
 

pamtnman

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You did everything right, as far as I can see. Dogs are our best friends for so many reasons, and here in your post is a classic example. Here in Pennsylvania we have been allowed to track wounded deer with dogs for only a handful of years. And tracking dogs have made all the difference for a ton of hunters using all forms of take- archery, muzzleloader, modern smokeless. Seeing a dog find a fatally hit but fast running deer is an educational experience. Now hunters are calling the tracking dog handlers not to get their dog on the scent, but to get their advice on where they believe the deer may have gone, based on their exclusive tracking experience. A lot of our tracking dog handlers help people locate their deer without ever stepping outside their home. Long way of saying both you and your dog did everything right, and you are a good team.
 

Robby

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The state of NYSSR now allows the use of tracking dogs too. Its' pretty cool!!!! I thought it would be guys with beautiful hounds and such, but more often than not they are just average dogs trained by non hunters that excel at that undertaking. A friend of mine trained his Jack Russel for the job and he does it well.
Robby
 
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............and of course, NYSSR has a law against dispatching feral cats! They are killing machines and I see them on my property all the time.
Robby

A .22 Rifle with an appropriately shaped plastic bottle filled with Steel wool taped to the muzzle, is an effective tool at night for feral Cats.
 
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............and of course, NYSSR has a law against dispatching feral cats! They are killing machines and I see them on my property all the time.
Robby
Not all of them a feral, probably some old lady that lets miss kitty run the neighborhood, cats kill for sport not because they are hungry.

When I was a bush boy here in the land of Aussies we trapped Rabbits for their meat and skin, locals would buy a skinned dressed down Rabbit, and the dried Skins were bought by town agents of Hat manufacturers like Arkubra; needless to say an Aussie country boy with half a dozen Rabbit traps and /or a hutch of Ferrets and burrow nets could make a goodly level of pocket money in those days.

Anyway we'd often catch a Feral Cat or two in the Rabbit traps and those buggers were big framed and flat headed like Bobcats; they'd spit and howl and burned with fury at getting caught in the toothed steel jaws of a trap.
My best mate Reggie (Abo boy) always carried a Nulla Nulla (Native hardwood club with a baseball sized bulb on the doing end) in his belt; and could throw it like a hatchet smack in the centre of a trapped Cats head, it snuffed them out every time.
 
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Th
When I was a bush boy here in the land of Aussies we trapped Rabbits for their meat and skin, locals would buy a skinned dressed down Rabbit, and the dried Skins were bought by town agents of Hat manufacturers like Arkubra; needless to say an Aussie country boy with half a dozen Rabbit traps and /or a hutch of Ferrets and burrow nets could make a goodly level of pocket money in those days.

Anyway we'd often catch a Feral Cat or two in the Rabbit traps and those buggers were big framed and flat headed like Bobcats; they'd spit and howl and burned with fury at getting caught in the toothed steel jaws of a trap.
My best mate Reggie (Abo boy) always carried a Nulla Nulla (Native hardwood club with a baseball sized bulb on the doing end) in his belt; and could throw it like a hatchet smack in the centre of a trapped Cats head, it snuffed them out every time.
The interior of Aussie land sounds like a wonderful place to me.
How I ended up on this piddly crowded island I will never understand!
 
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