Pest Control Diary: Word of Mouth
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- Last updated: 27/04/2018
As far as having new land, a word of caution. I was lucky recently when I thought I had permission for foxing over a 70-acre farm. I received a call from a landowner about someone that he does some contract work for that’s plagued with foxes. Happy to help and gain a patch of new ground, I made arrangements to meet him. Initially I ask specific questions like; where are the boundaries, where are his fields, shooting arcs etc? Yes, yes, yes that one and the next one right up to the wood and I have permission in the wood (permission) that was the hint things weren’t quite right. He went on to say the boggy bit in the valley was his up to the corner and right up to the lane. It’s just fox, no deer just give me a call or text, so I know your coming and I will let the neighbours know what’s going on!
Another question; what are the neighbours like, as not everyone gets on and I didn’t want to be in the middle? Also, what’s a pest to some may not be to others! I made arrangements to walk the land and get a feel for the place, which I do at different times of the day over a couple of weekends. Once satisfied, I made arrangements to visit a quiet corner of the ground, getting there just before day break standing half way down a hill, so I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb.
Soon I picked up a fox coming down the hedgerow, with the 6 Mill BR ready on sticks I followed its movement until it stopped, one touch on the trigger and it was down. If it goes like this I will soon be on top of the problem. But this is virgin ground and I don’t know of anyone else having permission anywhere in the area. As its all this farm and none of the roads go through, if there’s a strange car you can bet the police will know and be waiting for you at the bottom.
But I am OK and have nothing to worry about! I had another three outings with lamp and rifle and though I picked up fox in the beam I never got a shot, either I had no back stop, or they were on a neighbouring farm. So, I had to intercept them a little earlier and as always between my outings foxes were being seen in the day and early evening, so the pressure was on.
Luck, I thought was on my side, when I received a call that the fields had been cut. I had to get out on them ASAP, as they are like a dinner bell to local foxes. So, grabbing, rifle, sticks and lamp I got out there. What a surprise; not one fox was mouseing, instead I watched them skirt around the mowed fields and disappear into the wood.
I had never seen anything like it, all I could think of there must have been something more worthwhile in the wood. Another night out lamping and not one bird lifted from the wood as I passed the beam over; not a hare, rabbit, deer or fox! It was so quite it was unreal, normally on virgin ground I would expect having a number in the bag by now. Nothing’s going right, the fields are cut but the foxes ignored them, I go out at one time they go out at another. When I do pick them up in the lamp I couldn’t take a shot for one reason or another, it’s just one of those kind of places, where I just must persevere and hope my luck changes!
The best thing I could do was to give it a rest for a couple of weeks, then try a different approach, which is what I did. Keeping in the shadows by walking down the hedgerows as I couldn’t risk spooking anything in the next field lamping every 50 yards. The problem being on hilly ground such as this taking a shot up hill unless on the lower parts is a NO, NO! However, my tactics worked, picking up a fox walking up the hedgerow towards me, resting my rifle on the sticks as they sunk slowly down in the mud I took the shot a little hastily, missing by a mile!
Three hours later and two fields over, I came on fox number two, 50 yards out in the field; determined not to make the same mistake, I set the sticks up roughly 100 yards in front giving me time to find a solid base, this time lamp on and a quick squeak stopping it long enough for me to get a shot - what a relief. After a long hard slog through muddy fields, I stumbled on a large vixen so busy it never saw or heard me, with no time to waste I took her free hand, again my new approach paid off.
I chose to carry my hard-won prize down the lane to the farm, I had no sooner gone through the gate onto the farm lane rifle over my shoulder fox in hand when I noticed a car coming down towards me. I surprised when the driver asked me what I was doing on HIS land with a rifle? It turned out the guy who originally give me permission only had permission for a shot gun. Also, he never owned the land but rented one small field. I should have twigged when he said he had permission in the wood. Luckily, after explaining how I came to be there and realising my predicament, we agreed that I should call him to let him know when I would be out and also giving me legal permission. This time, I’ll get it in writing!