Mike Powell’s masterclass on how to make the most of the various foxing methods available in late summer and autumn
As Robert Bucknell and auction winner Howard Stott grab their thermal imagers and head out for a night’s foxing, Robert explains that is in fact possible to clear up a troublesome fox population permanently
As an experienced fox controller, I’ve probably got every piece of kit that a foxer could ever want. During my time fox shooting, I’ve amassed so much equipment to help me in my chosen trade I often wonder how I ever managed to shoot foxes in the past.
It was the same old story: a friend rang me to ask if I would deal with a fox problem, as the smallholding next door had lost some chickens. My mate wanted the culprit brought to book post-haste as he feared the vulpine villain would soon turn its attention towards his own geese.
I can’t believe it when the alarm clock goes off. There is no way my night’s sleep can be over already – but it is.
When foxing season arrives, it brings with it the realisation that I’ll be walking the beat again. I remember an occasion when my five colleagues and I met up early and set off without delay, knowing we had a tiring and full day in front of us.
A question often asked is: ‘Which scope is best?’ The general answer given is: ‘Spend as much as you can afford.’ A good quality scope can cost more than the rifle itself depending on make and model. But when choosing a scope, take into consideration what you intend to use the scope for.
Owing to the wet weather one August, the harvest had been delayed. This had put my fox control operations seriously behind. I control foxes over a mixture of arable, pasture and woodland. Around 80 per cent is arable, and any cubs that get away from the earth are tricky to mop up until the harvest is completed.
When the fox mating season is active it can be eventful to say the least. I’ve seen everything from paired-up dogs and vixens running into the calls like six-month-old cubs, to the other extreme where foxes show no interest at all in the regular calls.
It always gives me great pleasure to bring new people into hunting. It is the only way we will survive in the long term, and the more people we can encourage to pick up a rifle, or indeed a shotgun, the brighter the future will be for shooting and country sports as a whole.