Technique Q&A: foxing

Q: I have just acquired my first 4×4 and will be using it to shoot foxes on a local farm. Have you any tips as to the best way to go about it?

A: Mike says: These days shooting from a vehicle off road can be a highly effective method of targeting certain foxes. Many years ago the sight of a vehicle would be enough to send a fox disappearing over the hill, but today in most areas foxes pretty much ignore vehicles as they see them every day of their lives. In answer to your question, I am assuming you are talking static shooting rather than just driving around, as that form of shooting at night is self explanatory.

So firstly, check out your ground in daylight and select a spot where foxes are known to travel or have been causing problems. Find a spot to park up where you have a dark background behind you, and most importantly, check where it’s safe to shoot. Backstops are vitally important when shooting at night – a daylight recce will show you where farm buildings and distant houses are located.

Once you have a decent spot sorted, get there well before first dark. I like to be in position about an hour before I need the night vision. I usually shoot from the back seat of the truck as wing mirrors can, even when folded back, be a problem at times. Switch off the interior light and set the window at the correct height for the ground you are shooting over. Bear in mind that, as darkness falls, if you tack on an IR torch or similar you will need a bigger gap to shoot through. I slip a piece of polystyrene pipe lagging over the window glass as a rest; this also protects your rifle.

If you have your radio on, which I often do, keep the volume to a minimum, and unless you can turn off the radio’s illumination, take a piece of thick cloth to cover it, as even the slightest light source will be reflected off your face. If the moon is up, use a face mask. Movement is your biggest problem, as while foxes largely ignore vehicles they certainly don’t like a shining human face bobbing about inside.

I find this method absolutely ideal for dealing with specific foxes. You will need patience as the waiting game can, on occasions, drag on. It does work, though, and while it may perhaps not be as involving as walking the countryside, overall I find I generally end up with roughly the same number of foxes as I would if I walked miles. Ideal!

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