Gary Green has a number of foxing permissions within striking distance of his home in Essex. They range from the huge free-range poultry farm to a couple of smallholdings with just a handful of birds each. The numbers may be different, but the smallholders care every bit as much about their birds – indeed, the loss of a single bird is far more significant when you own 12 rather than 12,000.
Gary Green’s reputation as ‘the fox man’ goes before him, so he often gets calls from farmers and smallholders about a troublesome fox. The latest request, however, took him by surprise. It came through his contacts at the turkey farm, but this time it wasn’t about protecting poultry. This was a boarding kennels – and the marauding Charlie had killed two Chihuahuas.
Gary Green shoots a lot of foxes, but there was one that had eluded him for more than 12 months.
Thirteen proves to be far from an unlucky number for Gary Green – he tells James Marchington how he accounted for that many foxes in three nights, all from the same spot… Time flies and there’s always plenty to do, so…
Fox shooting is generally a night-time activity, and most of Gary Green’s work is done in the dark. But foxes don’t keep strict hours, and you can find one up and about at any time of the day or night. That’s a good job, because there are some places you simply can’t go letting off a gun in the middle of the night – places like the smallholding I visited recently with Gary.
Fox shooting is a sport and a way of life for Gary Green, but it’s also a big responsibility. One of his customers is a free-range poultry farm that supplies many of London’s most famous restaurants. It’s where Gary built his luxurious fox box – basically a garden shed with a wide opening to shoot from, on top of a shipping container.
Gary Green had some catching up to do. On top of the usual demands of Christmas and New Year, he’d spent a few days away in Orkney shooting geese. With all that and the need to protect the turkeys at the local free-range poultry farm, he hadn’t spent as much time as usual at his other permissions. He just knew that the foxes would be taking advantage, especially at the time of year when the dog foxes are on the move.
Do you enjoy a traditional turkey Christmas dinner? Thousands of families up and down the country do – but how many realised they only get to have one because people like Gary Green had kept the foxes at bay?
Most of Gary Green’s foxes are shot between 80 and 150 yards. His favourite technique is to sit up in a high seat or fox box, waiting over a bait, or a caller, or both. When all goes to plan the fox comes in, stands at 100 yards or so and bang, job done.