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The European red fox - Vulpes vulpes! Season end - closing thoughts!
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FOX, s. [fox, Sax.] a fourfooted animal of the dog kind, with a large bushy tail, sharp ears, of a rank or strong smell, remarkable for its artifices, especially when pursued, running swiftly, and praying upon small fowls and small animals. A fox of the first year is called a cub; in the second year a fox; and afterwards an old fox. The Complete and Universal English Dictionary 1815.


Hardly 'big game' and not worth a 'report' I hear you say, however, Vulpes vulpes became a very 'big game' for me and a group of fellow hunters this year! And here are a few lines as to the what, why and where ....

We have taken on a 900h concession / shoot, in North Rhein Westphalia, near the Dutch border. Primarily European wild boar and roe deer, with some 60-70 boar and 10-15 roe hunted annually. A very typically German shoot.

Now I am also a very keen bird shot and the ground does not hold many pheasant and partridge to date as there are simply too many foxes! So in an attempt to get on top of the foxes, I asked David Whyman to engrave a beer mug for me and I put this and a crate of "Füchschen Altbier" (fuechschen.de) up as a prize to the hunter who shoots the most foxes in our concession between 1st April 2020 and 31st March 2021 - being the 2020/21 hunting year in Germany.

Well, the beer mug and crate of beer plus the appeal to get out there and get on top of Charlie, seems to have done the trick as so far this year we have taken out 35 foxes! Most have been singles when out after wild boar and other game but we also held a large group day / evening hunt at the November full moon, when 6 fox were shot! We plan on holding another day / night fox hunt at the February 2021 full moon with 12 to 15 guns taking part. The leader currently has 11 foxes to his name with the second place on 9!

And we are already seeing an improvement in ground game numbers - hare, pheasant, rabbit, song birds and mice are all out and about in numbers!

However, the old adage of 'shoot one fox and two new ones move in' is at the front of my mind and we are not and will not let up on our war against Charlie! I am already in contact with David for a whiskey tumbler for 2021, perhaps with an engraving of a vixen in the undergrowth !

So thats the story that has become a 'big game' for me and all in my concession as Charlie / Vulpes vulpes has become a target of choice in the 2020/21 hunting reports for us!

And here a few photographs of some of the 35 foxes taken so far. I am guessing we will reach 50-55 by the end of the German hunt year and that is a lot of foxes!!













































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"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1656 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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Why?


"If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." - Thomas Jefferson
 
Posts: 707 | Location: SW Michigan | Registered: 20 October 2002Reply With Quote
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Why? You mean why shoot foxes ? For the benefit of the ground game - hares, pheasant, partridge, rabbit, duck, song birds, hedgehogs, mice and more. Simply too many foxes and more and more every year if not controlled ......

Plus I want to see numbers of hare, pheasant and partridge that will allow is to have rough and walked up shoot days on ground game. And that will never happen with so many foxes.

Plus there is always the risk of disease if numbers get too high - mange, distemper, rabies et cetera.

That's why and hope that answers your question.

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"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1656 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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PPs Let me add - the fox to us is what the coyote is to you guys in the States!

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"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1656 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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A European red fox is twice as big as an American red fox.

I shot a fox in Australia (the European kind) that weighed 35 pounds.

Regularly saw foxes on my hunts in Germany that were over 15kg (32 pounds). I hunted with the same land manager in two different German states, Hessen and Rheinland. He didn't like shooting foxes as he believed that foxes helped control the off growth in the forest (killed roe, rabbits and hares). To him the trees were worth more than the game, so that was what he managed it for.

Another wildlife manager I know that works for Rheiland Pfalz Forestry told me that if you wanted to have small game, you needed to kill foxes. This I believe as well. He trapped and shot foxes, badger, and martins like it was a full time job. He had pheasants, partridges and tons of hares and roe.

You can either have foxes or you can have small game.
 
Posts: 6955 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 10 October 2012Reply With Quote
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In many parts of Scotland, especially where game birds are present its foxes first. You see a gold medal Roe Buck and a fox - shoot the fox. We now have a large urban population in just about every city, town, village and alongside railways etc.

However if you have a large dominant dog fox - leave him alone - as he will keep others away. Give him a hand bu shooting small ones and vixens.
 
Posts: 808 | Location: Scotland | Registered: 28 February 2011Reply With Quote
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Your worst enemy for small game is wild pigs
Foxes diet is mostly small rodents ... mice size
On occasion I have shot fox but I don’t make habit out of it
Pigs? Yes
Your major problem last decade or so in Europe is coon rather than the fox...


" Until the day breaks and the nights shadows flee away " Big ivory for my pillow and 2.5% of Neanderthal DNA flowing thru my veins.
When I'm ready to go, pack a bag of gunpowder up my ass and strike a fire to my pecker, until I squeal like a boar.
Yours truly , Milan The Boarkiller - World according to Milan
PS I have big boar on my floor...but it ain't dead, just scared to move...
 
Posts: 11967 | Location: In mountains behind my house hunting or drinking beer in Blacksmith Brewery in Stevensville MT | Registered: 27 December 2012Reply With Quote
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Milan,

All predators are the problem.

The forester with the forestry department in Rheinland Pfalz told us the worst time for foxes is when they have pups. The key is to kill the puppies, and try to kill the female so the male fox will stop hunting.

He will not stop hunting until the puppies are out of the den. Kills everything.

We found many fox dens during puppy season with 20-40 dead pieces of game, hares, game birds, roe kitz.

If you want small game, shoot a lot of foxes.
 
Posts: 6955 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 10 October 2012Reply With Quote
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Milan hi and yes and no. Foxes mainly eat mice, rodents, worms, insects and the like BUT they are opportunists and will readily prey upon pheasant, partridge, rabbit, song birds and the likes. Plus they will clear out any nest that they come across.

As to coons, we don't have them yet in North Rhein Westfalia, but its a matter of time as they are spreading like the plague!

And as for wild boar eating small game, doesnt really happen in our concession as the pigs are too focused on maize, wheat, rye and other summer crops and then acorns and other autumn fruits into the winter. But I have seen pigs clear out ground nests more than once!

So clearly in our concession it is the fox that is public enemy number one!

Cheers,

Charlie

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"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1656 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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Weidmannsheil Charly!
It seems to me (please correct me if I am wrong) that you used normal scopes,not NV equipment.
Did you use a flashligt for aiming or was the moom clear enough?
 
Posts: 75 | Registered: 11 October 2013Reply With Quote
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Love the Blasers! Looks like a Success Leather and a B3 Deluxe double.
 
Posts: 18378 | Location: Very NW NJ up in the Mountains | Registered: 14 June 2009Reply With Quote
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Biebs, Spot on ! And there is a R8 Professional somewhere in the group too ! Lots of Blaser shooters over here. You would love it!

Cheers,

Charlie

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"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1656 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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NW Czech lands are infested with coons nowadays
Anyways, when I was kid scavenger birds were hunted as well and so were hawks
Back then small game numbers were simply unbelievable but undergrowth in hedge rows was great nesting and hiding ground
Nowadays, pigs took over and small game has no prayer
That being said , hunt is on.gentlemen
Heading to Europe in a week for January pig hunts and family visits


" Until the day breaks and the nights shadows flee away " Big ivory for my pillow and 2.5% of Neanderthal DNA flowing thru my veins.
When I'm ready to go, pack a bag of gunpowder up my ass and strike a fire to my pecker, until I squeal like a boar.
Yours truly , Milan The Boarkiller - World according to Milan
PS I have big boar on my floor...but it ain't dead, just scared to move...
 
Posts: 11967 | Location: In mountains behind my house hunting or drinking beer in Blacksmith Brewery in Stevensville MT | Registered: 27 December 2012Reply With Quote
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Milan safe travels and good hunting!

No more hedgerows in Germany nowadays. The farmers plant up to the edge of the roads and paths. And anything in the sky with a curved beak is protected and cannot be touched. But we are working on getting small game numbers up and should be hunting in 2022!

Wishing you a great Christmas, safe travels and a monster Keiler or two!

Charlie

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"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1656 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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I've chased foxes all over the countryside here in Kentucky and Virginia mounted on a horse with organized foxhunts. Hunted them in Germany when I was stationed there in the 1980s.

Never forget a mouflon hunt I arranged near Fulda...was sitting in a large tower stand named Die Eifel Turm with my German guide. Very foggy day and we are both glassing. I see a small furry animal with a ringed tail cross the forest "Weg" and looked at the Forster and asked "Was war Das?" I couldn't recall any animal with a ringed tail during my "Jagdschein" training. His reply--"Waschbar" So Im trying to work it out in my head in English.... WTF is a Waschbar? Literally I'm thinking it translates to washing bear... What's a washing bear? Then it hits me. Ein Raccoon? I asked...Ja ja Raccoon.. SO I say in German--But you don't have Raccoons in Germany... He say's back...some asshole let them loose and now they are everywhere. LOL He made fun of my Bavarian accent (Frankische Bauer Dialekt) too...

Never got a Mouflon that day but we killed a helluva Keiler....

In England the Foxhunts used to kill every fox they could catch. The number 1 vector of foxes in Europe and the states is rabies. So they aren't as pervasive. But England has no rabies. So they become a problem like all predator populations left unchecked....wolves, lions, coyotes etc... Their populations grow until they exceed the capacity of their environment and disease and starvation pares them back...of course at the extreme cost to their prey along the way. This fall I was on a dove hunt and a very pitiful fox with mange walked through the corn field in front of me. I put him down with a couple of loads of 7 1/2 bird shot and did him a favor. He was in horrible shape...
 
Posts: 381 | Registered: 03 March 2005Reply With Quote
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Slot of Americans are not aware that the red fox is not native to N. America. It was imported for fox hunting.
 
Posts: 742 | Location: Vero Beach, Florida | Registered: 03 July 2004Reply With Quote
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Charlie64:
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Milan safe travels and good hunting!

No more hedgerows in Germany nowadays. The farmers plant up to the edge of the roads and paths. And anything in the sky with a curved beak is protected and cannot be touched. But we are working on getting small game numbers up and should be hunting in 2022!

Wishing you a great Christmas, safe travels and a monster Keiler or two!

Charlie

Thank you Charlie
Will try for sure


" Until the day breaks and the nights shadows flee away " Big ivory for my pillow and 2.5% of Neanderthal DNA flowing thru my veins.
When I'm ready to go, pack a bag of gunpowder up my ass and strike a fire to my pecker, until I squeal like a boar.
Yours truly , Milan The Boarkiller - World according to Milan
PS I have big boar on my floor...but it ain't dead, just scared to move...
 
Posts: 11967 | Location: In mountains behind my house hunting or drinking beer in Blacksmith Brewery in Stevensville MT | Registered: 27 December 2012Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by Bwana1:
Slot of Americans are not aware that the red fox is not native to N. America. It was imported for fox hunting.


Yes, 30,000 years ago when it came across the land bridge.

The foxes in North American and Europe are the same in the way that wolves, and brown bears are the same. But they have over 30,000 years of being North American Foxes!
 
Posts: 6955 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 10 October 2012Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Bwana1:
Slot of Americans are not aware that the red fox is not native to N. America. It was imported for fox hunting.


Phylogeographical and genetic analysis of the eastern American red fox suggests that foxes first migrated to North America during the Illinoian glaciation (300,000 to 130,000 years before present) and spread southward (Aubry et al., 2009) More recently, the Wisconsin glaciation (100,000 to 10,000 before present) separated the North American fox population into two distinct areas (Aubry et al., 2009). North American red foxes are genetically distinctive from their Eurasian counterparts (Aubry et al., 2009; Frey 2013). Despite claims of historical translocations from Europe, modern red fox populations in the United States’ southeastern region have been shown to be native to North America (Statham et al., 2012). DNA comparisons show that the eastern American red fox is closely related to native populations in Canada and the northeastern region of the United States and is therefore the result of natural range expansions and not an invasive species from Europe as was previously thought (Statham et al., 2012). Range expansions seen recently may be connected to anthropogenic landscape change and not the spread of exotic European varieties (Statham et al., 2012).

The native status of the eastern American red fox has been demonstrated by current research, which has important implications for management strategies. Previous classifications and taxonomic uncertainties (Kamler & Ballard, 2002) frame populations of Vulpes vulpes fulvus as a nonnative, invasive species that can cause declines in the populations of native species, carrying capacities, and populate regions at higher densities (Kamler & Ballard, 2002). The identification of the origins of the North American red fox populations is crucial in conservation efforts aimed at native vs. nonnative species (Statham et al., 2012). Vulpes vulpes fulvus’s presence has been augmenting in the western U.S., an area in which it has not been shown to be native.


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Hunting: I'd kill to participate.
 
Posts: 2886 | Location: Boston, MA | Registered: 04 January 2005Reply With Quote
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@Charlie64, you can up your success rate greatly on the foxes with some “stink pipes”
Simply a plastic drainage tube with an opening at the bottom. I go to my local fish shop a couple of times a week and collect the offal.
A trail camera tells me when Charlie (sorry) appears and they are very regular in their habits.
Can you use thermal spotters and digital night vision add ons in Germany ? They’re advertised on eGun. They will really up your success rate. I keeper just under 1000 acres and took 107 foxes in 2019, only 56 this year and not for lack of trying. Boar we know will predate ground nesting birds when laying. Sadly hedgehogs are no better. Alles besten .
 
Posts: 421 | Location: Ireland | Registered: 12 May 2004Reply With Quote
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"A European red fox is twice as big as an American red fox.

I shot a fox in Australia (the European kind) that weighed 35 pounds.

Regularly saw foxes on my hunts in Germany that were over 15kg (32 pounds). I hunted with the same land manager in two different German states, Hessen and Rheinland. He didn't like shooting foxes as he believed that foxes helped control the off growth in the forest (killed roe, rabbits and hares). To him the trees were worth more than the game, so that was what he managed it for.

Another wildlife manager I know that works for Rheiland Pfalz Forestry told me that if you wanted to have small game, you needed to kill foxes. This I believe as well. He trapped and shot foxes, badger, and martins like it was a full time job. He had pheasants, partridges and tons of hares and roe.

You can either have foxes or you can have small game."

In northern Sweden the red foxes are smaller than in the south to be able to hunt up on the snow (reversed Bergmann rule). Fox are bigger than Capercaillie what is hochwild in Germany. Roedeer are smallgame in Sweden but biggame in most other countries.

Here in the north fox follows the Vole cycle (maintained by snowy winters). First year a good rodent year foxes live mainly on voles. Second year even better rodent year, many foxcubs are born, plenty to eat for the cubs. Third year the rodent population has crashed during the winter fox have to search for alternative food as forestbirds, hares, roedeer and other preys. Forth year low numbers of voles, birds, hare and foxes.
 
Posts: 3407 | Location: Sweden | Registered: 02 May 2009Reply With Quote
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We will be out again in force end January full moon to try and take out a few more! Hopefully 15 rifles across the concession.

I'll report on the result as and when....

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"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1656 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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Picked up another one last night - a pretty young vixen. Blaser Bock Flinte in .222 Rem under a 16 bore barrel.








We have another group hunt scheduled for later this month targeting foxes. Hopefully we can take a few more before the season closes for foxes end February.

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"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1656 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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And one more in last night ...





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Posts: 1656 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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Good shooting Charlie. We take many hundreds here each year by shooting at night, terriers and snares.

We try to kill everyone we see because you know there is many more elsewhere and the small game and wildlife gets a chance to thrive. It helps we have the best managed game shoots in the world also and habitat to sustain that.

Driving through Germany and France your comment about no hedges is true. Devoid of wildlife and only for commercial easy farming.
 
Posts: 488 | Location: Europe | Registered: 07 June 2016Reply With Quote
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And we picked up another (dog) fox last night. Big dog that we have been chasing the last couple of weeks on the boundry!






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Posts: 1656 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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My boy shot this truly old dog fox this evening in the rain. We have seen him over the last months and missed him once or twice! One eye and worn canines. My son got him as he was sniffing around a dung heap that the farmer had put on one of the fields - the fox that is and not my son! CZ 550 in .30-06 and approx 100 m. A real old dog fox with a huge head! I'll boil off and bleach the skull on this one for my son as a trophy! A true old warrior of a fox!








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"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1656 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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Complying with all the C19 regs regarding get togethers, distance, masks et cetera, we managed a large group hunt yesterday with a dozen rifles throughout the 900 h concession. It was high seats and "Kanzeln" hunting. We were targeting fox and pigs.

The wind was easterly which is the worst direction for the concession but all the same following an on-line draw for stands / Kanzeln and a shoot briefing per whatsapp - without actually meeting - we all got out there and enjoyed an evening of online-camaradery and managed to take 3 foxes and a weasel. A few more foxes were spotted but were too far away for a clean shot and two foxes were missed. Some pigs were underway but winded the rifles near them. Everyone to the man was pleased to get out and spend some time in the countryside and I was most pleased to see a few more foxes taken off of the fields!

Pushing 50 plus foxes in the last shoot year and the ground game - hares, rabbits, pheasant and more, are all showing good numbers!

The fox season closes end Feb, so we have a few weeks to try and bag a few more before the season ends!





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"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1656 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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We picked up another last night! We have a shepherd on our grounds grazing a few hundred sheep on the cabbage stubbles. Seems to be a fox magnet. Have seen a few lurking around the flock. Out again tomorrow!






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"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1656 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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Foxes are interesting creatures. Every time I see one, I consider that they came to North America by way of the Beringian land bridge and spread south. They did well.

Grizz


When the horse has been eliminated, human life may be extended an average of five or more years.
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I think they've been misunderstood. Timothy Tredwell
 
Posts: 665 | Location: Central Alberta, Canada | Registered: 20 July 2019Reply With Quote
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Out again tonight and see if we can pick up one or two. Snow and ice has melted and it's warm in the low 60s. Hope the foxes come out to play!


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"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1656 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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Was out Saturday but the wind was all over the place.

Out tonight and managed to call in a big vixen. Blaser R8 shooting .223 RWS 55 grain softpoint factory loads. Dropped to one in the ear. Wonderful set-up for foxes.

We have another (the last of the season) group hunt Saturday. Hopefully we will pick up a few more....





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"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
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One of our group picked up one last night too. A big old dog fox!




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"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
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The open season / hunting season for foxes in the State of North Rhine Westfalia, Germany, closes today, Sunday 28th February.

We had our third and last group hunt yesterday to tie in with the February full moon, with 10 rifles participating. Again it was an online draw for the high seats and WhatsApp instructions as to where to park and what could be shot in addition to foxes. It was a success. It was a wonderful full moon, the weather gods were with us and it was mild and dry. 1 fox was shot and 2 others were spotted but too far and no safe shot opportunity. No pigs were seen but dozens of roe deer and European brown hare were spotted.

Looking back on the 2020/21 season we took a total of 45 foxes off of our 900 h ground - 7 pups, 18 vixens and 20 mature dog foxes. That was the first season where foxes were actively targeted on these grounds and a lot of foxes were taken. It was done without baiting, snaring (illegal in Germany) or dogs. It was done by individuals putting in the hours, sitting, glassing, calling and three group hunts.

We are already seeing a very, very positive result in the concession with increased numbers of brown hare, rabbits, pheasant and partridge. And I believe song birds too, but we will be able to tell more about that in April and May when the days are longer and the birds are off their nests and on the wing.

I was told it used to be the norm to see one or two hare on the fields in the evenings. We are now seeing eight, nine, ten and more on each of the fields. I counted a dozen last evening with the thermal camera on a field where sugar beets had been harvested. I saw 8 last night on the field behind the "Kanzel" where I was sitting. The rabbits have increased in numbers too as have the game birds. And the mice, don’t forget the mice! Lots and lots out and about in the hedges and on the fields at night!

We still have foxes in the concession. The saying goes “Shoot one and two come to the funeral!” And it is good to have them on the grounds, but in limited numbers. We simply had too many and were not managing them and their numbers were exploding and they were wiping out the ground game. With no predators challenging the foxes there numbers would have simply carried on increasing, leading to foxes going urban, disease and at some point a battle for food with next to no ground game.

The season starts again 16th July, for mature foxes - pups and young foxes are open all year round. So the adult foxes have 5 1/2 months of closed season, basically when the vixens whelp and bring up the pups.

We will start targeting foxes again in July, which ties in with the grain harvest and the chance to take foxes off the stubbles.

We have shot a lot of foxes and it will be interesting to see how many pups are out and about in April / May. Less than last year and hopefully more than next year!

And if we continue as planned, I hope that come the end of 2022, we will be able to hold a few days of rough and walked up shooting for pheasant, partridge, hare and rabbit and we will have turned around the ground game on our modest 900 h shoot!


I hope that some readers have enjoyed these records and pictures and thank you for your comments, suggestions, insights. Thats what I love about AR whether it be a simple fox or a Cape buff, there is always a great exchange on here and so much to learn and experience!

Cheers,

Charlie

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"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1656 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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