Author near the timber with a fox decked at 150 yards with the Weatherby Vanguard in .223 Rem.

Four foxes shot

Recently I have had the good fortune to towel up four foxes in short order while out stalking fallow and pigs. The photos here depict animals in rude good health with lethal fangs that make mincemeat of newborn lambs, native animals and birds. Note that foxes are notified as carriers of hydatids, which is a very nasty parasite, so when you handle them, particularly around the mouth and rear end, when skinning for example, that it is mandatory that you wear rubber gloves and or wash your hands thoroughly with soap.

Most of my hunting of the fox has been with a rifle and even though a .22 rimfire will do the job at shorter ranges my motto has been use the centrefire on hand as the deader the better is the best case scenario with this marauder.

At times when I carry either a .223 or .308 centrefire rifle as it gives me more options, especially over the rimfire in range and knockdown energy. This is particularly the case in spot and stalk hunting or around breeding season when they will hang way back from the whistle.
Nevertheless I would not recommend these larger calibres on smaller properties for safety reasons but if hunting the fox on the larger properties with the owner’s okay the hunter must always make sure of a safe backdrop in the event of a missed shot.

Fox 1. One example recently of using a larger calibre over a rimfire was when I saw a fox feeding on a sheep carcase. Working quietly, I positioned myself to take a few photos but eventually this particular fox sensed something was not right. Consequently, he moved cautiously away amongst the long grass.

Now at a distance of 75 yards and with a view of his shoulder partially obscured by the grass, I was pretty confident that a 150gn pill from the .308 would not have any problems with deflection – and so it proved. Score Juris 1 – foxes nil. Had I been equipped with a .22 rimfire, I would have not been attempting such a shot. 

A quick inspection of the fox verified it was in excellent condition, so I then moved the fox out of the long grass and onto a rock for a couple of photos. 

Fox 2. This fellow showed up recently when I was whistling off a dam that had been a haunt for elusive foxes for some time. He popped out at about 50 yards and very quickly hurried away from me when he was inexplicably spooked and he stopped and looked back (don’t you love it when they do that?) about 150 yards out.

By this time I had taken a rock-solid rest with my Vanguard .223 and I launched at him with a Winchester 55gn Soft Point factory load. It was the perfect scenario for such a centrefire but obviously too far for the little rimfire. I had been smiled upon because I was carrying the perfect rifle for the shot that presented. Score Juris 2 – foxes nil.

Fox 3. This scenario mirrored fox number 2 in some ways. On this next particular morning I had positioned myself above another dam at around 150 yards as this particular fox had given me the slip before here. Once the sun was well up out came mister fox to catch some late brekkie around the dam. He was hunting whilst moving around the reeds and grass and then, as if on cue, the fox moved onto the dam wall to sun himself. With a steady rest on my backpack the .308 ended his morning. Score Juris 3 – foxes nil. 

Fox 4. I was glassing some likely looking country for a goat on this next beautiful crisp blue morning when what looked to be a well-furred fox trotted out of cover. He seemed to be the largest I had seen in a long while, because watching him through the eight power binos,  he looked enormous.

My stalk plan’s main focus was to keep sight of him as much as possible while keeping the sun to my back; this happened to keep the wind in my face also – a double hunter’s bonus. This guy didn’t get this big by being stupid, so I would have to pay close attention to the fundamentals here.

From my current position 400 yards or so away he had no idea of my presence and that was the way I hoped it would stay. He was making his way three-quarters of the way up and along a hill opposite me, now and then moving lower down and back up and along the hillside.

Making my way through some timber and working to be slightly ahead of him it was not long before he materialised again at a distance of 150 yards.

Tracking him through the scope on the .308 set on 9X it was when he stopped to forage that the crosshair settled steady on his centre-shoulder. The 150grainer went on its merry way and once I could re-focus all that could be seen was his tail flicking; he was down and out.

He was a big dog fox, again in excellent condition and with a set of mean fangs that would not be predating lambs or natives any more.


This article was first published in Sporting Shooter, August 2010.




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