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Fox Hunt Down-Under - Ray Leake (Australia)


“I’ve got lambs on the ground and lost 11 last night to foxes”.

I use a 22-250 Tikka M55 with 55 grain ballistic tip projectiles which I reload myself. Deadly on foxes but no good if you want to keep the pelts!

The phone rang just after breakfast, unusual I thought, must be important for this time of the morning! It was Jim, a local grazier who kindly allows me to hunt on his property.
“I’ve got lambs on the ground and lost 11 last night to foxes”. Typical for this time of year when Vulpus Vulpus is at his worst, killing the lambs as soon as  they are born when the Ewe is unable to intervene. Most ‘Freddies’ (Charlie's to you Poms) just rip the lambs tongue out and then move onto the next one. Not nice at all!  

“Can you come down and sort them out please” Jim asked in a strained voice.  “Of course Jim, I will be down tonight”.
I quickly re-arrangement of my plans, took all of 5 seconds, no contest really, I would much rather be out with the lamp than sitting at home in front of the TV.
I normally have my mate Kevin with me. He is like-minded and also very helpful with the gates, which are numerous on these properties.

Kev was as keen as I, even at short notice, and later that afternoon we were on our way.  As we pulled in to the gateway of the first paddock, I could hear the new-born lambs crying out for mum, and the heavy aroma of a large flock of sheep
hung in the damp evening air.  While Kev sorted the gate out, I made ready with the rifle and door rest.


I use a 22-250 Tikka M55 with 55 grain ballistic tip projectiles which I reload myself. Deadly on foxes but no good if you want to keep the pelts!

Kev retrieves another one, who needs a dog when you've got a Kev?

"Kev retrieves another one, who needs a dog when you've got a Kev?"

The Tikka M55

"The Tikka M55"

The rifle sits outside the car window on the rest, and when a fox is spotted, I flick the scope mounted light on, lift and shoot. Fortunately, our climate is usually dry, so the fact that the rifle sits outside the vehicle is not a problem.
Before I re-started the car, I flashed the red light around the paddock. Straight away I picked out the ultra bright red eyes of a fox in waiting, about 400 metres away.
We would soon be in business, but because the sheep were well spaced out, it was not a safe shot to take there.
“Give him a quick whistle Kev and see if we can move him”.
The predator caller, shrieked loud, echoing around the tall gum trees, and immediately the fox leapt from it's resting place and sprinted towards us. It’s magic when this happens but I don’t like to let them get too close as I tend to miss the easy ones, much to Kevin's dislike. I flicked on the gun light as I carefully lifted the rifle from the rest, and acquired the target, still running towards us. At 150 metres I thought that’s close enough, so shouted a loud  “Oih”. The fox pulled up sharply and stared towards us as I took a deep breath and gently squeezed the trigger. Boooom, the rifle barked and the fox expired on the spot. On examination, he was a big old dog fox, obviously hungry, but he would not be taking any more of Jims’ lambs.
Number one for the night, a good start.
Not wanting to disturb the sheep too much in one go, we moved onto the next paddock. Scanning the flock, I picked out 2 pairs of eyes and pulled up. I know the property well and both of these foxes were safe to shoot about 120 metres out and the wind was in our favour. I took the first fox as it sat listening to the lambs. Kev followed the other red devil in his light as I quickly rechambered a fresh round. Baaaahhhh, I called out, and the fox stopped in its’ tracks. Fool, I thought as I squeezed off another round, and at the report, she dropped to the ground. The 2 foxes were a dog and a vixen, both in prime condition.

The bag is growing

"The bag is growing"

The next couple of hours were strangely a bit quiet, so we spent a while taking a few rabbits for Kevin's Jack Russels.

Dog Tucker

"Dog Tucker"

The dogs have a real taste for rabbit and are excellent hunters in their own way. During the winter months, we often spend days with the dogs flushing foxes from dens and scrub, but that’s another story.
After a quick coffee break, we were back in the first paddock that we visited earlier. This time, there were 5 sets of eyes in residence. Tricky, time to use the whistle and with a speedy response, I had number 4 down. Strangely enough, the other 4 foxes didn’t take flight.  They were so mesmerised by the bleating lambs, the shot had no effect on them. When this happens, it is usually quite easy to drive to them without fear of them running off. As we were now experiencing what I call close encounters, I switched rifles to my trusty Anshutz 22 Magnum. Out to 120 metres, I find this rifle to be so accurate, and ideal for this situation.  I carefully navigated to suitable spots, and one by one I took all 4.
Feeling very satisfied with 8 foxes accounted for we decided to call it a night, but we would be back in couple of days.  3 days later we returned to the same paddock and took another 5 lamb killers, very satisfying.

Jim was very appreciative and I knew that my future hunting expeditions on his property were safe. This is only a small acreage and since January I have accounted for 23 foxes, and all up including other properties my total to date stands at 124 for the six months.

WATCH OUT FOR MORE ADVENTURES WITH RAY DOWN-UNDER VERY SOON.

 


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