Thursday, January 1, 2009

Hunting Bold Reynard

So far, this is shaping up to be a bad Winter for predator attacks on our poultry. Tuesday evening, my wife and I returned from the weekly milk run to encounter a large beautiful Red Fox killing one of our Buff Orpington Hens. I chased him off and he dropped her, but it was too late for the poor girl. I went into the house and grabbed a rifle and began following the feathers. There was not enough snow and I lost the track after about 400 yards. I made a diagonal track in the hope he would circle, as foxes often do. He did indeed circle, in the other direction and right back to the chickens. when I came in view of the farmyard again he was chasing a bantam hen who had the sense to fly away. He saw my distant figure and took off in flight himself.

Since then, I have been spending a bit of each morning and evening casting for tracks and watching the fields. Each night, I shine a portable spotlight. So far, I have not seen him again. My gun in the picture is an older Savage Model 24. The top barrel is a .22 magnum rifle and the bottom barrel is a 20 gauge shotgun in 3" chambering. There is no better homestead varmint gun. It negates the need to decide whether to reach for a shotgun or rifle. If I could only have one homestead gun, this one would be the top of the list.

Part of the reason for the attack was that the chickens have been free ranging in th milder weather. Since the attack, they are a bit nervous, and I am only letting them out for a little bit, while I am nearby. Pumpkinseed, a pet hen, is still insisting to range. but she is acting less bold.

Foxes are easy to kill, but hard to hunt. Their slyness is long a part of legend and his name in folklore is Reynard or Reinhard. The last one I had to kill was a poor thing, and killing him was mercy. This one is big, bold, and in every way a beautiful animal. If he would leave my birds alone, I would be happy to let him live too. If he continues coming and I do not get him, I will be asking one of my friends to come decoy him with an electronic caller.


troutbirder said...

Interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

The Midland Agrarian said...

thanks For reading!

Danman said...

Hey I need to remember that gun... can you still get 'em?

The Midland Agrarian said...

Unfortunately, I checked the Savage Arms website, and it is no longer in their catalog. There are some at the gunsamerica website. They were made in many caliber combinations over the years. In my caliber combination they seem to run about $400-$500. My mother bought the one I own for my father a few years after they married. He always preferred a beautiful older 20 gauge double side by side for hunting and gave the Savage to me when I was 12. I know a prominent ornithologist who used one just like it years ago in South America to collect specimens. He could take everything from small birds to large mammals and defend his camp with one gun.

The Midland Agrarian said...

Here is a good link about the 24 series and their versatility. Only downside is price, as you could buy a good 22 and a decent single barrel shotgun for about half of a model 24.