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.