Pest Control - Foxes

Written by Joe Meaney, TheGunstore.ie.

As we are in the middle of foxing season, we decided to give you our views and tips on what to do and what to use in order to get the best results. Fox shooting will require a combination of planning, knowledge and equipment. You need to know both the area you are shooting in and the behaviour of the animal you are hunting. Many shooters in Ireland will have a vast knowledge of the area they are in and this is vital.

The most important decision to make in fox hunting is what weapon to chose. It is essential that you select a weapon you are comfortable with the weapon. You can opt for shotgun or rifle. If it is a shotgun you are using then we would recommend two cartridges.

  • The Eley Alphamax is by far our most popular BB cartridge and the best known 36 gram cartridge on the market today. It is a hard hitting, speedy and accurate cartridge. It also has excellent range.
  • The RC Camo  is newer to the market but is quickly building a reputation for being the cartridge of choice for fox hunters. With 37gram weight in it, it has a little extra bang over the Alphamax.

Alternatively, if you are opting for a rifle, the decision is what calibre is best for you.

Fox calls can be a great tool to use. Electronic callers or fox whistles are your options here and both will yield great results. The sounds out of both will be similar to an animal, e.g. a rabbit in distress and will attract the fox to come out in the open. Stay in an area for about 20 minutes, using the caller for 1 – 2 minutes, rest the caller for a minute and call again. If there are any foxes in the area they should come to the caller. 

However, foxes are notorious for their sharp vision, so good cover is needed to get the perfect shot. Camouflage clothing and headwear is a big bonus when you are looking for the required cover. The ideal time for fox shooting is at low light, i.e. early in morning or last light. If you know where they tend to skulk about then dawn and dusk should be when you should aim to be in position.

The wind direction can be important for many reasons. You need to be aware of the strength and direction of the wind. If you are standing upwind of the animal then there is a chance he will pick up your scent and the fox will be aware that there is a danger on the area. He will be gone before you even get sight of the animal. Also, the direction and the strength of the wind will affect the bullet. Some can be affected more than others, e.g. .17 bullets are notorious for being affected by the wind as they are a very flat and powerful bullet.

Aiming at the front end of the fox is the best tactic when looking to take down the animal. The heart is located in the lower part of the chest and it is the best target to take the animal down easily. This will require a good deal of practice with your weapon before you go out hunting. The fox is a very fast animal so you will need to have a good knowledge of how your weapon handles.