Friday, March 01, 2013

Foxy Lady, R.I.P

It's a countryside dilemma for me, I'm by inclination uncomfortable with the taking of life, (obviously I'd make an exception for folk who drive in the middle lane of the motorway) but I do enjoy a bit of shooting, the taste of game, I believe that as a cook I should be prepared to eat what I kill, and kill what I eat ( this works surprisingly well for pheasant and partridge shoots where I rarely manage to hit more than a couple of birds on a good day). But I did go through a vegetarian/Buddhist phase in my twenties, (yes really) being at one with all life  and I still feel a little uncomfortable taking a life be it vermin, (rabbit, rat, squirrel, TV presenter, that sort of thing) or game bird, I can do it, I do, but there's a certain undeniable discomfort.

On the other hand, over the past three years or so, I and many of my friends and family have enjoyed the superb eggs produced by my chickens. However as is often the way the local vulpine population have equally, on occasion, enjoyed my chickens. I've invested heavily in replacement chickens, wire-netting, bird-netting, infra-red camera, cement, fenceposts, stones, blood, sweat and tears, I've done fox repelling, fox proofing, fox scaring and since our local vixen has discovered that she can bite and wriggle her way through chicken wire I've spent many joyful evenings cold, wet and irritable hiding in the woods with a twelve-bore on the off-chance. 

After startling the fox a week or so ago with her jaws on one of my birds, a very close call, pure chance and a lucky escape for the black hen, I spent an hour or so chatting to some chaps in Germany (good practice of my very minimal German language skills, (basically Würden Sie bitte Englisch sprechen) and I selected and ordered a fox trap. 

Inevitably once Paypal had taken my €uros and my new German chums had dispatched the item I happened to glance out of the window toward the chicken run as I was off to bed and  spotted the tell tale reflection of fox eyes in the darkness. I knew she'd be well away by the time I was booted and and armed but ever the optimist, grabbed wellies and weapon and headed out. Madam fox had, for once, miscalculated and as I approached, Nemesis in a ski-jacket, she was still trying to wriggle through the wire. She'd jumped in from the top of the fence through the bird netting but escaping that way was too much of a leap for her. Bad day for Mrs Fox and I dispatched her as quickly and painlessly as possible. 

Inevitably more foxes have appeared at the Barn, they're territorial and if you remove one, the gap gets filled, the occasional night time yipping continues unabated but the new intake have not yet worked out the vixenish methods for coop entry, I'm sure it's just a matter of time. The trap has arrived from Germany and is set up and baited (had a tin of pilchards sitting in the larder for way too long) but recent video capture suggest to me that caution prevails for the moment and the fox I've seen on the video below looks too damn wary and frankly too damn big to get in the trap. 

We shall see. 

I felt a little uncomfortable taking out Mrs Fox, after all, she was just doing what a fox does, but she has taken the lives of eight of my birds over the years so I think it was about her time, I'd spent a lot of effort making it as hard as I could for her and she persisted. 

So it goes.  

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At 7:27 am, Blogger IzinSing said...

Don't feel bad. She was a fox, you are a man. It is the natural order of things. And you did it with compassion.


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