For fox hunting you don’t need all that much gear. That being said, you want to ascertain whether or not you want to take a shotgun, rifle or both. If you are starting out I suggest you take whatever you feel most comfortable with and not both a shotgun or a rifle.
The shotgun should have some relatively heavy shot I use BB’s others will uses #1’s or the like. The gauge of the shotgun won’t matter but 12ga is my go to fox shooter.
The rifle should have a scope that can be wound right back to at least 4 but 3 is even better and you should at least have a magnum rimfire (17hmr, 22mag) whilst the 22lr will work it gives you a huge margin of error especially on a moving target so think 17,20 or 22cal centrefire when fox calling as you will appreciate more knock-down power and flatter trajectory if a fox won’t come in past 100m.
When you call a fox of a day he is going to tend to run right up to the source of the sound if he hasn’t smelt or seen you so you want to be good at quickly acquiring your target and hitting him on the move. If you are not confident in hitting a fox in this situation perhaps its best to use a shotgun.
Whilst not completely necessary it does give you a better chance of not being spotted. If you have it wear it if you don’t I’d wear drab colours like dark green and brown. Stay away from blues. If you want to learn more about Fox Senses please listen to our podcast with Dr Charles Shawley
Many of you will have already acquired some sort of fox whistle or call. Most of you will probably have the button whistle. Whilst the button whistle will work it is quiet and thus limits your calling range. For a mouth call I recommend the Tenterfield Fox Whistle whilst it can be a hard whistle to learn how to use it is very effective and once you have got it making sound you can’t forget how to do it, it is like riding a bike. Check here to view my video on how to use a Tenterfield Fox Whistle
Other options are E-callers (Electronic Callers) from company’s such as Cass Creek or Fox Pro there are plenty more out there however. You can also make your own E-caller and get plenty of sounds from the internet.
Whichever one you use make sure you are confident in using it.
Other Items You May Want To Bring:
Other items you may want to bring are a puffer to help you read the wind, you can easily make one of these by using a film cannister with holes in it or anything that will hold the talcum powder and dispense it in a dust. This is a valuable tool in the fox caller’s arsenal.
Binoculars, GPS and Decoys are all other things you can consider bringing with you but if you have a firearm, a call, some clothing that will blend into your environment and something to read the wind direction with you are pretty much set to go.
Location, Weather Conditions & When to Call:
You can call foxes anytime day or night but I find the best time to call is the crack of dawn and the hour or two before dark. Then after that I like to call in the dead of night but you do need some kind of rifle mounted light for that. Give late afternoon or early morning a go first. You will get foxes during the middle of the day but your chances are better early or late in the day.
When you are calling foxes you need to pick a location that: will allow you to see what is going on, is likely going to be a fox in that area, there is somewhere for you to call from that has good cover and allows you to shoot comfortable over a wide area.
Your stand should allow you to see a wide area, I prefer to call overlooking some cover but having a clearing between me and the cover. This way a fox will have to cross open ground to get to you which is good as it allows you a clear shot with nothing obstructing your view and also gives you a better chance of seeing him before he see’s you.
When choosing your stand you want to be in the shade and in the brush, so you want to sit amongst some shrubbery or rocks, felled trees or anything that is natural so you have less chance of being busted. I often sit down in front of a shrub and back myself into it a bit to help break my shape up. The more hidden you are the better.
The most important thing to take away from this section is acknowledging the foxes extreme sense of smell and wind direction. If a fox can smell you he wont come to you as simple as that.
For beginners you want to have the wind in your face at your stand, as you get more experienced you can try setting up and calling from a cross wind but to start with keep that wind coming into you at 12 o’clock. If you are calling with the wind at your back you are going to get busted and probably not even see a fox.
So key points from this section:
- Keep the wind in your face at all times when calling and approaching your stand.
- Choose a location that allows you to overlook a large area of cover with a clearing between where you are calling and where you expect the fox to come from the cover.
- Try to blend into your surroundings, don’t stand in the middle of nowhere sit in amongst rocks, wood or shrubs.
- Keep the wind in your face.
Calling The Stand:
You have got all your gear with you, the wind is in your face and you are sitting in amongst some shrubs, you are confident that a fox coming from the direction you are about to call cannot see you or smell you.
You are ready to start calling.
Have a good look around before you start, make sure you are sitting still and try not to move much if you do have to move make the movement smooth and deliberate, jerking fast movements foxes will pick up a mile away their eyesight is designed to see movement above everything else.
Whether you chose a mouth, hand or E-caller start calling. You want to start out with making a wounded rabbit call you need to make it sound like you are a rabbit in agony. Don’t use long notes but rather lots of short squeals remember rabbits have tiny lungs they can’t sustain notes for a long time. You want to make a noise like waaaaaaa waaa waaaaaaaa waa waa waa waaaaaa, try not to make it sound too much like a pattern. Do this for about 30 seconds and wait for a minute or two. This is where you want to be scanning the area looking for foxes running towards you. Foxes will RUN not walk towards you if they are really interested so you have to be ready to take the shot.
Remember that foxes won’t always come from the direction you expect so be prepared to have a fox come from the side or even behind you.
Keep doing the above for 10-15 minutes per stand, from all accounts if you haven’t called a fox in that time you probably aren’t going to.
If you have unsuccessfully called the stand after 10-15minutes its time to move on to the next stand. When you stand up from the spot where you were sitting do it slowly and have a good look around to make sure there are no foxes that propped up and were watching what was happening from a distance. You will sometimes get up and see a fox bolt that you hadn’t seen.
IT WORKED!! A Fox is Coming To Your Call… WHAT NOW?:
OK you have a fox coming in, your heart starts to pound and you feel a massive surge of adrenaline, this is the first fox you have called up, now what?
Your hard work is paying off, now is the time to seal the deal as the hunt is not over yet, its only just begun.
Don’t keep calling if he is running in, if he stops then call again, quietly but if he is running in don’t do anything but prepare yourself to take the shot.
It is important when a fox is running in to not shoot until you are 100% confident you can make the shot. I still occasionally get too excited and fire before I should have especially with a shotgun.
If you have a shotgun you want him no more than 30m away from and 20m away from you or less is even better. You need to nail him with a large percentage of your shot.
If you have a rifle you probably want to shoot at around the 30-50m mark anything under that will get really hard.
Now the important thing here is to not let him bust you when he is this close, you want him to get closer to you than you want to shoot him because as soon as you raise your gun he is going to start running or if you are really lucky he might stop and look at you. As soon as you are confident you can hit him shoot. Don’t over think it.
Now also be aware that there could be more than one fox coming in to your call. People will often get doubles or even triples coming in at once.
If you have gotten this far you probably have called in and shot a fox or you have missed, either way I reckon you will be addicted to the sport.
Keep trying if you aren’t successful the first time, go out with a spotlight and call of a night as that can be an easier way to get them as you spot the fox first than call. I’ll be doing an article on calling foxes of a night shortly.
Thanks for reading, I hope this article helps you bag a fox. If you have any questions please ask in the comments section below and don’t forget to tell your friends about us here at The Hunt and Shoot Network