The Countryman's Weekly

Foxing

Foxing
December 19
08:06 2018

A night’s foxing 60 years ago

By Vulpes.

WE met up at around 8pm a few days before Christmas. This would be the third night in a row we’d be out. The weather hadn’t been too bad but there had been the odd snow shower a few nights before. We were both feeling a bit shattered as this was our busy season for foxes, their pelts being in full winter condition and fetching very good money. Both Charlie and I had been doing full-time (during the season) fox shooting and snaring, as we both made a living from skin sales.

Meeting at 8pm meant we’d be on the ground within half an hour as the bulk of it lay in an arc around the coast where we both lived. Although much of it was quite exposed there were numerous wooded valleys and the rough cliff land itself, all of which held quite a large population of foxes.

In the main, sheep were the main farming interest with a small number of cattle and a large pig farm located within the area which I’m guessing ran in total to around 3,000 acres. Seven farms were included in the block, all of which were keen to see fox numbers reduced as the majority of lambing in those days was carried out in the open. The land was well-known to us as I’d been shooting over it for several years before I went into National Service.

Today, foxing as it is known is primarily a sport as apart from protecting livestock foxes have no monetary value. On the night Charlie and I were out again we knew any fox could be worth anything between £9 and £20. Bearing in mind at that time the latter figure was looked upon as a good week’s wage it’s easy to see where our enthusiasm stemmed from! In addition to shooting them we also set snares (wires) which were examined during the day as our nightly work would carry on from the time we started about 9pm until about 6am the following morning.

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