A hunter's lament


August 30, 2008, 06:17 PM
A hunter's lament....

I'm sorry, Mr. Red Fox, I'm sorry you had an early case of rabies
I'm sorry our horses were chasing you around the pasture
I'm sorry you chose our horse riding ring to lay down in to rest, you weren't hurting anyone
But, we have horses here, as well as a pair of cats, and two young kids, we also teach horsemanship classes to other kids, and they swim in the pond as well, we can't be having rabid animals here, it's a safety thing
I hope you understand

I'm sorry I had to kill you :( but we had no choice, I wanted to make it painless, you didn't deserve to suffer

I'm SO DAMN SORRY it took me FOUR sodding rounds to send you to a better place, I was hoping for a simple, humane one-shot-kill

I *thought* a .22 High Velocity round would be sufficient to end your suffering, not prolong it

I can only hope you're in a better place now, rabies-free, free to run through the fields and woods, and eat to your heart's content

I'm so very sorry :(

Okay, that out of the way, it's details time;

we had a potentially rabid red fox in our field, our horses were chasing and tormenting it, my sister has a house out in our field, where she has a large barn and teaches kids horsemanship, art, and swimming in the pond, sort of a rural day camp, she also rents out stalls for other horse owners

the fox was potentially rabid, so my sister asked me to come down and kill it while it was lying in the riding ring and resting

I had just come back from the Rod and Gun club, where I had sighted in my Ruger 10/22 with Bushnell 3-9X scope, it was dead-on accurate, capable of shooting 1/8 to 1/4" groups, it's a tack driver

I grabbed a box of CCI Mini-Mag High Velocity .22 rounds, went down to the riding ring, made sure the area was clear, both in front of and in back of the fox, it was curled up in the sand, resting, it's head facing me, and it's body curled around like a cat

I centered the crosshairs between it's head and body, and fired...
the first shot hit low center-mass, the fox was up and running, I was able to squeeze off shot #2 that hit it in the right rear leg, it dashed off into the field

it was wounded, I had not achieved my goal of a one shot kill, I didn't want it to suffer any more than it had to, so for the next ten minutes I combed the field with the help of my sis and mother, they were working to flush the fox out to me

it got up agan, in a mad dash towards the main house, I shouldered the rifle, led the fox, and squeezed off round #3

It hit home, causing the fox to somersault in the air and land in the tall grass, it then slunk away to hide, and another ten minutes elapsed before we found it, worn out, panting, tired and in obvious pain

it was heartbreaking, I respect all animal life, and hate to see an animal suffer, seeing the suffering *I* had caused was inexcusable, but at least the fight had left the fox, it laid there, resigned to it's fate, looking up at me with an expression of "Why?" on it's tiny, pain-wracked face

I couldn't take it any more, as i covered it's head with the muzzle of my Ruger, I said "I'm sorry, buddy, I'm really sorry, I didn't want to do this"

...i fired....

...the fox finally lay still, at rest....

...three rounds more than necessary....

....I had failed as a hunter...

Using this as a learning experience, I have determined that;

1; the .22LR is *USELESS* for a *HUMANE* kill on anything larger than a gray squirrel

2; Headshots are notoriously difficult to achieve

3; Foxes are some dammned tough animals

4; our horses are unfazed by the sound of a .22LR High-Velocity round going off close to them, so that means I can use my home .22 target range again

5; scopes make it difficult to re-acquire a fast-moving target

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August 30, 2008, 06:20 PM
Damn, man...almost brought tears to my eyes to read. It's happened to all of us, and I hate it. I hate to see an animal suffer.

August 30, 2008, 06:23 PM
#4 is a great piece of information, and says good things about your horses' temperament.

August 30, 2008, 06:34 PM
Aran that's true, it shows that these horses have a nice stable temperment, perfect for when kids are riding them

on a lighter note;
It was funny, walking back through the barn after killing the fox, a couple horses were in their stalls, normally they're very freindly, sticking out their heads to ask for scritches and the like, as I walked through the barn, rifle held low, pointing at the concrete, *every* horse ran to the back of their stall as I passed them, it's like i was Death or something

I guess they were sensing my depression about the fox

I'm still depressed about having to kill the poor thing, I keep telling myself I had no choice, what if the fox bit one of our cats, my sister's mini Dachsund, one of the horses, or Og forbid, one of the kids....

still, I feel like I should just lock up my rifle, and never go shooting again, if I can't make a simple one-shot-kill on a fox, I have no reason to consider myself a hunter

...then again, this *was* my first actual "hunt", maybe I'm being too hard on myself, but I can't help feeling that I'm a failure as a hunter

August 30, 2008, 06:50 PM
I can't help feeling that I'm a failure as a hunterYou're not - you just didn't bring enough gun.

Now you know. Get yourself a proper varmint rifle.

August 30, 2008, 06:54 PM
I'm sorry, Mr. Red Fox, I'm sorry you had an early case of rabies


I ain't got no rabies, you big dummy!

August 30, 2008, 06:58 PM
This is the main reason I donít hunt. If I were ever to wound an animal I would have a tough time getting over it.

I have three dogs, five cats, and eight ferrets. I kinda like animals. :D

August 30, 2008, 07:30 PM
Okay, here's what I have available to me for arms and calibers;

Ruger 10/22 Carbine with Bushnell 3-9X
H&R Single Shot (iron sights)
Ammo;CCI CB Long, Aprilla Colibiri, Federal bulk pack, Winchester Wildcat High Velocity, CCI Mini-Mag, all solid-points

Taurus PT-99 AF
Ammo; Speer Gold Dot 124 grain GDHP in standard and +P, Winchester White Box FMJ and WinClean BEB, Federal American Eagle FMJ

Mossberg Model 500 12-gauge, 28" barrel with Modified AccuChoke choke ring
Parker VH grade 12-gauge side-by-side
Ammo; Federal 7.5 Birdshot, Remington 00 Buck, Federal 4 Buck and 000 Buck, Remington Copper Solid saboted slug (need to get a rifled barrel for this one) Brenneke Black Magic Short Magnum rifled slug

Other pertinent info; there are a good 8 or 9 horses at my sister's barn, they were unfazed by the Ruger firing CCI Minimags, I have no idea how they'd react to anything bigger though, I'm sure my 9mm would scare the crap out of them, as would the 12-gauge

I need both one-shot-stop killing power for animals coyote/coy-dog size and smaller, and relatively quiet noise levels (yes I know, difficult to do) we also have a family of deer on the property, and the land is posted no-hunting, but as it's our property, we can hunt there, the size range of potential huntable animals goes from whitetail deer down to fox size, since we see the deer as essentially wild pets, I would only hunt them if it was absolutely neccesary, in a TSHTF type situation, so, I'm looking Coy-Dog size and below

I'm also a big believer in Clint Smith's philosophy of "use the gun you got", I'd prefer not to have to purchase another firearm unless absolutely neccesary, I am missing a decent midrange hunting arm in my collection though, maybe I should just get a rifled slug barrel for my Mossy 500 and be done with it, shoot saboted slugs out of it

I like the NEF .243 single shot, but is .243 too small of a caliber for deer-sized animals, assuming correct shot placement? I'm assuming that had I used a .243 on the fox it would have taken one shot

August 30, 2008, 07:35 PM
Blackbeard- best response.

i agree you shouldnt feel bad. you didnt have enough gun, it happens. the fact you feel bad about the animals suffering means youl probibly be a good hunter. maybe not always a successfully hunter, but a good one. :neener:

August 30, 2008, 07:41 PM
but is .243 too small of a caliber for deer-sized animals

Absolutely not. I shoot a .25-06, killed my first deer with a Sako .243. If you just want a varmint rifle, though...you can just grab something in .223

Friendly, Don't Fire!
August 30, 2008, 07:42 PM
Perfect case where "overkill" is better than "underkill."

People used to ask me why I use a 22-250 on woodchucks.

Bang, they're dead.

I'm sorry for your story. :o

You did the right thing.

Are you certain you (or anyone else) didn't get any saliva on yourself?
If so, have the head sent in for rabies testing, and possibly get regimen of rabies vaccinations.

August 30, 2008, 07:44 PM
What made you think the fox had Rabies?

I've missed shots like that it's a heart breaker and probably the reason I no longer hunt.

Savage Shooter
August 30, 2008, 07:49 PM
I wouldn't use a .243 for a fox myself it's a little large for a fox in my opinon I'd use a .22mag (quieter). A .243 however is a great deer rifle if thats what your after it can be used for foxes i'd get lighter loads so it won't do to much damage to the pelt(I am assuming you are keeping the pelts here:scrutiny: and are worried about hide damage If not forget everything i said above) If you want a cheap centerfire rifle for varmints get the NEF .223 handi rifle buddy has one and loves it.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
August 30, 2008, 07:54 PM
If you are an excellent shot with a 22 magnum, then that's all you need.

However, if it is a neck shot (as it sounded like the OP stated), then the 243 would have taken most of its head off. I realize this sounds gross, but the animal would have felt very little.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
August 30, 2008, 07:58 PM
Don't beat yourself up over it.

If we've hunted at all or shot game at all, then we've all seen it happen.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
August 30, 2008, 08:11 PM
"I can't help feeling that I'm a failure as a hunter"

"You're not - you just didn't bring enough gun.
Now you know. Get yourself a proper varmint rifle."
rbernie __________________

I couldn't agree more.
The fact that you CARE means more than what happened!

August 30, 2008, 08:16 PM
Sorry that happened, I guess thats why I am glad I have a 6.5x55 - yes it is overkill for a rabid dog or fox, but it better to be overkill then underkill.

August 30, 2008, 08:17 PM
You have a heart, and do not care to see animals suffer. I would say that you will make a fine hunter.

Bring enough gun next time, though.


August 30, 2008, 08:30 PM
Knowing when and where to shoot an animal is the most important thing a true hunter can learn.

I'd say you were irresponsible for not knowing the when and where of hunting.

Many a good hunter has given up prime trophy's because they didn't have the proper when. And in doing so have earned the respect of good hunters.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
August 30, 2008, 08:37 PM
Did you use the same ammo to shoot the fox that you just got done using to sight in your gun at the range?

You probably already know this, but different bullets many times have different points of impact and some are accurate while others might shoot all over the side of the "barn door."

August 30, 2008, 08:49 PM
.22LR can be used with great effect on things larger than a squirrel, but its effectiveness depends largely on placement. I took out a groundhog at 40 yards with a shot right behind the ear- turned it off like a switch. But anything larger than that and I'd be wanting a larger round.

August 30, 2008, 09:01 PM
The 12 guage was your best option IMO. Tshot through 6 shot for fox or smaller. Slugs or buckshot for coyote. Do some patterning around the property to guage your horses reactions and get them used to the noise. Start further out and gradually move closer. They may kick up their heels and snort and stomp but it generally takes a blind panic to get them to run through a fence. They'll acclimate to the sound over time. Any centerfire will spook em more than the 12 IMO, unless you use a can (if its legal.)

Duke Junior
August 30, 2008, 09:07 PM
but is .243 too small a caliber for deer sized animals?

Karamojo Bell,the greatest elephant hunter of all time,killed over 1,000 of these huge animals using a .275 Rigby the equivalent of a 7x57 Mauser.It's all shot placement.


August 30, 2008, 09:12 PM
I like 30/30 for farm use, based upon what I've seen. It has more than enough power for deer, can be loaded for varmint with 125gr HPs, and in general doesn't make too much noise and doesn't have too flat of a trajectory to be a risk to the surrounding environs.

I have a H&R HandiRifle in 30/30 that is, IMO, the perfect tractor gun.

August 30, 2008, 09:21 PM
I'm not sure if the fox was rabid, but it was behaving unusually....

it was being chased by horses, they were driving it away
it was lying in the sand of the riding ring when I set up my first shot
the fox was approx. 45-50 yards away, and showed no signs of wariness of humans, it was lying down, resting

when I made the final shot to the fox at point-blank range, it did not seem agressive or make any move to attack, in fact it struggled to get away initially, then just gave up and lay there

I saw no foam in it's mouth, it just looked tired, and resigned to it's fate (dammit, I'm getting dust in my eyes agin!), it looked at me, as if to ask "why?" then laid down to await the inevitable outcome

we did not touch the body, it was moved into the bucket of our tractor with a shovel, and was buried deep in the woods

I have a H&R HandiRifle in 30/30 that is, IMO, the perfect tractor gun.
hmm, hunting tractors, now there's a prey I could hunt without any reservations, what call do you use for tractors, what bait do they prefer?, here, tractor tractor tractor, got some nice fresh diesel for you!

August 30, 2008, 09:23 PM
dang mac, your making me get sand in my eyes..

August 30, 2008, 09:25 PM
It could have been worse.

When I first moved into my house in 2004, the previous owners had left a very large, very feral tomcat behind. It was incredibly antisocial, but we continued to leave food out for it. That summer, we adopted another cat. Well, this big tom took to beating up our new cat on a nightly basis. So over the next couple of weeks, I made several attempts to catch it and put it outside. Failed every time. Finally, I got hold of it one day, but when that thing started tearing up my arms with all of it's LARGE claws and biting me, I had to let go. It shot downstairs and into the laundry room, where it got up into the ceiling. So I put food and water in that room and closed the doors. three days passed, and it hadn't come down yet. At this point, I began to worry that it would die up there and I'd have to tear apart the basement ceiling to get it out. I tried to drive it out with smoke bombs, which didn't work at all. Then I tried to snare it, but there was simply no way-the cat's body took up all the space between the joists. So I cut a small piece of drywall out at the very back of the section between floor joists where the cat was hiding. I could see it with a mirror, but there was no way to access it without destroying my basement. I tried using blanks to drive it out with noise, but that didn't work either. I got the idea that we would get it to face away from the hole I had cut, and I'd shoot it in the butt with a .22 Shotshell. After all, those shotshells should little more than sting from 12 feet away. So we got it turned the right way, and I stuck my revolver up into the hole. BANG! The cat shot out of there and into a corner, where I was able to retrieve it with thick leather gloves. At this point I discovered that the cat had turned around between the time my then-wife got it's attention and the time she got to a safe place and I pulled the trigger; The cat took those #12 pellets right to the face, severely damaging it's eyes. Knowing what I had to do, I took the injured cat out to the garage and went back inside to reload with .22 short hollowpoints. I went back out into the garage, where I found the cat crouching under my motorcycle and hissing like I've never heard. I leveled the revolver and fired from about 4 feet away, hitting it just below the ear. That cat shot out from under the bike and ran across the garage, where it jumped for a closed window and then fell to the ground. It got back up into the window and continued hissing and screaming, bleeding everywhere. So I grabbed it and got it back on the concrete, where I shot it in the head AGAIN. It ran back under the motorcycle, now obviously very damaged, but still alive. Four more bullets, and it ceased to move. Every round had fully penetrated the animal, you could see lead and blood splattered beneath where it had been.

We buried it, and if I'm ever forced to kill another cat, I'll be using more than a .22. That is one animal that does not die easily (or quietly).

So be glad that you didn't have to see that from this fox. I went from the intention of putting this cat outside where it could live out it's life to the reality of euthenasia-by-bullet gone horribly wrong.

August 30, 2008, 09:27 PM
Without purchasing another gun, you may want to investigate a Metro Gun barrel extension for your Mossberg
http://www.metrogun.com/order.html. It would quiet down the 12 gauge to avoid bothering the horses. Unfortunately, it also costs as much as some of the other options listed.

- Sig

August 30, 2008, 09:39 PM
Feral cats generally do die from a head shot with a .22, but they bounce around for a while like a chicken with its head cut off. I had one almost dent the oil pan of the truck he was under. He bounced a few times then lay dead.

- Sig

August 30, 2008, 09:50 PM
Um I don't want to be the one to say this, but there are foxes all over my nieghborhood and where I work and you're not describing the actions of a rabid fox. What you are describing ( before you shot) is a habituated fox that is used to humans.

I'm not saying this to dump more crap on you, I'm hopping you will read up on what symptoms a rabid animal displays before you do any more shooting.

I'm sorry but I couldn't think of a nice way to say it.

August 30, 2008, 10:01 PM
MacTech, you went after the wounded animal, tracked and found it and dispatched it. You were undergunned but you did not fail as a hunter. You ended the animal's suffering and protected your family and kine. You learned a couple of valuable lesson. Use enough gun and as with any game animal, aim for the pumps.

Don't beat yourself up any more.


Chihuahua Floyd
August 30, 2008, 10:08 PM
rabid or " habituated " still gets shot around me. Wild animals without fear of humans, predators espicially, are dangerous.
I will always err on the side of overkill it something has teeth and claws which can hurt me.
I have seen a dog shot between the eyes with a 22 LR hollowpoint get real mad about it.
44 mag calmed it right down.
I know my brother-in-law hit it between the eyes cause I dug up the skull to check.

August 30, 2008, 10:37 PM
If you're looking for a varmint caliber that isn't too loud consider the venerable .22 Hornet. Quiet and good for a fox-sized animal. I learned long ago that with small animals it takes a surprising amount of damage to humanely finish them off. In some cases a chest shot works faster than a headshot. I remember as a kid a friend of mine had tried to take out a bird with his bb gun and it was flapping all over the place, unable to fly. He shot it once more in the head and then was too squeamish to continue, basically begging me to finish it off. I had a more powerful bb gun and tried 2 more headshots, point-blank, and it just kept flapping until it took one in the chest and stopped immediately. Some other varmints I've seen took head shots and kept going as well, just something to consider...

Anyway, I'd recommend the Hornet for low noise, but if the noise issue can be worked around by moving the horses before shooting, etc. then go bigger. .243 is very popular for deer in some states, and .223 is available in so many variations you could have a bullet for almost anything short of deer...


August 30, 2008, 10:52 PM
I think I found the rifle that would fit my needs for a more powerful varminting arm;

the requirements are;
clean, humane, one-shot kills whenever possible (this is based on my skill level), this requires more bullet performance than can be had by a .22LR
compact, easy handling, carbine-length barrel long arms respond quicker than full-size rifles, yet the drawback is long-range accuracy, I'm not going to be taking long range shots, max. range will likely be 100-150 yards
relatively quiet report, the .22 is a *very* quiet rifle, yet the bullet lacks sufficient power to take down anything larger than a gray squirrel in my experience

short, quiet, powerful is what I'm looking for

I've narrowed the likely candidates down to....
H&R/NEF .243 single-shot carbine
Kel-Tec Sub-2000 9mm

my local gunshop has a used one of each, the H&R .243 is around $180, the Kel-Tec Sub 2000 is $225

right now, the Kel-Tec has a slight edge over the H&R, even though it's more expensive, mainly because
1; I already own a 9mm handgun, I won't have to stock yet another caliber of ammo, commonality of ammo is a big advantage
2; I know the 9mm has more power than the .22LR, and has more bullet design options, the 9mm would have most likely dispatched the fox in one shot, assuming I was able to place the round accurately
3; the 9mm will be quieter than my other available firearm (12-gauge slugs or buckshot), and more than likely be quieter than the .243 which is a full-powered rifle cartridge
4; I imagine the 9mm would not overpenetrate as badly as a .243, as the 9 is a handgun cartridge, and less powerful than a rifle cartridge
5; the Sub-2000 is an "Evil Black Rifle" and may be under the crosshairs of another gun ban if the antis get their way

August 30, 2008, 10:52 PM
the .22LR is *USELESS* for a *HUMANE* kill on anything larger than a gray squirrel This is just not so. Had you aimed into a more lilkely 'kill' zone you may well have dispatched the fox with just one shot. A neck shot is no easy shot, and certainly not one that makes a one shot kill likely unless you sever the spine. I am saying neck shot because you say you centered your aim between the head and body, and that would mean the neck. The problem is you aimed at a curled up fox into what you thought was a one shot kill area and it was not, probably due to the way the body was twisted in that position, and because if curled the neck muscles are tensed on at least one side. If that is the side you hit, well just tougher to penetrate.

Your judgement as where to shoot for a supposed one shot kill does not necessarily make the ammo at fault. Could you please explain why you did not take a head shot. Maybe I am not seeing the picture correctly, but to me it seems that a fox laying on the ground facing you probably exposed enough of the top of the head to shoot it there squarely, and at a good enough angle so as to allow penetration of the skull.

It stinks that the fox suffered, but it would have been much worse if indeed it was rabid and bit someone or one of your horses. You did the right thing in killing it, I hope you were very cautious in handling it while disposing of it.

August 30, 2008, 11:11 PM
rabid or " habituated " still gets shot around me. Wild animals without fear of humans, predators espicially, are dangerous.

If that works for you fine. The Foxes around here aren't that agressive & there's no known out break of rabies here. Given that I can't find justification for shooting every habituated fox I see.

As for this particular instance I don't know, I wasn't there and nothing I say is going to change what happened.

The OP made the decision, took the shot and followed up to make sure there wasn't an more needless suffering. Good job, it's more than some that post here would do.

Hopefully the OP will ask himself if the shot is really necessary next time, but that's not my call .

August 30, 2008, 11:40 PM
we've had a couple folks near here bitten by rabid foxes. any that act strange here are in trouble

August 30, 2008, 11:48 PM
Treo my sister has a miniature dachsund, we have two cats, my sister has two kids, 6 and 3 years old, she runs a horsemanship/art summer camp, and also boards horses for other equestrian owners

In our case, a human-habituated fox would be dangerous, a fox with no fear of humans, and curious, precocious youngsters running around, wanting to play with the new and interesting furry "freind"? seems like a problem waiting to happen

August 31, 2008, 12:04 AM
Not a Human Being. You did what you needed to do. Don't sweat it. I'm a hunter. As crazy as it sounds, I love the animals I may be hunting. I never just shoot to hear the gun go off and see something die, but if I had had concerns like you, I would have done excactly the same thing. And I wouldn't lose a minutes sleep over it either.

August 31, 2008, 12:25 AM
Yeah that's why I use a .223 for anything bigger than a squirrel. Heck I'll even use it on a squirrel. It's been the perfect varmint round for me. One shot kills. At most they just flop for a couple seconds then stop. I never want to have to deal with a wounded animal. It sucks to have to walk right up on it as it's in its death throes and finish the job you should've done right in the first place.

I forgot that I had birdshot in my 12ga once and pelted a raccoon with it. I heard the thud of impact and saw it run off into the darkness. After that I got a laser and light for my M4 and never looked back. Head shot almost every time now as well as excellent target ID.

August 31, 2008, 12:25 AM
Don't beat yourself up over. Stuff happens. You intend for something and it does not work out, It happened to ALL of us. Next time ( If you have one ) Use a .410

August 31, 2008, 12:26 AM
Mac Tech
Like I said I wasn't there, it wasn't my call. You handled the situation the best way you know how. I've read at least one post here about a guy who took a shot at a coyote, wounded it and let it go. You didn't do that.

Oddly enough while I was typing this a fox walked up to the front gate where I'm at and sat there waiting for the gate to open. I expect I'll run into him at least once on my next walk through

August 31, 2008, 12:26 AM
You brought plenty of gun. I've taken dozens of racoon, several fox, a coyote, a hundred or more woodchucks & a couple of beef w/ a 22 LR with head shots. Your first shot was a neck shot, an area with very little quick effect structure.
Having said that, I long ago switched to a 22 mag for almost all my 22 needs & the difference is obvious. Heart/ lung shots work almost as quickly as a 22 lr w/ head shots.

August 31, 2008, 01:14 AM
the .22LR is *USELESS* for a *HUMANE* kill on anything larger than a gray squirrel I have a picture somewhere of a squirrel that I put two holes clean through it's head, took the second shot to put it down.
You had plenty of gun, But the mini mags have bad expansion on a small animal, very little time to expand before it left the body. CCI sub HP expand like mad and do a ton of damage as it rumbles through.

Out of curiosity, how far away were you?

5; scopes make it difficult to re-acquire a fast-moving targetThat's why I use a red dot on my rimfires that I hunt with.

Deus Machina
August 31, 2008, 02:00 AM
Sorry to hear about all that. Don't think I could do anything like that if I wasn't going to eat it. I've been out of sorts because I had to put down mice caught in those sticky traps.

But if you need more gun, and won't be using it for much major hunting, how about a Mosin? Big enough for people, and dirt cheap.

August 31, 2008, 07:00 AM
I recall several years ago walking into a field to shoot doves.

Heard a godawful wail come out of a fencerow, then a feral cat shot out right toward me and a buddy.

Spun around and snapshot the cat. 12 ga 7.5's did the trick.

Mentioned it to the property owner on the other side of me. He said he had seen that cat in his field acting odd.

Bottom line, do what ya gotta do. I becomes difficult more and more with human encroachment to really determine if an animal is rabid, sick, etc.

When in doubt, take it out. Safety first.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
August 31, 2008, 07:13 AM
I have a Ruger Mark II 10" barrel 22 pistol. Deadly accurate.

Anyway, about two years ago I caught a large racoon in my havahart trap. The racoons were wreaking havoc in our garden.

A neighbor of mine was a game warden (he has since moved). I called him and asked him if he wanted the racoon. He said he could use the carcass as he was starting a class that night on trapping and how to skin an animal.

I took the 22 out back with the calmest loads I have (Eley Xtra 40g round nose - blue label). I've chronied them at 1,020 FPS.

I walked up to the poor thing and it was looking up at me like "what are you going to do?"

I shot it in the top of the head from about three inches away (just between the cage top wires).

I watched the poor thing flop all around in the cage for about 20-30 seconds, but to me it seemed like forever.

I told the game warden how sad it was and he said, "yeah, they do that."

I don't think I could do that again. I'm almost teary-eyed thinking back on it.

August 31, 2008, 09:10 AM
you thought the fox was rabid and you had your mom and sis flush it?
think that was smart?

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 31, 2008, 09:32 AM
Thank you for sharing and let this be a lesson to everyone - let's kill HUMANELY when killing is done to animals. There's a thread right now about .22 hornet for coyotes, and for some reason the guy doesn't want to go "all the way to" a .223 rem. :scrutiny: I find it kind of ridiculous. I think .223 ideally is about the minimum for our small dog-like friends who invade our farms. Err on the side of clean kills folks - thanks!

I ain't got no rabies, you big dummy!

:eek: :D :D :D "I'm coming Elizabeth, this is the big one!" :)

August 31, 2008, 09:53 AM
Mac ~
Doesn't sound to me like the fox was rabid, but it was acting "off-normal" and you took the appropriate course of action. Given what you had available, the shotgun would have been a more judiicious option. You can't help but feel bad, but on occasion such events occur . . . you're human & you care . . . that's a good thing! I'm a lifelong hunter, and I care. If you have a burning desire to buy another rifle for varmint-type critters, consider something in .223 . . . plentiful, reasonably priced ammo, accurate & virtually every long gun manufacturer makes one. Shake it off . . .

August 31, 2008, 10:32 AM
Speaking from experience, I would hope you will give your shotgun due consideration. Pest control on the farm is different from hunting. If you can't get within 40 yds of your target, then the animal probably isn't sick, wounded,or habituated.
When you take into account Murphy's Law, and consider livestock, neighbors, equipment, cars on nearby roads, etc., it is much better to err on the side of safety.
If youre dealing with a healthy animal, you can always pass on the shot until opportunity gives you a shot within range. If the animal is truly a pest, then you'll see em again.
I cringe at the threads advocating centerfires as the "best" solution to pest control, (especially the "best round for snake threads".) I suppose its great if you live out in the middle of the Mojave Desert where stray rounds and ricochets pose no threat.
Shotguns routinely are used to take every North American animal, and IMO you would be a lot safer to use it for pest control.

August 31, 2008, 10:36 AM
Thanks for posting this.

I'm not all that interested in the caliber discussions, etc.

What I am interested in is the reminder of what it means to be ethical and responsible.

Brought tears to my eyes as well.

-- John

August 31, 2008, 01:55 PM
What I am interested in is the reminder of what it means to be ethical and responsible.
The values of a THR member.

August 31, 2008, 04:20 PM
I went back to the rod and gun club again today, with my H&R .22 single with iron sights, my scoped 10/22, and my Taurus PT-99, set up my target at approx. fox-distance

I had brought my Winchester Wildcat .22's, a box of Remington Yellow Jacket, and my last box of WWB 9mm

Since the Yellow Jacket rounds were marginal (are the bullets *supposed* to be loose in this round, I could almost pull them out by hand, very poor QC), I figured I'd start with the H&R single, that way if I get a squib, I can verify it by breaking the action open and sighting down the barrel

no squibs with the H&R, but the pattern was all over the place, I'm ashamed to say it, but I shot 3-4" groups with that rifle

I then popped 5 yellow jackets in the Ruger's rotary mag to see if they functioned, they did, the 5 shots fed through no problem, so I loaded up a full mag, and proceeded to try them in my tack-driving 10/22

3" "groups" shot placement all over the target, not a consistent shot in the bunch, and I was shooting from a bench

I switched to the Winchester Wildcats, no other changes, and my groups *immediately* tightened up to 1/4 to 1/8" groups, I could almost send rounds through the same hole

It's clear the Wildcats are *far* more accurate rounds than the yellow jackets, now that I have proven to myself that different ammo shoots differently in the same gun, it's entirely possible that the CCI Minimags I was using on the fox were not impacting the same POA as the Wildcats, it would explain all the poorly placed shots I took

I also tried my PT-99 on the target at fox distance, and was dissapointed in my shooting performance, as I only scored a couple center-mass hits, then again, the 9mm platform and the PT-99 are still new to me, so I just haven't fully adjusted to the gun yet, it would be improper and negligent for me to have used the Taurus in dispatching the fox, as I could not reliably place the bullet on target at fox-distance with the Taurus, I have a responsibility for every bullet that leaves the muzzle of the firearm in my hands, if I can't reliably and safely place that bullet on-target, then i have no right to fire at the target

with proper ammo, I have no problem accurately placing a .22LR round on target, the same cannot yet be said for my 9mm, however, in time, and with practice, I will be able to do so, but at the moment, the .22 and 12-gauge are the only firearms I can accurately place rounds on target with in an uncontrolled environment

at handgun target distances (7 yards or so), I am more than accurate with the PT-99, it's at extended ranges (extended to pistols, that is) that my accuracy needs improvement

while I was at the range, I was able to try a fellow shooter's 1911 chassis .45 ACP, a nice custom Kimber, and I was deadly accurate with that gun, 1/2" groups at 7 yards, the gun's owner could not believe I had never shot a .45 ACP before, he said I was a natural at it

that .45 was a sweet gun, and the recoil was definitely more manageable than my 9mm

that said, neither the 9mm, .40, 10mm, or 45 ACP would have worked with the horses, the combination of the loud bang and powerful shockwave from the muzzleblast would have definitely spooked the horses

however, I would have likely only needed to take one shot to put the fox down

as far as the poster suggesting the Mosin-Nagant, yes, I'd love to own one, but I'd hate to see the horses reaction to the sound, fireball, and shockwave from *that* monster, it'd probably make them collapse in fear, or break free of the fences in panic, and the fox would likely end up a fine red mist in the process....

perhaps tomorrow, or next week, I'll hit the range with a box of CCI MiniMags and Velocitors to sight them in, the MiniMags to see how bad they pattern, and the Velocitors to see if they're more accurate than the crappy Remington Yellowjackets

August 31, 2008, 04:45 PM
Try Winchester Power Points in your 10/22 (but NOT for fox!). I've had great luck with them (in the attached . . . <3/8" 5-shot groups at 50-yards, consistently). Adjust your magazine tension to whichever ammo on which you settle (eliminates misfeeds).


Friendly, Don't Fire!
August 31, 2008, 04:55 PM
You did good, going back to the range to try to rectify why you shot the way you did.

Perhaps, when you go back again you will find those CCI minimags all over the place, then you can sleep soundly (although you should have anyway because you did all the right things).

Friendly, Don't Fire!
August 31, 2008, 04:56 PM
Nice Gun!;)

August 31, 2008, 04:59 PM
The .22 is plenty for foxes, I have killed 100's of beef(at my family's slaughter house) and countless rockchucks with .22's it is all shot placement the .22 is not powerful enough for neck shots only skull. Also I do not think you are giving your horses enough credit with exposure they will eventually not care about gunfire, I have shot der with my arm through the reins and my horse did not even take me off target.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
August 31, 2008, 05:10 PM
Is your horse deaf?

August 31, 2008, 06:13 PM
Thank you . . . labor of love . . . first build (same receiver) was 15-years-ago. Upgrade turned-out pretty good, if I do say so myself. Shoots well.

August 31, 2008, 08:10 PM
.22 is enough gun, you just need a headshot with it.

Put a full or extra full choke in that mossberg and load it up with some 1 1/4 ounce #4 bird shot--NOT #4 buck. As long as your gun likes the load(pattern test to be sure), you shouldn't have any problems with fox size critters and smaller.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 31, 2008, 08:27 PM
Put a full or extra full choke in that mossberg and load it up with some 1 1/4 ounce #4 bird shot--NOT #4 buck. As long as your gun likes the load(pattern test to be sure), you shouldn't have any problems with fox size critters and smaller.

Shoot a fox with birdshot? Horrible, terrible, unethical advice, thanksverymuch. :( :mad: :barf:

August 31, 2008, 08:45 PM
Ive seen alot of geese taken with #4 shot, and they are very similar in size to fox. Ive had numerous one shot kills with a .410 loaded with #6 shot against skunks. I'm sure #4 would be fine against fox @<30yds using high brass 12 gauge. Personally I'd use T shot to extend the range out to 40 yds.

August 31, 2008, 08:52 PM
you mentioned the 243 and it's ability to take deer. It is fine for that, more than fine, but are you looking for a deer rifle?

The 22 hornet is about 5 steps up from the 22LR, and yet it is still 2 steps down from the 223. It is a nice quiet round, and it is more than capable of taking out a fox or a dog or a coyote. I won't be a good choice for deer, but if your main goal is a gun that won't spook the horses but can kill a rabid racoon or something similar with a single shot, then I recommend that.

Or step up to a .223, or even a 7.62x39, CZ makes a nice little bolt gun in the soviet round

August 31, 2008, 08:59 PM
; the .22LR is *USELESS* for a *HUMANE* kill on anything larger than a gray squirrel

This is probably true if you hit the animal very poorly. I saw a jackrabbut hit in the leg with a 22-250 and it was missing a leg but not dead. It would be an errornious conclussion that 22-250 is not enough gun for rabbits. I have seen various vermin larger than a squirrel dispatched of in one shot with a .22LR. Shot placement as always is the name of the game.

need both one-shot-stop killing power for animals coyote/coy-dog size and smaller, and relatively quiet noise levels

I prefer a .22-250 for coyotes but a .223 will do nicely as well. I dont know if either meets your noise level requirments but I can tell you with great confidence that either is enough to quickly dispatch any vermin coyote size or smaller.

If noise is a big issue I suppose one could utilize a suppresor if they are legal where you live.

August 31, 2008, 08:59 PM
CZ makes a nice little bolt gun in the soviet round

Is there anything CZ doesn't make nice?

XD-40 Shooter
August 31, 2008, 09:13 PM
Next time, use a 22 magnum rifle, twice the power of 22 LR, it will take care of a fox.

September 1, 2008, 11:20 AM
.22 LR will do a fox, as long as you use the right bullet!! Solids punch right through, doing little immediate damage. I once shot a snowshoe hare with solids, and needed 7 solid hits (6 heart/lung and the last in the head) to anchor it! Went back after aquiring some CCI Stingers, and never needed more than one ever again for rabbit, woodchucks, raccoons etc. Solids are for tin cans and targets...ALWAYS use a HP for critters.

September 12, 2008, 09:45 PM
Dont feel bad.

Pretty much every hunter will have something like that happen to them. You get over it and it is motivation to practice more and be more proficient.

Last year i was hunting with my girlfriends dad and her uncle. Her uncle hita nice big buck directly in the spine about half way down the back. We saw it go down so we walked up to it. Turns out the shot wasnt enough to kill it and it was trying to crawl away with its front legs.
It was quickly put down with a .454 Cassul. But it was a horrible thing to watch.

I am going to make sure my rifle is DEAD on this year.

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