Hunting the chicken killers.


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GJgo
February 8, 2014, 09:23 PM
So never being short of things to do around the farm, for the last couple months I've been hunting a pair of foxes that have been paying nightly visits to our chickens. Normally I would leave them alone since the birds are locked up at night, but in the last two months they have come in during daylight twice when the flock is free-ranging & killed some hens. We sell eggs, so I can't have this going on. I have hundreds of game cam pics of the predators- they literally come in every night.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=194662&stc=1&d=1391911135

I tried luring them into the live trap (hidden under hay bales now) but they'll have nothing to do with it. I did catch a feral cat one night, and I have pics of the fox staring at the cat in the trap. Busted! So, I decided to start sitting out there late & early to hunt them. They came at a different time every night so it proved to be difficult. The recent snow has been nice for tracking them, though.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=194660&stc=1&d=1391910047

Last week about 5:30 AM I finally got a shot off, 2 foxes came in while it was snowing. One turned broadside at 35 yds & I let one fly from a scoped 17 HMR. I thought there was no way I missed as the shot was clean, but after tracking the prints for quite a ways without seeing a drop of blood I figured I must have missed. These things are small targets and it was dark, but still- who knows. I was upset at the thought of wounding & losing an animal so hopefully I did miss..?

I did a little reading & while snares & leg trapping are not legal in CO, you can get a private land 30 day permit to trap with these methods if the animals are damaging a commercial interest. Since I sell eggs through the farm, and the foxes are killing my chickens, this qualifies. So I got the permit & set out to trap some fur. After about a week of figuring out what I did wrong while setting the traps, the other night I got it right! Or got lucky I suppose.. I came out in the morning to check the traps and what do you know- I had one fox in a leg trap & one in a snare! Can you spot them? It was a pair of males.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=194661&stc=1&d=1391910342

Not wanting them to suffer any more than they have I set out to put them down, and my 22 short quickly resolved the situation. It was the first time I've put an animal down like this & let me tell you the lights go out the moment the lead hits the brain, I'm glad it's that fast.

So, now my chickens are a little safer- at least until the replacements take over the territory. Such is country life, I suppose. :) My next task is to find a buyer for the pelts, my plan is to use the money to build a fenced in run for the chickens so I don't have to worry about them when they're out during the day. I'm no pro but I think the wintertime fur looks great.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=194663&stc=1&d=1391911136

My wife is glad they're finally caught LOL, because now I can stop thinking about it get back to the other things she wants me to do. :)

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Sentryau2
February 8, 2014, 09:32 PM
Not sure if you like this idea but invest in a good pure blood pup, id recommend a german shepherd, border collie or even a rottweiler. They are a bit expensive but trained well do good as guard dogs. We used a rottweiler to guard our chickens cattle and horses for a while. They kept the coyotes, bobcats and other pests away.

mnhntr
February 8, 2014, 11:17 PM
well theres 60-80 bucks for two fox hides

rondog
February 9, 2014, 12:12 AM
Glad you got 'em! Hope that was all of them.

Funny, I was driving around east of town one day just exploring the countryside, and a fox trotted across the road in front of me, with a chicken in its mouth! I thought, "how cliché".

shiftyer1
February 9, 2014, 12:45 AM
I'm glad you got them, after 4 years of providing a chicken buffet I give up!!

GJgo
February 9, 2014, 09:41 AM
Thanks guys, we're in between dogs right now so we'll get a new one for sure in the future- wife is set on labs though, and they make great bird dogs so I don't mind.

I just checked the camera from last night- there is at least one more! He made off with my bait!

wyohome
February 9, 2014, 10:24 AM
Make sure you can legally sell them on that kind of permit.

GJgo
February 9, 2014, 11:02 AM
I can, I have the paperwork from the DOW saying what can be done & it includes selling / trading. Summary is things like bear & cats are a problem, but the standard critters on a small game license are all good to go.

bldsmith
February 10, 2014, 12:42 AM
Good on ya. I took an arctic fox late one night at caribou camp. Hit him at the base of the skull and he folded right in his tracks. Made a really nice pelt. Unfortunately it was thrown out on accident when we moved.

BigBore44
February 10, 2014, 07:07 AM
A pure blood isn't needed. All you need is a dog bigger than 35-40lbs that isn't afraid and isn't "birdy". Even better would be two dogs. And then they can be even smaller.

Now, if you WANT to go pure blood, by all means then. And labs would be a good choice.
A good friend of mine raises VERY high dollar fighting chickens. And I mean VERY HIGH DOLLAR. I just asked him how much they go for. $750-$1000....a chicken! His chickens run free until it's breeding time. His "guard dogs" are 2 patterdales, a red bone, a blue heeler/blue tick, and an Old English mastiff. The mastiff and redbone are the porch sitters till things get bad. The heeler/tick is the intermediate fighter. And the patterdales are the front line defense. The heeler/tick has yet to see action that I know of.

People laugh (as I did the first time) at the stories my friend told when I first met him, of the ferocity of the patterdales. Then I saw them in action. Let me tell you something, I will NEVER talk trash on those dogs again. I have seen them smash an ~80 lb male shepherd that wandered into the yard. It didn't make out.

My friend is also an avid hog hunter. I know some will call BS on this, but he uses his patterdales to train his catch dogs. Yes, little 15lb patterdales. It's truly a sight to see. They would have no problem with foxs.

MCgunner
February 10, 2014, 08:27 AM
Been having problems with hawks, myself. Not much I can do about that being as I let my chickens out of the pen every day. Just figure it's a sacrifice to the chicken gods. I just lose one every once in a while, not like they're wiping me out or something.

Not sure if you like this idea but invest in a good pure blood pup, id recommend a german shepherd, border collie or even a rottweiler. They are a bit expensive but trained well do good as guard dogs. We used a rottweiler to guard our chickens cattle and horses for a while. They kept the coyotes, bobcats and other pests away

I have a black lab that barks, but ain't real territorial or mean or anything. But, looks COLD there. I let her sleep in the living room when it's cold. She's kinda spoiled. :D "Cold" is relative, I guess, but when it gets down near freezing, say 40 for lows or lower, Molly gets to sleep inside. Maybe I'm too protective. :D

desidog
February 10, 2014, 04:05 PM
invest in a good pure blood pup,

Or better yet, go to the pound and get a mutt for free!

It's a shame that people further the market for overly bred dogs by paying big bucks, when tons of mutts (which can be smarter and healthier, btw) get euthanized every year.

OH_Spartan
February 10, 2014, 06:41 PM
Foxes are good members of a local ecosystem. They eat raccoon possum and rodents. That said I really wish they would stick to red meat. I lost 10 chickens this past summer when a momma fox raised her pups on the nourishment from my flock. I put my lab collie mix down near the coop and only lost one after that.

Enjoy the pelting...

GJgo
February 10, 2014, 11:21 PM
Yeah I would probably leave them alone if not for my chickens, I enjoy having critters around when they aren't eating my food. That said I got #3 this morning- a small female that was presumably the other one in the game cam pics.

I've spoken to a few local buyers & have learned a bit so far as far as who buys / what they're looking for / market prices etc.. I think I've got them sold, definitely a new experience & lots to learn.

Patocazador
February 11, 2014, 09:48 AM
People laugh (as I did the first time) at the stories my friend told when I first met him, of the ferocity of the patterdales. Then I saw them in action. Let me tell you something, I will NEVER talk trash on those dogs again. I have seen them smash an ~80 lb male shepherd that wandered into the yard. It didn't make out.


Patterdales??? I've had hunting dogs since I was 8, never heard of a patterdale. Inform me please.

buck460XVR
February 11, 2014, 09:56 AM
Yeah I would probably leave them alone if not for my chickens, I enjoy having critters around when they aren't eating my food.

Back in the 60s when I first started calling predators with a D-cell powered cassette tape recorder, red fox were quite a prize and were my main quarry. Nowadays I tend to pass on 'em, just cause I like to see 'em in the wild. But then, there are plenty of 'yotes to shoot and I don't raise chickens and ducks any more.

bearcreek
February 11, 2014, 05:31 PM
Patterdales??? I've had hunting dogs since I was 8, never heard of a patterdale. Inform me please.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patterdale_Terrier

AABEN
February 11, 2014, 05:44 PM
Heck they was wanting something to!

Patocazador
February 11, 2014, 07:18 PM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patterdale_Terrier
OK, thanks. We always called that a "feist".

heycods
February 11, 2014, 07:31 PM
I have free range chickens also. A Hand R 3"mag 20 gauge loaded with #4 buck lives over my front door. Great medicine for 4 legged critters and 2 legged varmits also.

joeschmoe
February 11, 2014, 08:06 PM
Or better yet, go to the pound and get a mutt for free!

It's a shame that people further the market for overly bred dogs by paying big bucks, when tons of mutts (which can be smarter and healthier, btw) get euthanized every year.
Last time I tried for a "free" one from the shelter they wanted several hundred dollars for shots, licenses and fee's. For a dog with only a few good years left and questionable health record. Several friends wound up spending thousands of $$$ on vet bills after they adopted from the shelter. FYI.

I don't know why but I've always thought foxes are beautiful and majestic animals. Seeing one in nature is pretty rare and it always makes me smile (of course I don't keep chickens...)

MCgunner
February 12, 2014, 10:22 AM
I adopted a cat in Corpus, 70 bucks and she was fixed and all shots. I thought that was pretty decent.

Molly, my "lab", was a stray that showed up with my buddy's great Pyrenees and his goats. He called me knowing I wanted a lab. This dog looks like a lab, but has some white patches behind her front legs above the paws. She's a good retriever, at least ducks in the tank. Doves, well, I'm still working on that. I started giving her the head off the birds, seems to help motivate her on doves. She loves water, loves my shotgun (gets real excited when she knows she's going out back with me), and is in no way gun shy. She sleeps on the back porch overlooking the chicken pen and her presences is enough to keep evil doers away. Hawks, well, not sure what to do other than keep 'em penned and I'm not going to do that.

Anyway, Molly wasn't "free" in that I took her to the vet to be fixed and get her shots and a heart worm test (very important here as we have lots of mosquitoes) and she turned out to have heart worms. She was probably 8 or 9 months when I got her. I had her treated, about $320 for that, but hey, she's a danged good dog and somebody didn't want her. I got her medical attention and gave her a home and didn't have to pay for a lab pup with papers. That makes me feel good. :D

Anyone in the country needs a dog, but it don't have to be pure of breed IMHO. All it's got to do to deter chicken thieves is bark and growl. Don't need a trained pit bull guard dog and that wouldn't be desirable to me, anyway. I like labs, but then, I've had a few over the years. Hunting ducks without a lab is not as fun and more work and you lose more birds. She's a multi-purpose dogs. :D

Been thinkin' of getting a beagle, too, to chase rabbits with. Lots of swamp rabbits out here. But, labs are bigger and more intimidating to a fox or coyote. :D

GJgo
February 13, 2014, 08:30 PM
The game camera told me yesterday that there's a 4th fox coming up to the coop now. Wow, there are a lot more in my neighborhood than I thought. I did get a new surprise though, too bad he isn't going after my chickens. :)

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=194904&stc=1&d=1392341344

BigBore44
February 14, 2014, 12:12 AM
Protocazador,
Sorry it took so long for me to get back on this. This is from dog breed info:
Although the Patterdale Terrier's small size could qualify him as a toy dog , his abilities and gameness deem him as a solid terrier; his determination and toughness demand his inclusion in the mastiff group. They are game and tough when hunting. Hunters often take three or four dogs with them on an outing. The Patterdale Terrier is a good watchdog. This is not a dog for the non-terrier fan or the faint-hearted. The Patterdale Terrier is a robust, independent hunter bred solely for functional services as a ratter and hunting companion. Its Bull Terrier bloodlines make it too fierce to work as a hunter with pack hounds. They are particularly hard and persistent. Many Foxhound owners would not thank you for attempting to bolt his fox with a hard-bitten Patterdale, for the dog is more likely to get hold and have a go, possibly kill the fox rather than allow him to bolt, thus spoiling the hunt with the hounds. It is an excellent digger, intently willing to encounter and attack any mammal that has gone to ground.

Can't get more than one pic to load. Just use google images. They are quite impressive. When they latch, they don't let go. Seen them hook on a 175 wild boar. He was dragging them across fence posts, slamming them into trees and wood paneling, and if for any reason they did break free they were hooked on again before the hog could take a single step.

Sun Tzu warrior
February 14, 2014, 12:31 AM
+1 on the patterdales......Small but big in posture! Patterdales are a cut above American Pitbull Terriers when it comes to being agressive and game!
I think a 8 pound Patterdale will cull any foxes you have lurking, no matter their size.
STW

Mc gunner, if you will get just one sure enough game cock he will protect the hens, and deal with the hawks for you.

MtnCreek
February 14, 2014, 01:38 PM
GJgo, Good job on the trapping! Did you get the third in a foothold or snare?

FWIW, when I kept chickens, I had problems with them getting along with my dogs. Even some of the hens would drop a wing and do that sideways chicken assault on the dogs (wife and kids too). I had one rooster that would go on a full run at a dog if it got within ~40yds. He did that to my daughter one day when she was little. That was the day I found out 3 y/o roosters aren't good eating. They were Road Island Reds. Domineckers seemed to be a little more laid back (as far as chickens go anyway).

GJgo
February 15, 2014, 12:36 AM
Thanks, the third & this morning's #4 (pic) were all in the foothold. Something is knocking my snares down but not getting caught in them.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=194970&stc=1&d=1392442080

My rooster did go after my daughter once, but overall I'd say he's a pretty good rooster so we're planning on keeping him around for a while. I imagine one day he'll end up in the crock pot, though..

Now I'm trying to figure out the cleanest way to put down a trapped animal. I've been putting a 22 short in the ear but it's a bit messy. I'd prefer something that didn't exit. Does anyone have suggestions? I have an air rifle but I'd hate for it not to be strong enough to get the job done quickly.

A couple months ago we were woken up at 2 AM to the sound of a fox & a feral cat going at it in our back yard. At first I thought the cat was a gonner, but the next day the cat was still around so it must have taken care of business! Seeing how small these fox really are I can see it.

MtnCreek
February 15, 2014, 09:28 AM
A regular short is still pretty hot. Do you have any cb's? Best I can tell a cb short and long are about the same. They may still exit.

A feral cat is a bad dude!

samort457
February 15, 2014, 10:00 AM
I took a fox with my .22 cal air rifle at about 15 yards. They're plenty powerful. I hated doing it but I've seen some big ones walking across he street in broad daylight when I was out mowing the lawn so I figured they have to sick or something and there are small dogs, like a 5lbs Bichon Frise, living in the area and my neighbor, as well as the little kids down the street, would have fit if they saw dog pieces strewn across the yard.

whughett
February 15, 2014, 10:19 AM
The game camera told me yesterday that there's a 4th fox coming up to the coop now. Wow, there are a lot more in my neighborhood than I thought. I did get a new surprise though, too bad he isn't going after my chickens. :)

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=194904&stc=1&d=1392341344
What is the background, orchard, vineyard. looks like that buck was looking for a meal also.

witchhunter
February 15, 2014, 11:44 AM
Is that a mule deer?

jrdolall
February 15, 2014, 12:25 PM
I have barbed wire around my coop to keep the critters out at night. I rarely have issues with predators during the daylight but I have three dogs that roam the property during the day so most animals know to stay out of the area. The Great Dane tends to be pretty aggressive towards any animals that come into his acreage including a bull that recently wandered into the yard. That was funny watching a 150 pound dog face down a 1500 pound bull and win.

GJgo
February 15, 2014, 06:52 PM
Yep it's a mule deer, with a vineyard in the background. My neighbor should get a couple depredation tags!

Last night had a skunk wander in front of the camera. I've been smelling him but this is the first visual. Have to figure out how to dispose of him if I catch it in the live trap. I did look at the CBs I have & you're right, they are cooler than the shorts.

joeschmoe
February 15, 2014, 08:07 PM
Yep it's a mule deer, with a vineyard in the background. My neighbor should get a couple depredation tags!

Last night had a skunk wander in front of the camera. I've been smelling him but this is the first visual. Have to figure out how to dispose of him if I catch it in the live trap. I did look at the CBs I have & you're right, they are cooler than the shorts.
http://approvedgasmasks.com/images/suit-Response2.jpg

bldsmith
February 16, 2014, 09:19 PM
I've disposed of 2 in a live trap. .22 behind the ear. They sprayed but I had the hose ready and washed down the area. Not too bad, after a couple days anyway. 2 foot deep hole and no additional smell. I just forgo the trap now, Shoot shovel and no worries.

GJgo
February 16, 2014, 10:15 PM
Yeah I think this qualifies as "shoot, shovel & apologize to the wife". :) The smell of that thing is brutal, even after it's gone. I'm working on skunk #2 tonight, might as well get it over with!

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=195063&stc=1&d=1392606568

bldsmith
February 16, 2014, 10:47 PM
My wife cheers when I shoot one. Even if it smells a bit. They are not welcome on our property. Along with gophers, moles, yotes and cougars. Will have to think about a fox or bobcat. No chickens but grandkids play outside once their ipod batteries die:scrutiny:

crazyjennyblack
February 16, 2014, 11:21 PM
I don't like skunks and coyotes now that I live out in the country. I used a .223 on a skunk in a live trap a while back. Stood 75 yards away and it sprayed a huge cloud like I'd hit an aerosol can. Smelled truly disgusting. Kind of sad to shoot the foxes though. I just kind of have a soft spot for them. Then again, I don't have chickens and I'm feeding foxes in my front yard. I think I'd feel different if they were stealing MY dinner!

If you want to hunt foxes with a dog, you first have to know the size of the foxes. Most are about 15 lbs, but I've seen them about twice that size and able to kill a full grown Jack Russell terrier. Fortunately for you, your foxes seem average, not large.

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