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A hunter's lament

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by MacTech, Aug 30, 2008.

  1. MacTech

    MacTech Well-Known Member

    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

    ANDROTAZ Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. Aran

    Aran member

    #4 is a great piece of information, and says good things about your horses' temperament.
  4. MacTech

    MacTech Well-Known Member

    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
  5. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    You're not - you just didn't bring enough gun.

    Now you know. Get yourself a proper varmint rifle.
  6. Blackbeard

    Blackbeard Well-Known Member


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

    Elza Well-Known Member

    This is the main reason I don’t 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
  8. MacTech

    MacTech Well-Known Member

    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
  9. Hoppy590

    Hoppy590 Well-Known Member

    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:

    ANDROTAZ Well-Known Member

    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
  11. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Well-Known Member

    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. :eek:

    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.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2008
  12. Treo

    Treo member

    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.
  13. Savage Shooter

    Savage Shooter Well-Known Member

    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.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2008
  14. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Well-Known Member

    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.
  15. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Well-Known Member

    "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."

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

    Drgong Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. Jdude

    Jdude Well-Known Member

    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.

  19. feedthehogs

    feedthehogs Well-Known Member

    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.
  20. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Well-Known Member


    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."

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