Now that gun season has kicked in I’m starting to switch to some other types of hunting. I only gun hunt a few days a year, so I try to find some other ways to pass the time until bow season starts back up. Two years ago a good friend of mine introduced me to predator hunting and ever since my first time out, I’ve been hooked. Nighttime predator hunting is a thrill that is completely different than any other hunting I’ve experienced.
Clicking that spotlight on to see the fox's eyes brightly glowing will surely get your ticker thumping and keep you warm on the coldest of nights. Many of my friends think I’m crazy for going hunting at 11 pm, but once I took them along were quickly hooked too.
Last Wednesday a good friend of mine and I went out to our lease where we’ve been seeing numerous fox. The setup was perfect for predator hunting. We’ve got a thick strip of woods and thicket that cuts the field right down the center. It's a low point that has a creek running through it, perfect habitat for fox and their prey. We eased out into the field about 80 yards from the edge of the woods and headed towards the far side of the field where a hedge row runs the property line. We set up our decoy and call, and retreated back to the hedge row to wait. With the moon almost full we had to make sure we were below the crest of the hill so we weren't silhouetted against the sky. One concern was that the wind was shifting a little and blowing down to the thicket, not terrible because the foxes like to approach downwind, it just didn't give us much time to shoot. Fox are just as sensitive to smell as deer and will bolt if they detect you.
Giving everything about ten minuets to settle down we turned on the call. Within five minuets I saw a dark shadow running through the field, we clicked on the lights and there was the fox. He had snuck up to the decoy without us knowing it and spooked when he realized it wasn't real. Knowing it was my only chance for a shot I took a running shot. Needless to say the fox kept running and disappeared into the night. After being a little disappointed we settled back in and my buddy made me switch with him. Now I was the spotter and he was the shooter. We waited only five minuets and hit the calls again. Incredibly it only took a few minuets and there was another one! When I put the spotlight on, its eyes were glowing like Christmas lights and my buddy eased up for the shot. Not being used to my gun he forgot to turn the safety off! The fox only stood still for a few more seconds and started to run. My buddy quickly flipped the safety off and took a jump shot. It looked good, but we couldn't find any sign of a hit.
After only a half hour of hunting we had both embarrassed ourselves and were feeling pretty dejected, we called up two foxes and had both completely missed. It was still a good night to call up two fox in such a short amount of time; at least we know our location and setup will work. We decided to head home and come up with a better game plan, mostly just work on our shooting skills. We attributed our poor performance to it being our first time out at night. We just hadn't reacquainted ourselves with the equipment and shooting at night. I know excuses, excuses… We’ve got a hunt scheduled for next week so we’ll be sure to redeem ourselves.
If you have any questions about predator hunting send me a response to this journal, or check out the Predator hunting forum in the HuntOnly.com/Forums. There's plenty of knowledge there and lots of guys who will gladly answer your questions.