Fox hunting - how does it really work?

Rävjakt - hur går det till egentligen?

Fox hunting with working terriers and duster

How does it work?

  For me who hunts foxes with dusters and terriers almost daily after the bear hunt has ended, much of that hunt feels so obvious that you do not even think or reflect on how the hunt itself actually goes.
But then a question sometimes comes from someone who calls or sends a message regarding fox hunting with a dog and I only then understand that much of what is completely obvious and crystal clear is not for everyone. So I thought I would try to describe the hunt itself, the thought and how it usually goes.


Dusty and stew dog

If you want to generalize roughly when fox hunting with a dog, you can say that the duster chases the fox down into the pot and the pot dog chases the fox out of the pot. Both hunting methods of course aim to shoot the fox in the best possible way.
The duster picks up a trail after the fox, either on bare ground or on trail snow and drives it, my task is to try to place myself so I can shoot the fox before it goes into the pot.
There are 2 types of dusters in my world, and then I do not look at races without gear.


Fox hunting with dog - slow-moving type

In fox hunting with a dog that makes a lot of noise in the track (wake-up call / drive skull) and who is not in such a hurry in the track, the purpose of this type of hunting is to get the fox to stay above ground as long as possible.
Adulthood is defined as the dog walking on the blow of the fox but has not yet raised it.
Gear skull is defined as the dog has raised the fox from the leg, ie the fox is up.
A not entirely abnormal driving speed with this type of dog is usually around 7-12 km / h.
The very purpose is to get the fox safe with where it has the duster and this is done thanks to the dog waking up before picking up and driving loudly when it has been picked up. instead of fleeing to the nearest cauldron in panic. This is also where I recognize the picture I got of fox hunting with a dog on a fox, with the fact that you have to freeze behind a spruce for hours and absolutely must not move in the slightest because the fox has plenty about time to keep track of.

Fast-paced dog

The other type of duster used in fox hunting with a dog is a type that is quieter or completely silent on percussion work and has a faster drive style. If the dog does not wake up on strike makes the fox unprepared for the dog to approach it. When busy, the duster drives fast and then barks frequently.
Drive speeds usually   be between 13-20 km / h with maximum speeds after, for example, roads around 30 km / h.
With this type of duster, the gear often goes in larger bays and goes more often in a cauldron than with a slow dog. The advantage is that it can be much easier to shoot the fox on gear as it does not have a large lead over the dog and thus not enough time to scan the surroundings. If you do not have access to a pot dog, this type of duster is not preferable as most foxes go into the pot fairly quickly.
Personally, I prefer this type when fox hunting with a dog as I also hunt lynx with my dusters and there the surprise moment is a clear advantage.
Whether you choose a fast-driving steamer or a slow-driving steamer is up to everyone, I would say. But it is worth remembering that a fast-driving steamer normally requires much larger areas than a slow-driving steamer.

On the pass in front of the duster

If you want to generalize in fox hunting with a dog, the fox is very attentive to its surroundings, and you should keep in mind to approach the fox so that it can see you, so you should definitely not try to sneak up the gun slowly, without freezing to ice and letting it in until the fox is so close that when you move the rifle, the fox does not have time to throw itself out of the way or behind something. Once you move the rifle, it should take place in a smooth, continuous movement, and when the piston is at the shoulder, the shot should go, otherwise it is often too late because then the fox has perceived the movement and thrown itself into protection. As good advice for a beginner, I would urge you to practice this on the shooting range. As I am both an extra teacher at the hunting high school in Älvdalen and travel around a lot and hunt foxes with dogs, sometimes with unfamiliar fox hunters. So I would say that this is often where things go wrong. There are plenty of examples of where the fox approaches a pass shooter who is standing by the road, when the pass shooter sometimes sees the fox at as far as 500 m or more, he starts to sneak up the rifle when the fox one is 70-80 m. The fox often sees this movement immediately and throws himself into protection.

Some advice

I have 2 pieces of advice from my experience in fox hunting with a dog to give here. Either I raise the rifle if I see the fox in the distance when it is in a slump after the road or the forest, the important thing is that the fox does not see my movement. The hard part, however, can be to stand with the rifle in completion until the fox is away.  The second piece of advice is to freeze to ice and not touch anything until the fox is about 20-25 m and then shoot with as I wrote earlier in a fast, soft motion.

Some other advice I have to give is that at the pass you should avoid being open when fox hunting with a dog. They pay attention to things that stand out in the surroundings and the pass should always be taken against a large tree or even better in a solid spruce or next to a solid spruce. I usually, if I stand inside a spruce, break away branches that will possibly move when I lift the rifle (provided that the fox is not close).

 When I stand on pass after a road, which is often the case when foxes like to follow the roads during trains, I almost never stand on a crest of the road. The most natural pass to choose will be a crest as you have the best overview from there, but also the place where you are most easily seen. I usually like to stand on one side of a crest and then on the outside of the crest from where the fox is expected to come from, the advantage is that if you stand that way you can raise the rifle in completion when the fox is down in the slump before the crest without it see you. 


Shot at a fox with a stray dog

When it comes to shots against foxes from the front, you should let the fox in closer than side shots, the vital impact surface is much smaller seen from the front than from the side.
When fox hunting with a dog, I usually use remington express us nr2 (3.75 mm) / 36 g charge in one barrel and an Ammox tungsten hail 3 mm / 32 gram charge in second pipe. I have Remington express at regular distances about 35 m side shots and 25 m from the front on foxes.
I use Ammox when the distance is longer, up to 60 m on side shots on foxes.

Fox fox skull

Sometimes the fox gets bald, it usually happens when the snow is deep and loose. It usually happens during the first heavy fresh snow falls in November. However, the snow is not so deep that the duster does not bottom out to the ground in the snow.
But sometimes it happens on bare ground when fox hunting with a dog. My interpretation is that the fox has thought of a pot but does not get there before the duster is too close and then it stops and fronts.

When the fox has gone to the pot

I would like to say that I shoot 9/10 foxes at the pot when I hunt fox hunting with a dog, but I also see that it increases with the train fox percentage if I have a pass shooter with me, it is simply difficult to be in front of the train as often as you want to.
 With that said, the pot dog an important element in a functioning fox hunt with a dog.
One of the more important characteristics that I think is needed for a functioning potty dog, size is very important where I live. Many of the pots found in the northern valleys are cramped soil or stone pots. The badger is very sparse here, so the fox has no major help in expanding and widening the pot of them.
It is not important to have a sharp dog to get the foxes out, although of course it needs a portion of courage to cope with the task underground.   
My experience is that if you put size / sharpness in relation, you blow up more foxes in this region of Sweden with a small dog with a little sharpness than a large dog with a lot of sharpness. Simply because the big dog does not get to the fox, or alternatively that it gets to the fox but it has been so hard that it is reluctant to break, which means that the fox can not leave the pot even if it wants to for the dog is like a stopper in the cauldron.
When I was on some of my first pot hunts, I was told that if the fox knows that you are outside, it's gone, it does not come out simply. It's definitely a truth with modification but it's easier to get most foxes to leave the pot the less they know people and dogs are outside waiting for them. But at the same time, you sometimes have to stray around the pot to have a chance to catch up when the fox comes out. A trick can sometimes be that after such an intervention around the pot, walk away for a while and have a cup of coffee to let everything calm down a bit before releasing the pot dog.

A little story about how to go to at the pot

When your potty dog has now, in the classic manner, been into the potty and contacted the fox to then break and come out to you and be connected there.The wait begins and with excitement you wait for the tip of the little black nose to appear in the hallway, slowly you see the air in the darkness inside the cauldron and then sink into the darkness again. Did the fox decide that it was safer inside the pot?
That's when the fox comes as if shot from a cannon, like a red flash that you hardly have time to perceive what it really is, it throws itself against the nearest protection that is outside the cauldron. The rifle goes up to the shoulder and the shot goes exactly where the fox is about to disappear into the bush you have thinned out before.
That feeling is powerful, I outwitted the fox on its home turf.


Or the scenario could look like this ..

The fox comes out, but I thought I should have time to shoot anyway despite the bush that is 5 m from the pot opening so I do not clear my eyes and take a chance. I miss the first shot as it disappears into the bush and does not have time for the second shot before it is out of sight. The duster is released and the gear goes into an impossible rock crawl where the pothole dog does not find the fox once. The day is over and we go home.

A little more story about how it can go at the pot

Sometimes the fox comes shot like a cannon out of the pot, but sometimes they also take a good time to check that the situation is calm and it is free to move forward. The most important thing if you have a fox that sneaks out and stares at you is to stand still. As long as the fox is looking at you, you should preferably not blink or breathe so that it is visible, otherwise there is a great risk that it will throw itself back into the pot and then be less willing to leave the pot.


Shotgun ammunition at the pot

I usually use us no. 4, 5 or 6 at the pot. It depends on the directions I am expected to shoot. If I expect that there will be side shots of 15-20 m, I would use us 5 or 6.
But since most potholders are pushed obliquely from behind, I like to use us 4 and 34 g charge in something called Winchester dispersers. The cartridges are designed to spread more than the standard charge, which is preferable as the distance is often less than 15 m.
In the places I talk about, us 4 would actually be considered unnecessarily rough, but you should keep in mind that the foxes are rarely shot at the pot on clean side shots but obliquely from behind, which requires more penetration before the hail reaches vital parts.

 With this text, I hope that you as a beginner or those that are interested in fox hunting with a dog, have gained an insight and an understanding of the situations you may end up in. 



Regards Rasmus Boström



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