Shooting foxes in stubble fields at night is one of the most effective methods of controlling their population, but the abundance of standing crops has meant that many gamekeepers are struggling to make an impact on numbers.
Pest controller, John Billings, from Doveridge, in Derbyshire, told Shooting Times that this years late harvest has had a disastrous affect on predator control: We have shot far fewer foxes this year compared with previous years. On a normal year, I go out lamping two or three times a week on two different estates. However, this year I have not even been able to get on to one of them. The keepers are pulling their hair out, as the foxes are taking the poults and there is little they can do. Until the maize is cut it makes lamping near impossible.
Gamekeeper Derek Williams told ST that the standing crops not only severely restrict access, but also provide easy escape routes for foxes: It provides a sanctuary for them, making it extremely tough to shoot them. We have shot around 50% fewer foxes this year as a direct result of the late harvest.
The rest of this article appears in 2 October issue of Shooting Times.
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