Wed. Dec 6th, 2023

Field Sports Scotland

Hunting and Field Sports in Scotland

Success is Exhausting,

Finally the last lamb is born and “MOST” of the farmers are happy but it has been a very long and hard lambing on the pest control. Often you will hear me talk about Pest control as being an on-going throughout the year job but the pressure I put on myself over lambing can be overwhelming for all involved and not least my family. This year I thought wholeheartedly I was on top of things, over the winter months between deer control and other duties I was bagging some good numbers on the foxes, especially, on one of more problematic farms but by god I was wrong. Lambing kicked off and the start was very good with no losses over the first week or so but then that false sense of relief was short lived, a call from the shepherd on the fore mentioned property revealed there was a loss, immediately I was on the case, the next night I was out on a mission and SAW that problem fox with yet another lamb in its mouth. Man the anger set in I was livid and it was the night after I got him, thankfully. HMMM!!! A week went by and no losses I was over the moon, but again the bliss was short lived yet another call from the farmer this time from that same property very unhappy that he lost yet another lamb, so the real stress was on. Night after night the routine was the same, arriving on site at mid afternoon and sitting out until first light, but only seeing a glimpse of an eye and most nights not even seeing that I was starting to get really disheartened, but not just disheartened I was exhausted. Even though my daily foxing routine was in full swing I was still trying to live my normal day life with school runs etc. and having 4 kids it was becoming very hard, like it is every year. Luck would have it on the way to the property one evening after looking over a couple of other grounds on the way I saw the culprit at the very edge of the property within range and was able to take the opportunity and success. I did not let up there though as you can never be sure, For a further 2 weeks I never let up but saw absolutely nothing on that property, but yet another call from the shepherd told me something was not right. A lamb that had been still born had been skinned and another lamb was found with puncture wounds to the neck, this was getting ridiculous. More sitting out pursued but this time it was highseat from light to light and not leaving the property until the shepherd arrived in the morning. Then somethings started to come clear as I started seeing badgers in the hedgerows, but, never saw them going even near a lamb but even if I did there is nothing I could have done as they are protected. The days, and soon, the weeks went by and there was no more losses, phone calls kept coming from the property with sightings of foxes nearby but not on the property and no more attacks but nearby properties were not my permissions and I could do nothing about it. Wish I could. Success I Think My other 5 farms were good though and even though I spent minimum time on them I was very happy that there was no losses. This made me extremely happy and on one property it was my first lambing on the ground and his feedback was amazing as he said and I quote “that this was his best year in regards to losses to fox that he has had in years” so needless to say I was over the moon. 12 weeks of constant foxing and only 4 losses to fox while having to look over 2000 sheep between 6 farms in my opinion is an achievement and something I am very proud of. 5 of the properties reporting no losses to pests I can only hope that next year will be better.  Tired But That Wont Stop Me I have to say though I am exhausted and the work isn’t stopping butit is slacking up. All my pest control work is unpaid and at times it does put strain on my family and life but I do love doing it. I invest a lot of time and my own money keeping my permissions and in the end it makes me feel like I am doing good. I do stress myself a lot specially when things are not going to plan and often friends and family tell me I do too much but foxes don’t let up so why should I. So here is my count over the last 12 weeks , 6 foxes and 13 cubs ,,, Adults – 2 vixens 4 dogs Cubs were a mixture but mainly vixens. Foxing has not stopped as some of the dens are showing and this is my chance in one or two foul swoops to get on top of next years problem this year.  Is there Anybody Out There What has surprised me though is that this year I have been hearing reports from farms all over of large losses to fox but when I am out and about I have seen no sign of lamps shining like I have done on previous years and no sign of other pest controllers and keepers about which to me is very very strange considering the amount of losses being reported. I would rate this year as being a success I think and I am fairly happy so far how things have been but as I said I am exhausted but now back to deer.  

2 thoughts on “Success is Exhausting,

  1. Hi David
    I travel up to Fort William every year around the 19th of April from Lancashire County, and have been doing so for over 20 years and staying for around two weeks, at first I started going with a friend of mine and we went for free working with a guy over at Roy Bridge, but he got paid for having us there sending us to different farm’s, but about 10 year’s ago my pal got the dreaded big c and within months passed away.
    But I continued with the seasonal work and the first year I was up the guy who we went for got another opportunity as a steward looking after sheep on a another piece of ground and gave up with some of the farm’s he was responsible for, as I was asked to continue with some of the one’s that we did and this resulted in being paid for the first time it was greatly appreciated and unexpected, it brought a tear to my eye when I thought of my buddy who had passed.
    I was well suited and I look forward to coming up every year with terriers and Guns in tow.

    1. Hi Duncan ,

      I am so sorry to hear about your friend and it is nice to hear that you enjoy coming up to my neck of the woods , I know I am so very lucky that I have so much and live and work in the most amazing country . It was good hearing from you and thank you for reading my blog.



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