GV Farmers target fox menace

By Rodney Woods

Two farmers from the Byrneside area have taken the problem of foxes into their own hands, pulling the trigger on several farms in the area.

So if you hear a gunshot in the area, it could be Dale Manuel (shooter) and Ross Stammers (spotlighter), who teamed up nearly six years ago and are approaching the 500 kill mark.

Mr Manuel described the reasons for their success.

‘‘We are persistent and very patient,’’ he said.

‘‘If we go out and don’t shoot, it doesn’t matter.

‘‘We get them into situations that are to our advantage — and you have to think like a fox,’’ he said.

The duo said foxes were really smart animals, making it difficult to shoot them in the confined spaces where they did their hunting.

‘‘They use dry channels like subways,’’ Mr Manuel said.

‘‘They are adaptable and efficient hunters at the detriment of our farmers.’’

As a sheep farmer, Mr Stammers agreed.

‘‘They create so much grief for me,’’ he said.

‘‘They seem to be everywhere.’’

The farmers do their hunting from about 8pm Monday to Thursday, between the end of April or early May to September.

This year they have already killed 95 foxes, the second highest tally at this point in the year since they started in 2013.

Mr Manuel uses a Tikka Varmint .204 calibre rifle and shoots V-Max soft-tip bullets with the help of a Leupold Variable 6.5 20x50mm scope, all from the platform of a modified 1991 Suzuki Vitara.

‘‘You need a balance between scope, gun and vehicle. I feel we have it right,’’ Mr Manuel said.

‘‘That’s a fairly powerful scope that can identify your target and surrounds.’’

Mr Manuel and Mr Stammers only shoot on farming properties where permission has been given.