Dachshund hunting for foxes often takes place around an artificial fox den.
These are made by burying concrete pipes.

 

Most dog handlers with dachshunds will not allow their dogs into natural dens, due to the risk these may collapse on the dog. Foxes generally only seek underground during the cold winter months – or during the summer months when they have cubs (but this form of hunting is not permitted then).

There are many good dog breeds for hunting foxes underground – the classic dachshund and several terriers. The dog is sent down into the den to chase the fox out, and an experienced dog handler can sense from his dog whether the fox is home.


Fox hunting guide

Challenges of fox hunting

It may take a long time before the fox appears at the opening of the den, and since this form of hunting takes place during winter, the wait can be a cold one.

It is therefore necessary to wear insulating clothing. It is important not to shoot the fox when it is standing in – or just outside – the opening, as it may run back again after being shot.

You must also look out for the dog, which is in hot pursuit!

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Hunting stories from a hunter

Fox mischief!

All hunters know that foxes can be hard on other animals and birds and their offspring. Each day they trot along hedgerows and field boundaries or around waterholes and rushes looking to satisfy their hunger. The menu includes hare leverets, partridge chicks, eggs and many other dishes. But everyone needs to eat something, even the fox, which is feared and despised everywhere. The fox, the wolf, the cat, the crow, the magpie and other birds of prey are feared by nature’s other residents, which must remain vigilant day and night to stay alive.

However, it can be exciting for a hunter to pursue the fox, which cunningly passes undetected through a line of beaters. It moves silently through the vegetation, listening to and watching the hunter and noting his scent. You normally have to complete the same beat more than once to flush out Mr Tod. If you enjoy fox hunting, you are also pleased to be assigned a back stop position. The fox sneaks out the back to the hunter, sitting waiting near a trail in the corner of the forest. The rifle shooter must take care! It will be a fight to the bitter end in the duel with the fox’s sharp senses! You must be in position early in the morning – where the fox has its daily rounds.

But personally I prefer dachshund hunting. There is nothing better than a snow-covered landscape, surrounded by denuded trees with ice crystals on every branch. The trails can be clearly seen in the snow, and you can follow them over to a den that you didn't know was there. You approach the den quietly and position hunters at all exits. The dog is restless from excitement and eagerness. Like the rest of us, it knows what is about to happen! Only the crunching sound of boots in the snow is heard before the dog is released. You wait. You hear barking under the ground, and suddenly the red lightning comes out, wary and vigilant – a fox in its beautiful winter coat. The dense fur bristles in the frost, and before long it sets of along the trail where the hunter is in position. Sometimes it stops just outside the hole before moving on, at other times it shoots out with the dog on its heels.

For fox hunters, a key part of the activity is being able to skin it afterwards. All bagged animals and birds should either be eaten or used for fur. There is nothing better than a living room decorated with a trophy like the winter fur of a fox.

The fox has a reputation for being wily and unscrupulous. Poor Mr Tod! It is only when you start hunting foxes that you realise just how cunning they are. Things don’t always go to plan.

Time after time he escapes, despite the hunter’s careful preparations. Such feats must deserve a certain respect.

 

Troels Pedersen

Troels Pedersen
40 year old hunter, musician and author from Denmark
Started hunting in 1999
Favourite quarry: Woodcock
Choice of weapon: Henry Atkin 12/70

Best hunting trip:
On 2 November 2016, as I walked with two good friends in undulating terrain among tall pine trees. My dog was searching energetically among the small mossy rises when two woodcocks suddenly took flight together. I still remember the breath catching in my chest when woodcock number two also collapsed in the air. It was as if they both hung there a moment after they were hit before they dropped majestically in a clearing. My dog retrieved them both.

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