Red Fox

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I saw this fox about a fortnight ago, my first sighting in the three years that I have lived here. There is a fox den somewhere on the hillside where the wild ants live, across from the Sheep Field. I was walking down to post a letter and spotted it in an apple orchard. The fox stood and stared across the field at something, then turned and crossed the stream, came through the hedgerow, crossed the road about 10 metres in front of me and ran up the hillside. I felt lucky to see it in daylight and that I had my camera in my pocket.

Here’s how I came to know about the fox.

One day last February I had the day off and was sklathe-ing around well into the early afternoon. I kept hearing a horn blowing in the distance. Not a car horn, but the single, long note of a musical instrument. A little later, I decided to take a walk down to the mailbox.

Being out in the country, I normally don’t see anybody, so I walked down in my pajamas, dressing gown and wellies. At the bottom of the drive I saw a foxhound sniffing around in the field and figured someone was out walking with their dog. On the way back up to the house, about half way up the drive, I had to step onto the bank to avoid being run over by a pack of foxhounds, followed by two elegant, red-coated huntsmen on horseback and bringing up in the rear, a quadbike being driven by a farmhand.

My neighbour Cliff later told me that an errant foxhound had broken away from a drag hunt and followed the scent of the fox to its home and that the rest of the hunt was after the dog. Once they had collected the stray, they went back to whatever it was they were originally chasing.

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