Field and Game

Fox pursuit: Jason Smith’s passion for this pest

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After shooting his first fox at the age of 14, now-northern Victorian resident Jason Smith and his family’s love for shooting and hunting has led to them owning and managing their own little vermin control company called Aussie Foxing, which is a not-for-profit business and a free service to farmers.

The Smith family has been fox hunting on and off for 30 years and the business is very much a family affair, with wife Tanya, son Jordon, and daughters Ashlee and Kelli all involved. Whether it be driving, spotlighti­ng, opening gates or even helping to control vermin, it’s all in for Team Smith.

The Smith children were brought up learning the safety side of hunting and the safe handling of firearms, including identifica­tion of targets, checking for a safe back drop and the correct shot placement for a quick, clean kill.

They also learnt to respect owners’ properties, as it is a privilege being allowed on their land.

In 2018, the Australian and New Zealand distributo­r of Foxcalls.com, Paul Crabtree, picked Jason up as a pro staff member.

This role not only involves their current practice but also enables them to trial all fox whistles and products before they are introduced to the Australia/nz market.

The Smith team controls numerous properties and they go out three or four nights a week; it usually takes them nine to 10 weeks to get around to all the properties. The properties they manage are dairy farms, sheep farms and chicken farms. Most of the shooting expedition­s are completed under spotlight; they whistle foxes on properties with bush in the early mornings and late afternoons with some success.

“Not only do we protect these farms by controllin­g vermin, it also prevents the damage and killing of Australia’s flora and fauna from foxes,” Jason said.

“It also helps some farms become more viable: even if it is a small amount, every little bit counts, and we love helping them out.”

Some foxes have become very cunning over the past few years, learning what a spotlight is and the danger involved. But the introducti­on over time of night-vision scopes and thermal gear has created a whole new ball game. Technology has improved immensely; the Smiths are now able to eradicate the smart foxes out of the equation.

It is not about waiting until there is a fox problem, but it is about controllin­g the numbers before the problem occurs.

Controllin­g vermin has allowed Team Smith to dispose of more than 1000 foxes in three years.

“Of course, not every fox is shot; we are only human, and we do miss, but we try to limit our misses,” Jason said.

“Being experience­d in all terrain, whether it be flat plains or hilly country, is an advantage. The rifles I use are Howa 1500’s .223 with a 24 inch barrel and 1-8 twist. “You don’t have to spend big dollars to achieve the results you need, but you do have to trust your equipment and your own skills.”

The time and dedication it takes and the long hours, late nights are rewarded by positive comments and feedback from the proud property owners, as well as receiving $10 per scalp from the Victorian fox bounty.

As a member of Field and Game Australia, SSAA, and numerous fox hunting sites on Facebook, the Smiths assume a responsibi­lity to present posts with respect and in a manner that does not display blood and gore.

“If you love hunting and the outdoors, follow your passion and dreams. Everyone starts somewhere, but remember whatever you do, do it safely and keep hunting, guys and girls.”

Team Smith

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