Having tested my mettle a few days ago as a forensic scientist to solve the riddle of the greyhen, I am now facing an even more intriguing mystery.
Driving onto the hill this morning, I saw what appeared to be a dead fox lying out in the middle of the hayfield. It seemed to have been shot, and given that I’m the only person with the authority to shoot on the entire farm, I wanted to find out what the story was. The shepherd knew nothing about it whatsoever, and we wandered out to have a closer look. Sure enough, it was a very large (13kg) old fox lying dead on the short grass. A quick examination revealed that the fur on his rump and saddle was tufted and in a state of disorder, and we also spotted that he had been missing his left eye for some time. Shreds of fox fur were scattered around in a ten or fifteen foot radius, but there was no sign of any bullet hole or shot.
Piecing together events, it now seems certain that this fox died last night, but there is no obvious explanation for how. I can totally rule out human foul play (although perhaps not a prank or a wind-up), so it now seems that I am dealing with a fox that has been killed by something other than a human being. Even at this early stage it seems possible that it was killed by another territorial dog fox, and perhaps the partial blindness made it particularly vulnerable during a squabble over a vixen. Some of the yammering and screaming that I have heard since the start of the month certainly makes it sound like foxes are being torn limb from limb on the hill, but while it is possible that this fox was killed by another, it does seem improbable.
More on this to come, but any thoughts or suggestions as to what might have happened would be very welcome…