TIFTON -- After surviving three wars, the last thing an 86-year-old Tifton man expected to battle was a rabid fox he encountered in his back yard Thursday evening.

Bill Tyson said Friday he is fine but feels like a pin cushion after all the needle pricks from shots he is having.

Tyson's home is behind Pine Hill Mobile Home Park off U.S. Highway 125 south.

"I have a long back yard and I was walking to where I store my lawnmower when I saw this fox about 10 feet away from me," Tyson said. "He wasn't afraid of me. He just stood there and looked me in the eye."

Tyson said he started backing up and in the process fell on some slick pine straw.

"I've never seen something so determined," Tyson said. "I was on my back so I just started kicking him."

Tyson wears his shoes on the loose side and said that the fox kept biting on the end of them.

"He just hanged on my toes but I was bitten in a couple of places," he said. "I kept kicking him and everything and he wasn't going anywhere."

The struggle continued for at least 15 minutes, Tyson said, and when he was finally able to get away, he grabbed a piece of lumber and hit the fox in the head.

"I conked him on the head and gave him an attitude change and he backed off, looked at me again and ran out of the yard," Tyson said.

Tyson then called 911, who dispatched animal control officers and law enforcement to the scene.

Animal Control Director Regenia Wells said she set a trap but hasn't caught the fox. She said this is the first wild animal bite her department has had to deal with this year.

"People are moving into their (foxes') territory," she said. "They are really shy, but they are curious."

Wells suspects that the blow to the head may have led to the fox running away to die, especially if he was rabid in the first place.

Wild animal bites, she said, are reported just as every other dog or animal bite. The Tift County Health Department is notified.

Tyson said he was taken to the emergency room for a series of shots and must return for more shots three more times between now and Nov. 3.

"I feel like a pin cushion all over," Tyson said.

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