Fox are prevalent throughout the United States. There are four main fox species active in North America. This includes the the Swift and Kit fox, which is found in the western part of America and the Gray and Red fox which is found on both sides of the country. Like the coyote, fox have learned to live amongst man. They have adapted well to urbanization and have learned to take advantage of man while living in our backyards. Here is a short video showing a red fox foraging around day break in a subdivision just outside the city of Atlanta.
Fox will feed on a variety of food. This includes carrion, rodents, insects, fruit, vegetables, small animals like pets, livestock and birds. Fox tend to be more solitary and only are found in pairs during mating season. Fox are most active at night between dusk and dawn. Only in remote rural areas will they forage during the day unless it is either young or a particularly hungry fox. Fox are not known for their speed but rather their ability to move about undetected and silent. They are able to stalk the smallest of prey with precision eyesight and deft hearing. Female fox will have 3-10 pups from March to May, depending on the part of the country. Fox are solitary. Their den will only house a female and her young.
Fox become a problem when their feeding leads them to our gardens, livestock or pets. Fox damage may be hard to find. Though fox will readily eat pheasant, quail, chicken and turkey they will also eat eggs and can cause huge financial losses to both the commercial farmer as well as the weekend gardener. As people build ponds stocked with fish, turtles and other live animals, fox find these areas and quickly learn to feed on the bounty. Such private fisheries provide a quick meal; these small “ponds” offer no protection for the fish and wildlife man tries to keep as pets. It is hard to blame the fox for their actions. In the wild, their feeding serves a purpose. However, in urban areas, conflict is an ever growing problem. This video features a young red fox which is perfectly comfortable coming into the back yard of a home in a residential neighborhood and bedding down.
Homeowners are now more likely to see a fox than in any other time of our countries existence. These animals are fun to watch and many times welcomed when first found. However, be aware of their presence. Small vulnerable pets are no match for a wild fox. Both cats and dogs are easy prey as well as all the beautiful birds, squirrels and chipmunks around the bird feeder. If you are seeing a lot of activity by a fox in your yard, be careful. Neither is a “dog” which wants to be petted and you should never feed them intentionally. Because of the damage they do, fox need to be removed and relocated when encountered in many urban communities. This can be done with the use of several types of traps and lures. These traps can be used in many ways and over the years, furriers have developed some great ways to trap even the most wily fox. If you have fox causing problems on your land, it may be time to start trapping them.
The most common type of trap used for fox over the yeas has been the leg hold design. This includes both the COIL and the LONG SPRING traps. These traps are used many ways. If you are an experienced trapper, than you know how to make a set and what to use to make successful sets. If this is a new activity for you, this article will not be able to detail enough information in order for you to go out and trap successfully. We suggest you get our FOX AND COYOTE BOOK which goes over several methods and sets which are the most effective methods and sets known. Simply put, they work. The handbook is both easy to read and explains the details clearly with illustrations. There are two “lures” or “scents” that are needed when working with any leg hold trap as you will learn in the book. These is FOX URINE and either RED or GRAY FOX LURE . These special formulations enable you to make good sets which will be both free of your scent and alluring to either species. For the more experienced trapper, you may want to try FOX SNARES. These are less expensive to use for start up costs, but to be effectively used, many more must be put afield. These are precision traps and must be set along trails, pathways, holes or in exact locations where you know fox travel. In the end, you will probably spend as much time and money making effective snare sets as you would making leg hold sets. Traditionalists use leg holds, modern trappers have adopted snares and a good balance is probably a good idea.
Another method of trapping which used to be thought of as impossible to do is live trapping. Recent trap design combined with “step trapping” will enable you to live trap a fox. Step trapping is the process of putting a trap out unset with the door wired open. Food is then presented to the target animal over a period of nights. It is recommended that you offer food outside the trap the first night, at the traps entrance the second night and then in the trap the third night still without actually setting it. It is also suggested that the trap is disguised by covering it with landscape on the sides, top and bottom. One very effective way to camouflage the trap is to utilize pine straw bales, leaves and sticks. The trick is to completely surround the trap which includes the sides, the back and the top. Pull straw through the mesh from inside the trap. Be sure to use either mud, dirt or more straw to cover the bottom of the cage. The cage should appear as a small hollow in the side of a stacked quantity of pine straw when the set is made properly. Fox are accustomed to seeing straw stacked this way as they are accustomed to seeing wire in farm areas so you don’t have to cover every exposed piece to have success. Fox urine can be used on and around it or maybe a specific food if you know they are coming to feed on something close to where you are making the trap set. By making the trap appear to be a “cage” rather than a trap, you can catch a fox in a live trap. Here is a video showing how a professional might make such a trap close to a home where fox has been seen.
Remember, making a live trap set close to where you suspect the fox is feeding is key. Fox will be wary of a live trap which is placed in the woods where such a set is not natural. If you want to successfully live trap a fox, you will need to do so by making your set where the animals are currently active and causing destruction. Instead of trying to build a stronger better fence, try making a live set at or near the entrance path you know the local fox is using. Either a LT151842 or the LT152248RD will usually be big enough. Remember, the bigger and taller the trap the better.
If you have a fox preying on live animals like chickens or some other small bird, consider getting the LT152248RD with a Bait Cage. We will wire the bait cage into the trap and it makes a great set when filled with a live bird or other small animal. Fox cannot resist entering and this setup will almost always result in a fast catch.
Fox are distributed all throughout the United States and are becoming more and more of a problem. They are causing destruction and damage to gardens, livestock and other wildlife. Though essential to the balance of nature, fox will readily take advantage of easy prey. Homeowners, weekend gardeners and farmers are finding more and more damage being caused by these canines. To control local nuisance animals, use Coil or Bridger leg hold traps. Snares are also an option though they demand some skill and experience to become effective using them. Live trapping is now an option and with the right bait, live catching a fox is possible.