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Trapping Red Fox
Successful fox trapping is an art, based on special skills and thorough knowledge of
fox behavior. Outfoxing the fox is the ultimate reward for many veteran trappers who
have acquired the necessary skills and knowledge. You can gain them through reading
and experience. Literature about fox trap- ping, as well as supplies and equipment,
is readily available through commercial sources.
Of course, you won't have much luck trapping fox unless there are foxes around to trap.
Therefore, some pre-season scouting is time well spent. Bare or sandy areas along
fence- rows or in lower saddles between hills are good places to look for fox sign
in rolling prairie country. In forested or brushy areas, pay particular attention
to natural travel lanes, such as old roads, cow trails, and dry streambeds. Foxes
habitually make distinctive scratchy marks as they throw dirt at their scent stations
and droppings; so look for this sure sign that foxes are present.
The two most common sets for fox are the dirt-hole and scent-post sets. Both are
described under coyote sets and are identical except fox urine and lures are used
instead of coyote. Lures are a must, and it probably would be best for novice
trappers to purchase commercially prepared scents. All sets must be concealed and
free of all human and other foreign odors.
A dirt-hole or scent-post set is especially effective near one of the natural scent
posts discovered when scouting the area. Since foxes frequently travel in pairs,
it's possible to take them both in the same night with the use of scent posts set
30 to 40 yards apart. With both of these sets, remember that foxes are smaller
than coyotes, so you need to bed the trap closer to the bait or lure (5 to 7
inches rather than 9).
Lures and urine used in making fox sets may last several weeks. Once a fox is
caught, chances are better of catching more at the same set, since it now
reeks of fox.
Dirt-hole sets are attractive to several other species of furbearers and future
success at the site can be affected by the species taken. Foxes will avoid a set
where a coyote or opossum was caught, and you will have to relocate. Skunk and
raccoon scent at a trap sight is not a deterrent to foxes. In fact, skunk essence
is frequently used in fox lures. You may have to repair the set, but you won't
have to change locations and start over.
The mound set is another effective method of trapping fox, because of its habit
of going to a high spot to look over anything new or suspicious. The "mound" can
be a high spot overlooking a large bait some distance away. The bait might be a
coon or muskrat carcass or the like. A stump, log, or a bale of hay might provide
the vantagepoint the fox jumps on to investigate the suspicious bait: That's the
place for a trap. Do not use lures or scents at the trap site or the bait. Some
variations of this set are also described under coyote sets. The real advantage
of this set is its freedom from bother by unwanted furbearers and pets.
Proper trap size is the last important item to remember in fox trapping, because
dirt sets are so attractive to non-target species. No. Most fox trappers prefer
I 1/2coil springs, but No. 2 traps are also commonly used. There are two basic
reasons for not using killer traps with these sets - (1) they are not effective,
since foxes are not prone to stick their heads in them, and (2) they are very
attractive to non-target animals.