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. Watch this short video to see a Red Fox walking around in the woods.
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 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 CONTROL PROBLEMS
Fox become a problem when their feeding leads them to our gardens, livestock or pets. Bug sometimes fox damage may be hard to find. Fox love pheasant, quail, chicken and turkey. They also love 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 will find these areas and quickly learn to feed on the bounty. Such refuge 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 either the fox for their actions. In the wild, their feeding serves a purpose. However, in urban areas, conflict is now occurring. 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 in the wild more 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 local fox, be careful. They have been known to carry the rabies virus as well as other disease. Remember, a fox is not a “dog” which wants to be petted and you should never feed them intentionally. Because of the damage they do, fox need to be controlled in many situations. This can be done with the use of several types of traps and lures. They 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.
FOX CONTROL USING LEGHOLD TRAPS
The most common type of trap used for fox is the leghold. This includes both the COIL and the LONG SPRING design. These traps are used many ways. If you are an experienced trapper, than you know how to make a set and what to use with the traps.
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.
FOX CONTROL USING SNARES
The handbook is both easy to read and explains the details clearly with illustrations. There are two things that are needed when working with either leghold trap as you will learn in the book. This is URINE and 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 SNARES. These are less expensive to use for startup 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 leghold sets. Traditionalists use legholds, modern trappers have adopted snares and a good balance is probably a good idea. Remember, you can’t have too much Urine in the field or too many sets!
FOX CONTROL LIVE TRAPPING
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 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 and lots of them. 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 following video features a live trap set being made by a professional trapper.
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 CONTROL WITH FOX URINE
Urine should be used on and around it as well as target food scent or lure. By making the trap appear to be a “cage” rather than a trap, fox can be caught. This type of set is very effective if the animals are used to entering chicken coops or other holding areas for pets, livestock or birds. In fact, this type of trap set is very effective if used in a barn, pen or other livestock cage where fox are entering. Upon entering the pen, they are expecting to see a wire and cage like designs so if set in their path with a good lure, you are likely to get one live trapped. Fox will be more 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 either species, 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. Either a LT151842 or the LT152248 will work. Don’t forget to use some urine, lure and target food attractant. To make the ultimate live set, get the LT152248RD and have us install a LIVE BAIT CAGE. We will wire this into the back section of the trap and it will act as a holding cage enabling you to use a small animal as live bait. This Bait Cage is perfect for a chicken or squirrel and since fox can’t resist what they believe to be an easy meal, live trapping them will become that much easier when a Live Bait Cage is used.
Once you have successfully trapped a fox with any of the traps listed above you may want to use a CATCH POLE to help relocate and move the animal. These are the long sticks you see animal control officers use when dealing with irate animals. The sticks have a thick cable which is slipped around the animals neck. You are able to tighten the noose as much as needed which should be tight enough to constrain the animal but not kill it. Be prepared for a fight since most wild animals do not like the prospect of being kept under control with this device. However, the stick provides a lot of leverage which enables the handler to gain control of just about any animal including dogs, cats, beaver, deer, coyote, fox and others.
Fox are distributed 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, both 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 either Coil or Bridger leg hold traps. Snares can also be used and don’t forget urine and lure in order to make the best set. Live traps can be used effectively as well and our handbook for making the perfect set will prove to be a big help.