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Trapper's Manual

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.

Fox Sets

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.

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