AFTER THE FOX   2 comments

Fox 1_edited-1

Cold crisp mornings are a regular during winter.  It is one of those crunchy, frosty mornings.  A hunter places his mouth call to his lips and gives out with a squeak that imitates a mouse in distress.  The fox moves cautiously out of the weeds and the archer releases his arrow.

Red fox exist in varying number throughout the Midwest.  However, hunting fox is not as easy as finding them.  Hunting these small canines with bow and arrow is even more challenging.

During mid‑December, foxes experience a hormonal change that causes them to seek out each other.  Vacancies in the established territories fill with other adults or by some of the young of the year.  Tracks will show two animals traveling together and often intertwining.

In January, the breeding season begins with the young born 54 days later.  After the young grow up, the family unit breaks up in September.  They remain alone until the following December.

Red fox thrive in farmland and in the brush, or swamp country.  Some gray fox populations still exist.  However, they become decimated in other areas by coyote predation.

The best hunting months are during the winter.  The animal has the best pelt during the winter months.  The most productive hunting method is calling.  Calling a fox into bow range is a chancy prospect at best.  However, the exhilaration of being able to put that fine pelt up on the wall makes it all worth the effort.

Of the two species of fox, the gray is most likely to respond to a call.  Fox are opportunity eaters and neither species is going to pass up an easy meal.

The more popular predator call that imitates a rabbit in distress also works with fox and coyote.  Nevertheless, the squeak is deadly on foxes.  The main difference is that the squeak is seldom audible at more than 300 yards.

Whatever the call, much practice is required before setting off into the field.  Neighbors and family may think the hunter is a little crazy.  After all, everyone knows that you do not have to be ready for the foolish factory to be a foxhunting archer, but it helps.

Although the fox is a small game animal, hunt him as a big game quarry.  A bow of hunting weight with either aluminum, carbon or wood arrows do the job.  Broadheads are essential.  A straight or helical three fletching is best.  The broadhead must be razor sharp in order to insure a quick, humane kill.  There is never any excuse for a dull broadhead.

The fletching on the arrows can be plastic vanes or feathers.  Four and one half to five inch fletching is preferred to provide stability needed.  That stability is essential for straight and true flight of the arrow.

As with most bowhunting, camo clothing is important.  One does not get many shots at foxes.  The clothing should match the terrain as much as possible.  Once snow is on the ground, the lighter camo comes into play.  Once the ground is fully covered, pure white is effective.  Most camo manufacturers now have winter patterns available.

If one wears eyeglasses, a head cover of some kind is good.  Reflection of sunlight off eyeglasses sends a fox into high gear and away for the hunter.  A white pillowcase with holes cut out for the eyes and nose works well.

Foxes will react to the human eye.  As the animal approaches, it is not a good idea to look directly at him.  It helps to keep ones head down and to look up slowly and sparingly.  Like all animals, fox depend upon the spotting of movement, for protection from predators.

Once the equipment and calls are in order, sneak into a wooded area near a ridge top and get started.  It is best to begin with some open country downwind of the calling position.

That way anything approaching is visible.  Complete calm is best.  Wind tends to hide the noise of the call.  Successful calling in a moderate wind is possible but success is less likely as the wind increases.

Constantly calling tends to bring in an animal more quickly, whereas an on‑off calling results in a more deliberate stalking by the quarry.  Constant calling tends to hide errors by the hunter.

If no response in 12 minutes, move to another position.  Usually such a position is no more than a quarter mile away.  Before moving look carefully around to be sure any movement will not scare off a fox that is approaching unseen.  Once a fox hears the call, he knows exactly the position of the caller.  It is important to remain motionless as long as possible, and until the shot.

Bowhunting fox is fun and can add to the income.  Fox pelts sold provides the money used to add to the bowhunting budget for more hunting tackle.  Some people are so proud of the bow kill of a fox and would not sell the pelt for any amount of money.

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2 responses to “AFTER THE FOX

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  1. why would anybody want to kill a red fox? i have not seen one in years.

    • In some areas of the country there are fox seasons due to the argricultural damage their over populaiton causes. We have a lot of them in this area. Too many. The over populations also causes problems within the populations in the form of Distemper. We have that problem in our populations in that with over population they come into close contact with one another and spread the disease.

      Hunting is a well established and recognized effective of controling wildlife populations.

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