found the fox's den...now what?! Hunters, help!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by farmgirl77, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. farmgirl77

    farmgirl77 Out Of The Brooder

    74
    0
    39
    Sep 10, 2009
    A fox has killed four of my birds over the last year. Now, with snow on the ground my husband and I noticed just how much attention the birds are getting from the footprints around the coop. We followed the tracks and they led to an abandoned shed not 100 yards from the coop!!! Feel like such an idiot for not figuring this out sooner. The shed is filled with junk, and when Hubby lifted up some boards way in the back he found a hollowed out, soft place in the dirt and a big pile of scat near by. There were lots of prints leading to the shed, including drag marks with occational hind rabbit prints from dragging prey to the shed. Obviously, the fox wasn't there when we were investigating. My husband recently bought a high-powered air rifle and is ready to hunt, but new to hunting. I'm wondering if we screwed it up by messing with the den. Do you think the fox will find a new place to camp out now? What is the best way to hunt him? Hide near by and wait for it to show up? I love nature and wildlife, but this fox has taken my birds and has to go. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
     
  2. Mark & Nique

    Mark & Nique Chillin' With My Peeps

    235
    0
    99
    Jun 20, 2010
    South Carolina
    I would remove all the debris. This would force the fox to find a new home AND not allow any future critters to move in and claim the old shed as their new home.

    If you kill the fox, the shelter will remain and will very likely become a home for something else.
     
  3. oesdog

    oesdog Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,447
    85
    234
    Jun 7, 2010
    Ireland
    I wish you didn;t have to kill your fox. THey are lovely creatures and not much different to a dog. I know you feel you need to do this to protect your flock. I am with you on that. I just think its hard for it to get food in the snow and cold and your girls seem a really good option right now for him! All you can eat buffet!
    Pitty you couldn;t live trap him and move him further away. I am so glad you didn;t find any baby foxes in the den!!!! - Ok I am soft!!!!!! I even lift the mice out of the food bin when they get stuck in there while they steel chicken food!! One is so used to me doing that now he actually comes and sits on my hand for me to lift him out now!!!

    I would see if you could secure your coop and run a bit better if your fox is able to get in. You might get rid of this preditor but if you don;t secure your coop and run another will soon take its place.

    Oesdog - ok you can yell at me now for caring about the fox [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] I will shut up now ok [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2011
  4. farmgirl77

    farmgirl77 Out Of The Brooder

    74
    0
    39
    Sep 10, 2009
    We did try to live-trap him this summer. Used fox urine, chicken bones/ meat, cat food, nothing worked. We did catch five racoons, however. I don't know how in the world to get a fox into a live-trap. So...we bought the gun.
     
  5. Grim

    Grim Out Of The Brooder

    48
    0
    22
    Jan 26, 2011
    you have several options. 1) you can call an exterminator/varmint control and have them take care of it. 2) you can get a game cock. 3) you can use a live trap baited with scraps, sardines, tuna, eggs(both cracked and whole, cracked for smell), or some other food. vixen musk (female fox in heat pee) might help. dispose of the animal as you see fit, i suggest a .22 long rifle round to the head. this usually takes a week or more and after setting don't approach the trap again unless it is tripped. 4) the less humane approach. steel traps. WARNING STEEL TRAPS USUALLY BREAK THE LEG OF THE ANIMAL THAT IS CAUGHT!!! WARNING set them around the obvious fox runs, buried about 1/2" to 1" under the surface substance. dirt is best because it doesn't change much. snow melts and exposes the trap, but you work with what you have. set them in sets of 3 or 4 in a rough circle area around bait. follow same procedure as with live trap but understand that if you use steel traps you tend to have to kill what you catch. this could include opossum, raccoon, any of the weasel family(this includes skunks, you can guess how they feel about having something grab them and break their leg.), cats, dogs (these may belong to you or a neighbor, steel traps usually break a leg YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED have fun with the vet bills. large dogs sometimes just have sever bruising), coyotes, and any number of other innocent victims that are not the fox. while most of these are egg stealers or chicken killers remember that Fluffy or Fido can just as easily find the traps. i suggest a .22 rifle for disposal but any gun will work, including shotguns. a shotgun will not damage most steel traps but will destroy a live trap. 5) your last option is to sit and wait on the fox. this is stand hunting. you find a spot where you can set up a blind and wait for the fox. then shoot it when you see it. (good luck with this method.)

    now DO NOT USE AN AIR RIFLE!!! you will most likely NOT kill it. instead most likely you will hit it and not do any damage but make it scared or mad. and it either runs off or attacks you. less likely you will hit it and injure it and then you have an injured animal on your hands. it will be hurt, less able to hunt, much more dangerous to your animals because they are easier to hunt, and a danger to you and others in the area, especially children. this is all on top of the animal living in pain. possibly starving to death.

    If you insist on "hunting" the fox, use a rifle (center fire cartridge, not rimfire. .22 and .17 are rimfire and are illegal to use while hunting in most areas of the U.S., they can be used to "execute" a trapped animal.) If you are REALLY lucky you have a friend with a pack of beagles of foxhounds and a couple of riding horses. if so you have a very good chance of getting rid of the fox. otherwise i suggest the live trap or game cock methods.

    EDIT: adding tips on using live traps.

    minimize your scent around the trap. set it and leave it. check it from as far away as possible. don't worry about the bait, if properly baited they won't steal the bait without getting caught. make sure that food is in a position that only can be reached by tripping the trap. place the trap close to the den or the chickens. i suggest the chickens. what ever you catch is probably a danger to your birds anyway. backside of the coop is the best position. the fox is used to you coming close to the coop just don't go too close to the trap. personally i usually have a live trap set close to my coop most of the time. catch them before they become a problem then relocate them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2011
  6. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    10,684
    95
    321
    May 13, 2008
    A box trap probably won't work, if you have ever heard the saying sly as a fox LOL, I wouldn't shoot him with a da gone air rifle Come on really !!!!, plus your chances of seeing him are nil at best. the post by Grim will serve you well if you have the gumption that is to actually do what you must, but if you fail your chances of catching him are out the window. It will also help to fix that coop and run so there is no way in H3ll he can get in, fox'y stay's because your giving him an easy meal and a cozy bed. Give him the Ole SSS.

    AL
     
  7. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

    4,356
    199
    258
    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    I agree with using a .22 or .17 at minimum, they have enough power to get the job done properly. An air rifle will not get the job done, as mentioned, and will make the fox more difficult to deal with. Not to mention, embedding non fatal pellets in an animal is rather cruel.

    If you do the live, humane trap approach, I suggest that you put it in a less open area and disguise is with leaves and branches. Make a 'den' effect. It makes most animals a little less hesitant to go in.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2011
  8. Turkeyrangler

    Turkeyrangler Chillin' With My Peeps

    533
    5
    131
    May 9, 2010
    By Lake Superior
    Better idea. Put an add on craigslist looking for a local trapper. An oldtime trapper will be glad to place traps for free. Most like being offered to trap on private land. Fox can be a little tough to trap, but for someone who knows what they are doing it really isn't that difficult. As others have said. A pellet gun will not get the job done unless it's a VERY, VERY lucky shot. I don't know about you, but I'm never been that lucky with anything.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2011
  9. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

    5,644
    368
    303
    Jan 14, 2008
    You should check with your state's Conservation Department or equivalent re the legality of using an air rifle for this purpose. In NY it would be illegal & I question if an air rifle, even a "high powered" one would do more than injure a Fox.
     
  10. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    I've caught 2 foxes in regular-raccoon sized have a hart traps baited with dry cat food (small red foxes, not the big ones) so yes it can be done. They won't go in the first day though, might take a month before they decide it's safe enough to try. I put the trap right up next to the side of the run fence and it generally works really well that way. You could loosely cover it with a dark color tarp or otherwise disguise it, but I didn't.
    I'm not a fan of air guns, they aren't really for killing stuff. Get yerself a real .22 and practice a LOT before you go trying to shoot a moving target from a distance. Easier to trap first and then shoot [​IMG]

    July 21, 2010
    [​IMG]

    Aug 27, 2010
    [​IMG]

    If you are after the bigger grey foxes, get a LARGE raccoon trap, or a coyote trap [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by