By Josh Boyd
There is something inherently beautiful about the full, rusty amber coat of a red fox. These miniature canines have been a staple on the traplines of many for a number of years. Foxes can be found in a large swath of our nation’s rural areas and can be readily caught by any trapper who is detail-oriented.
If you have ever heard the saying “sly as a fox”, you get a better picture of exactly what you will be up against. Foxes can be extremely intelligent and cause a trapper to pull their hair out if proper care is not taken to safeguard against a fox discovering the location of their trap.
Much like coyote trapping, no matter the set that is chosen, a high level of attentiveness is a must when trapping for fox. However, with a thorough knowledge of trap sets with a high potential for return and an ample dose of care, you can be well on your way to a highly successful year on the trapline.
Dirt hole Set
A fox is a highly curious creature that seldom misses an opportunity to check out any changes to their environment, especially those that might lead to a meal. Foxes have come to associate small holes with dinner, as a variety of species that they dine on call underground shelters their home. A wise trapper can exploit this trait to their advantage with the use of a dirt hole set.
A dirt hole set is made by digging a well-prepared trap bed, in which a trap will be seated and then sifted over with clean, debris-free dirt. It is imperative that your trap be seated in a way that prevents any wobble, should a fox step anywhere other than the pan. For most trappers, a #1 ½ coil-spring is their trap of choice for catching wary foxes.
Once the trap is placed, a small hole is to be dug at the front lip of the trap bed to a depth of approximately 6”-8”. This hole should also be slightly angled toward the trap bed to entice a fox to walk into the trap while attempting to investigate. Backing of a multitude of varieties can be used to the rear of the dirt hole to facilitate this as well. A small dab of fox lure will be placed in the depths of your bait hole upon the completion of constructing your set.
A flat set, like a dirt hole set, utilizes a coil-spring trap to catch any inquisitive fox. The premise of a flat set is that a fox will more often than not seek to investigate anything that catches its eye. The common denominator in a flat set is the use of a form of backing. This can be an old cattle leg bone, a rock, or even a small sapling.
Once a suitable form of backing is located, you will dig a well-prepared trap bed in front of it. When fox trapping, this trap bed does not need to be any further than 5”-8” from your backing, as foxes generally maneuver themselves relatively close to the item that they are investigating. Always ensure that your trap is properly staked and that there is absolutely no wobble of the trap within the trap bed.
After your flat set has been constructed, you will place your lure for attraction. Fox urine can be used to mark your set’s backing, adding to the realism of the scene that you have just created. Additionally, a small amount of glandular lure can be placed on the set’s backing as well.
As foxes move from one point to another on a daily basis, they utilize under fence crossings to enter and exit pastures and woodlots. An individual can typically identify these crossings with relative ease, as they will feature a well-worn path on both sides of the lowest strand of fence wire.
When a crossing of this nature is located, a snare becomes the perfect tool for trapping these locations in an efficient manner. Fox snares generally feature loops with an average diameter of approximately 8” and are placed at a height that is highly dependent upon the distance from the lowest strand of fence wire to the ground.
Suitable snares for fox trapping can be purchased on the Internet, or from nearly any trapping supply store. Snares can be purchased in a pre fashioned, ready to set form, or alternatively, can be built by hand as one desires.
It is important to note that foxes have a keen sense of smell and can easily pick up on human odor. This makes scent control an absolute must. When using coil-spring traps, it is wise to boil, dye, and wax all traps before use. This not only minimizes scent but serves to weatherproof the trap as well.
It is also advisable to construct your trap set while wearing gloves designated for that sole purpose. Human hands contain natural oils, that when transferred to a trap, can be detrimental to your level of success.
Fox Trapping Made Easy
Though fox trapping can be uniquely difficult at times, those that do so understand the pure enjoyment that such an endeavor brings. By utilizing the above-mentioned sets, you can maximize your catch, and pack your fur shed full of beautiful fox pelts.