Sly … clever … cunning … these are all commonly used adjectives to describe the fox, and with good reason. Foxes are known for their “street smarts,” and they have learned to adapt quite nicely to humans invading their turf. They feed on a variety of foods, including carrion, rodents, insects, fruits, vegetables and small animals. And foxes feel no shame at all about raiding your trash for a late-night snack.
Because they love the night life and usually fly solo, you may never see a fox, but the damage they cause is all too real. Foxes become a nuisance when they start to prey on our gardens, livestock or pets. Cats and dogs can be particularly vulnerable when facing a fox, as are birds, squirrels and chipmunks. And, if you own a farm, you are probably all too familiar with the mayhem caused by the proverbial “fox in the henhouse!”
Fox Trapping Tips
Because of their cleverness, knowing how to trap a fox alive can be a challenge. One way to try to “out-fox” a fox is to use step trapping, which involves presenting food over a period of nights. The first night, place the food outside of the trap; the second, at the entrance; the third, inside the trap without setting it. Camouflage the trap with leaves, sticks or pine straw bales.
As far as the type of trap, try to avoid using inhumane leg-hold traps. A better option is a well-camouflaged wire mesh cage with a door that’s activated when the fox pulls on the bait. Foxes are smart enough to realize that a trap sitting out in the open is just that—a trap! Instead, place the trap in a location where it sees more of a natural part of the surroundings such as against a wall.
When it comes to fox baiting tips, the best bait for foxes is fish or fishy-smelling cat food, pork or other meat. Place the bait around the trap rather than only inside it. Avoid leaving your own scent on the trap, as this may prove to be a deterrent.
You can also repel foxes, keeping them off your property in the first place. The fox repellent should target both the sense of smell and taste of the fox. You can attempt to repel foxes by using homemade concoctions made from household products like garlic, onions and chopped sage, although these take time to prepare and are often ineffective. There are also motorized sprinklers that can be effective to repel foxes. These devices use a quick burst of water combined with the noise and motion of the sprinkler going off to scare the fox away from the protected area.