An Introduction to Fox Trapping
By Anthony Rose
, last updated January 29, 2012
Novice trappers or concerned property owners can capture foxes if they have appropriate knowledge regarding bait, traps and the wildlife regulations of their state. The fur trade provides income and incentive for trappers. Residential and commercial expansion into the habitats of foxes also creates demand for the expertise of trappers to inhibit damage or physical harm to property, people and pets due to contact with these animals.
Most trappers use some form of bait to draw foxes into body-grips or snares. The attractants are usually aged and liquefied animal byproducts poured in and around such traps. Some trappers prefer to prepare their own bait, although some hunting shops sell fox attractants . Fish oil and rotten eggs are two common forms of bait.
Fish oil is frequently used in trapping and usually stocked by hunting stores. Trappers also make their own using a medium sized freshwater fish with the internal organs removed and common items found in the kitchen or toolshed. First, the fish is cut into small cubes and placed inside a gallon jar with a lid; the lid is screwed onto the jar tight enough for it to remain in place, but loose enough for air to enter. To prevent flies and maggots from entering, a broad cloth is placed over the jar and secured using a rubber band. The jar is subsequently placed in a plastic bag and another rubber band is placed over the bag.
The jar is then situated for five months in an area that receives direct sunlight and not accessible to humans or animals. The resulting fish oil in the jar is strained into separate containers. Trappers usually refrigerate these containers until they are ready to use them.
Creating bait from rotten eggs requires a gallon jar and four dozens eggs. Trappers crack the eggs in a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolk and discard the shells. The liquid is poured into the gallon jar and the lid is placed over the jar, but not tightened. After two months, the eggs are ripe and ready to be used as bait.
State or federal law dictate when and how trappers may catch foxes. Hunting laws usually allow trappers to only use two types of traps: body-grips or snares. Each device provides different results.
Body-grips are spring-loaded devices designed to kill foxes. With this type of trap, a spring is compressed and secured by a trigger hook. Trappers leave a bait trail that draws the foxes close to the wire triggering mechanism. Once the wire is touched, the hook releases the spring on the neck or torso of the animal. This is typically fatal within two minutes.
If trappers seek to humanely relocate the foxes or body-grips are outlawed, snares are used instead. Snares are stranded steel cables with one end looped and the other tethered to a stake or immovable object. Foxes following a bait trail become trapped when their head enters the loop and their own forward momentum causes it to close around the necks or torsos of the animals.