Sly as a (Red) Fox
Recently the HuntPro team shared some images captured by a test camera positioned near HuntPro HQ in Georgia. The camera is located just outside the main building surrounded by other office buildings, parking lots, an elementary school and busy roads. The team had discovered a den in a rock outcropping and placed a trail camera on it to see what (if anything) emerged. They were pleasantly surprised one morning when they logged in to HuntPro to check images uploaded by the cell camera overnight and discovered dozens of pictures marked with an “F” – for foxes! On the surface, a fox den, complete with 4 curious and rambunctious pups so close to buildings and human activity may seem strange. But in fact, it actually makes a lot of sense.
I think most wildlife professionals, trappers and hunters in the southeast would agree there seem to be a lot less red fox around these days. While there isn’t a lot of research on dwindling population numbers out there, my training as a wildlife biologist and 30 years of experience as a fur trapper leads me to believe that the population is in decline.
There are two types of fox in the southeast. The Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and the Grey fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus). The grey fox can climb trees escaping larger predators. However, the red fox cannot. Therefore, adults and their pups are much more susceptible to being killed by the widely disliked Coyote (Canis latrans). Coyotes began to appear in Georgia in the 1970s and now occupy all US states except Hawaii. Some reports claim coyotes don’t kill red fox for food but only to reduce competition for very similar food sources in an area. I believe it is both, especially when it comes to red fox pups.
A few years back, a friend contacted me about a fox with pups in a den under his porch. He showed me pictures on his phone of an adult red fox with her pups to prove it. I asked myself, why would a red fox den under someone’s porch? I came to the realization that living in a den close to people and human activity may be a great way to avoid coyotes, who typically tend to avoid human interactions. The mother can hunt small mammals, like the chipmunk in the picture to the right, because they’re typically plentiful near houses and buildings. And fox pups can stay close to the den and flee to safety quickly.
If you have a wildlife den or burrow near your home or office, place a trail camera on the entrance to capture pictures. Then, using HuntPro, you can quickly filter out people, vehicles, pets, other wildlife and photos with nothing in them! If you do have the good fortune to discover a red fox den, simply give them space and privacy. Red or grey fox are very rarely harmful to people or pets. And in addition to providing you with some really cool close encounters with a beautiful animal, they could help keep those pesky squirrels away from your birdfeeders!
Lastly, here’s an interesting video of a fox family trying to survive against coyotes in a suburban area in Raleigh, NC. Have similar pictures? We’d love to see them!