Fox in the Henhouse
by Jon Gilbert
Oswego, New York, Age 17
I had just taken the New York State trapper training course when I got a call from my neighbor. He told me he had a problem with foxes eating the chickens on his farm.
I told him I might be able to help. I got out my trapper training manual and read about foxes and their habits. The manual said foxes tend to be one of the harder animals to trap because they can be trap-shy.
I called up Mr. Hogan, the man who taught the course. He told us he would help anyone if they had a question. I needed help.
Three days later, Mr. Hogan and I went for a walk down the fenceline of the neighbor’s farm. We saw some fox sign.
Mr. Hogan pointed out a good pinch point — 18 inches wide — between a small tree and the fence.
Mr. Hogan taught me how to make a dirthole set. I followed his instructions, and at the end, we had a pretty nice set accented by fox urine on the tree.
The next day, I could hardly wait to check my traps. I went to a creek where I had set a few raccoon traps, but I had nothing.
I was a little discouraged, but I held out hope the fox trap at my neighbor’s might be fruitful. I crossed the creek and headed to my neighbor’s field. I hadn’t caught anything.
I went home and bided my time, waiting for the next day to roll around.
The next morning, I checked the raccoon sets first. Nothing.
But when I came to the fox set, I had my first taste of success. I came across a large gray fox rolling around caught by its right front paw in a #1½ coilspring.
I called Mr. Hogan, who drove 10 miles to help me out dispatch the animal with his .22.
He congratulated me on my catch.
The place turned out to be a real hotspot. Within the next couple of weeks, I caught a raccoon, red fox and skunk all at the same spot!
If I had not been mentored by someone who knew what he was doing and really wanted to pass down his knowledge, my catches wouldn’t have become a reality. Not everyone has an opportunity to cut their teeth on a gray fox. Without Mr. Hogan’s guidance, I probably would not have caught the fox.
The knowledge he gave me firsthand by being willing to go with me on my trapline helped me learn a lot about the different animals in the area and how to catch them.
I can’t wait until the water in the swamp freezes to try my hand at beaver trapping.
You could win!
“School Days” is sponsored by Duke Traps and the Wisconsin Trappers Association. Winners receive six traps, a Wisconsin Cooperative Trapper Education video, a NTA?handbook and a membership to their state’s trappers association or a membership to the WTA for nonparticipating states. To be considered, send a 300- to 500-word story and a clearly focused, print-quality photograph of the trapper or hunter with a catch, kill, fur or trap to:?School Days, The Trapper & Predator Caller, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990.