Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Bringing in Backyard Fox

Interested in bringing in backyard wildlife for a game camera shots?  It's pretty simple stuff.

First you, will need a decent game camera. There are a lot of makes and models and price ranges, but I like a real white-light picture, and not an infra-red image. I'm also cheap. I have gone through a number of game camera models over the years, but  the current camera is a 14 Megaxpixel Moultrie D-80 White Flash Trail Game Camera.  Place the cameras low -- fox and raccoon are only about a foot off the ground, and a deer is about 30 inches off the ground at center mass.

No matter what they say on the box, I do not recommend leaving any camera out for weeks at a time in the rain.

How do you get fox, raccoon, possum, or deer to show up? You don't need to go to the woods or a farm to see red fox. If you live in an American suburb that has a portion of the yard free of hard fences, you probably have red fox, possum, and raccoon in your yard at night right now, especially if you have bird feeders and a small bit of water in a pan.  Even if you are in a city, if you have a large park nearby, or a wooded creek, you may have fox and raccoon nearby.

Spilled bird seed is eagerly lapped up by fox, raccoons, and possum, and a few handfuls of kibbled dog food, old bread, pizza crust, bacon grease (deer love it!), or hard boiled eggs will attract wildlife in short order.  Cheap women's perfume is supposed to be an especially powerful attractant for fur bearers, though I have never used it.

You do not not need to feed every night; if you only put out a little food every week or two, wildlife will come around every night to see if they got lucky.  Only an occasional "jackpot" is needed to train wildlife to play the "come to my yard" game.

The Red Fox in your neighborhood may be living under decks or inside or under old storage sheds, under old wheelbarrows or canoes forgotten at the back of a property, in dry storm drains, hollow logs, and old groundhog burrows. They will tuck in anywhere it is warm and dry, and often sleep above ground if it's above freezing and not raining hard, curling up tight under dense bushes and brush. Raccoons may den in hollow trees, crawl spaces under houses, and inside attics, as well as find refuge in storm drains and under firewood piles,

Absent your food offerings, red fox live happily on mice and kitchen trash, road kill, garden vegetables, spilled bird seed, bird eggs, snakes, chipmunks, rats, frogs, bugs, earthworms, grass, berries, acorns, and the occasional rabbit, possum or baby bird.


Lynn Benoit said...

I'd love to set up a camera to see who is lurking outside the duck house at night. Cool post, thanks!

LRM said...

Yes--this is really helpful! Thank you!

I get foxes from time to time, but lately, the only furry things making a regular appearance are the usual rodents, moles, and unfortunately, short-tailed shrews, which Harry has begun catching--until gets a good (or bad) mouthful. I guess the jury is out on whether foxes will actually eat shrews. I'd love to hear how your owl box works out. Apparently they don't mind a bit of shrewy funk.

Lucas Machias said...


I have not seen good data on how many trail cameras are out there these days, but what little there is suggests several hundred thousand are just sold every year.