by Randy Buker
In this article I will attempt to outline quite a few tips, hints and opinions that I believe will help you in hunting the red fox and the coyote. While I am not going into great detail (I don't want to turn this article into a book) I will be happy to answer any questions you have if you will send me an email that is located on my autobiography page (click on my name above to visit that page).
It's standard operating procedure to call into the wind when you can. Foxes have outstanding noses and will almost certainly try to circle down wind from you in order to check out what is really happening. If I am not calling into the wind I will call across it. This works particularly well when I'm hunting with a partner. If I am calling I will put my hunting partner downwind from me about seventy five yards. (This is a cross wind situation) Then when the fox swings down wind to attempt to scent me, he often ends up in the lap of my partner. This is very effective and the wind should ALWAYS be a factor in your stand location.
I never use them and don't believe in them. I experimented with them a bit a few years ago and found they don't cover your scent. It's like coming into your house and having two different foods cooking at the same time. Unless one odor is very strong, you will be able to smell both dishes. A foxes nose is very skilled at picking scents from the air and I believe that even if you cover yourself in skunk scent, a fox will be able to smell a human wearing skunk scent. Do yourself a favor and forget the cover scent. But, always play the wind. The trick is to set up so you can shoot the fox before he has a chance to smell you.
Wearing full camo is not completely needed if you are able to sit stone-still. I've seen guys hunting foxes in ordinary cover-alls and the like. But, I use full camo all the time. I cover my body, face, hands and gun with the stuff. I figure that any added benefit I can get is worth it. I don't know if it helps my fox hunting or not but it makes me feel better.
Call makers would have you believe that their calls are the only ones that work or that their call works better than the others. Experience has shown me that any call on the market will work just fine. It's all a matter of which one you like best. Confidence in the fox hunting world is important. Use what you like.
HUNTING WITH A PARTNER:
As long as both you and your partner are capable of being quiet and sitting still, a partner will up your take of fur many times over. Set up so that you can see different directions and then cover that direction. I can't tell you how many times I've hunted alone only to be burned by a fox that came in from behind me or from an area where I couldn't get a shot. A partner will help that problem.
When hunting with a partner you have to have a few ground rules. While there is always that desire to be nice to your buddy and let him take a shot that should be his, this kind of attitude will get you a lot of nothing in terms of fur. When I have a partner along we make it clear and our motto is: If you have the shot, take it! This is because even though from where you are sitting it may look like the fox is nearly in his lap, he may not be able to see it because of a branch or something in his way. Whatever the case, if you want to kill the foxes that come in, take the shot if you have it. I can't tell you how many times I've shot a fox that was seemingly right in front of a partner and my partner didn't even know it was there. Of course when adopting this motto as your own, always remember safety. Hold your fire if in doubt.
Decoys will work great. When I hunt with a rifle I generally don't use them. But, if I'm out there with a shotgun and I want that fox up close, I'll put out a decoy. Decoys can be a variety of things from stuffed toys to feathers on a string to commercial decoys. The one I like to use best is the Tail Wagger. It can be ordered by calling 1-888-300-BUCK.
SILENCE IS GOLDEN:
It's interesting that to call foxes you have to make the right kind of noise. And, to scare them away and make sure they don't respond to your call, just make the wrong kind of noise. Nothing will make a fox avoid you more than human voices. Talking is a no-no on the way to the stand. If you must talk to your partner, get right next to him and whisper. The same goes for other noises. Just the slowing of your vehicle will make foxes take note. In many areas, a slowing vehicle means that some joker is going to bail out and open up with a high power rifle. Foxes learn that after the first time. While you can't help the slowing vehicle noise, you can help some of the other noises. Slamming a car door and banging the gun case against the inside of the pickup box will alert area foxes. Rule of thumb is that you don't make any noise other than what is unavoidable. I'm always impressed that when we hike out to a spot wearing snowshoes on crusted snow, we sound like a herd of elephants. There is nothing silent about it. But, apparently foxes are not frightened by herds of elephants. We do well even after we think we have certainly frightened all the foxes away.
Once you have decided your calling site, find a comfortable spot to sit. If there is a stick or rock under your rump you will not be able to sit there for the next fifteen minutes. About the time you have to shift around to get rid of that pain in the rear, you can count on a fox arriving on the scene to check you out. Seeing you moving around will send him on his way sure as anything. Sit still.