The only difference between a successful fox trapper and an unsuccessful one is knowledge and experience. Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time trapping my share of fox and spent even more time asking experienced trappers my most burning questions.
If you find yourself checking empty traps more often than you like then the solution to your problem has likely already been asked by me. I’ve put together the most common issues facing the new fox trapper and answer them to the best of my ability below.
Frequently Asked Fox Trapping Questions
Can a fox smell a trap?
This is not how I would look at this particular issue. Most of the time what a fox smells is us and this can be prevented with some simple care. Traps should be clean and handled with gloves, never bare hands. If done diligently no fox will be able to smell your traps.
A buried trap (or simply covered with dirt, will lose any remnants of human scent. Never carry your traps in a sack on your back and only handle your traps when necessary.
Can a fox smell a green staking stake?
Green stakes can be smelled by a fox so it is advisable to use a dry stake whenever possible. It is best to cut your stakes in the summer and allow them to fully dry prior to the season. Not only will your stakes not be smelled, they will be much stronger. It will also save you time come trapping season as your stakes will be prepped and ready to go.
Does bait scare a fox from a trap?
The answer depends on how the bait is placed. When placed in an unnatural manner, bait can and will scare off a fox. Most fox I trap using bait are young while the older and wiser fox tend to only be found in my blind sets. So if you aren’t yet able to bait a set naturally then go with a blind set.
Is a blind set better than a baited set?
For the most part blind sets are better but as noted above, a well baited set can work perfectly. The best case is to understand how to properly construct a baited set and know when it is better suited to your terrain than a blind set.
How do you bait a fox set?
How you bait a fox set depends on the exact location and landscape you are dealing with.
If you are baiting at a set in dirt you need to shallow burry it or place it under a rock if in a rocky area. If setting a trap near a root system the bait can go under a root.
The key to baiting a fox trap is to present it as naturally as possible. Anything short of that will turn any fox away.
Does scent work?
Some trappers will claim scent does not work but I have been more successful trapping fox with scent than without. The key in my experience is choosing the right scent.
Rotten smelling scents should be avoided, with the exception of the dead of winter when pickings are slim and a fox is more willing to go after whatever they can get.
The best scents I’ve used are beaver castor, muskrat musk and beaver musk. Fox urine is a decent scent as well as it calls the fox to your set and will not spook them.
But the best scent is that left by a previously caught fox. So when you trap one make another set in the exact same place and allow the natural scent to do all your work.
Should scent be used with bait?
Never put scent on your bait. If used on the same set place them separately and use scent sparingly if bait is present. If you don’t it’s a sure fire way to scare off any potential harvest.
When using bait, instead place the scent at a decent distance like a bush near by.
A few other tips for you regarding scent: Don’t put it on your boots or gloves or any part of your trap.
Are land or water sets better for trapping fox?
When trapping early in the season the dirt set produces the best results. But open water sets can perform well all the way until they freeze over.
The water set requires skill and if not done correctly you won’t be taking any fox with it. Practice your water sets but focus on land sets early and increase your number of water sets as the season progresses.
Do clogs near a trap scare away a fox?
Because a fox will carefully examine any trap a clog will scare them away on a baited set, but not on a blind set.
Use an extension chain to get the clog as far away from your trap as possible and use a drag whenever possible.
How many traps do you need for a fox line?
This number will vary depending on the size of your area and the fox population it holds. Pre season scouting is imperative so you know how many locations you have prime for fox sets.
While I max out around 70 traps you may need more or less. Always own and prepare more traps than you think you need though. You’ll thank me for it later.
While there are hundreds of more questions you could ask and still not know everything, once you have these tips nailed down there’s little doubt you will be harvesting far more fox fur. Take your time to make your sets the right way and study your placements ahead of the season. Other than that all that stands between you being a rookie and a veteran is getting out there and trapping.
For more trapping tips check out these articles