Like No Barking I’ve Ever Heard

Our history with fox goes back quite a way. I remember them being very prevalent the summer we got married which was 1995. We got married in the backyard, and there was a particular fox that used to pass through the yard all the time, morning and night. Since the wedding and reception was going to be outdoors at dusk, I was concerned–not for my guests, but for the fox! I didn’t want my guests getting upset and possibly doing something aggressive toward it.

So a few weeks before the wedding I went to our cooperative extension agent and asked about this problem. They gave me a sheet on trapping! This was decidedly NOT what I had in mind! Knowing what I know now, I might have used a little bobcat repellent around the perimeter of our yard–or perhaps not.

In any event, it did not turn out to be an issue. The fox didn’t make itself known to anyone who might have reacted in a negative manner and everything was fine.

Since then we’ve had numerous fox in and around our property. We suspect we may have had a fox den in our woods at one time. We’re perfectly fine with that. Fox are great predators of small mammals (read chipmunks here) and the chipmunks can get out of control on our property if nature doesn’t intervene in some manner. (I’ll talk about chipmunks–for better or worse–on Friday).

The title of this post comes from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Fact Sheet, which talks about foxes barking in a series of “yaps, yells and howls”. That doesn’t even quite begin to approximate it.

One of the most arresting times I’ve seen fox making these noises, for lack of a better word, was at dusk on a February afternoon. I was standing in the parking lot of my church after evening Mass talking to a friend when we both started to hear this weird noise. We turned to look in the direction where we heard it and there were 2 red fox playing on a snow bank, running, and wrestling and tumbling and making this cacophony of sounds that I can’t even begin to describe. It is not canine or dog-like–it’s just different.

It was a treat to see them–not so much to hear them–and a sight I won’t soon forget.

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