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November 15, 2013

What Does the Fox Say?

You have to know that I"m a tortured soul, right? Like...I have my issues. I have my demons. They haunt me.

The latest thing that's been bothering me is that, I set the trap to catch the skunks, but then I caught a fox. Not just any fox, but a grey one. Very rare in this area. A beautiful fox. And, I wasn't sure if I should let it go or shoot it. I decided the cat was more important than the fox. And I don't want to have to shoot the fox, but I don't want it to kill the cat either. And I have to let the cat outside because he's just too stir crazy otherwise. A million little sequitirs all line up and say, however improbably, however irrationally, that the fox has to die.

I'm still hesitant, but when I go to release the fox, he growls at me, and that makes it easier. Aha...you wanna bite me. Thanks. You just made this decision a lot easier.

Last night, I didn't even bother to set the trap. There's a red fox that's been schooling me pretty handily. He took my chicken, lingered around for an hour licking the cage clean of all the rotisserie drippings, and somehow got away without ever springing the trap.

So, I just left it alone. Didn't set up the gamecam. Didn't touch the trap. And then, I walk outside this morning (by morning, I mean 2:00 RST), and I'm shocked to see a fox in the trap. No pictures, as the game cam is shut off. But there's a fox trapped in my trap, and it wasn't even baited.

"Aha!", I thought. "Who's the clever one now?"

So, I see this fox. Now, I have another issue to deal with. Now, I have to decide what to do with a second fox. Only now, I have a little more information at hand.

I saw a series of photos on Reddit recently. The photo montage is a series of images of a fox hanging out with a cat.

And, that triggered something in my memory....Didn't I once see a fox and a cat go toe to toe? And walk away from each other without anyone dying?

I tested the idea on Jennifer.

"Didn't I see a cat and a fox go nose to nose?" I ask her.

"Yeah....it was Timmy and a Red Fox," she replies. "See...that's what I thought," I offered. My memory is shattered. "I don't think that foxes are a big predator of cats, really. I think it's dogs and coyotes."

"Maybe we didn't need to kill the fox then?" Jennifer offered. She was struggling. I was struggling. But we both needed to be involved in the decision. Nothing else was said, but we both were clearly revisiting our convictions. This is the problem with being alive. The constant aching, nagging suspicion that every conviction you hold is just a convenient crutch. A warped rationalization that would be tossed away without a moment's hesitation if you were on the other side of the dilemma.

I don't like to kill things for no reason. I wasn't brought up that way. But I don't want the fox to kill the cat, but maybe he won't kill the cat. Maybe they could be friends? Like on the internet?

I dunno. But all of this has taken place over the last week or so, and now I've got another fox in the trap and I'm back between the horns of this dilemma and I didn't even try to trap the silly thing this time. He caught himself.

Clearly, he's tired and hungry. Been in the trap all night. Waited on me to get my sorry unemployed lazy ass out of bed, and now, he's sitting here before me awaiting his fate. I can't do it. I don't even reach for a gun or a camera. Or anything. Wearing a T-shirt, jeans, and house slippers, I decided that I'll attempt to release him.

Kind of tricky because, I don't know what he's going to do. He's a wild animal, and the Grey Fox growled at me in a way that made you realize you were inches away from racing to the ER.

But this time, the fox didn't growl at me. He looked at me, with beautiful eyes the color of his coat. No growling. "It's OK...buddy...it's OK..." He emerged slowly from the trap. And, instead of running away, he walked over to the bird feeder.

"I wonder if he knows there's water in there?" I thought. "I wonder if he's thirsty after being caught in the trap all night?"

Of course, the fox knew full-well that there was water in the bird bath. Lord knows how often he drinks from it. He walked to the bird bath, and started drinking from it. At which point, it occurred to me, that I didn't have a camera. What an idiot. Slowly walked inside to get a camera...grabbed up a 50D with a 100mm-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS USM telescopic zoom lens, and stepped carefully back onto the patio. Certain he'd be gone. But he wasn't. He was still drinking from the fountain. Shooting like mad. First, full auto. Then, shift to manual. When I calm down enough...get ISO down to 400...auto-exposure bracketing...f/5.6...shutter speed 1/400 sec...

Now, he hops up INTO the bird bath...me just shooting away like a lunatic...3 frames at a time...8 frames a second...I'm 4 meters away from the fox and shooting like mad. So happy to have a camera, lens, battery, CF card...all cobbled together in time...so glad he didn't bite mew when I let him out of the trap...so happy to see this fox. I hope we have a friend. I hope that Pokey and the Fox can co-exist. But I'm not shooting the fox. I just can't.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 15, 2013 at 1:17 PM


You really need to put a stool out for him.

Posted by: TL on November 15, 2013 at 4:47 PM

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