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How to Trap a Fox

Sly … clever … cunning … these are all commonly used adjectives to describe the fox, and with good reason. Foxes are known for their “street smarts,” and they have learned to adapt quite nicely to humans invading their turf. They feed on a variety of foods, including carrion, rodents, insects, fruits, vegetables and small animals. And foxes feel no shame at all about raiding your trash for a late-night snack.

Because they love the night life and usually fly solo, you may never see a fox, but the damage they cause is all too real. Foxes become a nuisance when they start to prey on our gardens, livestock or pets. Cats and dogs can be particularly vulnerable when facing a fox, as are birds, squirrels and chipmunks. And, if you own a farm, you are probably all too familiar with the mayhem caused by the proverbial “fox in the henhouse!”

Fox Trapping Tips

Because of their cleverness, knowing how to trap a fox alive can be a challenge. One way to try to “out-fox” a fox is to use step trapping, which involves presenting food over a period of nights. The first night, place the food outside of the trap; the second, at the entrance; the third, inside the trap without setting it. Camouflage the trap with leaves, sticks or pine straw bales.

As far as the type of trap, try to avoid using inhumane leg-hold traps. A better option is a well-camouflaged wire mesh cage with a door that’s activated when the fox pulls on the bait. Foxes are smart enough to realize that a trap sitting out in the open is just that—a trap! Instead, place the trap in a location where it sees more of a natural part of the surroundings such as against a wall.

When it comes to fox baiting tips, the best bait for foxes is fish or fishy-smelling cat food, pork or other meat. Place the bait around the trap rather than only inside it. Avoid leaving your own scent on the trap, as this may prove to be a deterrent.

You can also repel foxes, keeping them off your property in the first place. The fox repellent should target both the sense of smell and taste of the fox. You can attempt to repel foxes by using homemade concoctions made from household products like garlic, onions and chopped sage, although these take time to prepare and are often ineffective. There are also motorized sprinklers that can be effective to repel foxes. These devices use a quick burst of water combined with the noise and motion of the sprinkler going off to scare the fox away from the protected area.

Image: Pontman

Suggested Solutions

37 Comments

  • Havahart®

    Hi Tom,

    We’re glad to hear your cat is safe! Of course, we’d hope you would trap the fox rather than shoot it. Our extra-large humane trap may do the trick: http://www.havahart.com/store/live-animal-traps/stray-dog.

    However, please check with your local wildlife commission to see if it is legal and safe to trap and relocate a fox in your area. If you choose to trap the fox, we’d recommend using chicken as bait.

    Thank you, and best of luck!

    Your Friends at Havahart®

    • 11:55 am - September 6, 2012

    • Reply
  • Jan White

    Please help. Fox has found my chickens. He doesn’t seem afraid as he comes very close to the house chasing them. He has taken several already from around the barn. We live in the country and have free ranch chickens. A few less now. I have a trap we got for catching raccoon s but if I put it close to the barn the cats or chickens will get in it. Can it be placed close to the woods? Any help would be appreciated. I am rather handicapped and moving the cage is hard for me. Thanks Jan

    • 3:52 pm - September 18, 2012

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    • Havahart®

      Hi Jan,

      Sorry to hear about your fox troubles! Foxes can be very harmful to livestock, especially chickens, as you’ve experienced. If you have our trap Model #1081, it will be big enough to live trap a fox. The trap can be placed close to the woods. We recommend placing it as close to the fox’s den as possible. In the case that you cannot find the den, placing it at the edge of your property where you believe they enter the property is the second best option.

      We outline all of the recommended steps in detail in this blog post: http://community.havahart.com/learn-fox/

      We hope this helps you!

      Best,

      Your Friends at Havahart®

      • 9:27 am - September 19, 2012

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  • PATRICK CURRAN

    WE HAVE FREE RANGE CHICKENS AND HAVE BEEN NOTICING SOME COMING UP MISSING. I PUT OUT MY GAME CAMERA FIRST AND LET IT STAY OUT A COUPLE NIGHTS. THE FIRST NIGHT I GOT A PICTURE OF A GREY FOX AND THE SECOND NIGHT I GOT A PICTURE OF A CAYOTE. WE SET A CAYOTE LIVE TRAP UP AND PUT DEER MEAT IN IT ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS.

    • 10:50 am - October 14, 2012

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    • Havahart®

      Hi Patrick,

      Sorry to hear about your chickens going missing! At least you know what sort of animal is harming them! The deer meat should work well for coyote bait. We suggest placing the trap as close to the area their den may be as well, rather than close to your house. This way, they are going to come upon the trap before your chickens! Other than that, we would only recommend contacting your local game commission for help. We wish you the best of luck!

      Your Friends at Havahart®

      • 8:53 am - October 15, 2012

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  • kit

    hi, i live in farm area, and theres a creek in my back yard and an old chicken coop. no animals though. i do have a small chiuhahua and he is scared to go out back now for some reason. i whent down to the creek to see and noticed some tracks. we have an old rabbit, scunk, and opossum trap, would i be able to catch it with that? and where should i put it?

    • 6:40 pm - November 25, 2012

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  • serena

    Hi, I bought a medium fox trap and I keep putting different bait in it, and my nabor cats keeps eating them any ideas to keep them away? how much r though kind of cameras? I don’t know where the fox den is eather I think its very far away. any ideas to get the fox in my trap?

    • 1:17 pm - June 13, 2013

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    • Havahart®

      Hi Serena! Thanks for your comment! To bait your trap so that your neighborhood cats and dogs are not eating it, we recommend using something sweet. Wheat bread with peanut butter spread on it is always a sure attractant, oil of anise, sweet corn and grape jelly are also suggested for nuisance animals. The majority of domestic animals are not attracted to this type of bait. Good luck!

      Your Friends at Havahart®

      • 8:22 am - June 14, 2013

      • Reply
  • serena

    hi,
    will the fox go after that stuff? what’s oil anise? I hope it will work the fox is killing my nobor chicken now I been keeping my pen up I only got 18 left out of 30 or more

    • 5:49 pm - June 30, 2013

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Serena,

      The fox should definitely go after those types of bait. Oil of anise is produced from refined dried Anise seeds. Good luck!

      Your friends at Havahart®

      • 11:04 am - July 1, 2013

      • Reply
  • joleen

    how can you avoid leaving your own scent on the trap?? i heard you can spray something to cover your scent, but i cant remember what that is.

    • 3:54 pm - July 8, 2013

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    • Havahart®

      Hi Joleen! Thanks for your question! If you handle the cage with gloves, or have limited contact with the cage, there should be no human scent. It usually isn’t necessary to use an additional product. Please let us know if you have any other questions!
      Your Friends at Havahart®

      • 4:21 pm - July 11, 2013

      • Reply
  • serena

    Hi, its me again,

    I tried bread with peanut butter on it and jam cause u said it would work I did it and didn’t work? what ales can I do? I herd fox r so very clever, I don’t think I will ever catch it, I miss my chickens being free range.

    • 7:10 pm - August 6, 2013

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Serena,

      Thanks for the comment! We’re sorry that you haven’t been able to trap these foxes. Please call our customer support team at 1-855-5-HAVAHART so we can help you further!

      Thanks!
      Your Friends at Havahart®

      • 11:24 am - August 7, 2013

      • Reply
  • jaimi

    I am interested in repelling the fox in my yard. I caught the fox on my back porch the other night. I have cats that I love. I came home from school tonight to find my tomcat injured and it looks like something to a bite out of him, now I am pissed more than ever at this fox. I need help on figuring out how to get rid of this fox.

    • 10:21 pm - April 21, 2014

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    • Havahart®

      Hi Jami! Thank you for your comment! We really recommend trapping and relocating them! You can also use a motion-activated sprinkler like the Havahart® Spray Away! Here are quite a few useful tips: http://community.havahart.com/live-trapping/fox/ Please let us know if you have any questions!

      • 9:10 am - April 24, 2014

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      • Wolfgang

        No they don’t hunt in packs they are actually verry territorial and will fight even to the death and if they are out during the day and together peacefully I think one of two things are possible they are either rabid because all of that is very unusual the only time you really see multiple fox at a time is a mother with children and they only come out during broad daylight if something is unusual like a shortage of food forcing them to hunt day hours or it could be unusual caused by rabies my second guess is that someone nearby has been feeding them making them used to each other and people also making them come out in daylight because that is when people put food out either way if a small child gets to close they could be bitten but I don’t think a fox would attack a human unless they were cornered or if someone approaches it they also do tend to be stubborn not wanting to give up ground if you advance on it so if you see it and approach it they might not back away especially if it is either hungry or a dominant male

        • 4:31 pm - January 2, 2016

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  • j

    I have spotted as many as seven fox at one time. As our property is about 2 acres up against woods most if the neighbor kids play here..
    can they pack hunt? I have box traps but only trapping raccoon…at this point I fear for child safety..someone s as I’d stack pieces of sponge in bacon grease…does that work

    • 8:48 pm - June 6, 2014

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi! You can check out our fox baiting tips on the community here. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

      • 3:29 pm - June 13, 2014

      • Reply
  • john of ohio trapping Asso.

    I am trying to trap fox, what should I use for bait???

    • 10:17 am - January 9, 2015

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi John! When it comes to fox baiting, the best bait for foxes is fish or fishy-smelling cat food, pork or other meat. Place the bait around the trap rather than only inside it. Avoid leaving your own scent on the trap, as this may prove to be a deterrent. Good luck!

      • 10:19 am - January 9, 2015

      • Reply
  • ethan

    what is the best bait for fox trapping

    • 4:58 am - February 4, 2015

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Ethan! We recommend using fish, meat, eggs or sugar coated vegetables. You can read more on fox baits here.

      • 9:41 am - February 5, 2015

      • Reply
  • Anna Garrow

    We have free ranged rabbits, they stay in the yard. But we noticed Fox tracks in the snow, now this spring the tracks are gone and the Fox is taking our rabbits, we had 7 now we only have 3 rabbits left. I had set a trap and only caught a skunk, is there any tips that I could use to catch a fox, instead of a neighborhood cat or opossum or skunk?

    • 2:44 pm - April 13, 2015

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Anna! What kind of bait are you using? Here are some of our other best fox trapping tips that might help you narrow it down: http://community.havahart.com/learn-fox/ Unfortunately catching other animals is sometimes unavoidable. Let us know if you have any other questions!

      • 3:43 pm - April 13, 2015

      • Reply
    • Alex

      So basically humans need to use their brains. There are many things that will take a rabbit…neighbor dogs, cats, Hawks, owls, etc….It is stupid and I humane to think you can trap anything and everything that might take your rabbits just because you want to free-range them. Wouldn’t it be less exhausting to just build the pet rabbits a nice pen for protection? Just a thought.

      • 1:43 pm - August 7, 2015

      • Reply
  • Anna Garrow

    I used a few eggs as bait

    • 11:21 am - April 14, 2015

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  • Wolfgang

    Honestly just find out your local hunting laws and shoot it they are mostly nocturnal I just set out a bait pile of old food and spoiled meat visible from my house and early in the morning during sunrise and just before sunset I watch for it then if I see it I load up my .22 wait for a clear shot then boom shoot it in the head right at the base of the ear that way I can also make a quick buck off of it by selling the fur and I know a lot of you probably think I’m terrible for doing it but it isn’t inhumane in any way the bullet kills it so quickly it’s dead before it even falls and if you trap it and try to “relocate” it it will probably end up dead anyway because coyotes are extremely common and if they relocate it to a place with even a small coyote population it’s just gunna become lunch or an other persons problem and that other person will probably kill it I just say kill it sell it and get some use out of this one nusance

    • 4:22 pm - January 2, 2016

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  • Wolfgang

    A dead rabbit squirrel or bird are perfect bait because they are a fox’s main prey you can also buy a rabbit distress call to lure in predators toward your trap either a reed call or an electronic call I hunt them and what I do is kill a rabbit hang it next to a pile of dead smelly fish and wait by it with a rabbit squealer (rabbit in distress) this will call in fox and coyotes but be careful because depending on where you live you could also attract wolves mtn lion bobcat lynx badger wolverine and bear but I would say put the bait in your trap and at night use the call and lure them in to the trap also fox are verry smart they may know it’s a trap so try to keep your scent off of everything and maybe slowly bait them leave a bait pile out in the open and slowly advance the pile towards your trap day by day

    • 4:39 pm - January 2, 2016

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  • Travis Saunders

    I have foxes around my house and I have a bunch of hav a Hart traps, and I have 7 cats, and 5 little Pomeranian sized dogs that are very ballsy. Lol. Leg traps won’t work because my mother in law is a animal lover so she links they are cruel. So I need to figure out what bait to use that won’t attract the animals to go in their and every 2 hours go and let them out.?

    • 3:43 pm - February 8, 2016

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  • Brianna Pratt

    Please help, my dog has been running with a Fox, he’s just a bitty Chihuahua, thought maybe if I could catch the Fox it’ll help with finding my dog

    • 6:13 pm - March 19, 2016

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  • Haydn Davies

    I have for some time set bait out for fox here in Somerset England, He took the bait last night, just as he has done for a week or two. I shot at him last night but sad to say I missed him. Will this fox come back to the same site after his meeting with me last night. I fired out of the darkness and was unseen by the fox?

    What do you think Folks?

    Kind regards,

    HD

    • 1:29 pm - August 15, 2016

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