Messing with wildlife


May 30, 2003, 07:48 AM
We throw out table scraps, often supplemented with whatever is the current bargain brand of dog food and enjoy watching the show from our den at night with the lights out.

Last year we "raised" a family of red foxes (4 kits), and this year, one of last year's reds is coming back and running off the family of greys (3 kits) that have moved in somewhere close.

What a difference in the reds and greys.

The reds are super wary, sly, clever and aggressive, whereas the greys can best be described as pretty stupid. Sort of like the difference in Conservatives and Liberals.

After only 2 weeks of trying, the greys will let me stand within 50 feet of them and talk to them while they eat. The reds will dissapear for 10 minutes if they see you, even if there are chicken scraps in the dish.

Wonder how long it would take me to get the grey eating out of my hand ?

What are fox pelts bringing, nowadays ?

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May 30, 2003, 08:44 AM
The big difference between reds and greys is that the greys are excellent climbers so that birds are an important part of their diet. And the birds know it , I watched a grey walk across my property and all the birds in the area and all the birds in the area started making sounds of panic.

Art Eatman
May 30, 2003, 08:59 AM
Don't ask why, but I've never had a chance to see both red foxes and gray foxes and observe the difference. So: Which kind of fox is this one? (Taken through my front window, in far southwest Texas.)


May 30, 2003, 12:33 PM
Grey here thinks that one's a gray - and a very healthy one!

That's what we seem to have the most of here in North Texas - or maybe it could be, as said above, that the reds are just smarter and we don't see them as much ...

Had a buddy who was varmint calling here a few years back and managed to get a red in close enough to drop him with a bow. That, and a red seen in headlights a few years back are all I know of in these parts ...

' Caught 2 little gray ones at the same time in coon trap a couple of years back. Showed 'em around to kids for a few hours and turned 'em loose. Caught the Mama in same trap a day or two later and released ...

Edited to add: grey: indicates the reds may not have made it quite to your parts - yet. ;)

Steve Smith
May 30, 2003, 03:56 PM
Hell, that's almost a coyote, Art!

Its a grey.

May 31, 2003, 11:30 PM
Hell, that's almost a coyote, Art!

That's what I was thinking... they grow everything bigger in Texas... Except deer. :p

I've never seen a fox anywhere near that big here in Indiana. I've only hunted them once (then decided they were too cute) but have seen several foxes on a number of occasions while out sniping 'coons in/around my father-in-law's orchard.

Art Eatman
June 1, 2003, 11:22 AM
When I get to the Terlingua computer, I'll post a picture of a real coyote, from nearly the same front-yard location. :)

Critters are funny people. I have a year-round clock feeder, and it sprays out hen-scratch for the dove and quail. The doggoned fox will meddle around under the feeder, licking up the cracked corn. Then, later that night, he'll come onto my porch and leave evidence that foxes don't digest corn.

El Cheapo dry dog food is quite an attractant, however...


June 1, 2003, 09:47 PM
Thats definitely a gray fox like everybody said. We had quite a few red fox hanging around here last year (unfortunately they all seemed very sick, shot one, tried for another) If you see a red fox, there won't be any doubt about the difference between red an gray. Least up here, the red ones are pretty light....about like a sorrel/chestnut horse.
That fox looks about the same size as the ones I've seen around here. Its really all fur, the one I shot was probably 20lbs and that was in really bad shape. Healthy he probably would have been 25 easily if not more.
Its funny, you see one in the pasture and it looks big. Then it trots over and steps through a woven wire fence :)

June 2, 2003, 07:34 AM
Looks like a Grey from here, Art. Also looks like he is in full winter coat, also.

They skinny down a lot in the summer.

Steve Smith
June 2, 2003, 12:51 PM
Got plenty here...unless yours are wolf sized!

kentucky bucky
June 2, 2003, 09:02 PM
Is it possible that the grey foxes are training you to feed them and the red foxes are too dumb to make the correlation? There seems to be alot more greys in Eastern Kentucky, so they must know something!! :D

June 3, 2003, 02:24 AM
Looks like a coyote to me. But then again it looks like a large fox.:confused:

June 3, 2003, 03:56 AM
I just noticed this last week what appears to be a whole family of red fox that live in a very small culvert under the driveway of one of my neigbors about a block down from where I live. I have seen red fox on numerous occasions here in west central MO but never right in town like this. I don't know much about red fox but I assume there nocturnal as the only time I see this family of fox is after daylight in my headlights? This group does not seem much larger than a big house cat but wow what great looking tails.

June 3, 2003, 05:40 AM
I had to shoot a grey fox a few years back-I had downed a good sized doe late in the day and my buddy and I drove as close as we could get before we had to get out and start walking as the dark settled in. My buddies flashlight picked up two glowing eyeballs in the darkness and like that grey fox Art posted the picture, I thought it was a coyote at first. He was licking at the bullet wound on my doe and I tried tossing a rock at him but he wouldn't budge. I drew my 45 and fired a shot close over his head and he bared his teeth at us, so I center punched his head with the next shot. He was one healthy fox!

BTW, we do have big deer in Tejas-you have to go up to the panhandle where the mulies and hybrid white tail/mules live-they will certainly take up space in the pickup bed:D I hunt in the hill country where the deer are smaller, but you can take 5 in rifle season now if you need that much meat:neener:

June 3, 2003, 07:21 AM
You mentioned the cross-breeding deer: How long will it take for there to be a new specie, or as in the case of a mule, are the offspring sterile?

Do the half-breeds cause any problems with game laws?

June 3, 2003, 07:25 AM
I don't know all that much about the cross bred white/mulies, but have seen some of them at the butcher shop where I have mine processed-looks like the biggest problem is getting them in the truck!

Art Eatman
June 3, 2003, 10:14 PM
As I understand it, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department folks give you the benefit of the doubt, when dealing with "mule-tails". The whitetail season is much longer than for mule deer, beginning earlier and lasting later.

So, if you shoot a muletail by mistake, they let it be logged as a whitetail.

Some ranchers shoot the hybrids whenever they see them, regardless of the time of year.

The hybridization comes about because the whitetail is far more aggressive in breeding than are the mule deer...

:), Art

June 4, 2003, 11:32 AM
I don't have a link to provide, but I read a few years ago that after DNA testing, biologists had finally concluded that Blacktails and Whitetails were distinct species, and that Mule deer were actually a hybrid of the two.

Before DNA testing, many had theorized that Blacktails were a hybrid of Muleys and Whitetails.

Don't suppose it matters to the average hunter.

Art Eatman
June 4, 2003, 02:43 PM
Well, Keith, alleviate my iggerance: SFAIK, the "blacktail" is a deer of the Pacific Northwest.

So, when were there pure blacktails in Texas?


June 4, 2003, 07:09 PM
I wasn't meaning to knock the size of deer in Texas. Only places I ever hunted was east of Huntsville and south of Odessa. Don't recall seeing anything even in the 'medium' category... :p

June 5, 2003, 07:22 AM
You're absolutely right Cratz2-where you were hunting, the deer are on the small side. In the hill country near Junction where I hunt, the deer are 130-150 pounds on the average for the last 15 years I have hunted there, although the larger amount of rain we have seen there has grown them up a bit more yet. Certainly not huge deer as you will see up north ( was raised in the U.P. of Michigan ) but adequate to stock up the freezer! If my lease wasn't so darned cheap ($100 per year), I'd investigate going out to the panhandle. Those hybrid are really good sized, but I don't know of many taken outside of that area. Occasionally you will find elk there too! BIG DEER!:D

Art Eatman
June 5, 2003, 10:00 AM
You get into the Hill Country NW of Austin, and a lot of the deer are about greyhound size. I've seen 16" 8-point bucks that wouldn't field dress over 70 pounds! Just not enough hunters taking does, and too many "No Hunting" sanctuaries. A lot of that country is just plain "over-goated", with far more deer than the carrying capacity of the land.


June 5, 2003, 10:17 AM
You are so right about that, Art. The bigger deer have only showed up the last few years with all the rain they have been getting there. My lease is west of Mason, and for a long time, I was taking 3 deer just to get enough meat to last a while. The last few years has seen a big increase in the rains, and bambi is really fattening up, although so far this year, the drought seems to be creeping back in. The other thing you mention is the hunters who will not take doe. pee-poor game management IMO, and unless I happen across a really nice buck, I am very happy to take doe as the other lease hunters will not. New rules this year is the hunters must take some doe and quit pickin on the guys.

June 5, 2003, 11:09 AM

I'm sure that mix occurred thousands of years ago.

They weren't talking about the blending of sub-species that happens wherever two similar species overlap, but about the creation of a distinct sub-species (mule deer) from the two other species in the distant past.

There's a lot of interesting (to me) stuff that has come to light with DNA testing. Rainbow trout are actually a salmon. Atlantic salmon are a trout. Stuff like that.

June 30, 2003, 05:29 AM
if i ever saw a fox that big i would call it a coyote and never know the difference.....

foxes are getting scarce around here might see 1 every 2 years.... and almost always red... and never that big...

large deer might weigh in at 130lbs, they are getting so thick it's unreal.... this year the fo-tee-fo will take any deer that get in the way....

unlimited doe tags, now that's a good idea!!!

Byron Quick
June 30, 2003, 10:25 AM
Foxes are more plentiful here than ever in my lifetime. But you don't see many reds...they're too slick.

Greys are every where. I've had one walk into the light of a died.

June 30, 2003, 06:34 PM
Well, Well, Well.

All we get is reds (vulpes vulpes ; European Red Fox)
Wasn't aware you had any other kind.

You live and learn...... Cooch

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