A late winter wildlife project that I like to do is to try and locate fox dens, which I can return to and photograph after the pups are born. This time of year the female fox is in a maternal state of mind. During the course of her daily travels she will often visit her den site to check things out, do some digging, and other spring cleaning type chores. We just need to know where she is going to find this den site. In order to do this we must become one with the fox–we must follow her on her daily rounds. A tall order indeed, but as usual, there is a trick to it.
The trick is to wait until there has been a fresh dusting of snow overnight. Then go out the following morning into some likely habitat and find some fox tracks. Surprisingly this is easier than it sounds. Fox tracks are roundish, about the size of a fifty cent piece, and go in virtually a straight line one foot directly in front of the other. Once you find them follow along. Not only will you get to know a lot about fox and their habits but you will get some great exercise as well. It may also lead to some great photo opportunities too.
Be warned though, pay attention to where you are going. One morning, while following a fox I was pulled deep into an unfamiliar part of some state land. I foolishly assumed I would just retrace my own tracks back to my vehicle. Well, as the day heated up the dusting of snow melted and I was left with no “trail of breadcrumbs” to follow home. Kid of frustrating!
Good luck and good light.
Browse Steve’s images, read his blog, and learn about his workshops at his site www.stevegettle.com
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