Tips for Effective Fox Control in Upper Lachlan

Effective fox control is best achieved by using a combination of measures. And by working together across a landscape, involving the whole community, rather than just on individual properties.

 

Keep Records

  • Assess the number of foxes on your property by spotlighting. Use actual sightings or eyeshine. And/or use sensor cameras.
  • Record number and location of any foxes you shoot.
  • Record lambing percentages and seasonal conditions from year to year.
  • This will help establish a benchmark and something to monitor the success of your control program against.

 

Indirect Control

  • Remove animal carcasses to prevent scavenging
  • Control rabbits on your property as they form a large part of the fox’s diet
  • Control blackberry and other woody weeds that could harbour foxes
  • Tidy rubbish piles and store hay, wood etc so as not to create hiding places for foxes
  • Fence off underneath of buildings, water tanks and other areas foxes may hide.

 

Shooting

  • Shooting can be used year-round, but for best results, should not be used while baiting is in progress.
  • Shooting will quickly make foxes wary and can make estimating fox numbers more difficult.
  • Shooting in late summer and early autumn can successfully remove many young, naive foxes.

 

Effective Baiting

  • Use the information you have gained from monitoring to target your control effort.
  • Target baiting to areas favourable to fox movement including vehicle tracks, fence and creek lines, ridges, contour banks, vegetation borders and watering points (allowing for Distance Restrictions).
  • The use of free feeds prior to poisoning in target areas, as pre-determined by your spotlight assessment, can help establish a feeding pattern and enable more targeted bait uptake.
  • Record bait locations and bait take. Use markers, such as tape at bait sites. Consider the use of cameras to monitor bait take.
  • Good results can be achieved with an occasional “pulse” baiting pattern. Bait for 1 to 2 months, followed by 1 to 3 months of baits being removed.
  • To avoid caching (foxes removing baits and burying them elsewhere for later consumption) do not continue to replace poison baits over an extended period of time. Considering changing bait location and/or “pulse” baiting.
  • Whilst baiting can occur year-round, also considering timing your baiting to reduce the fox population before the peak of their impact. For example, bait foxes 6 to 8 weeks prior to lambing and continue baiting until first lambs are dropped.

 

  • Critical stages of the fox’s lifecycle that can be targeted with baiting include;
    • February, March and April when naïve juveniles with high energy demands are dispersing
    • May, prior to mating when territories are established and the population is stable
    • July and October when fox numbers are at their lowest and before pregnant vixens give birth
    • November when foxes are feeding to satisfy high energy demands

 

It is important to continue monitoring and recording all your fox sightings and control measures. These records will become an important, ongoing reference point.

Fox populations are very resilient to conventional methods of control and will rebound quickly. Fox control needs to become a regular and ongoing component of your property management activities.

The larger the area baited, the longer it takes for foxes to infiltrate and re-establish in the core area you wish to protect. Speak to your neighbours and invite them to join a coordinated fox control program.

 

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