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Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Wily Fox

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Years ago, my father and I were fishing at Chinook SRA in Staunton.

While we fished, we noticed that a red fox was sitting on the bank watching us.

Its curiosity and interest in us was matched with our curiosity of him.

Beautifully, it posed for us as we made portraits of it in our minds -- it really didn't mind our casting and seemed very interested at the action of the blugill we reeled in.

Ten majestic minutes passed too quickly and after one head turn, it was gone as quickly and mysteriously as it had come.

We all know of the proverbs concerning the wily fox and its wisdom, but the fox is used just as much to describe the downfalls of human character as it is for anything else.

According to Funk and Wagnalls "Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend," the fox is often used in trickster tales and is a common character in Aesop's fables.

Here are a few themes: A -- It is easy to belittle what you can't get. B -- A flatterer is no friend. C -- Turnabout is fair play.

Try to match them with the following fables:

1. The Fox and the Crane -- The Fox easily laps up the meal, but the Crane cannot eat. The Crane returns the favor by inviting the fox to a meal and serving him food in a long-necked bottle.

2. The Fox and the Grapes -- A hungry Fox is not able to reach some delicious looking grapes hanging on a vine. After several tries with no luck, the Fox walks away and says that the grapes were sour anyway.

3. The Fox and the Raven -- A Raven is sitting in a tree with a piece of cheese. The Fox admires the Ravens wings and talons and says, "It is a shame that such a bird should be lacking a voice!" The Raven, pleased by the flattery, opens her mouth to caw and drops the cheese, which the Fox promptly eats.

With the fall harvest, the thousands of acres that so easily hides the wild animals disappear for a season forcing them to use the wood rows, fence lines, and ditches to cross roads. Between now and the spring planting is the best time to spot the elusive fox, but it will seldom cross an open field like the coyote.

The fox, weighing between 8-14 pounds, is very leery and keen and is seldom seen; yet, has adapted to living in wood areas linked to urban areas as well as rural habitats.

You are very fortunate anytime you get to see one for more than a split second for they seldom expose themselves and they are very aware of human scents and presence.

Yet, once in a while, you get lucky; as my dad says, "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while."

The coyote is a common enemy of the fox and hunters often use a fox yelp call to attract a coyote during season.

In addition, the electronic predator calls that are now available, give an edge to the hunter. The fox can hardly resist chance at what sounds identical to an easy meal.

Wary of anything out of the norm, only the very experienced and highly skilled trapper can harvest them for their fur.

Fox hunting in Indiana is more popular than one might think. However, seeing them alive and watching the ease of the little animal as they jump a ditch or cross a field is the best trophy of all.