Half day fox hunt

I had a chance to get out this Thursday and took a good friend with me. He is an Arizona native and has hunted every corner of the globe, but never harvested a gray fox. I told him that there was very good chance that I could put him on a pair of them if he could spend the day with me. We both had things to do early that morning so we got out there around noon to hunt through the afternoon. I took him out to an area where I have called in a half dozen foxes during the scouting season, but never run them off or taken a shot.

The first stand was a blank, but we didn’t really have a good wind and the sun was high. The second stand was a great setup overlooking a big riverbed and we called in a coyote at about 10 minutes. But the coyote never came closer than about 200 yards and there was no way for me to reach out there with my shotgun.

The next few stands were blank as well, but we were in some amazing country and a light rain blew in cooling everything down about 20 degrees. We then hiked about a mile through a small canyon that was absolutely covered with tracks. Mule deer, coues deer, javelina, fox, bobcat, coyote, and some very fresh mountain lion footprints. All these tracks right on top of each other covering every inch of the wash. Our blood was pumping and our voices were low as we positioned ourselves on a steep hillside overlooking the dry wash running through the bottom of this canyon. We were hunting foxes but we both had mountain lion on the brain.

With the natural rock piles, low cover, and steep hills I was really expecting to see a fox here. But at about 10 minutes into this stand a coyote appeared out of nowhere directly behind the caller and decoy. For the second time that day I couldn’t reach with my shotgun and my buddy was not interested in shooting a coyote. The coyote stepped downwind of the decoy and did not like the smell at all. He quickly headed off up another big hillside to our right. I switched sounds to a coyote distress yelp and the coyote froze looking back at the decoy. I told my friend to take the shot but when I looked to my friend he was still scanning the bottom of the wash. The sun was setting out in front of us and he had lost sight of the coyote in the shadows.

My partner got a look at where I was pointing but still had no interest in shooting a coyote, so he handed me his AR and told me to take the shot myself. By the time I got seated the coyote was at the top of the hill looking back over the valley for a final glance before heading out. I placed the cross hairs over his chest and pulled the trigger, just as the ‘yote trotted off. The shot scattered the rocks on the hill right where the coyote had been standing.

We both climbed over to the top of the hill where the coyote had disappeared just to be sure, and realized that in a way it was a good thing I had missed. I had not brought all of my gear with me and I would have needed to carry the coyote all the way back to my truck, which was at least a mile and a half away. The coyote was pretty good sized and 40 pounds of dead weight would not have been fun. We stayed up there on that hill and watched the sunset, it was pretty dramatic with all the storm clouds in the sky and everything in the desert had come alive from the rain. I took some pictures with my phone couldn’t quite get one to do it justice. I love this desert more every time I go out, even more when spending time with an old friend that I had not seen in ages.

It was a day I won’t soon forget. We never did see a fox but sometimes hunting success isn’t measured by the fur in the back of your truck.

The sun just starting to set through the storm clouds from high on the hillside on the last stand of the day.

Share

‘Dove Hunting’ for grey fox.

This weekend I decided to go out dove hunting with a good friend. We headed up north on a tip and hunted near Cordes Lakes. I am pretty sure that neither of us have an eye for dove. I think total for the day we each saw and shot at one, with no hits. After awhile we gave up on the dove and decided to do some calling with my FoxPro caller. We put in two 20 minute stands and didn’t see a thing. The whole area was infested with giant grasshoppers, maybe the foxes and coyote are full up on them. I have never seen such big grasshoppers or so many in one place.

Grasshoppers

 

Even if the hunting was lacking, it was a great way to spend a day with a great friend. He has a lot more experience dove hunting then I do, and he did his best to pass some knowledge on to me without actually shooting at anything. This got me pretty fired up about hunting doves, so I decided to head out on my own the next day.

I overslept in the morning and had a few things to do around the house. So I made plans to hit the road about 3pm, which would give me the last 2 hours of the day to hunt. I decided to hit up some of the big cattle tanks West of Four Peaks. With all the rain this season I figured that they would be full, and there is no ranching going on out there so I wouldn’t have cows to deal with.

On the way out to Four Peaks, just a couple miles passed the Verde River, I had to swerve to miss a desert tortoise that was crossing the 87. It was right in the middle of the highway, so I spun around, flipped on my emergency lights, and stood in the highway in a blaze orange shirt directing traffic around it until it was well on its way.

When I got to the area I wanted to hike into I grabbed a box of dove shot for my 870, and an extra 3 rounds of Dead Coyote #T shot. I had my FoxPro SpitFire in my backpack and figured that I could do some calling if the dove hunting didn’t work out. Within the first few steps from the road I nearly stepped on the biggest desert cottontail that I have ever seen. It looks like the rain has done more than just green up the desert, I will be chasing those fat rabbits in about 2 months.

The rest of the hike to the tank had me jump 3 coveys of Gambel’s quail and one big red striped rosy boa.

I hiked around the tank a few times, there were a bunch of coyote tracks in the soft sand. I also found some bobcat tracks, and the tracks of 2 other hunters, one with a big dog. Most of these were a few days old, but the coyote tracks were fresh. So not seeing any doves I decided to change tactics.

Calling Arizona Foxes

This is the view from the stand. My caller is on the lower left, Four Peaks in the background.

I hiked just short of a mile from the tank and set up the caller on top of a staghorn cactus. Then I climbed a hill about 30 yards, and put the three Dead Coyote ammo in the 870.

About 7-8 minutes into the call I saw some movement to my right. A grey fox was coming up out of a rocky wash and headed right to my caller. I waited until he was about 15 yards from the caller before I dropped him.

Normally at this point I would shut off the caller and pick up the fox. But I decided to sit tight and let it run. About 2 minutes later, another fox came up out of the same wash. This one was following right in the first ones steps and I wasn’t sure what it would do when it came up on the first one. So I shot it about 60 yards out from where I was sitting.

This was my first fox ‘double’, and on a dove hunt. Not what I drove out there for, but it definitely made my day.

 

Share