For all of the time we have lived in the Fox River Valley, we’ve never had the pleasure of seeing a red fox on our property. That is until last February, and it was an encounter to remember.
On a soft, snow February afternoon while giving the fresh snow a quick glance out the window, a red blur and a brown blur caught my eye as they sped across the yard, from the back of our property to the side of our house. By the time I was able to get in position to another window to see what had happened, the red fox had bagged its prey. But not before the hare had put up a fight.
I had to run downstairs to grab the gear, and once I had focused on the scene, I could see several drops of blood in the snow. And the fox had blood all over the left side of its head. But the fox had made a bloodless kill, and it took me a minute to figure out what was going on.
Somewhere between when I spotted the two in a chase and when it was over, the rabbit had taken a large chunk out of the fox’s left ear. That’s where the blood was coming from.
As I shot a few frames of the fox, it was taking its sweet time. It seemed to take a while for it to gather itself, and I’m not sure if it was because of the ear wound, or if it couldn’t believe it had just bagged a very big feast and was wondering how in the heck it was going to get it back to its den.
First, it dragged the hare down the hill a bit, and then it sat on its haunches trying to figure things out. Then it dragged it a little bit more, then sat down again. Finally it got a good hold on the hare, and it started to trot back toward the prairie and to its den.
Before it made the grand getaway, I was able to catch a frame of the fox when it stopped to take a look at me before it continued its proud trot back into the prairie.
The gallery below tells most of the story. There are a couple of pictures of the fox’s ear as it lay in the snow, and I re-traced the event and took some pics of where the chase started and the hare was hopping and the red fox was waiting.
We were a little worried about the fella, but it turned out to be okay as we saw it catch another hare about a month later. If you happen to see a red fox with one and half ears, you know what happened!