Fox HuntingBy defining the best time to hunt foxes, pot hunting you have to start by also thinking about what you want to achieve with the hunt.
For example, if you want as good and fine fox skins as possible, the period begins in the second half of November and runs until about the middle of January. Before that, many fox skins were not fully furred. After mid-January, many fox skins begin to become a little worn and lose their luster compared to a really fine skin. The foxes that are shot later in the season often have a tendency to look a little greyish in color and luster.
My favorite time of year to hunt foxes is about November to January. That they are the most beautiful then is one of the reasons. But they are also more predictable to hunt foxes then than in the spring when they are not just thinking about saving energy and surviving the winter. In late winter, the mating comes in and the fox moves much longer distances and has a behavior that means that they can move at other times of the day as well.
Inland, the dust hunt can be over around Christmas in the worst case
Inland, the snow depth can mean that the duster never reaches drive speeds above 3 km / h, the fox sinks 5 cm in the snow and the duster goes to the bottom. When the prey is like that, which can happen around Christmas time in the worst case, I feel that the urge to hunt foxes fades quite quickly. When the gear speed of dusters is less than 6-7 km / h, it starts to feel hopeless and the tracking hunt for martens or the top birds gets my attention instead. With a little luck, you can get a real mild weather so that the snow settles and the dust hunt can resume again.
Otherwise, the fox is one of the species with the longest season, which runs a bit depending on where in Sweden you live from 1/8 to 31/3 or 15/4. Dog hunting with dusters is to some extent limited at the beginning and end of the fox hunting season, but hunting foxes with potholders may be conducted throughout the period.
Calling the pot
Personally, I never go near a pot that I want the fox to use at a later time. The foxes we have in the älvdalsskogarna are sometimes so sensitive that it is enough to go to a pot and walk from there because the foxes in the area avoid that pot for months. Therefore, I and several others practice with me something called "ringing a pot" when we hunt foxes. This means that in the case of track snow, you go a circle of 30-50 m or more outside the pot instead of walking all the way forward. The joke is that you count and trace and with the help of it try to figure out if any fox is inside the pot. If I'm the least bit hesitant, it's time for another time, but if the trail snow says that one or more foxes are inside, it's time to pick up the terrier and possibly call in more pass shooters to give it a try.
If you have a duster, the situation is different, the track snow is not needed in the same way, but the duster is released, chases the fox and if I do not shoot at gears, it ends up at the pot the fox has chosen to enter. And then it is picked up the terrier and possibly more pass shooters are called in.
How foxes use the pot in autumn, winter and late winter
I experience that there is a big difference in how foxes use the pot in autumn, winter and late winter. That the fox goes into the cauldron because it is unsafe to be up on the ground is certainly self-evident. But how long it stays in the pot is very difficult to say. I have at some point had fun putting a camera at a pot the fox went into to see how long it takes before it goes out again. The answer can usually vary between 30 minutes to 12 hours. The question on my part was whether it was worth sitting down and watching outside a pot that the fox refuses to come out of. I think it's the personality of the fox as well as age and maturity that determines if it wants to stay until it is completely sure to venture out or just wants to get out of there quickly and change places to another pot.
My main rule is usually to chase the sturgeon into a fox in a pot during late autumn / winter so I can pick up the sturgeon at the pot and let go of another fox without hanging any gloves or clothes at the exits to make the fox stay left until I come with the pot dog.
If, on the other hand, I manage to hunt foxes in the pot with the help of the duster in February / March, the probability is very high that the fox will leave the pot shortly after I took the duster from there, unless I was hanging some human-smelling object on the cauldrons.
To explain the text above, a completely usual scenario is that since we are several hunting friends who have dusters in the same area, we go out separately in the morning. Sometime in the middle of the day we have contact with each other, maybe someone has had fox drives from us while someone has not had anything. The sum of it is that we gather in the afternoon and try to hunt the fox at the current fox cauldron together.
As most foxes are nocturnal and lie still during the day, the morning release is the most important and most rewarding for the duster to get the fox up at all as the track is fresher in the morning.
What if you do not have a duster then?
I personally started my hunting career with a dog with a working / adult jack russel terrier when I was 19 years old. Then both & terriers and Finnish lace were acquired at a rapid pace. I got my first duster when I was 27 years old. So for quite a few years I tracked and rang the pot on fresh snow during the winter months. I learned early on the hard way that if I had been too close to the pots I knew, the foxes would choose other pots that I did not know about. One piece of advice I got early from somewhere was that foxes like to go into the pot when it's raining. I would like to say that my experience is that they rarely go into the pot on their own if they are already wet. It is more natural that they seem to want to lie under a real rice tree on the days they are wet in the coat. I experience a certain exception that it can be if it starts to rain in the morning around when the fox usually takes daily (around dawn), then they can choose to go to the pot before they get wet.
The days I experience that most foxes lie in the pot are when it snows profusely and blows hard, (especially when it blows so it shakes in the bushes) . I guess the fox feels that it has no control over its surroundings and feels insecure and therefore goes into the cauldron.
Not too often you only find small depressions in the snow after the track has snowed again a lot since the morning, but it is often possible to determine the direction of the track if you search in the track stamps under dense spruces. It may be that the fox left the pot in the morning as well and if you spend time on an empty pot that is also destroyed for a while ahead, it feels like lost time in the forest, so the direction is definitely important.
Should I end up at a pot that has a lot of tracks in and out of the pot aisles when I hunt foxes in November, December, I usually let go of a pot dog. The probability at that time under those conditions is quite high that there is someone at home.
What if I live in an area that rarely has snow and also lacks dusters?
If I had lived in such an area, I would invest in choosing the occasions I visited my nice fox pots with great care. The bad and hard-to-blow pots I would like to pass by with my pothole dog when given the opportunity to get some fox to let these pots be. Most foxes often have the ability to want to stay in deep, solid pots rather than easily burst and shallow pots for some reason.
The days when it is mainly windy so it shakes the trees and it often starts to rain in the morning, I would choose as a suitable day to hunt foxes at my nice pot.