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Tips and tricks

Foxes

Tips and tricks

In May 2011 when I was sitting in front of a foxhole, I had an idea that how nice it could be to get the cubs into the habit of visiting the nearby glassed bird hide and photograph them there. The cubs rarely draw back to the burrow because it was full of fleas, so they rather sheltered under the nearby bushes. The decision was followed by action. I took meat regularly to the hide and placed it about eight or ten meters in front of it. There was not any result in the first month, although I put their portion down near the hide every single day. My photographer friends tried to talk me out of the thing saying that it would not come to anything, but I was persistent.
Photo: © Tamás Imre

Canon EO S-1D X, EF400mm f/2.8L IS USM 1/800 sec f/3.5 ISO 1600
Then the meat disappeared by every morning! I thought that wild boars had ate it up as I often saw their traces in front of the hide or perhaps stray dogs found the free food. I was pondering what to do, whether I should finish the action and give it up, but I’m not a man of this stamp. I give them another month, I thought, and if I would not see them, I’ll give it up!
I kept placing out the meat regularly but I always ensured to put only a little, so their natural hunting instinct could remain the same. The butchers blamed me jokingly saying that I took away the fine bites from the pensioners as I often bought up the giblets of chicken in smaller or larger portions every week.
Towards the end of the second month the ice had broken and the fruit of my hard work had ripened. One of my photographer friend who was sitting in the hide rang me up and said that the foxes appeared late in the afternoon and comfortably ate the lure meat up! Four of them at the same time! From that time on I sat in the hide almost every day and wait for them. They turned up nearly every time in late afternoon. They became braver and braver, I could even talk to them from the hide.
Photo: © János Szekeres

NIKO N D3, 300.0 mm f/2.8 1/80 sec f/7.1 ISO 2500
They listened with interest and familiarized themselves with my voice. I decided at the beginning that I would not want them to tame and feed from my hands. I rather wanted them keep their natural wildness and independence but I wanted to photograph them comfortably as well. I read several stories about the tragedy of tamed animals, they always ended up with their death, and I did not wish it to my foxes. Luckily I had a good relationship with the hunters, they promised me not to shoot them, so perhaps we could admire them for a while.
I wanted to take pictures in the morning light as well, so I put out the meat a bit earlier every day and I achieved that they came out in the morning too. This action required a lot of time and regularity from me. I have not been on holiday or away for a longer period for two years now. Consider this if you want to start such an action. What’s next? I don’t know yet. My short-term aim was to take nice winter photos of these animals. We will see how it develops!
Text and pictures: János Szekeres
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