Once a month, we’ll chronicle an elusive photographic goal. This month: fox dens.
A few years ago, I would have listed a red fox as that must-have, elusive image I wanted to capture. But as I’ve written, thanks to Jill “The Horseshoe” Cooper, I’ve racked up a few good fox shots since we met.
I’m greedy though. I want more, better fox shots.
More specifically, I’m desperate to find a fox den. A place where I can spend days – or longer (sorry Jill!) – camped out in order to photograph fox kits and their interactions with their parents.
And it’s not like I’ve never had the opportunity.
Several years ago, I visited Yellowstone with my family during the spring and heard about a fox den in the Jackson Hole town site.
Close to the end of our trip, we made the journey down to Jackson in pursuit of the den – and found it, with relative ease.
It was a remarkable situation. The foxes – living in the town – were accustom to people and, as a result, provided an unparalleled opportunity (for me, at least), to document the family and observe their behaviour at close range.
There was one problem. On route to Jackson, there was a jam in the Tetons. We got out to investigate what was causing the commotion when a rushing tourist knocked me and, more importantly, my camera over. Remarkably it seemed to be okay. But later, when I was able to download my last card of images onto the computer, including all of the photos of the fox den, I discovered to my dismay that the images were all soft. The lens had broken in the accident.
And last year, a fox den in Yellowstone became world famous and well documented, but by the time we reached the park, the opportunity was gone, along with, tragically, the kits. (If you have the time, read one of the most touching sequences of wildlife behaviour you’ll ever see.)
Living in Ontario, you’d think finding red foxes wouldn’t be mission impossible, but so far we uncovered no good leads.
Hopefully our luck will turn around. Very little would give me more pleasure than having an opportunity to photograph (with a functional camera) the dynamics of a fox den – be it in Ontario, Alberta or Wyoming.
The chase is on.