GRAY PERSPECTIVES

gray fox hunted
All Photo Credits: Curtis Larsen

After about 30 miles of hiking in two days, not finding a single shed, our weekend luck needed to change. For whatever reason, this year the elk were not in the area they usually were shedding their precious brown gold for us to find. We searched and hiked and had a good time finding new country, but they just weren’t on the ground to be found. With only one morning to go on our trip that was now a bust, we decided to try and change our bad luck and do a couple of stands with the predator call before heading back home.

We woke up early and started hiking down from camp into a valley that had rock cliffs surrounding it and some good looking terrain. We originally thought we could pull a bobcat out of the cliffs and that was our hope, but we weren’t going to be picky. If anything came in it was going to be in trouble. I am fairly new to the sport but have a good buddy that has been mentoring and teaching me the tricks of the trade.

Brian had his call and a game plan. We made a stand halfway up on the ridge about 20 yards from each other so I could focus my attention on the cliffs above and he could focus on the valley below. The decoy was in between us so we would each have a shot if something made it all the way in. We set the timer for 10 minutes and did two different calling sequences during that time span. If it’s going to work it usually happens within that timeframe. The timer started and the cottontail in distress squeal began. Brian likes to start out with a rabbit call because he says it plays to all types of predators and we just needed something to happen. We sat that way for about five minutes and then he slowly transitioned into a gray fox in distress.

I was scanning the rocks and really focusing all of my attention and effort on my upper location. I hadn’t looked at Brian or even in his direction for a few minutes but when I glanced down at him I noticed he had his gun up to his shoulder and he was straining to see something down in the valley. My attention quickly switched and saw what he was looking at. A gray fox was on a b-line running up the valley floor in our direction. I pulled my gun up and got ready. It felt like only a couple of seconds and the fox was already in front of us about ten feet from the decoy. When the fox got close enough it realized something wasn’t right and paused.

The fox was in a better position for Brian so I sat as backup and waited for him to take the shot. Then “click!” his gun hadn’t chambered the round correctly and it misfired. Now was my chance. I didn’t hesitate to take the shot. I shot and hit the fox and it looked like he dropped immediately and right in his tracks. We were pumped and got up to go and check him out. As we approached, the fox jumped up and began running away. I shot at him on the run two more times and luckily connected on the second shot and tumbled him.

What started as a shed hunting trip gone south turned into an amazing experience where I was able to kill my first ever predator over a call and first ever Gray Fox. Perspective is everything and ours had taken a complete 180 in only a matter of moments.

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