My Whit’s End Book Club–The Education of Little Tree–Fox and Hounds 4

This chapter included many references to animals.  I tried to include photos and/or the calls of each.  I hope you feel more like you were on the mountain with Little Tree and Granpa after seeing and hearing some of the animals.


“Granpa said if a hound or anybody else has got no feeling of worth, then it’s a bad thing.”–true. true.

“Granpa lived with the game, not at it.”

“. . .it was that mysterious, exciting time in the hollows when the sun had sunk and the light faded from red to shady blood, and kept changing and darkening as if the daylight was alive but dying.  Even the dusk breeze was sly with a whisper as if it had things to tell that it couldn’t say out open.”–loved every word of that description.

“Way off, a mourning dove called, long and throaty, and the mountains picked it up and echoed the sound over and over, carrying it farther and farther away until you wondered how many mountains and hollows that call would travel–and it died away, so far, it was more like a memory that a sound.  It was lonesome. . . .”–wow.  I can feel the loneliness right in my chest.

“Sure enough, the moon broke over the mountain, a quarter used up.”  Much better than a quarter moon.  Much better.

p. 22: red fox – from Wikipedia. 

File:Fuchs Profil.jpg

p. 23:  gray fox – from Wikipedia.

File:Urocyon cinereoargenteus.jpg

p. 24:  Screech owl – from Wikipedia.


Here is the sound of a screech owl.  It is a bit long, but I thought the sound quality was better than other videos I saw.

p. 26:  night hawk – from Wikipedia.

File:Chordeiles minorEJN31CB.jpg
Here is and excellent clip on the night hawk.

p. 27:  hoot owl – from Canada Wild.

p. 29:  brush wren – From Wikipedia.  This is a Carolina wren.  The only “bush wren” I could find is extinct.

File:Carolina Wren1.jpg

Does the grey fox run in a figure 8?  I found nothing to verify the figure 8 statement.  That does not mean it isn’t true.  This is what I did find about hunting the grey fox.  Site

Unlike the typical red fox, Gray fox prefer to live in the thicker areas made up of woods and heavy brush.

With hooked claws, a gray fox has the ability to climb trees and will often hunt for food and seek shelter in a tree. They will also climb a tree to escape danger. They make their dens in rocky crevices, caves, trees, hollow logs and brush piles. A Gray will often widen the burrow of a smaller animal and use it to raise their young. Dens are only used during the mating season and when raising pups.

They also have a reputation for aggressively responding to a distress call. Without much sign of fear or caution, a gray fox will often rush in within those first few minutes of calling. Popular distress calls include cottontail rabbit distress sounds, mouse and vole squeaks and gray fox pup distress.

Small grassy fields surrounded by woods are some of the best places to hunt. You’ll want to sit a distance of 30 to 40 yards out from the tree line. Like all predator hunting and calling you’ll want to blend your silhouette into the surroundings by sitting against a tree, hillside or tucked into some tall brush.Although movement is usually what a fox will detect first, it’s a good idea to wear camouflage from head to toe paying more attention to your head and hands.

Gray fox have a very capable sense of smell and will turn and bolt at the slightest hint of human scent. Like hunting all predators, you will need to consider wind direction into your set up.

Producing a distress sound at a high volume usually results in a fast response from the fox. It doesn’t seem to matter if you blow the distress call in a sequence or continuously. Both techniques seem to work on a gray fox. If nothing responds in the first 10 minutes it usually means that no grays are present and it’s time to move to a new location.

Article Source:

Here is a site that gives information on finding a red foxes den.

Unlike groundhog, possum and raccoon, red fox are hunted only during the winter months when they den below ground. The rest of the year, red fox spend almost all of their time above ground, resting in the shade of corn fields during the day, and prowling for food at night, at dusk, or in the early morning hours.

In November, December and January, when most other animals are struggling to survive the winter, the normally solitary red fox begins to pair up. At this time the fox will begin to dig natal dens and start the courtship process prior to mating in January and February.

Red fox almost always den within a few hundred yards of water, whether it is a stream or a pond, or merely a marshy area from which water can be lapped after a heavy rain.

Like groundhogs, whose burrows they use for natal dens, red fox are careful to choose den sites with good drainage.

If you are looking for a red fox den, walk into a cut-over corn field on a very cold day, preferably after a bad weather front has blown in. If you are lucky, you may come across an old groundhog den with the first three feet of the main entrance enlarged and typically dug into a tall oval shape to allow the red fox to bolt out at a full gallop. This excavated front end also serves as a kind of “porch” where the fox can rest out of the wind

Your nose will tell you this is a fox den — fox urine takes on a pungent, musky odor during courtship, and a mildly “skunky” smell will waif out of the hole.

Another sign you have found a fox den is that the dirt excavated from the hole will be kicked out backwards, without much regard to placement. While a fox digs dirt like a dog, a groundhog will pat it neatly into a mound.

The most definitive evidence you have found a fox den, however, is if there has been any recent digging at all. Groundhogs are usually asleep at this time of year, and the few that are moving about will have long ago dug their winter dens.

A freshly dug den in midwinter, with snow or ice on the ground, is an almost definitive sign that a fox is in the area.

Finding a fox den is different from finding a fox, however. Like groundhogs, red fox will often have several dens and move between them as weather, food and disturbance dictate. Some dens are excavated and never used, and old dens may only be occupied once every few years

Until next time, Bonnie Bee.


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