Finnish Foxtrot04.03.2014  Ville Pohjola
Icy snow tinkles lightly as it lands on the frozen ground. The sound reminds me of wind chimes but there are none of those around here. I am sitting in the middle of the snow-covered field and there is only whiteness around me. The wind is blowing from the nearby lake and I try to stay still. This is yet another day to enjoy the fresh winter air.
Have you ever tried to blend in to the open field? It is hard and especially difficult in the winter time when you are trying to call varmint. It is like a bizarre dance. To be able to allure another party to this performance you need to be invisible. You need to hide in the middle of the open space to be able to see the fox before it discovers you. If you're hiding at the forest the fox usually comes behind and smells you before you even know about it. To charm the fox you can use only the sound of your call.
Vermin such as foxes and raccoon dogs cause huge damage to the bird population, and the conservation of birds requires active hunting. Both species are also a threat to e.g. the endangered polar fox. The raccoon dog is an invasive species, and the only natural enemies are the lynx and the wolf. Therefore hunting is an important way to manage the population.
To be able to hunt foxes and raccoon dogs with predator calls in the open space you need extremely good cover. Fox hunting at winter is extremely difficult because it is very challenging to hide at the flat white landscape. Even the slightest movement or the shape of the human scares the animal away. As said, to be able to see the fox before it sees you the spot need to be in the open space. This puts high requirements on the clothing. It must keep you warm and give good camouflage in the snowy field. The only alternative is a high quality winter camo suit.
I lure the prey again, by blowing my fox call three times. The dusk is already settling over the field and it starts to be difficult to see whether something moves in the shadows. When I look through my binoculars I am almost sure I see a small red spot moving at the edge of the forest. When I look the second time, there is nothing.
I continue my imitation of a wounded rabbit. As the air flows through the two reeds of my call, creating a raspy tone, I see it. My partner in this Finnish Foxtrot has arrived. There is still about 200 meters between us so I lie very still, trying to look like a pile of snow. When the red fox continues the rapid trot towards me I know I have succeeded. My suit has again protected me from the weather and the eyes of the prey.