Out Foxed

Today’s post is a bit of a deja-vu for Linda and I.  If you recall, back in March of this year I recounted an encounter with a Red Fox (link here).  That observation involved pulling into the parking lot of the Red Rocks Ampitheatre.  Soon after getting the gear out of the car, a human acclimated fox strolled across the parking lot in front of us –  dismissing the myth that wildlife photographers risk life and limb to hone their craft (well, at least not ALL the time hehehe).  Well guess what…

Fox shot at Grand Portage, MN at Grand Portage State Park July 2017

This exact same scenario played out on our recent trip to Minnesota back in July (yes, this year and yes, I know a post that recent is pretty rare around here).  Eventually, we made our way to Grand Portage MN to let Linda shoot another waterfall.  It was overcast with only a slight drizzle which actually works in Linda’s waterfall silk favor – not so much for my wildlife shots so wasn’t expecting to get much in the tin.  That all changed the minute we stepped out of the RV.  As if on command, this Red Fox came strolling out next to the far end of the parking lot. “Well how do you do my little friend?”

Fox shot at Grand Portage, MN at Grand Portage State Park July 2017

Hit the jump to see and read more about our furry friend.

It just sat there for a considerable amount of time checking me out, scanning the parking lot, checking me out some more.  Nothing beats having a cooperative subject when you are trying to dial in the manual settings in less than ideal situations.  It wasn’t making any fast movements allowing me to drop the shutter speed lower than I normally go with the Beast, but the ISO was driven up threatening grain.  Took a bunch of shots, but finally got everything where wanted it – then the fur ball decided to move – DIRECTLY TOWARD ME.  With the parking lot distance and the thought it wouldn’t actually come to close, decided to continue taking shots.  Besides, once you have had a bear encounter in the woods and end up having your wife pull you towards safety because you’re busy hammering the shutter button … things like this seems like a walk in the park.

Fox shot at Grand Portage, MN at Grand Portage State Park July 2017

And that is how it went for the next 5 to 10 minutes.  The Fox would rest a bit, survey the surroundings again before continuing on a path right towards me.  Okay, no complaints here, just better pictures!  Then I realize I had been subconsciously pulling the zoom back in order to get our specimen in the frame – it didn’t really click until I had hit the minimum stop – time to take the eye away from the pass through and assess the situation.  Yep, this was a bit too close.

Fox shot at Grand Portage, MN at Grand Portage State Park July 2017

Then it confirmed why it was too close.  Foxes may be small and certainly lack the bulk of Coyotes and Wolves, but do not forget they still have a muzzle full of knives.  Truth be told, it was really yawning and not trying to send a chill up my spine.

Fox shot at Grand Portage, MN at Grand Portage State Park July 2017

Besides, it really isn’t that expression that causes concern.  Nope, it’s when they start fantasizing how long they could live off the carcass of a cocky photographer.  You know, when their eyes narrow in devious thought and they start salivating… ummmm Linda, hold that RV door open for me this might turn into a competitive sprint.

Fox shot at Grand Portage, MN at Grand Portage State Park July 2017

I backed away to give it some space.  It decided to slowly move further away still keeping a keen eye on the parking lot.  Based on the experience Linda and I surmised that this little Fox had been conditioned to people feeding it.  I hate when this happens – people PLEASE stop feeding the wildlife.  All you are doing is putting their life in jeopardy.  Someone could have interpreted this situation as a threat and dealt with it quite differently.  Not to mention, it was willing to risk exposure in a parking lot to investigate us.

With that excitement over, we locked up the RV and headed for the waterfall.  Before heading out on the trail, we looked back and to our surprise our interpretation of the situation was confirmed.  The Fox had come back out and was circling our RV.

Fox shot at Grand Portage, MN at Grand Portage State Park July 2017

Guessing our three dogs were not very pleased that the sly one was hanging out in their vicinity.  Time to head out, the drizzle had morphed into a light rain.  Best of luck to our new friend – typically habituated wildlife have a short lifespan for obvious reasons.

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