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Citation. Sargeant, A. B. 1972. Red fox spatial characteristics in relation to waterfowl predation. Journal of Wildlife Management 36(2):225-236. [1497 CC]
Abstract. Radio-equipped red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) on the Cedar Creek area in Minnesota were spatially distributed, with individual families occupying well defined, nonoverlapping, contiguous territories. Territory boundaries often conformed to natural physical boundaries and appeared to be maintained through some nonaggressive behavior mechanism. Individual foxes traveled extensively throughout the family territory each night. Fox territories appeared to range from approximately 1 to 3 square miles in size, dependent largely on population density. Red foxes used a sequence of dens to rear their pups, and the amount and location of food remains at individual dens changed as the pups matured. The denning season was divided into pre-emergence, confined-use, and dispersed-use periods of 4 to 5 weeks each. Remains of adult waterfowl were collected at rearing dens on six townships in three ecologically different regions of eastern North Dakota. Remains of 172 adult dabbling ducks and 16 adult American coots (Fulica americana) were found at 35 dens. No remains from diving ducks were found. The number of adult ducks per den averaged 1.6, 5.9, and 10.2 for paired townships in regions with relatively low, moderate, and high duck populations, respectively. Eighty-four percent of the ducks were females. The species and sex composition of ducks found at dens during early and late sampling periods reflected the nesting chronology of prairie dabbling ducks. Occupied rearing dens were focal points of red fox travel, and the locations of dens may have had considerable influence on predation. Thirty-five of 38 dens found on the six township study areas were on pastured or idle lands. The distribution of rearing dens on the Sand Lake and Arrowwood national wildlife refuges suggested that, on these areas, fox dens were concentrated because of the topography and land-use practices.
Keywords. red fox, Vulpes vulpes, radiotelemetry, territory, denning season, waterfowl predation