The fox (Vulpes vulpes) is one of the most widely spread feral animals in Australia. Their wide ranging diet as well as the abundance of the rabbit has helped foxes to establish in many environments. The fox has significant impacts on wildlife and biodiversity as well as agricultural production, and ongoing, coordinated management is required to minimise these impacts.
Natural Resources South East recommends that fox control be considered as an integral part of normal property management. So “outfox” them with an integrated fox control plan for your property.
Options for fox control include baiting, den destruction and fumigation, shooting and trapping. A combination of these options will prove successful in reducing numbers. It is recommended that fox baiting make up the greater proportion of your fox plan due to the effectiveness and efficiency over large areas – baits are relatively cheap and work for you day and night.
A range of fox bait products are available to suit your needs.
Fox-Off® baits are available at all Natural Resources South East sites and come in packs of 20, 30, 50 or 100.
Fresh meat baits are available at some Board sites and require landholders to provide fresh red meat cut into 5cm cubes. Only red meat is permitted for bait material – fish, chicken and offal is prohibited.
In order to provide this service Natural Resources South East maintains a special licence for the handling of 1080 poison and manufacture of baits. As 1080 is an S7 poison it requires very specific facilities and trained staff to handle the products. These requirements aren’t seen by bait purchasers but cost the board to implement the necessary standards.
There are risks associated with baiting with 1080 – dogs are highly susceptible to 1080 poison. These risks can be effectively minimised through careful adherence to instructions provided with the baits, and it is a condition of purchase that you do so. A full bait use and safety briefing will be provided by staff at time of purchase. Most “accidents” with fox baits occur through ignoring the instructions.
Please contact your local Authorised Officer to obtain information and prices on fox baits.
When should I lay fox bait?
Autumn is an ideal time for fox baiting - and not just because it is lambing season.
This is a time of year when the home ranges for foxes have broken down with younger foxes beginning to disperse across the region. It is also a time when food sources are low. This combination of increased mobility and less food therefore increases the chance of foxes eating bait.
Autumn is also a time when fox numbers tend to peak. While this dispersal activity works in our favour, it also highlights the need for ongoing and wide-scale baiting to provide the greatest impact on fox numbers across the region.
Landholders will get the best results from their baiting program by baiting twice a year and cover a larger area by getting their neighbours to bait at the same time. The second ideal time for baiting, which also often corresponds to lambing, is early spring in when vixens are breeding and are in need of more food. Baiting at this time of year not only removes adult foxes but can also remove the next generation, preventing the seasonal population increase.
Biennial baiting takes advantage of the fox life-cycle to hopefully keep fox numbers low all year, and reduce damage at key production times. This is the key message from a regional fox control program in the lower south east, which aims to coordinate groups of landholders in baiting.
Lower South East Regional Coordinated Fox Control Program:
The Lower South East Regional Coordinated Fox Control Program is funded by the Australian Government Caring for Our Country program and administered by the SE NRM Board. This project will influence over 45,000 ha to ensure that landscape scale changes are occurring across the region in relation to reducing the impacts caused by foxes. The project will directly benefit the landholders involved in the project but will also have a wider effect of increasing biodiversity, which has an overall benefit to the public.
Coordinated control groups consist of at least five properties within one neighbourhood group and timing is organised in consultation with local landholders. Currently 6 coordinated control groups have been established throughout the lower South East and a total of 59 landholders have been targeted for involvement in 2011 coordinated control.
Participants will be required to:
- Ideally conduct two baiting programs coordinated with their neighbourhood group,
- record the number of baits taken,
- respond to a phone survey after each baiting program has finished, and
- adhere to the Directions of Use of 1080 Fox Baits.
To get involved, please contact the natural resources centre.