Can I Shoot a Fox in My Yard? (Getting Rid of Foxes Legally)

Can I Shoot a Fox in My Yard

Foxes are beautiful animals, but they can also be a nuisance. Many homeowners have questions about how to deal with foxes that are invading their property. The most common question, in this case, is whether or not you can legally shoot a fox in your yard.

In most states across the US, it is perfectly legal to shoot a fox in your yard if it’s causing a nuisance. Most laws require that you live in a rural area, and there are no highways nearby. You should always check with your local wildlife authority to find out what the laws are in your area.

Some people have no problem with shooting a fox, and others would rather avoid it. No matter which you agree with, this article has the answers. We’ll discuss the laws around shooting foxes and what other tactics you could try to keep a fox off your lawn.

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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!

Shooting a fox could be the easiest way to get it off your yard, but what if you don’t own a firearm? Here are some other products that work as fox repellent to keep them off your property for good.

Products that deter foxes:

1. Motion-activated sprinklerSprays the foxes with water and scares them off.

2. Motion-activated lightsFoxes don’t have great eyesight, so any bright LED will confuse and scare them.

3. Electric FenceIdeal for keeping chickens or any small livestock safe.

Hunting Foxes

Foxes can be found in almost all the states except Florida, but most times, they stay clear of humans. Sometimes they wander onto our properties. The problem is that when they do, they can cause a lot of damage.

Foxes will dig through trash cans, steal pet food, and even kill small animals like chickens or rabbits.

So in this section, we’re going to discuss hunting and shooting foxes. We’ll talk about the laws and what you need to know before taking this step.

Are You Allowed to Shoot Foxes?

Each state has different regulations, but most allow hunting and shooting adult foxes during hunting season. Most also allow trapping and shooting foxes on your own property outside of hunting season.

Fox pups are protected from hunting to allow them to grow up and learn to survive in the wild. Foxes can have an impact on game harvest and bird conservation efforts, and they mainly hunt birds.

Hunters often aim to reduce the fox population in an area to protect bird conservation. Some consider foxes a nuisance because they will eat just about anything, including small livestock and game.

To prevent this, farmers and ranchers sometimes shoot or trap foxes that come on their property.

You may be able to do the same if you have a problem with foxes raiding your chicken coop or killing rabbits in your yard.

Can You Shoot Foxes With a Fac Air Rifle?

It is legal to hunt foxes with an air rifle, although it is not the most humane option. It’s almost impossible to get a clean kill from an air rifle, so you would most likely be wounding the fox.

We would rather recommend using a .22 rimfire rifle or .22 centerfire load. Smaller caliber rifles are easier to use when hunting foxes.

They will also kill the fox outright, so there’s no need to worry about wounding it.

These rifles have a much better chance of killing a fox humanely and not allowing it to run away wounded. If you’re going to shoot a fox, we recommend using the most humane method possible.

Can You Shoot a Fox With a Shotgun?

Many fox hunters prefer using a shotgun to shoot foxes. They mimic the sound that foxes make to lure a fox into point-blank range. Then they use a shotgun, like a Browning Gold 10 or something similar, to point and shoot.

There are specialized whistles that you can purchase to mimic the sound of a fox call. This usually lures them close to your area.

If you live in an area where there are foxes, and you have a shotgun, this is probably the best method to use. You have a much better chance of hitting the fox and killing it outright.

Using a shotgun is also seen as a more humane hunting option than an air rifle.

You might also enjoy our post on If You Can Shoot a Coyote in Your Yard

Can You Shoot Urban Foxes?

Foxes in urban areas can be a nuisance, and legally you are allowed to shoot them, but it’s not recommended to do so. In an urban area, it’s extremely unsafe to shoot unless you have a wall or something solid behind the fox.

Humane societies argue that it is cruel to shoot a fox, so they recommend trapping the fox or contacting professionals to relocate the fox.

According to the law in most states, it is legal to shoot a fox on your property.

What Is the Best Way to Get Rid of Foxes?

The best way to get rid of foxes is to keep them out of your property. Electric fences and fox traps are some of the most common and effective methods to keep them out. As a last resort, you could shoot foxes that are pestering you.

Prevention is also important. Don’t leave food lying around your property, and keep small pets inside or fenced in at all times. Foxes might target your pet as prey if they’re left unattended outside. 

If you have a problem with foxes, the best thing to do is take preventive measures. But if they’re already on your property and causing problems, you may need to take more drastic measures such as trapping or shooting them.

Be sure to check your state’s laws before taking any action against foxes. You don’t want to get in trouble for breaking the law, even if you are just trying to protect your property.

Fox Sightings

Even though foxes are quite common in the states, it’s still peculiar to see a fox strutting near you. Some people freeze completely, but what should you actually do when you see a fox? Let’s dive into it!

What to Do if You Saw a Fox?

If you see a fox in a wild forest area, you should keep your distance and not disrupt the fox. If you see a fox in an urban area, you should contact the officials to have the fox trapped and released back into the wild.

If you feel threatened by a fox, you should make some noise. Clap your hands, stomp your feet and yell. You should make yourself big, loud, and scary.

This will most likely scare the fox and urge it to run away.

If you have small children or pets with you, pick them up and keep them close to you. Do not turn your back on the fox and run away.

This will trigger the fox’s predatory instincts, and it may chase and attack you.

If a fox does attack you, fight back. Use whatever you have at your disposal to hit the fox until it releases you or runs away.

What Does It Mean if You See a Fox in Your Yard?

A fox will wander into your yard if there is something that attracts them. This can be food in your bins or compost that you maintain on your property. You need to make sure that these are properly sealed.

Garbage and compost have a very particular smell, even to humans. Foxes, and other wildlife, are drawn to this smell.

To get rid of foxes, you could use a motion-activated sprinkler system to startle them or set up traps to relocate them.

Can You Report Foxes?

You should report nuisance foxes or foxes that show signs of rabies to your local animal control agency or police department. They will dispatch a professional to remove, relocate or euthanize the fox if necessary. 

Many believe that seeing a fox during the day is a sign that it has rabies, but this is not true. Foxes prey on birds, squirrels, and other small animals which are active during the day. Before calling to report a fox, look for the signs of rabies.

The most common sign of rabies in animals is excessive drooling and foaming at the mouth. Rabid animals may also be aggressive, disoriented, or have seizures.

If you see a fox exhibiting these symptoms, call your local animal control agency immediately.

Do not attempt to capture or kill the fox yourself if you think it has rabies. Leave that to the professionals.

You might also enjoy our post on If You Can Shoot a Bear on Your Property

Will a Fox Keep Coming Back?

If there is a water source or food source in or near your yard, there is a good chance that the fox will return. You should determine what attracted the fox to your yard and try to seal or remove the attraction.

If it’s not possible to remove the attraction, try to install a motion-activated sprinkler to deter the fox. You could also install an electric fence to keep the fox out.

Foxes are fairly transient, so they might just be passing through and won’t return to your yard.

What to Do if a Fox Approaches You

When a fox approaches you, make a noise. Yell, clap your hands, and stomp your feet. You should make yourself as big and loud as possible. This will almost always scare the fox away.

Foxes have a natural fear of humans since we are bigger than them. Although when people feed foxes, they lose that natural fear.

If you see a fox approach you and it does not look threatening, it has probably been fed by a human. You should contact your local animal control. They will be able to remove the fox from your property.

Do not attempt to feed a fox yourself. This will only make the problem worse. Foxes that are fed by humans lose their natural fear of us and become bolder.

They may start to raid trash cans, gardens, and even homes in search of food.

What Does a Rabid Fox Look Like?

One of the easiest signs that a fox might have rabies is walking around in circles or in a pattern that does not make sense. Despite what we see in the movies, a rabid fox is not always foaming at the mouth.

Signs that a fox might have rabies:

  • They walk around in circles or stagger around as if drunk.
  • They act unnaturally tame or extremely aggressive for seemingly no reason.
  • Partial paralysis or inability to move their limbs

Fox on My Yard

It’s easy to forget about foxes in your neighborhood when they stay in the forest or off your property. But when they start coming into your yard, what do you do? How do you keep them away?

Let’s look at some ways to keep foxes off your yard.

How Do You Keep Foxes Away From Your Property?

To keep a fox away from your property, you should first determine what is attracting it because a fox will only come onto your property if it’s attracted to something. Old food in your garbage bins is usually the suspect.

Foxes have an excellent sense of smell, so if there is rotten food in your garage, they will be able to smell it from quite a distance away.

To keep them away, you should keep your garbage inside your garage or empty your garbage more often.

How Do You Get Rid of a Fox on Your Property?

Installing an electric fence would be your best option to get rid of a fox on your property. Foxes can jump or climb over most fences, but if the fence gives them a shock, they will get scared and run away. 

If you don’t want to put up an electric fence, you could invest in motion-activated sprinklers. These sprinklers detect when wildlife is nearby and sprays them with water.

This does not harm the animals, but it will scare them and keep them away.

You might also enjoy our post on If You Can Shoot a Deer on Your Property

What Time Do Foxes Come Out?

Foxes can be active at any time during the day, but they are primarily nocturnal. This means that most foxes would be active during the night. Many people believe that only a sick fox will come out during the daytime, but that is not true.

Foxes often hunt squirrels and birds during the daytime, so they can be seen running or lurking during all hours. They also do not hibernate, so they will be active all year round.

You’ll probably see most foxes between dawn and dusk.

What Can I Do About a Fox in My Yard?

In most states, you are allowed to shoot a fox on your property without a permit. If you don’t own a firearm, you could use pots and pans to make a loud noise. This will almost always scare the fox and force it to flee.

You could also install motion-activated sprinklers that spray the fox, or any other wildlife, with water. This will scare the fox, and they probably won’t return.

If they do, attempt to trap the fox and relocate it far away. If all else fails, call your local animal control to take care of the problem.

Is a Fox in My Backyard Dangerous?

Foxes are not generally dangerous to humans unless they are rabid. A rabid fox will show signs of aggression, excessive drooling, and foaming at the mouth. If you see a fox exhibiting these symptoms, call your local animal control agency immediately.

A fox’s natural instinct is to flee, but if it’s captured and has nowhere to flee, it will fight.

So if you’re planning on trapping a fox to relocate it, you need to be very careful when releasing it into the wild again.

Make sure you’re not releasing it into an area where it will be in danger or where it will put other animals in danger.

Will a Fox Attack a Dog?

Foxes usually won’t challenge a dog. They do not like conflict and prey on weak small animals that can’t fight back. However, if your dog attacks a fox, it will fight back and might injure your dog.

The same can be said for cats. Even though a fox might be bigger than a cat, it usually won’t challenge a cat. Young kittens, on the other hand, could be a prime target for a fox.

If your cat has kittens, be sure to keep them inside your house at all times.

Fox Deterrents

Not everyone is comfortable with shooting or killing a fox, so in this section, we’re going to discuss some more humane methods of removing or deterring a fox from your property.

How Do I Get Rid of Foxes Without Killing Them?

The best way to get rid of foxes without killing them is to scare them. When you see foxes on your property, make loud noises with pots, clap your hands, or play loud music. Foxes have very sensitive hearing, so loud noises will scare them away.

You could also install a motion-activated sprinkler system at the point where they usually enter your property.

If you don’t want to deal with the fox, contact your local animal control to trap the fox and release it far away from your property.

You might also enjoy our post on If You Can Shoot a Raccoon In Your Yard

Do Lights Keep Foxes Away?

Since foxes are primarily nocturnal animals, their sense of sight is not as developed as their sense of smell and hearing. Strange bright lights tend to confuse them. So it is known to keep foxes away from your property.

You could install an outdoor light that is on all night, or you could install a motion-activated light that only turns on when it detects wildlife walking.

This will startle the fox, and they probably won’t return to your property.

What Smells Do Foxes Hate?

Natural ingredients such as garlic, chili, or capsaicin will irritate a fox’s sense of smell. You could boil garlic or chili peppers (or both) and mix them with some water. Use a spray bottle to spray this in the area where foxes usually enter your property.

This mixture will irritate the fox, and they probably won’t return to your property. You could also use vinegar or anything with a sharp smell.

Mix vinegar with water and spray along your property line to keep the foxes out.

Killing a Fox

You can kill a fox in more ways than just one. In this section, we’ll discuss different methods to kill a fox without causing it to suffer. Shooting it might not always be an option, especially in urban areas.

Can I Kill a Fox in My Yard?

In some states, It is legal to shoot a fox in your yard, but it’s not legal to shoot in urban areas or near highways. So before considering this, you need to be completely sure of your surroundings and that no one else can get hurt.

If you have safety concerns about shooting, you could set up fox traps. There are non-leather traps that could be used to release the fox into the wild again.

There are also lethal traps that crush the body of the fox.

Can I Kill a Fox on My Property?

In some states, you are allowed to kill or shoot a fox on your property without requiring a hunting or trapping license. However, you are not allowed to shoot a firearm in an urban area or near a highway. 

You should research your state laws regarding nuisance foxes and what can be done to remove them from your property.

When using a gun is not allowed, you can poison a fox with strychnine. However, permission is needed to use it.

Should I Kill Foxes?

Killing foxes is not always the best or most humane solution to your problem. Most times a fox can be relocated to a different area, and they’ll adapt to their new environment since faxes are transient.

Foxes are territorial, so if one is hanging around your property and you kill it, another will soon take its place and take over the territory.

In a situation like this, it would be better to scare off the fox with loud noises or bright lights.

Are Foxes Legally Protected?

Red foxes are not listed as a threatened or endangered species, so they’re not protected by the law. You are allowed to hunt and kill foxes. You’re also allowed to kill a fox on your property without a hunting permit.

You are allowed to hunt foxes during the designated hunting season that your state announces. In the United States, they are not seen as endangered.

In contrast, the European Union, Canada, and Russia restrict the trapping and hunting of red foxes.

You might also enjoy our post on If You Can Shoot a Snake in Your Yard

Can You Kill a Fox if It’s Killing Your Chickens?

In the United States, you are allowed to kill a fox on your property if it is a nuisance. A fox that is killing your chickens is definitely a nuisance. Just be aware that this might not permanently solve your problem.

Foxes are territorial, so when you kill one, another will simply take its place. A more permanent solution could be to install a high electric fence around your chickens or to get a coop guard dog to protect your chickens.

How to Humanely Kill a Fox

A headshot with a .22 caliber firearm is the best way to ensure a humane kill. A humane kill means the animal does not suffer from its wounds. Aim your firearm between the eyes of the fox and shoot straight.

If you have no firearm but need to kill a fox humanely, the best option would be to break the neck of the fox.

This can be done by striking the fox at the base of the skull with a log or even your foot. 

Related Questions

What Not to Do if You See a Fox?

Never approach a fox or try to catch a fox with your bare hands. They are naturally afraid of humans but they will attack if they feel threatened and cornered. Always keep your distance and assess the situation from a distance.

Don’t try to feed a wild fox. This creates a whole host of problems. The first is that the fox loses its natural fear of humans.

This means the fox might approach other humans for food, but not all humans are animal lovers.

Are Foxes Afraid of Dogs?

Foxes are not confrontational, meaning they don’t like any kind of conflict. They are afraid of pretty much anything that is bigger than a squirrel and makes a lot of noise, like a dog.

Foxes prey on weak, helpless animals like birds, squirrels, and sometimes chickens. A healthy fox would not approach a dog. However, a rabid fox might.

If you live in a rural area, you don’t need to worry about a fox attacking your dog.

Do Foxes Keep Rats Away?

Foxes kill a vast variety of rodents, including rats. You usually won’t find a rodent infestation in an area where foxes are. They are nature’s pest control, killing rats, mice, slugs, etc.

Foxes also clean up any dead animals from the forest or country roads. This is a great way to trap a fox since they love a free meal (who doesn’t, right?).

Many people who keep foxes as pets use them for pest control.

Final Thoughts

You can shoot a nuisance fox on your property. However, if something is attracting the foxes, it won’t be long until you find another one on your property.

Assess your property and check if there is anything that could be attracting the foxes. This could very well help to solve most of your fox problems!

We hope you found this article informative and helpful in handling any fox problem you might have.

If you don’t know what to do, or you don’t want to deal with the fox, you should call your local animal control to take care of it.

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