March 1, 2024

Sunshine Brosi and students snap photos of elusive kit fox

As a class 2400 Wildland resource techniques, we set out to camera trap the kit fox. The kit fox is native to the southwest United States, all the way down into central Mexico. Kit foxes have large ears that are set close together, and small slender bodies with a black tipped bushy tail. We started in a town located just southeast of Price called Green River. Our goal was to capture the kit fox on camera, and beyond that, to find a way groups could do it more easily in the future.

The kit fox is a tiny animal that we were searching for in the middle of the desert, it wasn’t a very easy thing to do. For the camera traps, we needed attractants of some kind. We went for different types of canned food to determine which one the fox would go to first — if we were lucky enough to get one on camera. The cameras we used are motion-activated. When any kind of movement happens in front of the camera, it senses it and snaps a picture. The locations we were taking photos from varied. One was on a river bottom, another was on the edge of a rocky point and another in a sandy wash. This became a problem because we had to fasten the camera to something. A tree in the river bottom was the easiest, the other we had to carry in a T-post and hammer into the rocky ground.

Once the cameras were placed and the bait laid out, all we had left to do was wait. We went back to the locations a week later and to our surprise, we had a lot of pictures to go through. On the first one, we checked there were some very interesting animals, including a coyote, a bobcat, and some rodents. Each animal seemed to show interest in one kind of bait more than any other Out of all things it was the Vienna sausages. Almost every animal that showed up went to that can first.

The next camera we were lucky enough to get a kit fox! It was really easy to determine it was a kit fox by the large ears that were close together. This was a super fun class taught by Sunshine Brosi, I would highly recommend it to anyone attending Utah State University Eastern.