Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Fox trot in Faribault January 27, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:21 PM
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A MINUTE LATER, a minute earlier, and I would have missed it—the beautiful fox that stood on the snowy wooded hillside in my backyard late Saturday afternoon as my husband and I arrived home from a Walmart run.

“Fox,” I shouted to Randy, as he drove into the garage. I grabbed my camera bag from the floor, unzipped the case, pulled out my Canon DSLR and flung open the car door, all the while hoping the fox hadn’t trotted away.



I raced to the side of the garage. Any shots I took would come from that spot or the patio. Even though I wore boots, I had no intention of flailing through deep snow. I fired a few frames, then moved to the patio where I got an even better look at the unexpected wild animal moving with agility through the snowy woods.



At one point the fox stopped, turned and looked directly at me, just like my initial sighting. Given my excitement, I was uncertain whether I had managed any clear photos. I did. We’ve lived here since 1984 and had many wild animals on our property—raccoon, skunk, possum, woodchuck, deer and the usual abundance of squirrels and rabbits. But never a fox.

Now I’m left wondering whether the fox has a den on this hillside next to my home, next to Wapacuta Park in the heart of a residential neighborhood in south central Faribault.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


22 Responses to “Fox trot in Faribault”

  1. Marilyn Donnell Says:

    That is so neat! I remember seeing a vixen followed by two cubs back in the mid-60’s. Unfortunately, they were probably the ones taking off with our eggs. My younger brother spoiled the day by lamenting he had no gun with him at the time as he could have made a good deal with the pelt.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    I love that you got some really nice pictures of the fox in your yard. What a treat. There is just something about a fox, don’t you think? Love seeing them and lucky you even got a picture.

    • This marked my third fox sighting in my entire life. So I was pretty thrilled. A few months ago I saw a fox in a road ditch south of Faribault. And the first fox I saw several years ago as it crossed a remote gravel road in the Minnesota River Valley area of southwestern Minnesota.

      They are gorgeous animals in coloring.

  3. Susan Ready Says:

    Great shot-and indeed exciting to capture the fox in your own backyard. Love your clever “pun like” title.

    • I feel really fortunate to have, first, even seen the fox and, second, to have gotten these photos.

      We found evidence Sunday morning that the fox had been in our yard overnight. Randy traced tracks down the sidewalk, across the yard and then across the driveway…to find clumps of rabbit fur in the snow and a major indentation. He figures the fox grabbed the rabbit and then carried it away. I was thankful for no dining in our yard.

  4. sidetrackken Says:

    Given the wildlife you described from your back yard, no wonder the fox is hanging around.

    Last June I saw a fox on the Carleton College campus (maybe twice, maybe two foxes). Lots of people around and the fox(es) I saw appeared calm and unafraid. But beautiful.

    • Thanks for that reported fox sighting from Northfield. Maybe these beautiful creatures are more common than I think. A friend who lives in another part of Faribault has spotted a bobcat several times in her neighborhood. Her husband recently saw it, too, verifying her story. 🙂

  5. What an awesome thing to see! They are so beautiful!

  6. don Says:

    It’s always a treat to observe natures critters particularly when you are not expecting it so it’s a good thing that you carry a camera along! Years ago my wife was taking some pictures of mountain goats in Denali Park and I was standing along side the road watching her when my eyes caught site of a fox running in the ditch with a rabbit in it’s mouth and a second fox chasing it. Both foxes were running straight for my wife and I hollered at her to get her attention but she was so focused on getting pictures of the goats she didn’t have a chance to turn the camera on the foxes. When she did turned around she was surprised as both foxes ran between her legs and right in front of her the second fox caught up to the first fox and stole the rabbit from it. Unfortunately she was so surprised by all this she didn’t have a chance to get any pictures. I am happy for you being in the right place at the right time and with your camera close at hand. The second picture looks as if the fox was just as surprised by you as you were of it!

  7. don Says:

    Sorry I was absent for a period of time work was overwhelming with a new airliner aircraft at our facility for cold weather testing and certifications. It is now gone and things are getting back to normal!!!!!! If your interested here is a link to look at the plane http://www.flythemrj.com

  8. Jackie Says:

    Nice of that fox to wait and pose for you… great shots Audrey! He seems like a big fox…perhaps a male???

  9. Littlesundog Says:

    The foxes here are so accustomed to humans, that it’s often easy to get poses of them watching me. Last year we had seven on our place. Currently I have only seen one every so often, and the rabbits are back, so that means most of the fox population has moved on or possible been hunted by the coyotes in the area (as you know, we have a real problem with too many coyotes). When I read about your experience I thought immediately about the keen eye you had in spotting the fox and the swiftness of getting to your camera and getting some quick shots. Both the keen eye and swiftness are attributes of the fox. I always see appearances of wild things as a message of some kind. Perhaps you have the gift of fox spirit… quick thinking and responsive!

    The fox appears large because of its grand winter coat, though it is very likely it could be a male too. Most mammals appear larger in winter because of the winter coats. That is why most pelt seekers hunt in the winter months.

  10. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Awe he’s beautiful. We had one come into our garage once when I was a kid. It had stepped into a trap and managed to drag the whole thing in the garage with him. Step Dad ended up calling the game warden and they got it off of him.

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