The available control options are often more effective when used in combination.
Fox baiting with 1080 baits is the most cost-effective and efficient means of reducing fox numbers, as foxes are very sensitive to the 1080 poison (sodium fluoroacetate).
Although 1080 is quickly broken down in the environment and native animals in Western Australia have a natural high degree of tolerance to 1080, landholders should understand the restrictions for 1080 use and its disposal. Particularly, to avoid accidentally poisoning cats, dogs and other non-target animals.
Canid pest ejectors
Canid Pest Ejectors (CPEs) are a newly approved method of deploying 1080 to wild canids (foxes and wild dogs) in Western Australia. CPEs are spring-activated baiting devices that use a piston to propel the contents of a 1080 capsule directly into the mouth of a wild dog or fox as it pulls the bait placed on the head of the ejector.
Additional information is available in the Canid Pest Ejectors webpage.
Holding livestock in small paddocks can help to decrease predation on newborn lambs and kids. These enclosures make it easier to monitor the flock and reduce the chances of young being left unattended. Shed lambing or kidding can be used to prevent predation of valuable animals. Some producers have successfully used trained guard dogs or Alpacas to protect their flocks.
Foxes are agile animals and can penetrate various types of fences. Wire netting with mesh size not exceeding 80mm (about 3 inches) will prevent foxes passing through a fence. The netting should be 1.2-1.9m high and buried at least 450mm deep. An apron of netting angled outwards for 200mm at the base of the fence provides an added deterrent to digging under the fence. Electrification of outriggers or closely spaced plain wires can also discourage foxes from climbing over or through fences.
Wire netting enclosures roofed with netting or other material will protect poultry from foxes.
DEN-CO-FUME is the only fumigate product registered for use on foxes in Australia, including Western Australia. The use of any other fumigate product or gas is unlawful in Australia.
Where the den is accessible to appropriate machinery, deep ripping can destroy it. However, care should be taken in susceptible threatened plant communities.
Soft catch jawed traps and cage traps are sometimes used to control particular problem foxes. Under the Animal Welfare (General) Regulations 2003 metal jaw traps can only be used if the jaws are padded or otherwise modified so that any captured animal is unlikely to suffer significant injury. Captured foxes must be disposed of humanely. Under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Regulations 2013 a permit from DAFWA is required to use jaw traps or snares for the capture of foxes in built-up areas (urban areas) and land zoned as special rural zone as defined in the Planning and Development Act 2005.
Shooting can be effective in reducing fox numbers locally. Recommended equipment comprises a good quality spotlight (100 watts) and a small calibre (for example, 0.22 Hornet, 0.222), high velocity rifle fitted with telescopic sights.