January 23: Mike Prochnow

Date: January 14th, 24th

Mike and I had tried to get this fox for more than 1 year. A pair of fox had a den site no more than 1 mile from my house. Last winter and spring, I missed it 2 times and Mike missed it once. It was Mike’s turn this year to get it. We tried to stalk one of the fox in December and we just didn’t get close enough. Mike barely missed one of the fox when a second popped out of the hole. It ducked down the hole just as the shot went off.

This was getting very frustrating. How could two avid predator hunters who grew up fox hunting not be able to harvest a fox that was almost living in my backyard?

The morning of January 14th, the temperatures were near -30. About midday, the clouds broke and the sun came out and the wind blew out of the NW. It warmed up to a balmy -16. This is a recipe for a curled up sleeping fox soaking up the sunshine. Sure enough, a fox was back out. Mike had been shooting really well harvesting 2 night coyotes on our last hunting trip, so I gave the man with the hot hand the nod to try this fox one last time.

The stalk was extremely difficult with deep, crunchy snow. When the Nikon rangefinder read 200 yards, it was time to take the shot. The fox was sleeping facing us and the fox stalking rule we typically go by is if you can see the head don’t wake them up. This time it finally all came together and this fox did not give us the slip this time.
This fox caused us more frustration than I can explain. Before Mike finished the deal, we had stalked the pair of fox 4 different times with 4 different guns and had a total of 6 misses. The 5th stalk was the charm.

January 24th

After Mike got the female we decided to watch closely for the male. If we had gotten the male first we may have let the female go to have pups in the spring. We watched the pile for many days straight and I am sure our scent was all around the den site and the male was not seen. The hole looked closed up and there were no fresh tracks. January 24th rolled around and it was another fox hunters dream. The wind was from the NW at about 10-15 mph with temperatures around -5 degrees, so I checked the pile out early and nothing was out. It was 4:30 PM and the sun was going down and I spotted the fox out sleeping. I called Mike and by 5:00 PM he was at my house. It was my turn but I needed to sight my rifle in and there was no time for that. Mike had the hot hand so we decided he should try to finish his double. He started his stalk at 5:15 PM with the sun setting and limited time. On the way in, we heard some snowmobiles coming so we knew our time was limited.

The snow was very crunchy and deep. Mike made great time by using an old snowmobile track that had firmed up. 15 minutes later he laid down at 200 yards and with snowmobiles coming in the background took the shot. The fox never woke up and Mike had finished his double. They were exactly 10 days apart, shot from almost the exact same yardage while lying in almost the same exact spot. You could call it destiny.

Written by Korey Kirschenmann (Videographer)