Cascade Mountain School Fox Hunt

On July 25, 2017, we headed up Stagman Ridge Trail to Horseshoe Meadow on Mt Adams to meet with a group of 14-17 year old students from Cascade Mountain School. We had a bug-attacked talk about ecosystems, ecological niches, Cascade red foxes, and the fisher re-introduction. There were ALOT of mosquitoes and black flies but also incredible vistas of the snow-bedecked mountain and lush, expansive subalpine meadow full of bright red and pink Paintbrush wildflowers. The students went into the meadow and surrounding ridges to set remote cameras in the hopes of detecting Cascade red foxes into the late summer and fall. I was joined on my hike by my friend, Victoire from Normandy. The trail meanders through the 2012 Cascade Creek Fire, which converted dense, shady mid-elevation Douglas Fir and Western Hemlock forests into bright, hot tinder and dead trees, now replete with the most vibrant and diverse wildflowers.

Cascade Mountain School students divided into 3 groups.

Group #1: Courtney, Owen, and Luca chose a spot for their remote camera based mostly on the Cascade red fox's attraction to water, and also because the fox will be in full camera range. They set the scent lure on an out-reaching branch across from the camera so the fox would be in full exposure to be caught on camera. It was also a slightly secluded area so there were less animals that may be attracted to the scent, that way other animals would be less likely to trigger the camera.

Group #2: Max, Quinn, and Shiah ventured out with scat collecting bags, a camera trap, and some scent to attract the fox. They found a game trail located on the saddle west of Horseshoe Meadow. The area was lightly treed and also near the edge of the meadow. They placed their remote camera in a tree near where they thought the fox might travel. Then on a tree across from the camera, they placed the scent to lure the foxes in.

Group #3: Clark, Jayvahn, and Oliver placed their camera in a place with many animal tracks near the creek. They believed that the site will have a lot of foot traffic and will eventually draw a fox because of abundant prey and easy access to water.