Fox vs. frozen mop: Nunavut girl, 17, claims victory over nighttime visitor

Deanna Netser, a 17-year-old high school student in Arviat, Nunavut, had never caught a fox before, but an odd sequence of events last week led to her first catch, leaving a frozen mop in her left hand and one ill-fated, white fox in her right.

'My sister threw the mop at me and said ‘use that!’' says Deanna Netser

Deanna Netser holds her catch with one hand, and her choice trapping equipment in the other. (submitted by Samantha Netser)

This isn't your average way to catch a fox.

Nor is it your average hunter.

Deanna Netser is a 17-year-old high school student in Arviat, Nunavut.

She's never caught a fox before. But an odd sequence of events last week led to her first fox victory, leaving a frozen mop in her left hand and one ill-fated Arctic fox in her right.

The story

Deanna and her sister Samantha were out on their porch one night last week.

Then they heard a few clunk, clunk, clunks.

"There were three kids outside, throwing rocks at our snowmobile for some reason," said Deanna.

"I was like, 'Hey what's going on?'" Samantha recalled.

The children, all around 10 years old, told them that there was a fox under their Yamaha Bravo.

Deanna says she's hunted caribou and geese before, but has never caught a fox. (submitted by Deanna Netser)

​Deanna went down to join the kids, and so did the family dog. 

"When the fox was trapped under the Bravo, my dog went over," said Samantha. "My dog was just trying to sniff the fox, the fox tried biting my dog."

All of a sudden, Samantha threw Deanna a mop.

"My sister threw the mop at me and said 'use that!'" said Deanna.

"It was right beside me, on top of the stairs," said Samantha. "We just got a new one, so we put that one outside. We used it to clean our outside porch."

The mop was frozen to the core, its strings stuck in one direction and flattened at its head.

"It moved fast," said Deanna. "I hit it. Then it tried running away. So I hit it when it went out too."

And that was the end for the white fox.

Wildlife officer takes the fox for rabies

There's a long history of trapping foxes, prized for their fur, in Nunavut. Deanna had a special plan for this one. 

"She wanted to keep the fur and dye it, like change it to whatever colour she wanted, for her jacket," said Samantha. "But the wildlife officer came and picked it up and never gave it back."

Joe Savikataaq Jr. said he got a call the next day from Environmental Health with regards to Deanna's incident. The news travelled fast through social media, he said.

He went to pick up the carcass.

"If there is a suspicion that there might be rabies in the fox, just as a precautionary safety issue, we do that. That's normal procedure," he said.

'I just killed a fox outside of my house with a frozen mop,' wrote Deanna on a Facebook post with this photo. (Facebook)

Although fox-hunting is a common practice in the community, he said that Deanna's catch raised flags.

"It was right in town. Normally foxes stay away from people," he said.

Savikataaq Jr. sent Deanna's fox to a rabies lab in Alberta. He said it was the first fox to be sent to be tested from Arviat in the past two years.

There have been cases of rabies in foxes in Nunavut this year. Seven Arctic foxes and three dogs tested positive for rabies in Nunavut in 2015.

Savikataaq Jr. said the fox population in Arviat is higher than last year.

"When there's lots of foxes there's a high chance of rabies being in foxes. We're in that state right now where the population is high."

Regarding Deanna's unique trapping method, Savikataaq Jr. chuckled. "I guess you have to protect yourself in any way."

"It's better to be safe than sorry."