Wondering whether you need to buy a fox call or if you can get away with some glass and polystyrene? Andy Crow offers some advice on the subject

Q: I remember seeing a film of you calling foxes with a piece of glass and some polystyrene. Is this as effective as a proper fox call?

Andy Crow replies: You forgot saliva! That is a crucial part of that calling equation. When you say a proper fox call, do you mean two pieces of plastic with a bit of tape sandwiched between? Or a piece of folded metal with a hole drilled through it?

Ultimately, the aim of using a fox call, whether you use the back of your hand, an expensive hand-carved wooden call, or a mass-produced plastic device, is to effectively mimic the sound of a fox's prey. I have genuinely found the polystyrene and glass combo to be as effective as anything - with a couple of provisos. Firstly, you need the right type of polystyrene. And secondly, you need to know how to play the right tune. Your calling is not just about tone or pitch, but about volume, phrasing and cadence. You have to sound realistic and that comes with experience of what foxes do or don't like. Knowing when to stay quiet is also a skill.

If you are a single-handed foxer, travelling on foot, carrying a piece of glass around is not going to be as convenient as a call that you can use 'hands free' while readying to take a shot. Weather, the time of year and the individual animal will dictate what works best.