He’s not a paying customer, but Scruffy the fox is definitely one of Moosehaven’s Resort’s most loyal visitors.
Resort owner Russ Wardell estimates the fox is close to 12 years old, noting he has shown up regularly at the Deka Lake resort over the years.
“It’s fantastic. Where else in the world can you hang out with a fox?” Wardell said. “The resort has been called Moosehaven since the ‘50s but if I was to rename it I would definitely call it Foxhaven.”
He named the fox Scruffy, due to his appearance in the spring when he’s shedding his fur, a mix of red and black. Over the years the fox has also picked up several scars after tangling with bigger predators.
Wardell, who has owned Moosehaven since 2016 when he moved to the area from Merritt, said he remembers the first time he met Scruffy.
“I was cleaning a bathroom and he basically walked right into the bathroom to see what I was doing. He scared the hell out of me!” Wardell said.
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He said the fox then followed him home and laid down on his deck, a spot that still remains his favourite. After talking to some longtime guests, Wardell learned Scruffy had been a regular since at least 2011.
He said it’s remarkable Scruffy has lived this long as foxes typically only live for three to five years in the wild. Wardell believes he has survived this long because larger predators like bears and lynxes tend to avoid human campsites.
“Every year he has some pups and the mom or one of the pups will get hit by a truck but Scruffy is smart,” Wardell said. “You drive down Mahood Lake Road and if he hears the vehicle coming he’ll step off the road and just watch it go by.”
He has had his moments, however.
In the past, Wardell said Scruffy has been chased by bears and one time played a near “terminal game of tag” with an angry deer.
Wardell said his guests are always tickled to see Scruffy and sometimes feed him treats - although he has retained his wild nature.
“I’ve watched him running through the resort with a hot dog in his mouth and when he sees some ducks he’ll drop it and go tearing after them,” Wardell said. “He still loves to hunt and keeps the place clear and free of mice, groundhogs and the odd squirrel.”
Wardell said he looks forward to seeing Scruffy every spring.
“Every year Scruffy shows up with a new wound. He’s not as pretty as he used to be but his wily nature and his desire to carry on is why he’s still alive.”