Fox hunting silly, fun

Foxhunting is not inhumane as some would have you believe [March 24 cover story: "Tally no! Matthews bans the hunt"].

Hounds live in sheltered kennels, and enjoy 24-hour access to sunshine and fresh air, exercise in outdoor runs, and the companionship of other hounds. They receive regular veterinary care, a proper diet, and are assessed every day by the huntsman, who recognizes and calls each by name.

They are probably in better health and better adjusted than a household pet who stays alone in the basement for long hours while its owner is at work.

Bred for their noses and voice, hounds are beautiful to hear and watch. However, they are no match for the fox, whose tracking and scenting abilities as well as his senses of hearing and sight are superb because he must earn his living from them.

A fox cannot be surprised by foxhunters. Even the simplest child can detect at a great distance 30 or more hounds, several dozen horses, a couple of trucks, and a huntsman who is whooping and blowing his horn.

A healthy fox may choose not to participate by simply staying in his burrow. When the fox elects to participate, he may retire from the chase at any time by going to ground or climbing a tree.

The disposition of a treed or grounded fox is, by law, at the discretion of the landowner. In England, they knock the fox out of the tree or have footmen dig him out with shovels and toss him to the hounds. In America, we congratulate ourselves, have drinks all around, and leave the fox where he is, all the while praising the hounds and distributing snacks to them.

We do not kill the fox. We wish to encounter him again another day–many more days. The thrill is being outdoors, watching the hounds, galloping after them when they strike a trail, acting a little silly, and being with friends.

Karen G. Trimmer
Bull Run Hunt Club