Hunter's Rest took a fabulous picture of a gray fox that the Old Dominion Hunt treed on January 3rd. I certainly didn't know that fox could climb trees, but her picture shows us that fox can indeed climb trees.
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I am so sad that Suz, and others, have this mistaken notion of foxhunting.
It is hunting, yes, but, in reality, it's more of a little harmless fox *harassing*.
I feel like it is a fair price to pay for a fox to provide a little gallop around his 'hood in return for AN EVER-EXPANDING GROUP OF DEVOTED LANDOWNERS AND OPEN-SPACE SUPPORTERS KEEPING HIS HABITAT OPEN AND MAINTAINED/UNMAINTAINED FOR HIM AND HIS BRETHREN AND HIS PREY.
Note who are the BIGGEST BY FAR **conservationists***????
Ducks Unlimited members, duck HUNTERS. Followed closely by fox HUNTERS.
(stepping off my soapbox.)
Gray foxes are good climbers. Related more closely to the cat family than the red fox, which is related to canine, not feline. (something to do with their claws.)
The fox in the tree was frowning, sort of annoyed, but more bemused than anything. Part of me wanted to hide behind a tree after the others moved off and watch how he was going to extricate himself from the very slender sapling he'd selected to dash up!
This form of hunting actually benefits this predator. When a predator becomes overly comfortable around humans, and loses its fear of humans and their dogs - that's when he's likely to start preying or hanging around too close to farms and humans.
That sets the fox up for a human/wildlife conflict that usually ends up being lethal to the predator.
The same problem can be seen when animals like bears become too habituated to humans; bothering campers, raiding trash cans, etc. It's not good for them.
Hunted foxes stay wild. They remain wary of humans and their dogs. They stick to natural prey and live a natural life. They engage in natural behavior - evading a higher order predator (fox are not an apex predator - and a dog or hounds can emulate the role that apex predator plays in an ecosystem)
The same goes for coyote - many hunts do not chase coyote but I'll tell you what - those chased coyote are far less likely to be shot than one who is hanging around your house and eyeing your dachshund.
"He took my heart and ran with it, and I hope he's running still, fast and strong, a piece of my heart bound up with his forever"
I wish I had pictures from a day w/Bull Run in the late 70s or early 80s- a red fox 'went to ground' in an abandoned car and staff and hounds were swarming over the car. They'd open the trunk, fox would pop into hood, and vice versa. About the third time the hood was raised, Charles James used the back of a whipper-in as a springboard and jumped over the pack and took off. We watched him distance himself from the pack, they started in hot pursuit of course but it was such a hot, poor scenting day that as he ran out of the little stand of woods and across a pasture, hounds had nothing to follow.
As a preface to the above, we were actually paused and relaxed to let the hounds get some water from a pond (as I mentioned, it was a hot day) before proceeding to draw the next covert. We were of course 'at ease' and coffeehousing/flasking, and Warren Harrover, late MFH/huntsman, looked behind us and saw the fox and uttered his famous 'tally-ho, gxx dxxx it!' The abandoned car in question was only about a half-mile away, and like all foxes, this one was no dummy, knowing just exactly how good or bad scent was.
hey don't be sad on my account! we have a drag hunt here and i've actually ridden with them (if you can call holding on for dear life at 100 mph while peeing my pants riding).
however i assumed most hunts actually do hunt their quarry,as i know some hunts out west hunt coyote and i believe those animals are killed.
thank you for your explanation, i rather like fox when they are not stealing my pets.
Most hunts absolutely positively (in the US) do NOT kill their quarry with any regularity. Not even remotely.
Yes, occasionally the quarry is killed. But I've hunted four decades east-south-north-west, all of them give the game a fair chance and it is only through *hunting* that they are accounted for.
Regardless, we all "actually do hunt" in every sense of the word!
But a sly stealthy woodland creature in his own 'hood outfoxing a bumbling band of slobbering foxhounds?
Ditto a crafty coyote.
To say "... those animals are killed" is simply incorrect.
*Sometimes*, of course.