My husband and I were watching the Westminster Dog Show earlier in the week. As owners of a super, go to ground Jack/Parson Russell we were surprised to learn these terriers were carried horseback during hunts in "terrier bags." A few web searches produced a few <4> old photographs of terriers in bags on horseback. Some bags were slung over the huntsman's shoulder, others were either attached to the front or rear of the saddle.
We were wondering.....is the "terrier bag" still an accessory of the modern day hunt? Does any hunts still use russell terrier types in packs?
I'm no hunting expert, but I'd say definitely no in the UK, since hunting with dogs is banned (although they did use terriers pre-ban). And I've never heard of terriers being used in the US since killing the fox really isn't the goal over here.
My understanding is terriers are used to bolt the fox, not kill it. The foxholes I've seen in NE have at least one other entrance/exit. But, then I'm no expert on the behavior of foxes or hunting (obviously).
"Terrier man" my husband may need a job in retirement, he might be suited to this job.
When my partner was hunting a pack of foxhounds in Perth, Australia, we had a terrier. He travelled on the back of a vehicle which followed the hunt - could be anybody's vehicle. Josh wore a locater collar and would go in after a fox had gone to ground. We would "find" his location from above ground and dig the fox out, then hounds would hunt him on. Josh did kill the odd fox - he was mad keen for it. However that was not the intention.
Indeed a terrier bag is an accessory for a 'short legged' terrier. Long legged terriers run with the pack. (The whole 'Parson' or just plain 'Russell' terrier thing is an AKC abomination, real foxhunters just call 'em all Jack Russell terrorists).
Actually what they are often meant to do is bring a fox to bay underground, the noise is used to locate the fox so the terrier men know where to dig in order to remove and dispatch the fox (I speak of UK here where yes, fox were and are vermin and if not dispatched this way, farmers just shoot or poison, or at least that was the scenario pre-ban. These days I perceive the foxes just move to town and feast on small children).
Back in the day, a terrier ran with the Bull Run hounds, and indeed she would go down the hold and bay at the fox. Of course we weren't digging out and could never get her to come out timely, so we'd continue to next cover and she'd catch up 30 minutes or so later, I guess when she finally figured everyone had gone and left her!
Somewhere I have a picture of a JRT hunting with the Red Rock hounds- he just perched on the horse's back behind the rider and 'surfed.'
What is the MFHA? I know many years ago, when I had JRTs, they had not yet been recognized by the AKC. In fact, I participated in the campaign waged by the JRTCA to NOT have the AKC recognize the breed, because they breed for nothing but looks...and that is the death of mental & physical soundness in ANY breed.
But I digress...back then a JRT could not gain it's championship unless it was proven in the field and showed that it could hunt either fox, badger, 'coon, etc. And, like others have mentioned, a terrier who killed the animal was considered too "hard" and penalized accordingly. They are just suppose to go to ground and "mark" the quarry by barking.