Friday, Apr. 12, 2024

Be The Strike Hound

On a clean, crisp autumn day, with your horse galloping keenly beneath you  and the hounds in full cry ahead, it’s easy to live in the moment, rave about the day’s thrills at the hunt breakfast, and look forward to the next day of hunting.

But ask yourself this question: are you doing anything to help ensure that there will be a next day of hunting?
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On a clean, crisp autumn day, with your horse galloping keenly beneath you  and the hounds in full cry ahead, it’s easy to live in the moment, rave about the day’s thrills at the hunt breakfast, and look forward to the next day of hunting.

But ask yourself this question: are you doing anything to help ensure that there will be a next day of hunting?

In this annual Hunt Roster issue, freelance writer Donna Ross writes about the  need for foxhunters to keep their eyes and ears open to legislation and ordinances that might affect the sport (see “A Wave Of Restrictions May Affect The Future Of Foxhunting,” p. 32).

While the typical foxhunting scene has a timeless appeal, the sport of today faces much different challenges and threats than it ever has before.

In her article, Ross highlights the probability that a local ordinance aimed at ensuring that neighborhood pets be leashed and restrained appropriately could inadvertently apply to foxhounds. New laws regarding the care and treatment of pets could endanger the hunt staff’s ability to keep foxhounds in accordance with the law. It’s a real threat, which looms on the local, state and federal levels.

Animal rights vs. animal welfare issues aren’t the only nagging voices in foxhunters’ heads. With encroaching development spreading all over the country, preserving open land is a major topic of discussion for all foxhunters.

The best way to counter these threats is to have a voice. The days when foxhunters could lose themselves in the heady days afield, without much thought to the outside world, are over. To be a true foxhunter is to be aware of what needs to be done to preserve the sport and ensure that future generations can enjoy a wild run behind ringing hound music.

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The old adage “every little bit helps” rings true here.

Foxhunters might not be a majority in society, statistics-wise, but their voices can be loud. And, when they’re joined to the voices of other sporting enthusiasts, such as through the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, they can make quite a statement.

Can one foxhunter convince local government officials to rethink ordinances
affecting hounds? Probably not. Will 25 foxhunters? Most likely. How about 100? Probably.

The key is to stand up and make your voice heard and to encourage others to join in. Ask your MFH what you can do in the community to help keep abreast of possible issues affecting the hunt. Monitor local pet legislation. Attend zoning and land-use meetings.

Encouraging the foxhunting community to merge with the local community is essential to protecting the sport. Be the strike hound; give voice, and fellow foxhunters will honor. Be heard, and enjoy the next day of hunting.

Molly Sorge

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