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Fox Hunting

Fox hunting, more often than not, refers to using hunting dogs to chase a fox, and pursuing them on horseback. Though this practice has been deemed barbaric time and time again by anti-animal cruelty groups, it has been a part of country life in Britain for many years. Besides it's origins in the British Isles, it has long since spread to areas that were once under British control: The United States, India, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, to name a few places.

In England the quarry is the red fox. In the United States a gray fox or coyote is substituted. Only a few hunts in hunts in Virginia and Maryland claim to hunt foxes. In India a jackal is used.

A hunt, of the traditional kind, is begun by setting dogs loose in an area thought to be a fox den. If the dogs, usually scent hounds, pick up the scent of the fox they will begin their pursuit. Hunters pursue the pack of dogs by the most direct route possible. As a result, low lying walls and obstacles are jumped. It is thought that some equestrian sports, such as the steeplechase, are a direct result of skills learned at fox hunting. When the dogs catch up to the fox they will kill it, so often times, if the fox can find a way, he will go underground. In England, terriers will sometimes be sent in the foxhole to kill and retrieve the fox. In American fox hunting, when the fox goes underground he is left alone, and the hunt is over. Fot this reason, fox hunting in America is sometimes referred to as fox chasing.