Quick Facts on Fox Hunting

The true facts on fox hunting demonstrate what a popular event fox hunting was and is in the United States. Knowing some of the facts can get more people familiar with this culturally significant activity. It's a British pastime of nobles and statesmen. Fox hunting is when a fox is chased, and caught, by a pack of scent hounds, and a rider follows on horseback.

Colonial Beginnings
It was 1650 when Robert Brooke arrived in the American colony with a pack of hunting dogs. The sport became so widespread that most gentlemen in the early seventeenth century participated-including George Washington. Canada became the home of the Montreal Hunt Club (1826) while the first U.S. fox hunting club, the Piedmont Foxhounds, opened in 1840. Some of the original fox hunting clubs are still in existence today in the United States.

The Fox
Traditionally, the red fox is the quarry for British and American hunts. The facts on fox hunting show that the red fox was introduced to the New World during colonial times, and remains the most popular for hunts on the East Coast. Coyotes, gray foxes and bobcats are the target of fox hunts in the American West.

The Hounds
Hunting with scent hounds has been done for thousands of years, and a good pack of dogs is essential for a successful fox hunt. The hounds track by scent and special breeds have been bred for centuries to bring out the best fox hunting qualities. The two main breeds for fox hunting are the English foxhound and the American foxhound.

The Horses
The skill and athleticism of the horse in a fox hunt is crucial for the hunter to get to the fox by following the hounds. Traditionally, these horses were known as hunters, and were usually some kind of Thoroughbred cross. The western U.S. coyote hunts use breeds with more stamina to handle the rougher terrain. Hunters must be able to keep up with the dogs and clear obstacles such as creeks, fences and brush. These facts on fox hunting may have surprised you.

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