Fox hunting has been taking place in different guises for many years, and there are many methods involved. For example, the use of dogs with their keen sense of smell for tracking can be easily traced back to many countries influenced by Greece and ancient Egypt. There is an opinion that the practice for foxes to be chased and tracked by well-trained hunting hounds is originated by one Norfolk farmer who wanted to catch foxes using his farm dogs in 1534.
While foxes were considered vermin, farmers and other people hunted them as an effective pest control form, this activity developed into its current incarnation only in the 18th century. Nowadays, fox hunting is a certain sport with its unique rules and it developed also because of a decline in the deer population. There were specific acts that opened fields and other lands where many deer lived, and they were targeted at copying with an increasing demand for the farm land.
The Industrial Revolution led to new railways, roads, and canals that also decreased the rural land and improved transportation links, thus making fox hunting easier to access and more popular for people living in towns. Those hunters who used to track deer switched to hares and foxes with their packs of hounds trained to hunt. Bilsdale Hunt is one of the oldest fox hunting activities and it was established in 1668.
This sport kept earning its popularity in the 17th and 18th centuries. Hugo Meynell is called a father of modern fox hunting, and he started breeding hunting dogs for their increased stamina and speed. For instance, the speed of his pack allowed for more extended and exciting hunt. In the 19th century, this type of hunting was quite popular because of the inroads that offered a rural access to masses.
Some European countries, such as Germany, banned fox hunting in 1934, but it remained popular in the UK in the 20th century. However, the shortage of foxes forced people to import them from other countries. Today, this sport in this country is known for different controversial views of people who both oppose and support it. The main debate between them is that anti-hunting supporters believe fox hunting to be unnecessary and cruel in the modern world. In some countries, including Canada, India, France, and others, this sport still goes strong. Whatever existing views on fox hunting, its effect on popular culture is hard to deny.
Fox hunting has been taking place in different guises for many years, and there are many methods involved. For example, the use of dogs with their keen sense of smell for tracking can be easily traced back to many countries influenced by Greece and ancient Egypt.