History of fox hunting

The earliest known attempt to hunt a fox with hounds was in Norfolk in 1534, where a farmer used his dogs in an attempt to catch a fox.

Most hunts believed it to be beneath their status to hunt “vermin” and continued mostly, to hunt deer until the 1830’s.

Due to the Industrial Revolution, roads, rail and canals split hunting country. People began to move out of the country and into towns and cities to find work. It became more convenient to hunt foxes rather than deer as hunting deer requires great areas of open land, such as Dartmoor and Exmoor, where it continues today.

By the late 19th century foxhunting was probably at it’s most popular. This is thought to be as a result of railways giving access to the Shires for people who would otherwise be stuck in the towns. The rising middle-classes who wished to improve their social standing ensured that hunting became further expanded.

It is said that during the late 19th century a shortage of foxes in England forced hunts to import foxes from France, Germany and Holland.

In fact, the Swedish Red Fox, which was known to be a larger animal than the one found in Britain, has been introduced to Britain to create the more substantial “European Red Fox” that we see in our towns and countryside today.