The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
Hoaxes Throughout History
Middle AgesEarly Modern1700s1800-1840s1850-1890s
1900s1910s1920s1930s1940s1950s1960s1970s1980s1990s21st Century2014
Fake Fox Hunts
Status: Real hunt, fake fox
Fox hunts on the day after Christmas (Boxing Day) are a British tradition. However, due to a recent ban on fox hunting, any (legal) hunts this year are going to have to be fake. Which has me a bit puzzled. What does a fake hunt involve? The UPI report, where I read about these fake fox hunts, simply says that:

Although banned, thousands of fox hunters in Britain took to the trails Monday on horseback for the annual Boxing Day hunt, some of them chasing only scent.

I assume they must be dragging a dead fox to leave its scent for the dogs. Or maybe they have spray bottles (eau de fox). But how does the hunt conclude? After riding around for a while, does everyone just go home? Or do they let the dogs find the dead fox? I wonder how the Free Church of Country Sports feels about fake fox hunts?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 27, 2005

They used to train foxhounds by dragging a fish (known as a "red herring") through an area, then having the hounds follow the scent trail. This is the origin of the term "red herring" in law and logic, which means a deliberate distraction. So maybe the hunters have revived this sport. If I remember right, whichever pack of hounds gets first to a predetermined goal is the winner.
Posted by Big Gary in Fairbanks, Alaska  in  Fairbanks, Alaska, USA  on  Tue Dec 27, 2005  at  12:28 PM
Fake fox hunts are called Drag Hunts, which have been going on for years. Hounds are bred and trained specifically for the purpose, and follow a pre-laid trail of scent. These are tremendous fun and are really just a good day out riding.

The new breed of legal fox hunts take various forms. The law basically just bans using dogs to kill foxes. Some hunts use hounds to corner or flush out foxes and then shoot them. Others have invested in eagle owls (cheap) or golden eagles (expensive) to kill the fox once its been caught by the foxes. And sometimes the fox just mysteriously dies when a hound kills it.
Posted by Nick  on  Tue Dec 27, 2005  at  05:24 PM
I don't know specifically about fox odor, but you can certainly buy bottled scents for other animals, like deer.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Tue Dec 27, 2005  at  06:56 PM
I've heard of long-distance runners being employed to be the "fox." The hunters give the dogs the scent of the distance runner, and off they go. The runner gets a good work out, so do the dogs, everyone is happy.
Posted by cvirtue  on  Tue Dec 27, 2005  at  09:12 PM
That would be fun, a pack of dogs chasing you. I think I'd climb a tree. After they caught up with me, that is.
Posted by thunder  in  England  on  Wed Dec 28, 2005  at  06:08 AM
Thunderstruck, you can't deny you WOULD get the work out of your life though...
Posted by Gutza  on  Wed Dec 28, 2005  at  05:04 PM
A pack of friendly medium-sized dogs whose main objective is to jump all over you and lick you to death from delight -- not a problem.
Posted by cvirtue  in  deleted  on  Thu Dec 29, 2005  at  05:31 AM
Many hunts in the UK have carried out drag hunts exclusively for years! My wife (who was involved with the Cheshire Hunt in the past) always told me that they kept a pair of Arctic Foxes and it was the job of some poor sod to collect the animals' old bedding and incorporate it into a drag. On the odd times whn the Hunt's hounds actually came across a real fox, they were more curious as to what it was than anything else.
Posted by John  in  UK  on  Thu Dec 29, 2005  at  05:51 AM
I read on BBC online sometime in the past few days (yah, I'm way to lazy to find the actual article), but they explained that the dogs were hunting real foxes, but were just trained not to kill them.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Fri Dec 30, 2005  at  01:26 PM
Commenting is no longer available in this channel entry.
All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.