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TITLE: After The Hunt
ARTIST: Heywood Hardy (1843-1933)
SIZE: 10" x 7"
MADE BY: Wentworth
DESCRIPTION: Fox hunting is a sport in which the players consist of a combination of
people on horseback and a pack of hounds. The “fox” can actually be any type of animal that is pursued throughout the countryside.
According to the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) “It is a union of humans and animals in the beauty of nature’s setting. Man is
an observer mounted on a horse, the vehicle that allows him to follow and observe the hounds as they hunt the fox. The scenario unwinds
before the fox hunter's eyes and ears with the sound of the huntsman’s hunting horn as hounds give chase. The fox or coyote maneuvers,
circles and runs through the country cunningly evading the hounds.”
The sport of fox hunting originated in Great Britain, and became popular in North American
during colonial times. Northern Virginia reports that the
oldest written record of an organized fox hunt (conducted to benefit a group of hunters rather than a single
owner) dates back to 1747. Reportedly, the organizer was Thomas, Sixth Lord Fairfax. George Washington’s diaries also quite often mention
hunts that were conducted near Washington, D.C. The first U.S. president reportedly owned his own pack of hounds.
The first foxhound club in the United States was established in Virginia in 1840. It still exists today as the Piedmont Foxhounds.
In 1907, the (MFHA) was formed. Its purpose, both at that time and today, was to “set and maintain high sporting standards among its
membership, encourage foxhunting, approve and register territories on official maps of fox hunting countries, settle disputes in regard to the
same, register eligible foxhounds in a Foxhound Stud Book and improve the breed of foxhounds.”
In the United States today, the sport of fox hunting has evolved to where the actual chase is more important than the kill. In fact, the hunt
ends when the “fox” retreats to a hole in a grown, otherwise known as an “earth”. Sometimes, the hunt actually ends when the hounds lose
track of the animal’s scent. In either case, the fox is unharmed and survives to be chased another day.
The actual animal selected for the chase varies widely, and often depends on the geographic location. Coyotes are often used because of
their abundance as well as their strength, size and speed. Other animals of choice may include red and gray foxes and bobcats.
Organized fox hunts exist in about 35 states, with over 170 organized clubs in North America. Obviously, the terrain covered in the fox hunts
varies from and dunes to forests to mountains. The events can involve a pack of hounds owned by a private individual or a “subscription pack”,
or one that is owned by a club.
Fox hunters usually wear a shirt and tie covered by a hunting coat, breeches, black leather boots and a protective hat. According to the
MFHA, the hunting gear was chosen in the early days because of practicality. The heavy boots and breeches were chosen to protect
from injuries from branches or brambles, and the ties could be used as bandages if there was an accident.