Fox Hunting Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Sara Clarke-Vivier

Sara is a recently graduated PhD in Education with interdisciplinary experience in K-12 education.

Reading about fox hunting can teach you something about history, animals, sports, and controversy. In this lesson we will learn about the sport of fox hunting by exploring what it is, who participates in it, and whether or not it is legal.

What Is Fox Hunting?

What sport includes people, horses, dogs and foxes? Fox hunting!

For a long time, people have used horses and dogs to chase foxes through the woods and across plains as a way to entertain themselves, to make money, and to scare off pesky foxes. Let's learn some more about this activity by reading about how it started, how it works, who participates, and whether or not it is legal.

How did Fox Hunting Get Started?

Fox hunting is most popular in America and Europe, and it has been around for hundreds of years. People in Europe historically used dogs with strong senses of smell, called scent hounds, to chase and kill animals like foxes. These people wanted to remove foxes from their property because they would kill farm animals, like chickens. People also liked to hunt foxes for their beautiful fur, which they could sell to make money.

A Painting of a Fox Hunt
A Painting of a Fox Hunt

Historians think that the first time that a fox was hunted by trained dogs that were followed by men on horses was in Norfolk, England, in 1534.

What Happens on a Fox Hunt Now?

In some ways, fox hunting has not changed too much since it began. A group of foxhounds, a type of scent hound, are released into a hunting area. These dogs use their noses to search for a fox. People on horses follow the dogs until they find a fox. Once the fox is found, it is chased by the people and the dogs.

But there are some ways in which fox hunting today is different than it was in 1534. First, fox hunting has become a sport. This means that fox hunting is something that people do for fun, instead of for the purposes of killing problem animals or hunting for fur.

Part of the sport is a formal uniform. You can recognize people on a fox hunt by looking for tall black boots, white riding pants, a long, bright red coat, and a black riding helmet. This hunting gear is useful. Tall boots can protect riders from being scratched by trees and bushes while riding through the woods, and coats and helmets also serve as protection from the weather and from injury.

People Prepare for a Fox Hunt
People Prepare for a Fox Hunt

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