First Known Use of FOXHUNTING
foxhunting noun (Concise Encyclopedia)
Chase of a fox by horsemen with a pack of hounds. In England, home of the sport, it dates from at least the 15th century, when it probably developed out of stag and hare hunting. Modern foxhunting became popular among the upper classes in the 19th century. A hunt is led by the master; the dogs (usually 15–20 matched pairs) are controlled by the huntsman and two or three assistants. The hunt may take place on any grounds (woodlands, heath, or fields) where a fox is suspected to be. The riders, outfitted in distinctive scarlet coats, meet at a host's house, and the hounds are sent off to search out the fox; when it is found, the hunt begins. The fox is chased until it either escapes or is cornered and killed. Although foxhunting reached its peak in popularity before World War I, it continued to be practiced afterward, most notably in the United Kingdom. However, growing opposition to the sport, largely based on charges of animal cruelty and elitism, led to its ban in Scotland (2002) and in England and Wales (2005).
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