GIDDY UP: Traditional Fox Hunters Pivoting Toward Coyotes

This looks bad-ass and there are plenty of coyotes to keep these folks in their saddles. Enjoy.

Bridgewater, Conn. – — American fox-hunting is a sport so steeped in tradition that riders still wear ties and blazers and cry out “Tally ho!” at the sight of prey. But it is adapting to one dramatic change: Coyotes have displaced foxes in the wild and become the hunters’ new quarry.

The bigger, stronger animals pose challenges to the existence of some of the clubs carrying on the hunts introduced from England in the 1600s.

The coyotes that have overtaken much of the country in recent decades run so much farther that they enter areas where hounds and riders on horseback cannot follow. It is a strain particularly on the few remaining fox-hunting clubs in the densely populated area surrounding New York City, where encroaching development is leaving hunters with less room to roam.

“Those territories are mapped out or delegated. What the coyote has done is made it more difficult because the fox didn’t run into other areas,” said Dennis Foster, executive director of the Virginia-based Masters of Foxhounds Association, which oversees some 155 clubs in 37 U.S. states and Canada.

It has been three years since the last fox sighting for Fairfield County Hounds, a hunting club in Bridgewater, 75 miles north of New York, that is the last fox-hunting club in Connecticut.

The coyotes receive mixed reviews as substitute targets. Club members say the coyotes have not changed the essence of the experience — the braying of the hounds, the vistas seen from horseback — but they are less sly and playful. The coyotes also run so fast and through such rugged terrain they are effectively impossible to catch.

Read more: Detroit News

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