Monday, December 20, 2010

Virginia Fox Pens Under the Gun

I am opposed to fox pens.   I have said it before and I will say it again, and it goes double for fox pens in the state of Virginia where I live.

These things are not part of Virginia fox hunting history.

We didn't need them in 1800, 1850, 1900, 1950, and we don't need them now when we have more fox in the state than ever before.

As soon as these fox pens are legislated out of business, the happier I will be, as they give a black eye to hunting with dogs in general, and hunting with hounds in particular.

Fox pens are for people who are more interested in contest hunting than real hunting. And as for contest hunting, I have said my piece about that too.

I could not put the facts of the matter better than it was on the pages of The Richmond Times Dispatch:

No one knows how many foxes are killed each year. The pens are big — 100 acres minimum — and full of brush, so the kills aren't often witnessed. But Virginia's pens are stocked with about 900 to 1,300 new foxes each year.

"The operators say, 'We chase them but we don't kill them.' If that's the case, how come they have to keep adding so many?" said Ed Clark, president of the Wildlife Center of Virginia, an animal hospital in Waynesboro. "If Pinocchio said that, he'd put out somebody's eye."

Fox pens operators, of course, say they are simply replacing fox that die natural deaths. And for some fox, this is no doubt true. But let's not kid ourselves that this is fair chase or part of Virginia's fox hunting history.

These big pens were invented in the 1980s, and they have been a public relations problem from Day One. It's more than time to kick them to the curb.


seeker said...

That is one of the most disgusting things I have ever read. It's like putting a racoon in a pen with a dog. They don't stand a chance. How is this allowable in a state where (I hope) that Dog Fighting is illegal. Its horrific.
Yes, I believe in hunting, but this is NOT hunting. Hunting is a fair chance for the prey and often allowing them to escape. This is DISGUSTING.

If men want to watch blood sports, they should take up boxing and do it to themselves.

Debi and the TX JRTs

PBurns said...

The argument is made (I am not making it, I am simply repeating it), that the fox are given dens they can bolt off into -- old refrigerators and oil drums with holes cut in the side and half-buried in the dirt and brush. Of course, there are never quite enough hide-holes for the fox that are in the pen, so the chase is always on. This is said to be "training" for the hounds, but in fact it is really just a couple of guys making a bet on the side as to which dog will bay first, find it first, and maybe kill it first. Scent hounds are employed, but this is as much sight hound work as scent hound. And again, it is not traditional, and it is not needed. This is a big country, and we have lots and lots of land (both public and private) upon which to run dogs. Real fox packs are run on both the public and private land I hunt on. The need for these pens is zero. This is the hound equivalent of a "put and pull" fishing lake -- the kind of over-stocked hatchery trout pond you might take a 5-year old to so he would be sure to catch a fish his first time out. These pens were created at about the same time that One Minute Rice came on to the market, and it's very much the same people.


FL said...

They do this with hogs in some states, and in South Carolina, with bears. It's ridiculous. HSUS has been the primary group working to put these places out of business. I wish more conservation groups, and fair chase hunting groups, would take the lead on this. But if they won't, and Patrick you seem to be the only outdoors enthusiast that has had the guts to say anything, then I'll support HSUS on this.

PBurns said...

I always advise folks to do their own research, and free think without fear, and to support no ideology.

When you do that, folks have a hard time pigeon-holing you, though Lord knows that doesn't stop them from trying.

When it comes to food and hunting, a good axiom is that if your grandfather or grandmother would not understand it, there's probably something wrong with the way you are doing it.