Riding to Hounds with Eagles: A Reinvented Tradition

Ardent fox-hunters in Merry Old Anglistan are reinventing their traditions in the face of new laws that restrict riding to hounds, the Guardian reports:

Without the bird of prey, it would not be legal to flush out a fox using a pack of hounds. All that would be permissible would be the use of a pair of hounds to flush out a fox to be shot. Some hunts are using the latter exemption, but it is the presence of a bird of prey that permits the hounds to work as a pack of 30 or 40–the essence of hunting, in the view of connoisseurs….

Hunting a fox with a bird of prey is bloody hard, especially in the presence of a pack of 40 hounds, 70 people on horseback and large numbers of car and foot followers. If the hounds and the bird get to the fox simultaneously, mayhem is likely to ensue; or the bird might mistake a small dog for the fox and carry off Miss Ponsonby-Smythe’s Jack Russell; or a bird of prey of lesser stature than a golden eagle might get mauled by a fox.

Colby Cosh, whence came this gem, explains the “Anglistan” angle.

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