Fox hunting is a sport that involves a person tracking, chasing and oftentimes killing a fox. The hunter may choose to track the fox with hound dogs, who are trained specifically for this purpose. Foxes are hunted either for the sport of it, or for their pelts, which are prized by many people because they are soft and luxurious.
Hunting for foxes is legal in most areas of the United Kingdom because they are considered to be vermin. In the United States, the red fox is protected, except during the hunting season, which is usually in the winter. Fox hunting with a firearm requires a hunting license. In Florida, it is illegal to chase a fox with hunting dogs if a firearm is present.
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Trained dogs are often used by hunters to pick up the scent of the fox. When the scent is detected, the dogs alert the hunter, who follows them in pursuit, either on foot or on horseback. A sportsman can go fox hunting without the use of a dog, if he knows what to look for. Most often hunters look for fox tracks, which they then follow to their den. You can also track foxes by locating their droppings, which are usually filled with fruit seeds.
Fox whistles are also very effective when fox hunting. This brings the fox to the hunter, instead of having to track it. The hunter positions himself out of view and blows the whistle so that it resembles the sound of a defenseless rabbit. This will bring the fox out of hiding, making him accessible to the hunter. During breeding season, this isn't an effective method, as foxes will not respond.
When fox hunting to obtain a pelt, a .22 caliber rim fire rifle is the weapon of choice. The bullets of this rifle leave small puncture holes in the pelt, unlike larger weapons, which will destroy it completely. The .17, .22 hornet and .223 are also acceptable rifles when hunting for pelts, though they aren't as efficient.
A 12 gauge shotgun is the most popular weapon when hunting a fox for sport. It is lightweight, can be easily shouldered and doesn't have much kickback. Whether a hunter chooses a side-by-side, under-and-over, or single-barrel shotgun depends on what feels best for him. Cost doesn't determine the quality of the shotgun, as they all do the job.