A new season of fox hunting begins as soon as the harvest is in sufficiently to afford access to the land. In many parts of the country this means that during August, and certainly from September, hunts are out in force with horses, hounds and four-wheel drive vehicles. Fox hunting in late summer and autumn is a prelude to the pomp and ceremony of the full season which runs mostly from end Oct/early Nov until March or April. Since the 2005 Hunting Act outlawed fox hunting, participants refer to autumn hunting as ‘hound exercise’. Before then it was known more honestly as ‘cub hunting’ (or ‘cubbing’ for short).
Drag hunting and 'Clean-boot' hunting with Bloodhounds is a sport in which a pack of hounds follow either an artificially laid scent or the scent of a human over a predetermined route. Most Draghound and Bloodhound packs are registered with the Masters of Draghounds and Bloodhounds Association (MDBA).
Drag hunting or draghunting originally developed in the UK in the early 1800s as a means of testing the speed and agility of hounds by laying a scent trail over a specified distance.
Fox hunting has been occurring in different guises for hundreds of years. Indeed, the practice of using dogs with a keen sense of smell to track prey can be traced back to ancient Egypt and many Greek and Roman influenced countries. However, it is believed that the custom for a fox to be tracked, chased and often killed by trained hunting hounds (generally known as ‘scent hounds’) and followed by the Master of the Foxhounds and his team on foot and horseback, originated from a Norfolk farmer’s attempt to catch a fox using farm dogs in 1534.