Country and field sports includes hunting, shooting, fishing, falconry along with ferreting and dog trailing. We have covered fox hunting, fishing and game shooting under other headings but include here hunting with hounds, dog trailing, falconry and ferreting. Listings for country sports
HUNTING WITH HOUNDS (Now banned in the UK)
The sport involves a pack of scent hound (in most cases, specially bred foxhounds) to track, chase and sometimes kill the fox. The hunt itself begins when the hounds are put into coverts (rough or bushy areas), this is where the foxes often hide during the day. Once the hounds have picked up the scent, they can track it as long as they are able with the riders following. As the tracking is not always the most direct route, the horses and riders require much skill and stamina to keep up. The hunt continues until either the hounds catch the fox or it escapes. For many country people hunting is an important part of their rural culture, which they feel is also vital for conservation and pest control.
Falconry is a sport which involves using a trained bird of prey to hunt game. It is known as one of the oldest field sports and dates back almost four thousand years. Falcons and hawks are commonly used, but in modern day falconry, buzzards are now just as popular. In the last 30 years there has become a rise in the popularity in the sport, not only to hunt game but to see the sheer beauty of the birds of prey in flying displays. A well trained bird can live into their mid teens with some larger hawks living longer. Falconry takes a lot of dedication, patience and time, but the rewards are great. In return a natural bond will build between owner and bird.
Ferreting has become a popular field sport in rural areas as well as being an effective and humane way of rabbit control. In rural areas rabbits are seen as pests, ferreting is the most ecologically safe way of rabbit hunting as it leaves no chemicals or poisons in the ground, which in turn could harm other animals. As a field sport, ferreting involves chasing the rabbits in their natural environment. Using the ferrets natural hunting instincts, they are sent into warrens to drive the rabbits outside. Nets are placed over the rabbit holes to catch them as they come out.