We used to have a tradition in the UK for fox hunting on Boxing Day.
Even the smallest rural towns such as Honiton in East Devon where I grew up used to practice the gruesome blood ‘sport’ and crowds of people would show up to see the hunt off. This was usually from a pub location and alcohol naturally played a part in the pervading bonhomie.
Thankfully, in my opinion, the practice has been outlawed in the UK, leaving the foxes to exist happily in lands that we have pinched from them through agriculture and house building.
Hunts do still exist however and the Boxing Day tradition of seeing them off with brandy or mulled wine in hand carries on, despite the fact that the bloodhounds and blood thirsty hunters (supposedly) have no quarry to pursue any longer.
I remember the spectacle as a kid as the hunt gathered outside the Angel Hotel in Honiton. The smell of horse droppings, the yelping of dozens of dogs, the bright red jackets with shiny buttons of the hunters and the huntsman’s horn sounding to signal the off.
At the time I was ignorant of what they were about to do and just enjoyed the moment. I won’t be doing it again but it is perhaps something to witness once in your life if you enjoy a little pageantry.
In the meantime here are some fox pictures from my back garden from 2020 and a few years ago.