Foxhunting was invented around 1800 as an entertainment activity for landowners and their guests and became an established leisure activity.
Foxes, suitable for the purpose because they can initially outrun hounds and leave a scent that can be followed, were imported into hunting areas for the purpose, and suitable habitat maintained to encourage them to breed.
A modern artificial earth for fox breeding can be seen at Lower Woods Wildlife Reserve, in Gloucestershire.
In ‘traditional’ foxhunting, now illegal, a quick kill is called a ‘chop’ and considered undesirable. Fox earths are stopped up prior to a hunt and the fox flushed out of hiding and pursued across country until it tires and is caught. If the fox escapes underground during the chase, it is dug out by the men that accompany the hunt for the purpose, equipped with terriers, poles and shovels. A ‘dig out’ can last several hours. The fox is then killed and thrown to the hounds. There is record of foxes being thrown live to the hounds.This form of hunting will be legal again if the Hunting Act is repealed.