Red Fox Figure in History: Styled "Embodiment of Quadrupedal Treachery" -Owes Immunity from Extinction to Its Cunning-some of Reynards Tricks, Daily Racing Form, 1922-03-29


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J i I a I J I i i i t 1 l 1 1 1 i i i i t f i i I | r ; i s t t | i ! I f . , . i , j i I a ■ , I i I I 1 I : 1 I I • i i . ] I : l j I RED FOX FIGURE IN HISTORY Styled "Embodiment of Quadrupedal Treachery" — Owes Immunity from Extinction to Its Cunning — Some of Reynards Tricks. The red fox has been a figure in history, in literature and what-not from time immemorial. It has been termed in this excerpt from the work of very early writer as "the eml o linient of quadruped treachery." anil the early English poet Chaucer, dipping his g ,ose-i|uill in ink. said of him: "O falsi- morileiour. rcuching in thy den." Riynard. the red fox. has been celebrated in vafaa and in prose apparently from the beginning of time. Red fox has been a figure in fact ami in fiction as far back as we can read and that is. prominently, too. the reason he takes such a prominent place in the annals of sport, particularly the merry chase: for fox chasing with the hounds is one of the eldest institutions in the world. If we were to delve into the history of the fox; if we should to lay hands on everything, past and present, that pertains to the subject, we would bare a library in it-elf. for men have never, and will never, cease extolling the craftiness of this ki en -nosed little creature. The fox is not only found upon this continent, but pretty well over the whole of our pianet. One writer estimates that in normal years the number of fox pelts taken annually out of America. Europe. Asia and Atis tralia amounts to over a million and a half specimens. This in the face of onrush of civilization and the eTer-lacreasing populations ever on its trail to lay it low. 1 he red fox owes its immunity from extinction to the fact that its -mining, its innate artfulness often amounting almost io human intelligence has safeguarded it against destruction at the hands of nan. The red fox is possos-ed of aa astonishing sagaciousaess. It will resort to innumerable devices whereby to foil its panacea. This is nothing new: it is history, tradition. There is hardly a fox hunter who has not met up with just these wonderfully keen -minded specimens. It is nol. therefore, an extraordinary thing to find foxes quite numerous in and around the confines of civilization in districts quite well populated. GENIUS IN ART OF TRICKERY. The tricks of the red fox when hounded are many. His greatest delight in point of fact is to aatarit the hounds upon his trail: he is never hurried or flustered, even when at. close quarters. He is always at his ease, pausing, listening, and then going forward again, often through the Reaaeat of thickets, thus to give his pursuers all the trouble he can think of. Not the least of these tricks is his back-tracking stunt, which is conducted with every exhibition of human intelligence. Having gone over the snow for some distance, he will suddenly turn and follow his tracks back, when suddenly at a convenient point he will turn and leap far to one side, away from the trail. The on-rushing hotradn will keep on straight ahead, air! will not only lose time, but will have to go back over the trail anew and find the plac" where the fox jumped and where he landed. In the meantime the fox is miles away, leisurely loping along. He is particularly fond of running up the sides of slant, d trees and leaping far from them, and is even known to wade the water of streams to throw off the scent of his trail and so deceive the hounds. In another instance a nimble-footed fox led a hound out on ice that was thin and yielding. When quite ways out the fox tune-d back and at an eagle made for shore. The blundering hound, heavy of weight and wild for blood, came on. Though the lee sink under foot the hound did not pause, his lust for gore overcoming all his instinctive "reasoning." which should have told him he was "treading on dangerous ground." The result was that the ice went in. and so did he hound. The hunter found him there dead, some hours later, and by adding two and tvo together he found that it mudo four — and the fox was saf*! Without exaggeration the fiction of foxes is outdone by fa t. There is hardly a fox hunter who has nor heard of the relay systtm foxes practice Sfhea chased. Beeaaae this is common to many, new to others. I offer it at its worth. We w Ml say-that a fox is run and when practically tired out meets with another fox. The first fox runs away to rest up while the second fox boldly goes out into view of the hounds, which, seeing him and mist; king him for the first fox. leave the trail and take after him. In this manner a fox will out-wiud the hounds. I simply give this, not exactly aa kaUerfacg it myself, but which is a story eaanaaea among the fox-chasing brethren, many of whom vote it true in every respect. The triekiest method of a fox eluding his pursuers that. I have ever heard of, and which we may believe is true, was that of a hunter with a pack of hounds who entered a certain stretch of country purposely to hunt out a certain crafty fox with the result that no luck was had. INSTANCE OF EXTREME CRAFTINESS. "After a chase of an hour." says this writer, "ju-t enough to blow the dogs and the horses well, we would invariably lose the fox at a given spot. at a feme earner. The frequency and certainly of this event keeaaee Hie standing joke of the country around. Fox hunters from other neighborhoods weul. bring their packs for miles to have a run out of this mysterious fox, in the hope of clearing U]t the puzzle, once and for all. But no. Theg were all baffled alike. We often examined the ground critically, to find out, if possible, the mode of escape, but could discover nothing that in any way accounted lor it or suggested anything in regard to it. That it did not fly was very sure; that it must escape along the fence in some way was equally so. My first idea was that the animal, as is very common, had climbed to the to] rail of the fence and had walked along it to such a distance before leaping oil that the dogs were entirely thrown out of whack. I accordingly followed the fence with the whole pack about ana, clear around th« whole patch it took in. but without striking the trail again, or making any discovery whatsoever. The affair now became quit" serious." Finally the hunter decided to post himself in the vicinity of the fence where the trail always disappeared and so watch Reyn.ird when he came along, and thus endeavor to solve the problem : doing so. the hounds were released one day. In due course of time the fox was spotted coming toward the feace. Now he was seen to pause and listen as the baying of the hound- became more distinct: then running lightly ahead, the fox leaped to the top rail of the fence and moved along its length, "balancing himself as neatly as a light-rope walker." Eor a dhltaaee of two hundred feet lie area! in this manner, the hunter following after. thUieji always in hiding and as noi-olcssly as possible. Suddenly the fox stopped at a certain post. Interested, the hunter speculated on what was next to happen. As suddenly as that lov pivoted on that post he leaped upward through the air some ten or fifteen fiet. landing in a tree leaning at an eagle of forty-five degrees, wboae gnarled, deformed tag gave ample foothold to receive him. Nor was this all. Once having landed there, the fox crawled down lata the trees hollow, purposely to stay there until the hounds were called off. "Tiie tree stood at such a distance from the fence." says the writer, "that no one of us dreamed of the possibility that the fox would, or could, leap to it: it seemed impossible, but practice and the convenient treetcp had enabled Reg. Bard to oven ome ii wiHi ease!" — B. l Lfanceta in Rod and Hun in Canada.

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