US Hunts - all no-kill?

I have hunted only a few times in the US and every time was with a no-kill hunt. Is that true for all US hunts? Are all no-kill?

Our hunt is a “no catch.” Our club has been chasing fox for about 90 years --haven’t caught one yet. Where we are located, it is heavily wooded with a few fields and two creeks. Despite our best efforts twice a week for that time, no fox has ever been caught. I think any hunt that is “advertising” itself as “no kill” is actually a drag hunt. Not sure how a no-kill hunt would stop a pack of hounds from pursuing Mr. Fox to the ground should they be that fast. In reality, fox are faster than hounds, smaller, and the ones where we hunt can indeed climb trees. So I guess that makes us a no-kill hunt.


Thanks for your answer. The ones I was on were no drags but just as you described - nothing was ever caught. I just wondered if all were like that in the US. Seems preferable and sustainable.

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Years ago I saw an article on a hunt in New Mexico. Their target species was actually coyotes. I don’t recall the details but the Master indicated that the rare times they were ever able to actually catch any of them, the animal was clearly very old, ill or injured, and a quick dispatch was likely a mercy.

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This is the only time I’ve ever heard of the fox being killed. I myself have never been out hunting when this happened but this was the answer I received when I asked.

Especially, as coyote become the most common game, you are more likely to run over one on the way to the meet than the hounds are to run one down. I hate that they have moved the red and gray foxes out.

As a practical matter, I think it is rare that any foxes are caught and killed. It’s always a possibility that the hounds could get one… but it’s also a possibility that my dog could get one wandering across the farm. Unlikely in both situations (even less likely for my slow dog) but theoretically possible. I don’t know of any American hunts in this area that are actively TRYING to kill a fox (or would shoot a fox etc.).

Out west, yes, coyotes are the target and yes, I have been blooded. The last time I went the coyote literally basically came right through the field. A well thrown rock off a blind, 3 legged lame horse would have worked.

Catching them is an exception and not the rule. I caught more coyotes shooting from my bedroom on the farm I used to live at.

Maryland specifically allows fox chasing ( not hunting), however, there was a huntsman that would allow the hounds to stay too long at the earth and that huntsman killed many foxes “by accident.” Maryland law forbids fur bearing animals from being disturbed once they have gone to ground,. Letting hounds dig at the earth with the hope of bolting a nervous fox is out of bounds, contrary to the law, and exceptionally poor sportsmanship. Fortunately he was finally moved on and out of Md. However, I now reflectively cringe now when I hear the hounds. I use to love them…Be mindful of what happens at the earth when a fox goes to ground and be wary of any hunt that keeps the field far away from the earth at that time as this huntsman did… (Sorry–I am also not so sure how mercy killing being torn apart is-because that is what happens.)


Foxes and coyotes have been dispatched on our hunts in Kansas City. I have personally been hunting when a coyotes have been dispatched. The hounds got a fox at the same hunt I was not on. I prefer no kill hunts. But I guess that’s how it’s sold to the farmers that allow us to hunt on their land.

Blooded from a coyote kill?

In my part of Virginia, pretty much all the hunts are live, not drag, and some probably do run coyote as well as fox. In many years of hunting, I only ever saw one kill, ~30 years ago and it was an accident - it wasn’t the hunted fox, the hounds weren’t even hunting, we were moving to a new covert, a hound disappeared under a coop and came out with the fox in this mouth. Everyone was very sad over the loss of a lovely healthy red fox. I did get blooded and was awarded a pad.

So I don’t understand the no-kill term. You either hunt drag or you hunt live. If you have a pack of scent hounds and you’re hunting live, there’s a potential for a kill even if that’s not the intention.

Lots of hunts ended with the hounds marking the fox to ground, which is fun - the huntsman gets off his horse and wildly praises the hounds and throws cookies and the hounds are very pleased with themselves. No one digs at the burrow - that would definitely be from someone who came up hunting in the UK pre-ban, where earths were stopped and foxes were dug out of burrows or driven out with terriers.

Years ago, I remember hunts reporting on the number of foxes “accounted for” in their year end report in Bailey’s. UK hunts would report 50 and 60 foxes, hunts local to me 1 - 6.


We don’t hunt foxes in large parts of the US. They aren’t really an issue. Coyotes, on the other hand,…

You don’t have to have it only be a fox.

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True, I have just thought of the tradition with respect to a fox and never considered it in the context of other animals.

It’s extremely difficult for a pack of hounds to catch / kill a fox and fox kills are rare in the US. Coyotes are also difficult to catch, but a fast pack of hounds can absolutely catch them and kill them. But, it would be foolish to have a problem with this. The main threat that foxes and coyotes face is loss of habitat. Followed by being hit by cars. Many more foxes and coyotes are dispatched via farmers protecting their stock or other methods of hunting/trapping.

Fox hunters are responsible for preserving huge tracts of land that serve as habitat not just for foxes and coyote, but many other types of wild animals. Foxhunters tend to be deeply involved in land conservation, to the point where many are landowners who have specifically purchased land in order to preserve it as farmland or woodland, both of which serve as habitats.

And, as a farmer myself, I often wish that people had half as much concern for the animals that we farmers lose to predators every year.


@BeeHoney A farmer just up the road from me, in a more residential area, has lost 26 lambs this year. He even puts them up at night and keeps them in the front pasture during lambing and until they are larger. The coyotes are getting them during the day. He also has cattle, and I’m sure he’s lost some calves to the coyotes as well.

I know here in Colorado we hunt coyotes and they are sometimes caught and killed. Like @RAyers said though, I’m more likely to hit one with my .22 from my kitchen window though

My hunt refers to ourselves as “no kill” but we are not a drag hunt (with the exception of possibly a few times at the end of our season when we overlap with deer season and it’s safer for everyone to drag). Obviously, we cannot GUARANTEE that the prey will not be accounted for on any given day, but it is never the intent and–I’m told-- has only happened a handful of times in the almost 90 years we have been hunting.

I think it is short sighted of anyone who hunts live to go out under the belief that the prey will never be killed. There is always the chance that it will happen and you need to make peace with that as a concept if you hunt.

It would devastate me to see a kill. But I know it’s a risk every time I move off.

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I’ve hunted in Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina and Montana and they all were hunting coyote. My understanding is that the only hunts that consistently pursue foxes are on the East Coast.

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I have been out with many keen packs of hounds. As far as foxes go… a grey can climb a tree and a red has MANY different ways of eluding being caught. I know of a couple of times when I have not been out that a red fox was killed. This is not the goal. Most territories don’t have an over abundance of foxes…if you have a kill every hunt, very quickly you won’t have anything to hunt and you truly end up on a glorified trail ride.

My experience with huntsman and foxes that have been run to ground (or up a tree) is that the hounds are encouraged by voice and horn at the “earth”. This is to show the hounds they have achieved their goal. Many times the huntsman will call hounds to him/her by name (ones that are new entry or have been a bit on the wrong track) to come and receive accolades. During this process, the hounds may dig at the earth and be encouraged, but they are removed before they create too much damage or cause the fox to bolt. In one particular instance the huntsman as done his cheering on of hounds and was in the process of moving them away when the fox tried to bolt from a second entry. He called the whipper in over to stand over the hole the fox was trying to leave. I was holding the whipper in’s horse and saw the fox biting at his boot.

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