The practice of ‘Cubbing’ sees young hounds being trained to hunt and kill young foxes alongside older more experienced hounds, the practice disperses the fox population – providing for better ‘sport’ when the hunting season begins and ensures that young hounds can recognise the smell, look and taste of the foxes as well as learning how to hunt in packs. Cubbing is also meant as an opportunity for younger horses and riders to be trained ready for when the season begins.
Cubbing often takes place in September and October and is a fairly low energy comparison to the usual practice of hunting but even more barbaric. On arrival hunt followers will surround a perimeter, often a small woods in order to keep the fox cubs trapped in. Should any try to escape, they will be scared back in by the hunt followers on horseback.
Should a fox make it to ground during this time, they will often be dug out and fed to the young hounds so they can get a taste of fox blood. Obviously, this practice is absolutely illegal – but is rarely enforced as it often takes place on land owned by the hunts.
Many hunts claim that this is being done by scent, which may be true in some cases – but there is unfortunately overwhelming evidence that this brutal practice in its post-ban form still takes place.
“Never lose sight of the fact that one really well-beaten cub killed fair and square is worth half a dozen fresh ones killed the moment they are found without hounds having to set themselves to the task. It is essential that hounds should have their blood up and learn to be savage with their fox before he is killed.”
Cubbing as described in an extract from Fox Hunting by the late Duke of Beaufort, Master of Fox Hounds, published by David & Charles, 1980.
How Can I Prevent Cubbing?
As cubbing often takes place on land owned by the hunts, it can be hard to prevent without trespassing. However, as younger hounds aren’t as well disciplined, they can be distracted from the foxes much more effectively with the use of dummy hound cries, spraying a scent duller before cubbing begins or laying down an artificial trail.
Consider getting in touch with your local hunt saboteurs group to find out ways you can prevent illegal hunt cubbing in your area, alternatively if you do witness cubbing taking place, report it to the police.