The pursuit of a fox across country on horseback, aided by a pack of foxhounds, specially trained to track the fox's scent.
The aim is to catch and kill the fox. In draghunting, hounds pursue a prepared trail rather than a fox.
Described by the playwright Oscar Wilde as “the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable”, fox-hunting has met with increasing opposition. Animal-rights activists condemn it as involving excessive cruelty, and in Britain groups of hunt saboteurs disrupt it. Fox-hunting dates from the late 17th century, when it arose as a practical method of limiting the fox population which endangered poultry farming, but by the early 19th century it was indulged in as a sport by the British aristocracy and gentry who ceremonialized it. Fox-hunting was introduced into the US by early settlers from England and continues in the S and middle Atlantic regions.