Days Gone By - stories from the past

Fox hunting in Alabama – very different from colonial America [ vintage photographs]

I recently ran across these interesting fox hunting photographs at the Alabama Department of Archives and History taken in Barbour County, Alabama in the 1930s. I decided to investigate fox hunting a little further and discovered some interesting facts.


Fox hunters going to the barbecue at the Alexander home in Barbour County, Alabama Q2258Fox hunters going to the barbecue at the Alexander home” in Barbour County, Alabama Q2258

Alexander House, owned by M. E. Hudson of Clayton, Alabama. It was the scene of the Southeast Alabama Fox Hunters' Field Trials in October 1939. Q188Alexander House, owned by M. E. Hudson of Clayton, Alabama. This house, located eight miles south of Eufaula, was 104 years old at the time of the photograph (ca. 1940). It was the scene of the Southeast Alabama Fox Hunters’ Field Trials in October 1939. Q1887

Fox hunters on the Alexander plantation in Barbour County, Alabama (ca. 1940) Q2264Fox hunters on the Alexander plantation in Barbour County, Alabama (ca. 1940) Q2264

Did you know that:

  • Evidently, fox-hunting is shrouded in controversy today and has even been banned in Great Britain since 2005.
  • Fox hunting has been a part of America since colonial days.
  • Fox hunting originated in the 16th century in the form which was practiced legally until 2005 in Great Britain, but it also takes place all over the world.i
  • According to the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America, Englishman Robert Brooke was the first man to import hunting hounds to America, bringing his pack of foxhounds to Maryland in 1650 along with his horse.ii
  • George Washington and Thomas Jefferson kept packs of foxhounds before and after the American Revolutionary War.
  • While the idea of fox hunting typically evokes the image of red-coated gentry pursuing animals on horseback, fox hunting in the rural South was part of a more informal tradition where local hunters gathered at a good vantage point primarily to listen to their dogs on the chase.
  • According to  Madison.com, today “there are nearly 160 organized foxhunting clubs in the U.S. and Canada and the American hunt is a chase, with the intent not to kill a fox.”
  • A good hunt by Alabama standards is when the hounds really “put the music to you.” The dogs trailing, running and musical skills are the focus. The ideal hunt is for the fox to circle around as expected so hunters can tune in for five hours or more of canine music, while clustered around a campfire perking of perking coffee.
  • A true fox hunter stays out all night and tries to get his dogs up in the morning.

Congressman Harry Steagall with his three favorite hunting dogs at the Southeast Fox Hunters Association in Barbour County, Alabama October 1938 Alabama Writers' Project Q456Congressman Harry Steagall with his three favorite hunting dogs at the Southeast Fox Hunters Association in Barbour County, Alabama October 1938 Alabama Writers’ Project Q456

Congressman Henry Steagall with two dogs at a fox hunt in Barbour County, Alabama.October 1938 Alabama Writers' Project Q2262Congressman Henry Steagall with two dogs at a fox hunt in Barbour County, Alabama.October 1938 Alabama Writers’ Project Q2262

Bob Goode on horseback at a fox hunt in Barbour County, Alabama ca. 1930s Q2257Bob Goode on horseback at a fox hunt in Barbour County, Alabama ca. 1930s -1940s Q2257

Men looking at foxes caught during a hunt in Barbour County, Alabama. The animal in the center looks like a type of spotted cat rather than a fox. ca. 1930s- 1940s Alabama Writers' Project Q2263Men looking at foxes caught during a hunt in Barbour County, Alabama. The animal in the center looks like a type of spotted cat rather than a fox. ca. 1930s- 1940s Alabama Writers’ Project Q2263

Men sitting or leaning against a vehicle as they watch a fox hunt in Barbour County, Alabama. Mr. Pitts of Pittsview is 86 years old, . ca. 1930s – 1940s Alabama Writers' Project Q2261Men sitting or leaning against a vehicle as they watch a fox hunt in Barbour County, Alabama. Mr. Pitts of Pittsview is 86 years old, knows the name of the 250 dogs and never misses a hunt. ca. 1930s – 1940s Alabama Writers’ Project Q2261

For hunting rules and regulations in Alabama, see Outdoor Alabama, Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources.

iWikipedia

iiWikipedia

SOURCES

  1. Madison.com
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Nancy Jackson, Fox hunting different in Alabama, Gadsden Times Nov. 22, 1983

Read about an colonial fox hunt in colonial American in Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) – A novel inspired by the experiences of the Cottingham family who immigrated from the Eastern Shore of Virginia to Alabama

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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10 comments

  1. Ryan Speir

    That ” sort of spotted cat ” in the middle of the photograph with the 2 foxes is a bobcat.

  2. Cedria King

    Wow, this brought back memories of going fox hunting with my granddad and uncle, staying out all night, listening to the hounds. You could tell by the way they bayed what they were chasing, be it a fox, raccoon, or whatever. My granddad had beautiful, registered Walker coon hounds. He even took them to field trials and did well. They mainly hunted in st. Clair county. They had the dogs until the late 70s. Grandad Alvin Barber Sr. Died in the 80s. Alvin Barber Jr died a couple of years ago. They lived in Pell City and built many roads in the Southeast and overseas. I have the real cow horns made for calling the dogs. They are very old.

  3. Betty Jean Sheffield

    My father, Walter Popwell, of Chilton Co. Alabama, was an old time fox hunter, he bred fox hounds as a hobby.

  4. Growing up in Vestavia in the 1950’s, remember well when the Vestavia Country Club had a “riding stable” (took lessons each Sat) – and had a “Hunt Club” and the
    annual “Hunt Club Ball” at VCC was one of the “social highlights” of the year for
    my mother & her friends…

  5. Jason Myers

    Hunting with hounds is a dying practice. It has been dying because of the deer hunters and deer hunting being a big business. Love listening to them hounds run!!!!!

  6. Teresa Stinson

    Heath Howell, take a look at this

  7. In DeKalb county the Owen family had fox dogs but nobody here road horses. Most everybody farmed the men would load up with whoever had a truck, turn the dogs loose, light a fire and let them run.

  8. There are still private clubs and areas for Fox hunting in southern Alabama,,but I consider it a cruel blood sport.

  9. Jerry Elliott

    My grandfather, Marion ” Mate” Harris was a member of the Winston County fox hunters Association for many years I had the pleasure several times as a boy of going fox hunting with my grandfather it was one of my favorite childhood memories

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