I’ve never been a fan of fox hunting. There has always seemed to be something uncivilized in a lot of people who take delight in chasing and killing an animal.
But after a few nights of fox noises, the – how-shall-I-say? – “marking” our front path, the garbage bag attacks and the worry of running into one while walking a small dog that seriously overestimates her fighting skills, I’m re-evaluating some of my instincts.
In other words, it’s time for city hunting. Early forays into this new pastime have already been made. Renowned anti-Tory lawyer Jolyon Maugham rose to fame with a tweet on Boxing Day about how he clubbed a fox after it got trapped while trying to enter a chicken coop in his yard, while dressed in the “little his wife’s green kimono”. † I should clarify that it was Maugham rather than the fox wearing the kimono, green wasn’t the best color of the animal and foxes were more of the trackies anyway.
Anyway, despite his heroic efforts, the Boxing Day hunt for the kimono oxen failed. The vermin remains free to terrorize our suburbs, sauntering brutally through the streets, completely unmolested by men in Japanese couture. In the face of constant marking, crying, digging and destruction, we city dwellers must strike back.
I googled other options to keep foxes away. A recommended deterrent is male urine, but we have neighbors. So I’m afraid it’s hunting. Other areas will want to do their own thing, but hunting in South West London will clearly differ substantially from the rural variety. The Meet will therefore meet at an agreed location, some time after Parkrun has ended.
Hunting in pink, I guess, isn’t the uniform for city hunting, but gilets are certainly acceptable and we’ll probably be pushing for Jack Wills hoodies and Lululemon leggings. We’ll forgo the traditional alcoholic stirrup cup before the hunt begins, opting instead for soy lattes and pains aux raisins brought by Deliveroo drivers.
Many members don’t even like the idea that the fox is terrified. Slightly baffled is more the emotion we hope for
There is unfortunately a distinct lack of beagle packs in the area so some improvisation will be required. We can go for cockapoos instead, which are at least the dominant breed in South West London, although there is also a caucus for westies.
Horses are not practical. We did look at Chelsea tractors, which abound and sadly haven’t broken the Ultra Low Emission Zone yet, but you do want a little exposure to nature for the thrill of the chase. So we opted for e-scooters, even though the legal ones have a top speed of about 20mph and are not good in ditches.
Instead, there may be a case for e-bikes, although if we want to be sporty, we may end up having to settle for Bromptons. Of course, the fox is expected to stay within the approved cycle paths. There aren’t many opportunities to jump, but we can try to include some parkour in the chase.
We are not naive. We know of course that not everyone will approve of the new yacht and we expect some problems. On the plus side, yacht saboteurs will have to cover considerably less distance, in many cases just a few stops on the Northern Line or the Overground from Dalston. We do worry that the sabers might get there early and rent out all the bikes, forcing us to chase the fox on foot. They may also use bubble machines to distract the cockapoos.
Other well-known urban hunting tactics include attempts to split the hunt by laying false trails with clues to artisanal food markets. Sometimes they shout “view halloumi”, whereupon all pursuers swerve to their local deli.
There is the issue of animal cruelty. And here I admit that there is a problem. Being metropolitan weaklings ourselves, none of us are very keen on the cutthroat part of the hunt. Even the cockapoos are trained to prefer a tasty vegan treat. Many members don’t even like the idea that the fox is terrified. Slightly baffled is more the emotion we hope for.
We’ve all read The Little Prince and have a bit of a soft spot for fountain pen stuff, at least on an intellectual level. So the question is what to do with the fox once we corner him. Ideally, we’d just like to chase them across the bridges to north London, but these can become horribly congested and Hammersmith Bridge is still closed to vermin.
Others have suggested that if we’re not willing to kill the foxes, we could expedite their move by asking them to help canvas for the Liberal Democrats or forcing them to come to book club meetings. Unfortunately, this last idea has not worked very well in trials, as the fox insists on discussing novels about chickens.
So yes, there is still some work to be done, but this is an idea whose time has come. Get on the scooter, my friends.
Follow Robert on Twitter @robertshrimsley and email him at email@example.com
To follow @FTMag on Twitter to read our latest stories first
This post The urban fox hunt. No beagles. No murder. what helloumi
was original published at “https://www.ft.com/content/c2d21202-42a4-4b21-a976-a2d90ac4f580”