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FOXHOUND TRAINING PRESERVES, by John Bassler.
I think a training preserve is good because it keeps the fox and dogs off our highways and other property where people don't want them. Many animals are killed on the highway: You may think you're saving the fox by not allowing it to be trapped, but foxes will overpopulate their food source, starve, and get mange, distemper, and rabies. I don't know if you've seen a fox with mange, but it's not a pretty sight (monthly worming also consists of mange treatment).
Even though 5,000 foxes have been put into 40-plus preserves in Virginia, that doesn't mean they have all been caught: Forty-plus preserves can still have a lot of foxes left in them.
If there are problems with any of the preserves, address the preserves that are causing the problems and leave the others alone. Hunters and their families enjoy coming to the preserves for recreation. In this day and age, we need to do everything in our power to keep children off the streets, and a good old-fashioned cookout at the preserve is hard to beat.
Hunting brings a lot of revenue to the commonwealth of Virginia. If you count all the people involved with this sport, it is amazing how many other people are affected, in transportation, gas stations, food stores, clothing stores, motels, veterinary services, hunting licenses, and more. The dogs have needs, too: licenses, food, collars and leashes, nameplates, bedding, houses, and so forth.
If hunting isn't your thing, then don't hunt, but don't dictate what other people are free to enjoy. This sport is part of the history of Virginia. It's enjoyable listening to the dogs run; they all have different-sounding mouths. And they can sound like a fox, because some have high-pitched mouths that are squeaky. And foxhounds switch from one fox to another all the time. Therefore, the fox doesn't get tired.
Don't believe everything you read: Go see for yourself. I'm located in Caroline County.
The American foxhound has been around Virginia since the 1700s. It is the official state dog of Virginia. Remember: The dogs are doing what comes naturally.
John Bassler is a resident