Nikki Baker

Chapter Five - Results.

This section of the project will present the information, which was gathered as a result of the primary research made in the forms of questionnaires and participant observation.  The quantitative findings will be graphically illustrated, using a variety of graphs and charts.  The results from the open-ended questions will be coded and categorized into groups and presented concisely.  The coded responses are laid out in order of most frequently produced replies.  If any findings were made from the participant observation relating to the results from the questionnaires, either supporting or contesting them, the observation will be included.

The research aimed to discover the reasons behind why people continue to hunt and throughout the initial research, many ideas were found out.  From the literature studied various theories were explored and considered, and applied to the further research conducted.  Many of the theories found in the literature review were identified to be associated with the sport over the years, and it became obvious that specific theories were evident in society today, for example the civilisation process.  From the questionnaires and participant observation a number of areas were emphasised and various new findings were made which could also question the existence of some previous suggested attractions or motivations.

Figure 1. Graph Showing the Result to Question 1.The Percentage of Male and Female Respondents.

This was supported by the observations made on the day of the hunt with more female followers present throughout the day.

Figure 2.Graph Showing the Response to Question 2. The Age of Respondents.

This was also supported by the participant observation, with a large and varying age range following the hunt.

Figure 3. Graph Showing the Response to Question 3. The Occupations of the Followers.


Figure 4. Graph Showing the Response to Question 4. Where the Respondents Live.


Figure 5. Graph Showing the Response to Question 5. How Long Has the Respondent Been a Hunt Follower.

(N.B. This would obviously be affected by age.)

Figure 6. Graph Showing the Response to Question 6. How the Respondent follows the Hunt.

This was also supported by the participant observation results, which highlighted that a large proportion of hunt followers do not follow a hunt by horse, but by foot and car.

Figure 7. Graph to Show the Response to Question 7. Is Fox Hunting a Sport?


Responses to Question 8.
Many of the reasons why the participants started to follow hunting were different to those suggested in the literature review too.  It was surprising to discover that family tradition was not a dominating reason for participating, and that many people found the enjoyment of riding for a purpose was a significant motivation.  Social occasions also appeared to be a significant factor for joining a hunt group and following hunts.  The following headings were derived as a result of coding the responses to Question Eight.  What were the reasons you started Fox hunting?

1.Feelings and Emotions.
“I love the excitement of riding.”  “Pleasure of crossing country.”  “Like nothing else, the adrenaline rush when on the line of a fox is unlike any other feeling in the world.”
“Because I enjoy the thrill of jumping and riding my horse across the country.”

2. Fun and Enjoyment.
“I enjoy the chase and the social aspect, the parties that we have at the end of a season are brilliant.”  “I love riding, it has a different situation every time.”  “I enjoy just being in the countryside in all elements of the weather, and watching nature has always been of interest, so watching a natural survival of the fittest is a major reason for hunting.”

3. Part of Country Life.
“As a child in the pony club it was just promoted as a natural part of the country life.”  “The sounds of the hounds crying when on a scent is part of the countryside atmosphere, and has always been something I enjoyed hearing when out in the countryside.”  “As a child I lived in the country and all field sports were part of the country way of life.”  “The lifestyle it brings is a definite attraction.”  “Interest in country way of life.”

4. Personal Achievement.
“It seemed a natural progression when first buying a horse, and all my horsey associates went hunting.”  “To increase my own and my horses bravery cross country, the hunt remains a major challenge to my riding.”

5. Tradition
“My family before me were involved.”  “I was brought up in the country and it was always part of my family’s life.”  “Fox hunting has been part of my life from birth.”  “Family tradition.”  “From visiting relations as a child who live in the Beaufort Country, seeing my cousins out with the hunt.”
These reasons were different from some of those suggested in the Burns Inquiry.  Economic factors were not provided by any one of the participants as a motivation to go hunting.  Another surprising result from the questionnaires was that not one of the replies included reasons connected to the death of animals on the farm on which the participants may live.  The kill was not mentioned at all as an attraction or reason for fox hunting.

Although family tradition was not a dominating factor in the consideration of why people started hunting, it was easy while conducting the participant observation to see that many people involved in the hunt were related and had been brought up into that particular social group or figuration.

Response to Question 9.
It was interesting to discover that many of the reasons why people had continued to hunt had not changed from the reason that they had started to hunt.  The question was asked to help find out if the motivations had been influenced by the prospect of a ban.  Some of the reasons that were given however have been recorded and coded and are presented below.  Fewer categories were recorded for this question however, as less people provided an answer to this question.

“Many of my hunting friends are childhood friends, and now I have retired it has enabled me to enjoy the company of other new friends.”  “I find the hunt extremely sociable now that I have retired, it provides me with many social gatherings and the opportunities to meet many new people.”  “The comradeship, everyone is treated the same, no matter who you are.”

2. Responsibility.
“I collect the foot followers daily contributions and run the sales stand at local shows.”  “People’s livelihoods are dependant on the sport and I feel therefore, that it is a duty to keep these people in business; it also gives them the opportunity to be part of a community that has remained a strong source of income for many people.”

3. Part of Country Life.
“I am still a country person at heart, even though I now live in an urban area, I still feel as though I belong to the country way of life, and following the hunt allows me to continue my country interests.”  “I live in the main part of the hunt country, and love to see the hounds and the horses on our land.”  “It is a natural part of the country life, and its something that should remain part of country life.”

4. Support of a Dying Sport.
“ I now support hunt followers due to the prospect of a ban and because of the foot and mouth crisis in 2001, that saw so many people go through agonising and sometimes career threatening circumstances.”  “It is something that many people enjoy and I am now more interested in it because of the impending ban, no one has the right to take away something that is enjoyed by a huge amount of people.  Freedom of choice has always been something that this country has allowed, but it seems to be fading, and this is an issue that needs to be addressed.”

Figure 10. Graph to Show the Response to Question 10. Are the Respondents More or Less Passionate about Fox Hunting Now?

Although passion is not something that is measurable, it was clear to the observers’ eye that this activity was something that excites them.  It was surprising that the presence of a new and unfamiliar face did not make the regular followers less approachable or effect the excitement before the chase.  It was comforting to be able to approach other followers without feeling like an outsider.

Figure 11. Graph to Show the Response to Question 11. Will a ban end Hunting?

Figure 12. Graph to Show the Response to Question 12. Does the Prospect of a Ban Influence the Decision to Hunt?

Throughout the course of the hunting it was surprising to find that the impending prospect of a ban was not once discussed among the hunt followers (at least it wasn’t discussed among the hunt followers near the researcher).  This would therefore suggest that a ban does not influence their decision to hunt, which contests the responses obtained from the questionnaire.

Response to Question 13.a.
The following headings categorize the responses to Question 13. a.  How do you feel before the hunt?  These responses fell naturally into 3 areas.  These areas are not surprising and a lot of the replies for this particular question were the same for a lot of the followers, it was not different for those who followed by other sources than a horse.

1. Emotions.
“I feel excited, looking forward to a good days hunting, my anticipation of results is high and it makes the adrenaline flow through my body like nothing else.”  “I feel nervous but very keen, I’m excited but apprehensive of the outcome…”  “Excited as nobody knows the route that the hunt will take, and the eventual outcome of the chase.  No one knows where we will end up either, which adds to the excitement.”  “Cool and calm.”  “Nervous.”  “I look forward to my weekly relief of stress by riding my horse across country, and unwinding with friends.”

2. Social Aspects.
“I look forward to a good days socializing and chatting with friends who share a common interest, chatting about things that are of interest to everyone.”  “I look forward to the possible invites to local parties and the meet where we can all have a glass of port in anticipation of the hunt.”

3. Preparation Aspects.
“Hurried to get ready on time.”  “I worry about getting my horse ready on time and looking smart for the day.”  “Busy getting my horse ready.”  “Scared about not getting the horses ready for myself and other liveries.”

Response to Question 13.b.
The following headings categorize the responses to Question 13.b.  How do you feel during the hunt?  These responses fell naturally into 2 categories.
1. Feelings and Emotions.
“Invigorated, still nervous, but enjoy being at one with my horse and other aspects of nature.”  “Relaxed, excited, apprehensive and impressed by the scenery.”  “Excitement and enjoyment.”  “Full of pleasure an anticipation, enjoying the countryside and at one with myself.”  “Great!”  

2. Natural Surroundings.
“I enjoy watching the hounds doing what they do naturally, the sense of nature living in front of your eyes is amazing.”  “Its amazing what you can see if you’re observant enough, watching nature can be full of surprises.”  “I enjoy watching the horses gallop across the countryside, the hounds on the scent of a fox and to hear them cry when they are in their natural surroundings it’s the most unbelievable sense of freedom.”

Response to Question 13.c.
The response to Question 13.c. was surprisingly similar for all the participants and therefore there is only one category to place the replies in.  Feelings and emotions were the only comments received and these were much the same throughout too.
“I go home exhausted and looking forward to next week.”  “I feel tired but fulfilled.”  “Tired but exhilarated.”  “Exhausted and refreshed, much better able to face the following week at work and the stresses of life.”  “Fulfilled but tired.”  “Happy if all is well- no injuries or hounds hurt.”  “Contrary.”  “Tired but happy to have been able to keep up with the hunt.”  “Knackered but at peace with nature.”  “Quite knackered but also reflective on where we went, how the hounds worked, and consider my horses performance.”

Response to Question 14.
The following headings categorize the responses to Question 14.  What part of the hunt do you enjoy most?  These fell naturally into 3 categories.

1. Social Aspect.
“The meet is the most enjoyable part of the day, catching up on the news from the week and drinking port; there cant be a better way of socialising on the weekend.”  “The social aspect of belonging to a hunt group is brilliant, no one judges anyone.”  “Being at the meet and spending the evenings at parties relishing in a good seasons hunting is the best part of hunting.”

2. The Nature of the Sport.
“ Following the hounds when they are on the line of a fox is an outstanding feeling, hearing them cry when chasing, and riding across the country all provide the best feelings in the world.”  “Crossing natural country.”  “Watching the hounds work.”  “Seeing all the horses dressed up ready to hunt and chasing the fox on a good course across open countryside.”  

3. Other.
“All of it.”  “The fox beating the hounds and getting away is very satisfying as they are clever and cunning animals.”  “Every part of the hunt is enjoyable, its difficult to pin point a specific part of the day to suggest as being better than other parts.”