Common Questions to Becoming a Participating Landowner
The sport of fox hunting has just two components: hounds and land. While Bedford County Hunt has the hounds, we own no land. Without the use of land provided by generous local farmers and residents, there is no hunting. Therefore, we are always looking for new landowners to welcome into our sport, whether they ride, follow on foot, or simply come to enjoy the company of those who appreciate the beauty of nature.
For those who may be interested in allowing our club to hunt across your property, we have addressed a few common questions you might have.
1) Will I be liable for a lawsuit if someone gets hurt on my property?
No. Under Virginia law an, an equine activity sponsor (or landowner) is not liable for the injury of a participant in equine activities. In addition, all members of the hunt sign a waiver, doubly protecting the landowner and the hunt from liability.
2) Will this prevent me from hunting?
No. We are a big fan of our landowners who are hunters themselves, because we know that you care about your property and steward it to create better habitat for deer, turkey, and other game which will in turn create better habitat for our game. Our hunting of your property does not have a negative affect on deer or turkey. Our hounds are trained only to hunt fox and coyote. We will work around our landowners’ hunting schedules during bow and black powder season and usually do not hunt at all during rifle season for safety reasons.
3) Will this upset my livestock and/or hurt my crops?
No. Our hounds do not chase livestock of any kind. The riders close gates, skirt herds, and keep to the edges of hay and crop fields because they are directed to do so by the masters of the hunt. Many hunt members are farmers themselves and would want someone to do the same for their property. If you see any behavior by a hound or rider that goes against this, please inform the masters so they can be duly chastised and the situation corrected.
4) Will Bedford County Hunt be able to show up whenever they want or do I have a say in when people ride on my property?
We ride on your property only with your permission. Unless you grant members specific permission, we only ride on your land when we are hunting. However, because you have allowed us the generous use of your trails, we will do our part to help maintain them throughout the year for your benefit and for ours, with your permission.
5) How much land is enough land?
To properly hunt, we need 500-800 acres of continuous territory. Large properties are ideal, but not always the reality, which means that we usually cross over multiple landowners during the course of a hunt. However, even a small property in the right place can be critical, or simply granting us permission to collect our hounds from your land is huge to our club. We encourage you always to reach out to our masters should you have questions or concerns.
6) Why should I let Bedford County Hunt Club hunt my land?
Bedford County Hunt Club is a long-standing tradition of the county and of Virginia. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson kept a pack of foxhounds, as did many other founding fathers. It is a sport that has survived centuries, despite increased pressure from urban development because the people who hold a deep, abiding love for hunting with hounds have worked very hard to keep it alive to the present day.
We hope that everyone who opens their gates to us will feel free to take part in our sport. We welcome you to our tailgates and social events. Even if you only give us permission to pick up wayward hounds from your property, we are in your debt and will be glad to offer you our hospitality.
For more information on becoming a participating Landowner, please contact Joint Masters of Foxhounds Dr. Daniel Temeles or Mrs. Ray Garland.
“There is a passion for hunting something deeply implanted in the human breast.” – Charles Dickens