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Thread: Fox Tossing

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    Senior Member SaxonCeorl's Avatar
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    Fox Tossing

    Fox tossing
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Fox tossing (German: Fuchsprellen) was a popular competitive blood sport in parts of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, which involved throwing live foxes and other animals high into the air.

    Fox tossing would take place in an arena, usually either created by setting up a circle of canvas screens in the open or by using the courtyard of a castle or palace. Two people would stand six to seven and a half metres (20 to 25 feet) apart, holding the ends of a webbed or cord sling which was laid flat on the ground. An animal such as a fox would then be released from a cage or trap and driven through the arena, across the sling. As it crossed the sling the tossers pulled hard on the ends, throwing the animal high into the air. The highest throw would win the contest; expert tossers could achieve throws of as high as 7.5 m (24 ft). On occasion, several slings were laid in parallel, so that the animal would have to run the gauntlet of several teams of tossers.

    The result was often fatal for the tossed animal. Augustus the Strong, the Elector of Saxony, held a famous tossing contest in Dresden at which 647 foxes, 533 hares, 34 badgers and 21 wildcats were tossed and killed. Augustus himself participated, reportedly demonstrating his strength by holding the end of his sling by just one finger, with two of the strongest men in his court on the other end. Other rulers also participated in the sport. The Swedish envoy Esaias Pufendorf, witnessing a fox-tossing contest held in Vienna in March 1672, noted in his diary his surprise at seeing the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I enthusiastically joining the court dwarfs and boys in clubbing to death the injured animals; he commented that it was remarkable to see the emperor having "small boys and fools as comrades, [which] was to my eyes a little alien from the imperial gravity."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_tossing



    The introductory paragraph is what really makes me laugh. I can just imagine a 17th century nobleman explaining the sport to the unitiated bystander:

    Nobleman: So, you take a fox like so, then you toss him high into the air.
    Bystander:.............................. .and?
    Nobleman:........well, no, that's it....that's the game.

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    Senior Member Wynterwade's Avatar
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    This reminds me of Squirrel fishing where you tie a nut on a fishing line- wait in a park- and when a Squirrel grabs the nut you yank him into the air. I actually saw some guys doing that at college.

    Very barbaric stuff.

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    Senior Member SaxonCeorl's Avatar
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    I know it's wrong, but the image of a squirrel flying through the air via a fishing pole... Hopefully the squirrels were uninjured.

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    Senior Member Wynterwade's Avatar
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    At first I thought they were trying to catch the squirrels to eat them, but they said it was just for fun and that it didn't even hurt the squirrels.

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    killing innocent animals for sport? Not my thing, I find it hard to believe it's a Germanic custom, sounds more Slavic, frankly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest King View Post
    killing innocent animals for sport? Not my thing, I find it hard to believe it's a Germanic custom, sounds more Slavic, frankly.
    Bad, I agree, but even worst was the events the Tuetonic Knights used to organise for I belive English aristocracy, manhunts!

    I read it in either "The vanished Kingdom" or "Iron Kingdom, the rise and fall of Prussia", something along the lines of that initially the Knights would maintain a distance between the Christian Prussians and any encroaching pagan tribes by destroying any attempts by the pagans to settle too close, but that it deteriated into an excuse for paid manhunt safaris.

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