The Fox – excerpt from "The Lady Blows a Horn" Mrs. Nancy Hannum's comments, by Nancy L. Mohr
Some might wonder why foxes in their natural environment bother to run such long distances when it would seem easy for them to find a hole and go to ground.
Foxes are territorial animals. They know every inch of their feeding range and it would be a simple matter for them to jump into the first convenient earth (the term for foxes' lair or den). Sometimes they do, to the disappointment of the hunters, but often as not they choose to run. One cannot apply human reasoning to the fox. One can only suppose he chooses to run because he wants to or does not feel threatened enough to bother going to ground.
A fox lives by scent. He knows good and bad scenting days. This may have an influence on how long he runs or if he feels he can lose the hounds without going to ground. Many foxhunters believe that some foxes undoubtedly enjoy the chase.
This may sound farfetched, but it is true that on certain days, it appears, some foxes play with the hounds almost teasing them by backtracking and circling past their dens when they could easily go to ground. Foxes have been seen to stop and hunt mice or birds while hounds are chasing them.
As humans we should not presume to understand what the fox thinks. We can only say that experience has shown that a fox often seems to be under little stress. When the fox does choose to run, he gives us the opportunity to observe one of Earth's great predators demonstrating his finest skills.