What on earth is terrier work?
A dog or dogs are put into the entrance of a badger sett, or fox earth with the intention of pursuing or bolting the “quarry”. The dog can be traced using electronic locators. Some “hard” terriers will fight the “quarry” underground. For this reason terrier work is also known as “fox baiting“. Once the terrierman knows the dog’s location, he will dig down and then ‘dispatch’ the quarry if it isn’t already dead. However, badger diggers may take the badger away for baiting.
Which dogs are used?
The dogs used for underground work are generally small dogs that can get through a network of tunnels, called ‘tubes’. The breeds used are terrier types – Jack Russell’s, Wire Haired Terriers, Lakeland, Bedlington, and Plummer breeds.
Dogs which are put to work underground are called earth dogs. Dogs which hunt above ground are called running dogs.
How are the animals killed?
Terriers can attack and rip apart animals underground needless to say some terriers get severely injured themselves. Even terriers who hold a fox at bay whilst it is dug out can attack and injure the fox. Either way, a fox can be “dug out” in a process that on many occasions has involved the suffocation of the fox – and sometimes the terrier. Those that are “dug out” are finished off by a shovel or heavy stick. Sometimes they are thrown to dogs alive. Many of these are taken home as ‘trophies’ for the dogs to play with.
What is bolting?
Terrier dogs are also used to “bolt” after foxes, driving them out from their hiding spots and into nets covering the entrance of earths. Foxes that bolt into nets are sometimes used as bait for young terriers – a process known as “ragging”. How a fox dies when it bolts into nets will never be monitored – stabbed, shot, clubbed to death – its what ever takes a terrierman’s fancy.
Why do people do it?
Some people get a ‘rush’ from seeing their dog digging out. It gives them the power to decide whether a wild animal lives or dies. Many will take part in digging out competitions at hunt events. Many people who do it call themselves ‘pest controllers’ or ‘terriermen’ but it could be the lad up the road, but they all have one thing in common: They enjoy the ‘thrill’ of control over life or death.