Der Vollkommene Deutsche Jäger (The perfect German hunter) describes a game called Fuchsprellen or “fox tossing.” Fox Tossing was a competitive sport mostly practiced by members of the upper classes. The sport was held on a closed patch of land where people threw live foxes and other animals up high using slings, with a person on each end to fling the fox upwards. The team with the highest throw would win. The ground was covered with sawdust or sand as to not kill the animals too quickly but eventually most of the foxes died and; of course, many of the human participants were injured by the wild animals along the way.

The sport usually took place in an arena where they set up a circular canvas screen. Two participants would stand 20 feet away from each other while holding the ends of a cord sling. A caged fox, would then be released, resulting to it running around the arena and across the sling. The moment it steps on the sling, the players would pull extremely hard on the ends, hurling the animal up high into the air. A number of slings would sometimes be laid parallel so the creatures would have to run towards the gauntlet of the other players in the arena.

Augustus II the Strong, the King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, held a tossing contest in Dresden. They used 647 foxes, 533 hares, 34 badgers and 21 wildcats and each were tossed and killed. During masquerades, they would all be wearing costumes where the players and their tossed animals were decorated. Men wore Roman warriors, centaurs or jesters’ costumes while ladies wore goddess, nymphs or muses’ costumes. The tossed animals would be decorated in colorful fabrics and glitters, sometimes even decorated with drawings of known people.

Today, we could bring back this sport only instead of using poor defenseless foxes, we should use FOX NEWS commentators and politicians. Yes, the slings would need to be bigger but they started with “slings and arrows” first so its only fair. We should continue the practice of laying down sawdust to break their falls, just not too much…

Published by Michael Carver

My goal is to bring history alive through interactive portrayal of ordinary American life in the late 18th Century (1750—1799) My persona are: Journeyman Brewer; Cordwainer (leather tradesman but not cobbler), Statesman and Orator; Chandler (candle and soap maker); Gentleman Scientist; and, Soldier in either the British Regular Army, the Centennial Army, or one of the various Militia. Let me help you experience history 1st hand!

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