In 2010, The County Record followed a story with Sky Scott and The Florida State Foxhunters Association as they fought against the Florida Wildlife Commission and the closing of fox enclosures in the state of Florida.
Losing that battle was one Scott thought he would never overcome. The County Record sat down with Scott four years later to continue its journey with this story.
“I’ve always been a fighter and have never let anything stand in the way of me and something I believed in, however, that blow was a hard one straight to the heart. When you do something all your life, and then all of a sudden the rug is snatched out from under you, it takes a while to recover. FWC was misinformed by The Humane Society of the United States, and they turned against hunters. When we had the fox enclosures in the State of Florida, our animals were treated with care and dignity where they could roam inside a confined space that protected them from disease, but also kept man from seeing them as a threat and killing them if they wandered too close to domesticated animals or a farmer’s crops. Fox pens were protecting and caring for predatory animals, not harming them”, Scott stated
And then they were gone….so what next? Florida is the only state where hunting in an enclosure is a thing of the past. Luckily, living in the panhandle leads to easy access to Alabama and Georgia where the sport is thriving, and that is where Scott ends up most every weekend!
However the state of Florida is still the host to three National Title hunts, and a few other smaller unaffiliated hunts where the competition takes place outside the wire, in the open, in the Blackwater State Forest and The Ocala National Forest. You have to have grounds large enough to run that is away from private property owners and highways, and that’s hard to find in this day and time. The largest and most prestigious of these Florida hunts is The Blackwater National Fox hunters Field Trail held in the Blackwater State Forest near Munson, Florida during the 4th of July week. Hunters participated from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and The Carolina’s. With close to 250 entries, Scott came home as the 50th annual Blackwater Foxhunters Association Derby Winner with his hound , Flo Jo.
But is it just foxhunting that happens at these competitions. Scott will be the first to tell you no. “My very best friends are these people, it is a family sport! And no one has a heart as willing to give as a foxhunter. The last three competitions I went to had a focal goal of raising money for a particular group or family in need which included a church youth group, covering funeral expenses for a family, and the most recent one at the 50th annual Blackwater was raising money for the John Ryan Parker Foundation, a foundation committed to raising money for the UNC hospital for Pediatric Brain Cancer and to draw awareness of the importance of organ donation. Doesn’t get much better than that!”, Scott noted.
“Just because we are unable to hold our hunts in enclosures in Florida any longer, doesn’t mean we aren’t continuing to hold our hunts. With limited areas to host outside hunts, we’ve moved them to other states. With support and the continuing growth of The Florida State Foxhunters Association and The South Eastern Dog Hunters Association, an association which supports and fights for all types of dog hunting in the state of Florida, we are thriving in other areas. We have our Florida hunts….they just aren’t in Florida. The National Foxhunters Association and The Masters Foxhunters Association have made exceptions for us, and for that, we are thankful”, Scott explained.
When asked if foxhunting in an enclosure was a permanent sport of the past, Scott responded with a smile. “Don’t count us out just yet. We have support coming to us from organizations and political leaders in the state. I’ve won six national titles in my short life, with a number of additional wins and placing’s. This past win, ranked towards the top of the list. Why, because I worked hard to overcome an obstacle that was placed in front of me. Four years ago, I would have told you the 50th annual Blackwater Derby win was nowhere near possible. Never let anything stand in your way, and fight for what you believe in. The State of Florida Foxhunting enclosure story isn’t over yet…”. Not if Sky Scott has anything to do with it.