In our lands - that is to say, in the fair Duchy of Toussaint - the hunting of basilisks has a long and storied tradition, one reaching back to the dawn of our present history. Attesting to this is a note written by one Xenon of Trytion, a leatherworker, in the year 1023. In it one finds mention of a commission for a corset, to be fastened from "hide of that winged serpent, called basilicus by some" (see Vedetto Fiari, Manuscripts through the Ages, 1278). While lesser hides could come from beasts felled by age or hunger, the costliness and expanse of this corset would have necessitated the skin of a basilisk taken in its prime - and therefore required a hunt.
Without the engagement of a witcher, or, as a last resort, a knight or a mercenary, such a hunt would have perforce meant the gruesome death of the foolhardy hunter.
Yet those adept at the task - witchers chief among them - hunted basilisks and their cousins, cockatrices, with great success, thinning their numbers till a mere handful remained.
To give but one example, in the year 1100 basilisks of the regulus platinum subspecies dotted skies all across our land, yet in the present day only one exemplar still lives.