By James Barclay, ex-MFH
James Barclay, while Master of the Fitzwilliam Foxhounds (UK) from 1987 to 1999.Where now? This is undoubtedly one of the most frequently asked questions that we huntsmen have to consider during a hunting day. Where had our quarry gone, where to draw next, etc, etc? In this piece, however, I am going to use it in a different context, perhaps the most important one of all, and that is, Where is hunting going now?
Despite our opponents’ belief that they had won the most tremendous victory over us nearly eleven years ago, hunting is still here, and in whatever form it takes, it's popularity has never waned. What a pleasure it is to see people from every angle of society still coming together at a meeting of their local pack of hounds. And why shouldn't they?
We occasionally hear the comments, "It's not like it used to be,” or, “ Look at that lot, they haven't a clue what they are doing!" However, our record says more than that, and there is much to be proud of; but there is one thing for certain and that is we cannot afford to relax for one moment. Pushing our activities under the carpet is not going to help us in the long term. Let us go out and stand up for our beliefs, be keen to share them with those who are interested enough to listen. And there are plenty out there—if we play it correctly—who want to do exactly that.