Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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jef murdock.kleckNewly appointed Old Chatham MFH Jef Murdock tells how it feels to hunt hounds for the very first time. / Nancy Kleck photoOn a recent Saturday the Old Chatham Hunt (NY) had a rare hunting day. Hounds ran their first coyote hard for an hour before huntsman and staff had to stop them from going into country where it was difficult to follow. Hounds then found another coyote and ran it through their wooded country in fine voice for another forty-five minutes to finish an excellent day of hunting. What’s remarkable about that? one might ask. Nothing, except that the huntsman had never hunted a pack of hounds before in his life until that day.

At the end of last season, Old Chatham members made some difficult and controversial organizational changes in an effort to improve their sport. A new huntsman—Tommy Hopkins—was named, and a new Master—Jef Murdock—was appointed. Hopkins had been whipping-in for years and was familiar with the hounds, but Murdock, though he’d been following hounds as a field member for years, was better known for his skiing acumen—he owns the popular Butternut ski area in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts—than for his prowess with foxhounds.

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-1 # K R 2014-11-11 14:17
great revival of wonderful hunt- kudos to Old Chahams connections!
+3 # Brian Ferrell MFH 2014-11-18 09:43
Way to go Jeff. That's rising to the occasion!
-1 # Linda Romeo 2014-11-19 08:14
Yes, this is really me posting! :D It was a splendid day and Jef and Stephanie locked their butterflies away and gave us a day of great sport. Stephanie has done yeoman's duty with the pack throughout the year. Jef will be the future of OCHC on the road to rebuilding. The staff (new and old), especially Edie and Gail, must also be commended for adapting, stepping up to the plate and doing some "thinking on the fly". Onwards and upwards!
-2 # Gretchen Pelham 2014-11-19 15:39
Thank you, Linda, for your Comment. For the benefit of other readers, let me explain that we have already unpublished a number of Comments to this article. While they were purportedly sent by different people using different names, most were actually sent from the same IP address.

It is our policy to publish Comments that are civil in tone and signed by the legitimate authors of those Comments. We are willing to publish controversial comments because there is more than one side to every story, but we will not publish Comments that are mean-spirited or that make personal attacks on individuals. For the good of our sport, I believe this to be a sound policy.

As the article states, The Old Chatham Hunt has recently gone through a controversial reorganization. Many hunts have experienced similar situations. It is always a difficult time because the membership becomes fractured—some on one side of the issues, some on the other. Life may have its ups and downs, but *Foxhunting Life* will not provide a platform for disgruntled individuals to make personal attacks.
-2 # Linda Romeo 2014-11-19 20:13
Thank you Mr Fine. It seems like the imposter poster is also posting under my daughter's name but it has been deleted. I apologize for the actions of a disturbed few, it has been a difficult year but great strides are being made.
I wish you good sport.
-1 # Elizabeth Marks 2014-11-19 21:51
Great article and many kudos for OCHC hunting staff and masters past and present who have kept things going strong for 86 years. What is especially amazing is that even though Stephanie Lee has been Kennelman for 7 years, this is her first year hunting and she is doing an awesome job! Thanks Norm for highlighting the accomplishments of OCHC.
# Gretchen Pelham 2014-11-20 09:13
Thanks, Elizabeth. Indeed, OC has a long history, and I knew some of your past staff members very well. Although I never hunted at OC, I hunted behind Dick Field at Nashoba Valley and Rhoda Hopkins at Fairfield County. I was friends with both Dick and Rhoda, and a member of both hunts a million years ago!

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