Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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FHL wants your hunt reports! Stories and photos. Submit yours here.

The Best Day...On the Planet...Ever

lori brunnen on ozzyJackets excused, we started out on this warm early autumn day by hacking left out of the drive and down Lees Mill Road. Passing behind one of the houses a man was bent over a small back door garden while an elderly man watched from the adjacent deck. Although he looked our way the elderly man did not respond to our waves, standing with his arms slack at his sides. The younger man pointed at us and, barely audible, I heard him say we were “looking for the fox.” Closing in on the one year anniversary of the death of my father-in-law, it was a bittersweet scene. Much more sweet than bitter to witness this quiet exchange between what I imagined to be an adult son and his father.

Approaching the creek crossing we heard a whipper-in’s view halloa ahead of us. Shortly after that we heard third field’s view; they had crossed the creek the usual way by the machine shed. The run lasted roughly an hour-and-a-half. At one point there were simultaneous views on opposite sides of the strip of corn running alongside Doss Garland Drive. There were views being called all over the place. Hearing them ahead of me I rushed up only to miss them. Second Field was viewing behind me, and I missed those, too.

Fort Leavenworth Opening Meet Attracts Foxhunters From Coast to Coast

Buffalo rideAs a part of Opening Meet Weekend 2016, Riders in formal attire participate in a tribute at the Buffalo Soldiers monument. Front, l-r: Infantry Major Jeroen van Rantwijk of the Royal Netherlands Army, who is attending the Command and General Staff College, and Honorary huntsman Dr. Steven Thomas.

The Fort Leavenworth Hunt (KS) put together an Opening Meet Weekend attracting foxhunters from ten states and featuring the hunt’s unique place in our nation’s history. One hundred mounted riders and fifty car-toppers participated in a three-day program that included a historic ride on the 5,600-acre post, Opening Meet, Military Hunt Ball, wreath laying ceremony at the Buffalo Soldiers monument, and guided tours. The events were led by both military and civilian personnel, as appropriate.

Attending guests included current Masters from Bijou Springs Hunt (CO), Bridlespur Hunt (MO), North Hills Hunt (NE) as well as members from other hunts hailing from Alabama, California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, South Carolina, and Virginia.

Built in 1827, Fort Leavenworth is the oldest active United States Army post west of Washington, D.C. The fort is also the oldest permanent settlement in Kansas. Historically, Fort Leavenworth has been known as the Army’s intellectual center. During the country's westward expansion, Fort Leavenworth was a forward destination for thousands of soldiers, surveyors, immigrants, American Indians, preachers and settlers who passed through. The fort was the eastern terminus of the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails, and the weekend events were aimed at exposing visitors to much of the post's history.

The Kilkenny Foxhounds at Mount Juliet

kilkenny.cropKilkenny huntsman Peter Cahill and foxhounds move off from Mount Juliet, the spiritual home of the Kilkenny. / Noel Mullins photo

The Kilkenny Foxhounds were founded by John Power in 1797, and the founder was succeeded by his son Sir John Power in 1844. Hounds have been kennelled since 1921 at Mount Juliet when Major Dermot McCalmont, MFH built the kennels. His son Major Victor McCalmont (Master from 1949-1993) continued the hunting tradition until he passed away while in office.

Stepping into the kennels one can feel the sense of history. Although I have reported on the Kilkenny Foxhounds many times in the past, it has been more than thirty years since I attended a meet at Mount Juliet—the spiritual home of the Kilkennys. At the time, Major Victor McCalmont who hunted the pack for thirty-four seasons was Master. Peter Thomas was hunting hounds and Paddy McDonald was whipping-in. I recall the second horsemen dressed in charcoal grey livery and grey bowler hats arriving to exchange horses with Major Victor and the huntsman in the early afternoon.

The Kilkenny, by the way, is seeking new Joint-Masters.

Coyote In the Tunnel

We enjoy publishing hunt reports. The emphasis may be on humor, a unique hunting country, the horse, or the substance of venery, but rarely all that in one package. Epp’s report covers every base, especially substance. In the course of one exciting hunt, the reader is there as the huntsman conjures the best place for the first draw; reads his hounds as individuals; reaps the fruits of hot summer work in the country; assists the Field Master; uses his road whips to advantage when chasing the wide-ranging coyote; makes quick but necessary decisions—right or wrong—to maintain the pace of his hunt and the safety of his hounds; all the while, tuned to the problems of his mount.

coyate3.smallDay's end. / Ed Maxwell photo

The drought in the U.S. Southeast made September, October and November hunting in Georgia some of the most challenging we and the hounds have had in many years. Dust everywhere. Most of the streams long dried up. In others, just pockets of water.

It has been so dry and dusty that the puppies and even some of last year’s entry were tempted to run deer and pigs. Long, boring days where hounds cannot find a coyote to run tempt all but the most deer-broke dogs. We had two days that scent was so bad they could not run a freshly viewed coyote—even when we got them to the view in less than a minute.