Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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A Storybook Pack

Each hound in this pack is a top-ten qualifier from one of nine qualifying foxhound performance trials held across North America this season.

houndtrial21.winning hounds.maisanoTrial Huntsman Epp Wilson and his guide, huntsman Graham Buston, in the Blue Ridge country  /  Joanne Maisano photo

This Blog is to celebrate an exclusive pack of foxhounds that will hunt the fox at the J. Robert Gordon Field Trial Grounds in Hoffman, North Carolina, from March 25−27, 2022. The hound that earns the top score in this trial will be named the 2022 National Champion Performance Trial Foxhound.

Each hound in this unique pack earned its place by qualifying in one or more two-day performance trials held over this season from coast to coast. To qualify for this, the National Championship Performance Trial, each hound here compiled a score during its qualifying trial that placed it among the top-ten scoring hounds in that trial.

Why should that matter to hunt officers, Masters, huntsmen, hound breeders, and field members?

Set the Hook: Nurture New Field Members

This blog is a companion piece to Epp Wilson’s article, Our Hounds Were on Fire.” Masters and huntsmen should educate their field members. Epp communicates to his members via periodic email blasts.

 wheeler.deep runOil painting, "Catch," by Larry Wheeler was inspired by a scene at the Deep Run Hunt (VA) with huntsman John Harrison and hounds.

There's a whole new generation of enthusiastic foxhunters in hunting fields across North America today. And I’m betting that most of them are in the hunt-to-ride category. At least at first. I know I was.

If they are inquisitive, however, they will soon discover there is even more to this sport than the excitement of riding a horse, keeping with hounds, jumping obstacles, and arriving at the finish with their equine partner safe and breathless. Not that that, in itself, isn’t enough! But really, the more they learn along the way, the better it gets.

Drag Hunting Banned on Welsh Natural Resources Land

Welsh National Resource LandOgof Ffynnon Ddu National Nature Reserve, a huge expanse of moorland in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

According to the BBC, Natural Resources Wales has decided not to renew its agreement with the British MFHA which had previously allowed drag hunting on its lands. The decision is said to be strongly influenced by the recent conviction of an influential foxhunter in England who instructed hunts how to use the appearance of draghunting as a cover for contravening the Hunting Act of 2004.

UK Foxhunter Convicted; National Trust Members Vote “No” to Trail Hunting

nmf.crop.kleckNancy Kleck photo

A total of 76,816 votes were cast by members of Britain’s National Trust in a referendum on whether or not to ban trail hunting (also known as drag or scent hunting) on National Trust lands. The vote was 38,184 to ban and 18,047 to allow, a bitter defeat for British foxhunters.

Although the vote is non-binding, the board of trustees is expected to consider the outcome after their imminent annual meeting. The League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) had been actively driving the vote to ban with demonstrations against trail hunting. LACS is obviously pleased with the outcome.

The Unintended Consequences of Messing With Foxhunting

hedge jumping2

Britain―after having attacked, harried, and banned the sport of foxhunting―now finds itself missing the hedgerows built and maintained by foxhunters. Britain is missing her hedges not only for esthetic reasons but for practical reasons as well: carbon capture and the battle against global warming.

Robert Lane Fox, writing in the Financial Times, said, “The finest hedges in Britain are those planted and cared for by hunters: even as legal trail hunters, they want to be able to jump them with pleasure on horseback. For that reason, swaths of Leicestershire, say, or Herefordshire have been transformed and treasured. If hunters knock a hole in them they are promptly fenced at their own expense and cut and laid so as to grow back.

The Andean Fox and the Puma

puma1The puma (mountain lion, cougar), fourth largest species in the cat family, typically weighing a hundred or more pounds, coexists with the only other top predator in the Andes, the Andean fox at nineteen pounds.

Many hunts in North America during my hunting lifetime—just fifty years...a brief period in the scheme of thing—have migrated by necessity from foxhunting to virtually all coyote hunting.

Many of these hunts, whether by the size and nature of their countries or their long foxhunting traditions, would prefer to continue hunting the fox as opposed to the coyote. Conventional wisdom suggests that because the coyote and the fox compete for the same diet, the coyote will kill the foxes upon arrival in his new country or drive the fox away. This is certainly true in many areas and has been noted with dismay. But can the coyote and the fox somehow coexist?

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