It’s time for our annual report on the recent moves of huntsmen across North America. The huntsman is my hero. From the time we mount up and for the few hours that follow, it is he or she most directly responsible for the day’s sport. How the huntsman has bred, trained, deployed, and communicated with his troops—the hounds—has everything to do with the satisfaction of our day in the field.
The moves have been numerous this season, and, in a two cases, we have experienced whippers-in finally achieving their dream of a pack of their own to hunt. We’ll catch up with Alasdair Storer, Andrew Bozdan, Kathryn Butler, Stephen Farrin, Danny Kerr, Emily Melton, and Timothy Michel.
The 2019 Carolinas Hound Show was hosted by the Moore County Hounds on May 11th at Lyell’s Meadow in the Walthour Moss Foundation, a paradise for horsemen and naturalists in the sand hills of Southern Pines, NC. The Foundation was formed in 1974 by Pappy and Ginny Moss, MFHs of the Moore County Hounds (NC), as a charitable trust of 1,700 acres preserved in perpetuity. With additional gifts through the succeeding years from Ginny Moss and others, the Foundation now totals more than 4,000 acres and represents Moore County’s principal hunting country.
Hounds competed in three rings, Crossbred in Ring 1, Penn-Marydel in Ring 2, and English, American, and Foot packs in Ring 3. That one ring is dedicated entirely to Penn-Marydel hounds, and English and American foxhounds are combined in one ring with foot hounds, strikes this reporter as a noteworthy indication of the growing affinity for Penn-Marydel foxhounds amongst North American hunts well outside of the breed’s native region of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. Concomitantly, the consequence must be a reduction in the numbers of Pure English and American types now being hunted in these southern Atlantic states.
It is hard to believe now, but at the start of the 2017 hunting season I was actually lamenting the difficulties of leaving a hunt I had been with for fifteen years and joining another. Even at the time, I realized it was a small issue in the scheme of things that can happen in life. Making new friends and riding across some breathtaking new country quickly proved to me that I had made the right decision.
That season started out well. I was hunting regularly, and in October, Karen and I traveled with the Last Chance Hounds to the Moore County Hounds Hark Forward Foxhound Performance Trials in North Carolina. By January, however, hunting was the last thing on my mind. And I never did get out after that.
It took forty minutes in the pea soup fog early this morning to bring the horses in. Something about the early morning darkness convinces them they are feral. Although with Ozzy’s skin he would last about two minutes in the wild. Not to mention his feet....
Horses are apparently unable to connect the sight of human figures in the dark with the same people they see at least twice a day 365 days a year. This mental dilemma triggered an extended episode of BAF.*
Last night, also in the dark, found me in the backyard manning the grill. I was making dry-rubbed drumsticks for the tailgate, following Roger Mooking’s recipe, whoever he is.** My original plan was to grill them in the morning, and then I came to my senses. Also baked some S'mores cupcakes. I did not have a cupcake tin so I just filled the paper cups and crammed them tightly into a baking pan. My hope was that maybe squeezing them together would give them more support and shape. They exited the oven shaped like amoebas but luckily they tasted better than they looked. Hubby liked them but was suspicious and wanted to know “what is the brown stuff on the bottom?” That would be Graham Crackers, Rick. As a Boy Scout, Rick went home with a headache before his first overnight. Obviously before the campfire was even lit. The chicken looked just like the photo in the magazine.
The Junior North American Field Hunter Championship competition that began modestly twelve years ago between a handful of geographically-close Virginia hunts continues to expand in scope. This year’s competition involved juniors from twenty-seven hunts located across six MFHA Districts.
The program is succeeding because it’s purpose rises above just competition. Founders Douglas Wise, MFH, Old Dominion Hounds and Iona Pillion from the Blue Ridge Hunt had a larger dream: bring children to new hunting countries and open their eyes to the fact that these playgrounds don’t just happen to be there for them by chance, but have been nurtured and conserved for the perpetuation of wildlife, open space, and for those who treasure the natural world.
“We want these kids to know what a conservation easement is,” said Marion Chungo, one of the organizers.