Here’s our 2018 Foxhunting Life Calendar, featuring all new photos for the New Year. Doug Gehlsen of Middleburg Photo shot our cover image of huntsman Hugh Robards with the hounds of the Middleburg Hunt. The photo memorializes the last hunt of Hugh's brilliant forty-seven-year career as a professional huntsman. The first twenty-seven seasons of Hugh's career were spent showing world class sport for Master Lord Daresbury, members of the County Limerick Foxhounds (IR), and a constant flow of visiting sportsmen and women from all over England, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and America. Our 2018 calendar is dedicated to Hugh Robards.
The calendar includes the work of many of the best-known sporting photgraphers in the world, with images from England, Ireland, and North America. We’ve been publishing our appointments calendar since 1998, and our annual collection of foxhunting images continues to represent the finest examples of the sporting photographer’s art. Represented in this year’s photo collection are hunts in England, Ireland, and North America. Images include horses, hounds, foxes, and coyotes in action, seductive scenes shot in the most beautiful hunting landscapes imaginable, and photographs that simply tell a story to foxhunters about foxhunting.
As we approach the 2016/2017 season, Foxhunting Life reports on recent huntsmen moves around the hunting countries.
Ivan Dowling has retired from hunting Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA). After ten seasons (and before that as first whipper-in), this comes as a major change at Cheshire because the Irish-born Dowling was a key figure in implementing a bold, highly unusual, and successful hound breeding program there. With Dowling’s departure, Cheshire loses a professional whipper-in as well—Stephanie Boyer—who will wed Dowling in September.
Barry Magner is the new Cheshire huntsman. Irish-born Magner’s professional career includes whipping-in at the United Foxhounds (IRE) and a stint whipping-in in England. In the U.S., Magner whipped-in to the Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds (MD) for a season and became huntsman there in 2007 upon Allen Forney's retirement. He came to Virginia as huntsman for the Middelburg Hunt where he remained for five years until leaving two years ago for Australia. Back in the U.S., Magner joined the Cheshire as professional whipper-in last season and was named huntsman upon Dowling’s retirement.
An experienced foxhunter has become Master of a pack of foxhounds and recognizes that he has a deer problem. His hunting country is thickly wooded and accessible via trails. His staff is composed of an experienced amateur huntsman and honorary whippers-in. He whips-in himself, and has experienced first-hand the problems posed by the very nature of the country.
There are no discreet coverts to draw that can be surrounded by staff to stop hounds if a deer goes out. In the event of riot, staff is unable to gallop through the thick woods to get ahead of hounds and rate them. Or to even see which hound led the miscreants astray. He understands that he must first teach puppies what the proper quarry is, but he has no access to fox pens to even help him establish good habits from the start.
Thinking outside the box, he came up with the idea of using commercially available deer scent and fox scent as a tool to train hounds.
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.
Evie Good queried Foxhunting Life about her recent experience with a local fox.
“Can someone explain why a fox would bark repeatedly at me?” she asked. “We heard it barking last night close to the house. We found it barking at the dog this morning. When it saw me it ran to the nearby pasture, but stopped and barked some more. Finally, the fox turned and ran out of sight.
We asked two members of our Panel of Experts—Marty Wood, MFH and huntsman Hugh Robards, ex-MFH—for their opinion on this fox’s behavior.