Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Midland Fox Hounds

midland

Midland, Georgia and Fitzpatrick, Alabama.

Website: www.midlandfoxhounds.com


What follows is one of Master Epp Willson’s frequent email reports to Belle Meade members to recognize and thank individuals for efforts on behalf of the hunt, apprise members of current hunt affairs, or, as in this case, add to their knowledge of hounds and hunting.

epp and houndsjpg 

Belle Meade hounds drew well, handled well, and listened all day. They are settling in and becoming the team we expect them to be.

Our hounds provide quality sport nearly every time we go out. They are doing it every time if scenting conditions are decent and a cooperative coyote can be found. Yesterday was an interesting day.

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july foxhound2A July foxhound used for field trials. Note the narrow white blaze, curved stern, and shorter ears than many strains of American foxhound, all characteristic of the July. This fox dog is prized for his hunting ability, not his conformation.

Bob Mitchell, retired editor, and publisher of the Cassville Democrat in Cassville, Missouri, has left his mark. He is a 2017 inductee to both the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame and Missouri Southern State University’s Regional Media Hall of Fame. Though retired, Mitchel still keeps his hand in the game with stories about the good ol’ days. His piece in the December 15, 2021 issue caught my eye about the Houn’ Ditch Inn and the man who built and owned it, Gentry German―“famous for his Fox hunting dogs, of the July breed.”

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performance trial. mission valleyMission Valley 2018 Performance Trials: Fort Leavenworth Tracker 2010 (#71) was overall High Point foxhound after two days of hunting.  /  Allison Howell photo

The schedule of Foxhound Performance Trials for the 2021/2022 foxhunting season has been released by Trial Chairman Fred Berry, MFH, Sedgefield Hounds (NC). Nine qualifying trials will be run across the country, and the tenth and final trial will crown a Grand Champion and the top ten performance hounds in North America.

"'Pretty is as pretty does' really applies to foxhounds," says Fred. The Brits invented mounted foxhunting and hound show, but they shouldn’t have stopped there.

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Belle Meade huntsman Epp Wilson MFH and 8 year old Midland Maiden 2013Belle Meade huntsman Epp Wilson, MFH, and 8-year-old Midland Maiden 2013

Midland Fox Hounds (GA) has drafted a lot of fine hounds to us at the Belle Meade Hunt (GA) over the years. Most have worked out well for our country and our way of hunting. Most drafts are un-entered pups, but often they will draft an entered hound to us when they’ve had a large litter and find themselves with more of that bloodline than they need. That’s how we got Midland Maiden 2013, and she turned out to be one of the best hounds they ever sent us. She is so good, I think Mason may have some regret about having drafting her to us.

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On December 14, 2020, members of the Belle Meade Hunt (GA) enjoyed their best hunting day of the season—up to that point! Master and huntsman Epp Wilson has allowed Foxhunting Life to publish an account of the day’s sport from his informal, after-hunt notes. For the benefit of our readers who love to better understand how the top huntsmen of our times produce sport with hounds, Epp has expanded on a few of the Belle Meade methods and protocols that may surprise some traditionalists. Your editor has only to say, however, that the proof is in the pudding, and that he knows of no other hunt that draws more enthusiastic hunting visitors, year after year, from hunts all across North America, than does Belle Meade.

epp and maidenMaster and huntsman Epp Wilson and Belle Meade's Midland Maiden 2013.

We met at 3 PM from the kennels. Fifty-six degrees: good. Dew point 46 degrees: not so good. Wind from the west at 7 mph: good. Game table* was low at 14 percent average for the day: not good.

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