Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Old Dominion Hounds

olddominion

Fauquier County, Virginia

Website: facebook page


nafhc13.teresa.callar2013 North American Field Hunter Champion Greyland Woods, owned by Karen Mantz and ridden by daughter Teresa Croce, jumps to victory over Judge Jean Derrick's scarlet coat (Belle Meade colors). / Liz Callar photo

Blistering hot weather visited Virginia for the past four weeks. While not unusual this time of year, the length of the hot spell, with temperatures hovering in the high eighties and even reaching into the low nineties, has proved miserable to man and beast alike, but it failed to deter foxhunters who entered this year's North American Field Hunter Championships.

On Monday, September 30, the Championships began at Keswick. Hounds met at Glenwood, a fixture in the neighborhood of James Madison's Montpelier, outside the town of Orange. Contestants from as far away as Florida and Georgia traveled to compete in the event, as well as to enjoy early autumn hunting in Virginia. They were not disappointed. Keswick huntsman Tony Gammell provided a fine day of sport in the lovely rolling countryside as hounds ran across the nearby road, back again, and beyond the fixture into a scenic expanse of woods and cornfields. Afterward, everyone enjoyed a tailgate as five contestants were selected for the finals.

On Tuesday, October 1, hounds met at Owl Run Farm in Warrenton, home of Casanova Hunt Joint-Master Mrs. Joyce Fendley. Previously the home of Donna and Jack Eicher, huntsman at Rombout and later Farmington Hunt, the grounds include a lake and a cluster of graceful weeping willows out front. The residence and barns all exude the charm of old Virginia Hunt Country—weathered stone, stout board and batten, low eaves and metal roofs. A special surprise awaited the field this morning when shortly after casting hounds, an eruption in a cornfield revealed that hounds had encountered a black bear! Fortunately, the pack obeyed their orders to ignore the bear as it beat a hasty retreat. The remainder of the morning proved quieter, and as the field hacked in, Mrs. Fendley positioned herself, as she always does at the end of a hunt, such that she could personally thank everyone in the field as they passed by on their way to their trailer. This small but thoughtful act is just one of many that make hunting in Virginia so special and unique. It was a hot, thirsty, and tired field that gathered under a tent to drink and devour a delicious crab dip while recalling the excitement of having gone on their first bear hunt! This morning, six finalists were announced.

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melvin.parker2Betsy Burke Parker photo

World-renowned huntsman Melvin Poe celebrated his 93rd birthday Sunday, August 25 by doing what only comes natural to the living legend—going foxhunting. Riding his favorite hunter and surrounded by Peggy, his wife of some fifty years, his four daughters, a bevy of grandchildren, neighbors, and friends, Melvin handled the horn and the reins with the cool confidence of a man one-quarter his age at what had to be a historic hunt.

"I can't believe he's still going strong," said Charlie Matheson, former president of the Orange County Hounds where Melvin served as huntsman some three decades. "He's an amazing man. We're so lucky to have him."

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melvin.parker2Betsy Burke Parker photo

World-renowned huntsman Melvin Poe celebrated his 93rd birthday Sunday, August 25 by doing what only comes natural to the living legend—going foxhunting. Riding his favorite hunter and surrounded by Peggy, his wife of some fifty years, his four daughters, a bevy of grandchildren, neighbors, and friends, Melvin handled the horn and the reins with the cool confidence of a man one-quarter his age at what had to be a historic hunt.

"I can't believe he's still going strong," said Charlie Matheson, former president of the Orange County Hounds where Melvin served as huntsman some three decades. "He's an amazing man. We're so lucky to have him."

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Camp2013Hunt2l-r: huntsman Chris Cerrone (hunting horn by Bounty), first whipper-in Annabelle Whitticar,
honorary whippers-in Ainsley Colgan (7) and Sam Homeyer (9), kennelman Jean Simpson with
Old Dominion hound puppies Feagan (front), Febe (behind left), Fever (behind right) on walk
Betsy Parker photo

What better way to introduce summer campers to foxhunting than by bringing a foxhound puppy or two on the trail ride with the other dogs and then writing it up in the form of a formal hunt report? Good for the puppies to be exposed to all the sights and sounds in the woods and good for the campers who have a fun ride and learn about hunting. All it takes is a multi-talented camp director like Betsy Parker. -Ed.

July 24, 2013, 7:30 am meet at Hunter’s Rest (site of the old Old Dominion Hounds kennels), Flint Hill, Virginia.
 
Air temp 71 degrees at first cast. BP 29.73 and rising. Breeze variable 3-6 mph from the east/northeast. Fine overcast, cool and cloudy.

Staff: Huntsman Chris Cerrone, first whipper-in Annabelle Whitticar, amateur whippers-in Ainsley Colgan and Sam Homeyer, kennelman Jean Simpson

Hunted hounds: two couple. Old Dominion Feagan, Hunters Rest Mel, Nap and Sneak. (Old Dominion Febe and Fever were left in kennels.)

The pack moved off promptly at 7:29 am from kennels, drawing east toward the Jordan River. Whips rode wide to keep young entry on track as the field jogged along the “Aiken Line” and followed Linden Lane and Redbud Lane to first covert.

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jim atkins2Douglas Lees photoJim Atkins, the well-known and greatly admired native Virginian huntsman, died on Tuesday, June 25, 2013, after suffering a heart attack. Although Jim had retired from hunting hounds, he was highly respected as a judge of foxhounds, most recently judging the Crossbred Ring at the Bryn Mawr Hound Show earlier this month.

Jim served as professional huntsman for the Old Dominion Hounds (1978–1987), the Piedmont Fox Hounds (1987–1989), and finally the Warrenton Hunt (1993–2005).

“Jim has to be recognized as one member of that exceptional group of natural huntsmen from Rappahannock and upper Fauquier Counties,” said Dr. Will Allison, ex-MFH of Warrenton. “As boys, they grew up hunting to put food on the table. They developed an innate feeling for game.”

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