Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound
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FHL WEEK, November 10, 2020

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Hot Weather Hunting Is Hard on Hounds


File0201Joanne Maisano photo

We’ve had hot weather hunting reports from many quarters across the Mid-Atlantic and southward. The West Coast as well. Hot weather hunting can be devastating to hounds because... bless them... they will try to keep up with the pack even when overheated and failing. Some hounds will be more susceptible to heat exhaustion than others, and the result can be fatal if neglected.

Under these conditions, staff must be equipped in the field to immediately administer sugar-loaded liquids to wobbly hounds and try to get them to cool water to bring their body temperature down. Master and huntsman Epp Wilson even recommends Port wine in a pinch! But he makes certain to have Caro syrup at the ready as well. Here’s part of a recent report from the Belle Meade Hunt (GA) by Epp.

We struck at Dead Cow Hill and had a good gallop in a clockwise circle to Gentleman’s Hill Field, back to Tally Ho Lake, Rappahannock Coop, Hal Sims’ Coop, Puppy Pond (where our friends, former huntsman John Tabachka* and Jennifer Buckley viewed the coyote) with Bullet or Bismark close behind and the rest of the pack on his heels. Continuing the clockwise circle, they went by Deacon’s Coop, then Jon McCorkle Alley where the staff picked most of them up.

Several hounds had gotten overheated. We gave them the Caro syrup and port and walked the pack to Tally Ho Lake to cool off, then returned to kennels. Another short and successful hunt.

When hounds get overheated they often get wobbly in the back end first and try to keep going. Even at a wobbling walk. Then they collapse. Best thing to do is get them to shallow water to cool the body, not a pond because they might drown. In addition to Caro syrup, use Port or anything else with lots of sugar. But liquid so they can’t choke on it.

If you’ve tried that but the hound doesn’t seem to be recovering, it calls for a trip to the vet. Especially if you see a change in the color of its gums or reddish-colored urine from the hound.

I’m sure many of you huntsmen out there have your own favorite method of tackling this problem How about sharing your wisdom in a Comment here?

Posted October 29, 2020