with Horse and Hound

The Savvy Whipper-In

whipper-in3A good whipper-in can be the decisive ingredient in turning a mediocre hunting day into a brilliant one. If you need a better authority before agreeing with my premise, how about Peter Beckford? Here’s what he had to say in 1781.

“In a country full of riot, where the covers are large, and where there is a chase full of deer and full of game....I should prefer an excellent whipper-in to an excellent huntsman.... The whipper-in, if he have genius, may show it in various ways: he may clap forward to any great earth that may, by chance, be open; he may sink the wind to halloo, or mob a fox, when the scent fails; he may stop the tail hounds, and get them forward; and has it frequently in his power to assist the hounds, without doing them any hurt, provided he should have sense to distinguish where he may be chiefly wanted.”

I recently witnessed a great example of Beckford’s “without doing them any hurt” admonition. It was just a simple thing, yet after forty-five years of hunting it still made me shake my head in admiration.

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