Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

Subscribe RISK FREE for complete access to website PLUS
twice-monthly e-magazine.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13

FHL wants your hunt reports! Stories and photos. Submit yours here.

The Donegal Harriers at Beltrim Castle, County Tyrone

donegal harriers.mullinsDonegal Harriers president and honorary whipper-in Ger O’Riain, MFH and Dr. Lucinda Blakiston-Houston, honorary whipper-in and hostess of the meet at Beltrim Castle in County Tyrone  /   Noel Mullins photo.

The Donegal Harriers, formed in 1999, is a relatively new pack by Irish standards. It is also the first pack of registered harriers in County Donegal, the northernmost county in the west of Ireland, replacing the Strabane Foxhounds that hunted the country until 1977.

The pack was meeting in Gortin in the Owenkillew River Valley on the outskirts of Omagh, over the border in County Tyrone. Upon visiting, first impressions could easily lead to the conclusion that the only significant activities in this quiet, remote, rustic village was Mossey’s Bar, Pedlar’s Cafe, and a Farmer’s Market on a Monday! But scratching beneath the surface, there is a rare gem in Beltrim Castle, built in 1780.

Going Home

black.ron.portraitCumbrian foot hunter Ron Black, a purist.“I am a native Lakelander,” writes Ron Black, “with roots going back to 1700, the fourth generation to follow hounds, with ancestors who stood on the cold tops at dawn, moved the heavy Lakeland stone to free trapped terriers, and also carried the horn on occasions. Hunting will not come back in the foreseeable future, perhaps not at all, but for three hundred years hunting and the church were the central thread to many communities. This is a part of the story.”

Ron Black has been a regular contributor to Foxhunting Life with his stories of hunting in the rugged fells of England’s Lake District. Foot hunting—the only pure way to hunt, Ron insists. And this, he also insists, is his farewell story.

I sat in the lee of the big boulder and watched the rainstorm disappear down the valley. Signs of its passing were everywhere. Small runnels of water ran down the fell side, water dripped off the crag behind me, and I was soaked. Oblivious to the rain, the huntsman remained out in the open, one foot up on a small boulder, his coat open to the waist.

Road Adventures: Bull Run March Madness 2017

brunnen.hounds over coopA mixed pack of Epp Wilson's Belle Meade hounds from Georgia and Bull Run's home pack showed sport over five days of hunting to all who gathered for their season-ending March Madness week. / Lori Brunnen photo

My timing was perfect. With Bull Run March Madness now history, I managed to hunt Saturday, go to work on Sunday, and get sick on Monday. During the days before we left for Virginia, with my nerves activated by a recent snow, my anxiety focused on the fear that I would get sick before, or even worse, during our trip. So I am very content to be sneezing and stuffy now. Worse thing is hubby Rick is also now sick. Sicker than me. He is always sicker than me, even if he has the same thing. But this time he really is sick.

Before the trip, my field hunter Ozzy had recently recovered from a bacterial infection, but not before having lost some weight. Not being a good traveler, I did not want him to lose any more weight. So my pale, borderline pony Frankie was pressed into service for this trip. After picking up Mary’s mare Spyder, Mary followed me in her car to our staging area in the Walmart parking lot. Alas, no one thought to grab ourselves a quick Starbucks for the road ahead of time. Traveling solo, Trish’s horse was rocking her trailer, so we moved out pronto. Our four trailers would caravan to Virginia from there following Mary in her car. Mary needed to head home a few days early to put on a bridal shower so she had to drive separately. It is a pretty straightforward trip to the Funny Farm in Reva, Virginia. Plus we have done it before. As the convoy rolled along I was struck again with how beautiful this part of Virginia is. During our trip every time the mountains came into view we would point and exclaim, “Look, a mountain!” Reminding us why we come here.

Honk, Honk; Gone Away!

Every sport has its downside. Consider some of the older, retired NFL players—hobbling about in a fog of multiple concussions. What about foxhunters? Most of us have had our share of concussions and fractures, too. Now comes this hunt report from a retired Master of Foxhounds. Is this what we have to look forward to? He claims his story is tongue-in-cheek. Whatever. But I wouldn’t believe a word of it. -ED

derek french packThe pack  /  Alastair Strachan photo
This season’s armadillo hunting has started with a bang. There’s plenty of quarry as the local pack of coyotes has moved away. Lots of rabbits on the golf course is another sign that the coyotes have taken a hike. However, in the wee hours of the night a week ago, I did hear a strange howl out there on the fourth fairway of the golf course.

The local radio has been reporting that Florida panthers (no, not the sports team) have moved north of the Caloosahatchee River for the first time. Perhaps it is a coincidence, but a black Labrador and a house cat have been reported missing—another good reason to walk out our pack of Jack Russells in daylight hours.