Sep

16

The Hunt, from Christopher Tucker

September 16, 2012 |

 Saturday morning we were in Ridgefield, CT with friends whose property backs up on a large system of horse riding trails. It is charming somehow that the rock wall at the back of the property is also the boundary between New York and Connecticut.

As we sat enjoying a cup of coffee, we heard a tremendous baying and presently a large pack of dogs came running toward us and continued along the trail as it ran parallel to the rock wall on the far side. After a few moments a great number of horsemen appeared, posting in their saddles as they trotted along the wall looking for the dogs. There must have been thirty or forty riders, many of them just children. I wondered if they were actually hunting foxes– there are quite a few farms and clubs about that still do– and I couldn't help but peer into the woods half expecting to see Jack Aubrey come careening around the corner on his great bay gelding. It was a lovely little interlude and the kids thought it amazing. Took us back in time quite completely.


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  1. Craig Bowles on September 18, 2012 1:42 pm

    Virginia has always been known for foxhunting but a lot of the people from the northeast moved to Thomson, Georgia. They still have about 30,000 acres of trails owned mostly by five families. Some folks used to visit from England and Germany, as well. Coyotes moved into the area over the last twenty years and killed most of the foxes, so now the hunts are mostly running coyotes. I don’t know much about coyotes but the chances of catching a fox was really small. Either the fox had to be old or very young. Maybe a hunt would catch one fox in a year. I’ve seen a healthy fox lay out a few tricks and trot up to the top of a hill near the riders and sit down to watch the hounds fumble around trying to figure it out. When the hounds seemed to be figuring it out, he just trotted off. Sometimes they would play with the hounds for 45 minutes and sometimes they’d just ditch them right off. Even a young or old fox could go into a den and the hunt isn’t going to dig them up or send fox terriors down the hole. The U.S. foxhunts are just for the sport of the chase. Half the time, the fox gets the hounds on a deer and the next hour is spent trying to keep the hounds from running into the next county. I imagine a coyote is like running a deer and the hounds get strung out all over the place. Riders are probably all over the place, as well.

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