WE’RE still in the deer season doldrums, when our hunting pauses; our huntsman is sidelined with a leg injury; and I’ve been watching a horse sale where the prices are dropping. Sounds like a good time to import some good cheer!
Over the last few nights I’ve spent some happy hours toodling around YouTube to see what good hound and foxhunting videos and slideshows I could find. Here are a few I’ve come up with.
David Ryan is a photographer in Ireland whose photos are tremendous. Below is a photo slideshow from his day following the Galway Blazers, set to excellent music. Some of these will just make you sigh, they’re so beautiful. A few others will make you laugh (fall in the mud, anyone? Been there, done that?). And there’s an early one of a hound trying to get through a closed gate that is just downright puzzling (how did he do that?).
The one below is from England, and I post it here mainly for the very good scenes of hounds. And there are some woollies! The huntsman’s monologue also holds interest in that it shows the deep concerns hunt staff and hunting folk generally had in the lead up to England’s foxhunting ban.
Next is a two-minute photo slide show that shows all the ambience of an American hunt, presented by the Washington Times and featuring the Bull Run hunt.
Hikers’ chance encounter with the Dartmoor resulted in this brief clip. Features more horn than hounds, but it’s nice nonetheless. And listen to that wind on the moors!
The next video is from a HorseTV piece about foxhunting (also videoed pre-ban, apparently), including some really nifty footage filmed from a helicopter as hounds were in full cry. Those shots show how well a pack works together, turning together almost like a school of fish. There’s something for everyone in this video: daring jumps, a few spills, and, best of all, some great views of the hound and the fox (which got away). My one complaint: for some reason, at least on my computer, it’s all a bit dark. Well worth watching anyway:
The Bray Harriers in Ireland hunt through some of the world’s most beautiful country. In this video, you also get to see a drag hunt’s “fox” at work, laying the line on horseback (and a lot of jumping).
Finally, if there’s anything cuter than a hound puppy, I don’t know what it is. Besides, I love the way this guy calls his pups.
There. I feel better. How ’bout you?
Great footage thanks , especially the BFSS film
Glad you enjoyed it, and welcome to the hound blog! We hope you’ll check back in–there’s more video to com from Iroquois, including a big coyote who ran by us.
I’ve never seen a coyote hunt . Are North American hunts as widely supported as those in the UK and Ireland ?
Some hunts are large, and others are smaller, as in England. There are 165 hunts in 37 states that currently registered with the MFHA here, if my numbers are up to date, and they have various membership numbers. In my experience, foot-following is less common here than in the UK and Ireland. Generally, hunts in the US emphasize the chase rather than hunting to kill; in the case of our hunt, the main goal is to try to move coyotes along and prevent them from forming settled packs that would become a serious menace to cattle and calves. I don’t think we have any hunts on the scale of, say, the Duke of Beaufort’s fields of several hundred, but at Iroquois we hunt three days a week and have an average field size of about 40. As for coyotes, they range somewhat in size but they’re bigger than foxes (you can find out much more about them by searching this blog for Gehrt, which will lead you to a post about a leading coyote researcher, and which includes photos). They’re also blazingly fast!
I don’t know much about hounds , but I assume modern American hounds must be quite different to the various versions of UK ( English ) hounds if coyotes are so fast . The vastly different terrains in the UK and Ireland need very different hounds depending whether it’s fox / hare / mink / stag hunting .
There’s a few hunts like the Beaufort but the majority have mounted fields of 50 – 100 depending on whether it’s midweek or weekend . There are also many foot packs .
I think the strength of hunting over here lies in the support from the hunt country’s communities . At the beginning of the season it’s not uncommon to have 500 at the opening meet and in England / Ireland , where the Boxing Day / St Stephens Day meet is in large villages or market towns , the attendance is in the thousands . I’m in Scotland where it’s a very rural pastime , although the South Scotland hunts have above average levels of support .
There are many sheep farming areas in Scotland , North / West England , Wales and Ireland so fox control is important to farmers and the hunt .
As it happens, most of our pack are English hounds! We have a few crossbred (English-American crosses, including our beloved Paper), but most are English. We’ve imported quite a few directly from England, mostly from the Cottesmore and North Cotswold, and they and their descendants are plenty fast! They combine strength, speed, and tremendous biddability. Like hunts everywhere, we have to have hounds that suit our country, and these do.
I thought they would be if it was mostly low country . There’s a lot of hill and mountain country over here too and they use a different hound
Yes, indeed–fell hounds are among my personal favorites. If you’re interested in American hounds and how they differ from the English, you might find our posts on the Great Hound Match of 1905 of some interest. There are two of those. The first is at https://houndwelfare.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/the-great-hound-match-of-1905-part-1/
The second is at https://houndwelfare.wordpress.com/2009/12/11/the-great-hound-match-of-1905-part-2/
Thank you my friend , I’ll check that out . I must say , I enjoy mountain hunting the most if I’m on foot ! All the best if you’re out tomorrow ! Charles
Thanks, Charles! We hope you’ll check in often–we never tire of talking hounds! I hunted with the Eryri–terrifically good hunting, but, man, Snowdonia just about killed me! And that was back when I was good and fit–not anything like fit enough for that now!
Come to Scotland and there’s a nice combination of hill and grass or just mountain and hill !
We would love to take you up on that some day! Love Scotland.
We love the hound blog, fantastic. From North East And Border hounds, a private pack, Australia.
Hello, Buntings! So glad you like it! If you’ve got photos of your private pack and your country, we’d love to post them.
Hi, our small private pack is going well, we have accounted for five foxes so far this season, early days, and hunting them on foot, yes, hard on the feet, but our pack consists at present, of some very old hounds and very young ones, so we have gone this way at present to relly get the young ones settled and not too much stress on the oldies, we have a very good terrier man which is great for this type of hunting. Send some photos soon, cheers Ivan and Cheryl Bunting.
Hello again, Buntings! It’s fun reading about hunt season in the southern hemisphere while we’re on hiatus for summer hound training until the season starts again. We’ll be delighted to see your pictures and hear more about your hounds!
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