I've already confessed
my felony crime on the internets. May as well confess a hunting one, too.
Thursday to the boar hounds, F. unwell so only R. with me. Misty to start with, the rapporteurs appeared first.
And this van later. This was actually a car follower, but there were products available for purchase.
(It actually says BOULAngerie, so don't get excited. It's not as though it were a delivery truck from Louboutin.)
It was a joint meet, half the hounds of the local pack and half from another. Same forest as last time, but cooler and clearer today.
Pretty hunting coats.
Some more than others.
In F.’s Jeep, a blank day until three, then the Sanglier showed up. He crossed a ride, and we had an example of French differences. As the day progresses, the French are always changing hounds. Their feet get tired, or they are cold, or lonely. I can’t explain it. Any how, there are always a bunch of hounds in the truck, which follows the draws. When the game gets moving, they open the doors and set the slackers on. It’s called l’attaque. So off barrel these hounds down the ride- and WHAM!
That one you see on the right there gets knocked for a loop by the horse. I’ll bet he won’t be so eager to get off the truck next time.
So on went the hunt.
Our pilot was good, just the best sort- he knew all the places, and was very willing to sit and wait. We often found ourselves there first, and after the field had come up and dashed onward, still waiting when hounds returned.
We waited at this ride and heard hounds work the boar zig zag zig zag through the wood, until he crossed maybe twenty yards away.
A perfect view, he was very black and ice agey looking.
(No, I didn't take that-
Stephan Lavoye did. But the view was that good.)
So they ran and ran, and our pilot said we must go on. So we did- and imagine my surprise! There we were at Bailly, just like with the stag hounds last year! As big a country as France, and they have to re use the same spot.
If I have to go into the Oise in December AGAIN, I’m getting a ham sandwich out of the deal.
The French hunt several packs in the same country. A single forest might have Buck Hounds Tuesdays, Boar Hounds Thursdays, and Stag Hounds Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Reminds me of the prison joke, which ends “You won’t like Fridays, then.”
The bete had crossed the river three times, and as we arrived hounds were following him.
Back they went north, and I figured that they would run into him between the railway and the canal. But non! We sat quietly , and here he came toward us through a pasture!
Across that, back into the woods, and dusk settled down.
I was there with two whippers-in and a foot follower, to take this end of day picture.
Hounds were still working along through the woods, but away from us. I walked out, into a plowed maize field, and stood beside the fence.
Suddenly across the fence and parallel to it came Monseiur Jambon! He was heading toward me, in the next field and generally toward the main road, crowded with the end of day traffic. Unlikely he’d make it- hounds are faster in the open than the boar, who has the speed advantage in the woods. But it would be ugly if he did, with all those cars and no way for staff to get up and block them. But he was approaching me, I had the camera in my hand, and took a picture.
Automatic flash. I did not know that.
Of course R., steadfast friend that he is, immediately did his best Saint Peter impression.
Porky jinked left, across his field and another, and into the forest back toward the canal and railway . Hounds were close, and they were slowed by the turn. But not much, and into the woods they followed.
From about a furlong or two away, we listened to them crying along, in the long forest parallel to the canal. Then- just as we almost couldn’t see for darkness, he burst out into the open!
NOT, despite my fears, carrying a white cane or being led by a guide dog.
They ran into him and we heard his final squeal as the lead hound got his pork chop. Only rarely do they do it the old fashioned way, but they did this time- very quickly, before staff had arrived he was on his way to the sty in the sky.
Hounds did a good job, and no one cursed me for turning the quarry to his doom.