So on Sunday I was bifixtural, went out with a fairly new pack. My regular pack is pretty crowded now, there will be 60 or more people following. We hunt over rough rocky hills which are well wooded. It's a rare thing to see a quarter mile in a straight line. To get to hounds the only way usually lies through narrow trails, so if one is in the field one sees little other than the bottoms immediately before one.
It was good to see this was half the field- at a joint meet with an established pack:
(Click on the pictures to get larger versions.)
And this is what the country looks like:
As flat as the East of Lincolnshire, or nearly so. A pool table compared to my usual country.
So they set me up with a pilot, MM, and off we went in a big 4x4.
Our first stop and wait spot was right on top of a set of very fresh new coyote tracks. As was the second. Hounds struck quickly and were off, on a bobcat as it turned out. Lost him, then hit a coyote which they hard through a big wooded covert. Hounds were screaming when they were on, and trying when they weren't.
We took up a new position, the view from which you see here:
that's a coyote who popped out in front of us.
And popped back in, because there was someone from the mounted field forty feet in front of him. Hounds were right there, and drew hard, but he must have put his skates on because they couldn't hold him.
So they picked up and tried another covert. Pilot and I were sent to cover a busy road, and just as we got into position MM holloas on a coyote BEHIND us- what an eye! Hounds were right there as it happened, laid on seriously not thirty yards behind him. I though he was had for sure, but again he was able to evade with some big zigs and zags.
On to another spot. To get there we had to go down a long farm track. The ground was very wet and mushy, and MM was concentrating on not getting mired. We could hear hounds, and suddenly from the right came a big loping coyote! I mean close- I thought he'd run into us. He gave that "This isn't so funny any more" look and whipped up the track.
While he was still in sight, here came hounds:
And up the track after him.
It was coming down colder and with some cloud cover, so this run lasted longer. But there were still little checks, and he used them to add distance. He made some huge loops and got away as well.
So then on to another draw, and another coyote! This run didn't last long, ended up back where the pop-out depicted above happened, gave him best and headed in.
So that's a bobcat and four coyotes, plenty of hound work, seeing coyotes react to us, and some pretty intimate views.
I cannot rave enough about my pilot MM. PROFOUNDLY dedicated, knowledgeable and with game sense I can only envy. Plus funny and with a brain.
So here's the deal. From my house to my regular hunt takes three hours. From my regular hunt to this one- we'll call it New Flat Hunt- is only an hour. NFH to my house? Three hours. For an overnight and an extra hour's driving I can get in two days with two packs. Maybe three, since Old FH is adjacent to NFH and meets Saturday mornings, six hours before we do.
I'll be back.