Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Good Staff Day with the OFH...

Monofixtural today. It's getting to where I almost feel deprived if having only one hunt!

There were some good bits though. First, the day was not as fast and busy as is usual with this pack. Some running, which we were not in a position to get very close to, but lots of drawing. I do love me some thorough drawing, and of course like those odd scenting illustrations.

It was a warm and fairly clear day. There was a period where to my eye hounds couldn't generally smell much, and they acted like they were on a walk in the park.

But two minutes later in another field, it was a different story. They snapped to and paid attention, you could tell they were smelling things. Why? A little cloudier and cooler, but not much. Maybe that was it, maybe just a different spot. Again, just curious to see the contrast.

Whatever the reason, they gave a good exhibition of hard drawing at one particular covert. Although it was thick and rough, not a single hound stayed out. And again, they went in enthusiastically.

That is a tribute to a huntsman, I believe.

Only seldom do I think much about hunting hounds, I am by temperament and experience a whipper-in. Interesting, considering my absolute lack of game sense. More of my losing insurgency against real life!

Often when hounds draw, you'll see some not bothering to go in, skulking- or just cruising along- outside of covert. Sometimes you'll see them all go in, but it's obvious that they do it sullenly to avoid a worse fate than scratched ears. It's much to my taste to see the WHOLE pack plunge in, do it cheerfully, and pop out the other side with that "Nothing in there! We looked! Take us to another one!" expression.

Anyone can take them there. And there are plenty of hounds who love to draw. Anyone active can drive the rest in. But it takes a bit more to get them all to WANT to go in.

End of day came, drawing back to the meet. And what happened?

Yes, an alert whipper-in saw a "red" fox sneaking away. She holloaed them on. It was well done and distinctive. The field were pleased, according to the later reviews!

Not as pleased as they were about to be. Hounds ran him through the woods, and then he turned back across an open field. When he came up out of the dead ground at the edge, he had a surprise- there was the mounted field, in the same pasture!

You could almost hear him think- "Well, I've never had a horse and rider try to bite me in the bottom, so here goes!"

And there he went, right across the field among the riders! it was pretty spectacular, especially since he was a bright glowing safety orange- almost lemon color!

Here's my picture:

And one by a real photographer:

He crossed the field and into the woods.

Actually hounds were a pretty good distance behind.

But they were burning hot across this field when they got there!

They lost him just a quarter mile along from this picture, in the woods. Up a tree, down a hole, or just really awful scent.

It was a good day for staff, though, at least to my eye. Lots of "right place, right time":

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