So after a couple of days at Saumur, more Chasse. I took a shot in the dark and emailed the Master of a Staghound pack, who suggested that I go to Amboise with the Boarhounds. I was a bit confused, because I wanted to go with his Stag pack, but I am always good for an adventure.
So 150 kilometers later, I heave up at kennels.
What was it Sartre said, "L'enfer, c'est le chenille?"
What is a sheep doing in the puppy pen?
"We call him Stumpy. No particular reason."
The bird dogs have their own gated community.
But these are Staghounds, and I have been told it is a day for Sanglier...
Turns out that this forest is hosting a visiting pack, and what visitors they are! Well known in France, these hounds keep over 150 COUPLE in kennels, and are famed for a first class turn out.
And so my fellow grooms can get envious too...
So off into the forest. The Rendezvous was by a lake...
Thirty five couple out.
I hope that she can watch Rapports with her grandchildren in this same forest .
Hounds were to be hunted by Jeff Cooper's French brother...
We had seven and a half to find with, the remainder to be turned out when porky got on foot.
Mon pilote, Claude, got us to where we could hear hounds, but not for long.
Some foot people came up and reported seeing a pig in the section of the forest behind us.
Up came Docteur Mort,
and on to draw.
Saturday or not, hunting or not, the work of the forest goes on.
I counted the rings, these massive trees are only 60 years old or so.
Whippers-in's horses work HARD, this thing is iron fit and was lathered in thirty minutes.
By the way, the standard of turnout in this pack was rather good. I know handsome is as handsome does, but once a hunter groom...
Hounds struck, and the Sanglier crossed an allee. We didn't see him, but the smell was there...
And off! Is he here?
Amazing how athletic and bold these prehistoric looking ham sandwiches are.
Hounds right there.
Now racing him down the road, checking the allees for a black streak.
There we go!
Hounds were roaring now, all on, crashing through the forest right toward us.
We were told to not let him cross. as this road was a border.
Piggy was too clever, he turned sharp right and hooked back.
That put hounds off for a bit, then on again!
By the way, the demographics of this hunt were surprising even in France- all the riders and 11/12ths of the foot people were men.
Hounds roaring again, left to right.
That right hand road is a no go, it borders a no hunting forest.
Can we turn him?
Nope. Made it to our red zone.
And now, hound stopping and gathering.
Not so easy!
Hound is actual size.
And eventually, back to the lake for a drink.
Foot people stayed right through, too.
Load up, end o day.
And plenty of work back at stables, too.
Merci and Au Revoir, Vautrait de Banassat!