For those who hunt the below will make sense, for those who don't, think of it as a peek into what I do when not writing. It may read a bit awkwardly as some names have been removed to protect privacy.
Foggy, in the mid-forties at 10 am, 35 couple, English, American and Crossbred. While these are definitely MFH & huntsman, (name removed)'s hounds, he has allowed me to hunt them some in 2010. He also honored me with the privilege of hunting them on the first day of 2011. He whipped in and offered advice when needed. MFH, (name removed) lead the first flight, (name removed) the second. About 15 members in the field. We've had snow and bad footing for a week and I think many stayed home waiting for better conditions. They missed a good one.
We hunted from the White Oak fixture. Hacked across John Watson Rd and cast along the creek. Hounds fanned out and searched diligently through the heavy underbrush, but didn't strike until we arrived at MFH Roger Smith's new meadow which lies along the creek with heavy woods surrounding it. There the pack found in the Brier patch and roared to life for a bit, but couldn't hold it. I picked them up and we moved on to the soybean field as the above huntsman had said that would be the logical next move. It was so neat seeing the hounds floating across the land like ghosts in the mist. No game had been there recently and we moved slowly on, simply enjoying the sight, toward the vineyard. We traveled through a bit of forest and then out again along the creek trail. The hounds move above us on the hillside.
The pack struck gold in the pines below the vineyard, and were so loud I think one could have heard them a mile away. We galloped across the bottom and up one side of the pine woods. The hounds made two giant loops up to the top of the vineyard (great view for miles from the top) and back down to the creek and then the coyote feeling pressed, changed course and streaked back cross-country toward the way we'd come, across John Watson, through Roger's bottom fields (across the river from his barn), and toward the White Oak meet. The whole pack was on the line. (name removed), honorary whipper-in was on that side and stayed with them.
From there they traversed the river at a place we can't cross on horseback, and continued on. I assume, when they crossed the river, they lost the coyote and found the fox line. Our horses were puffing by now, having traveled to the top of the vineyard, down to the creek, back up and then the long ride down the road, through the bottoms on the other side and around to the meadows where the trailers were parked.
From this point, the field and I had to go back to a river crossing and around, which takes about 20 minutes on horseback, and missed the next part of the chase, though the hounds could be heard in the distance. MFH, (name removed), released the members of the field who felt they'd had enough fun for the day as we were so close to the trailers. Many took advantage of that, but a few hardy souls continued on with me.
(name removed), huntsman from Camargo was visiting and he zipped around in his truck to Ken Miller road by the low water bridge. There he spied a gray fox with hounds in pursuit. The gray was viewed 3 times. It was nice that the car followers and car whips, MJ and Jerry were there.
The rain began in earnest then, and we waved good-bye to our furry friend, gathered the pack, and called it a day. My thanks to well-trained hounds, whipper-ins who did a super job, (names removed). Also, thanks to wonderful MFH's for the thoughtful care and sharing of their land, and (name removed) for making my first day of 2011 something I'll cherish. This reads very short, but you can fill in the blanks. It was over two hours of hound music. Hard to beat that.
Happy Hunting in this New Year to all!
Deborah Bundy, Honorary whipper-in, Green Creek Hounds in North Carolina