South Herefordshire Hunt: 6th February 2016

Four of us headed out to the South Here again today who met at Kingstone Grange near Thruxton. They soon went into a large landlocked area to the south of the meet where we thought they’d easily evade us for the day. The weather was making it harder for us to film easily, very strong wind threatening to blow some of the little’er sabs over and pouring rain getting on the cameras, but it turned out alright…

We found them hunting a woodland to the south of the meet and went inland on one of the only footpaths in the entire area, keeping an eye on hounds from here. Round and round they went in a brambley area and we saw a flash of red making its way out of the covert at one point away from the hunt who hadn’t seen him. Round and round – were they on a fox or, in such an area, were they finding different scents and trying to pick up on one properly? Soon, another fox ran from the covert and up the track running through the trees. Hounds starting to emerge from the covert, we chose to try and call the pack to us* and used holloas and horn calls to draw them away from the line of the fox.

*discretion in these situations is necessary. Unless we can see the whole pack, we will very rarely call them towards us (obviously taking into account nearby roads, railways, etc. as well) as we don’t want to risk pulling the hounds towards us if a fox could be hiding up in between and could then be found and hunted. In this situation, the hounds had run round and round the covert very close to the side we were on so it was less likely that a fox was in hiding there. Once we had seen the hunted fox bolt and knew the hunter on point had seen him, knowing the hounds were on his line, it was less risky to do so. Up until that point, we had stood back and just kept a watchful eye on them…

Huntsman Paul Oliver’s horn-blowing has not improved since we last saw him and hounds paid more attention to sabs than him – we gradually gathered the majority of the pack (even those who were right next to the huntsman came to us!) and the hunted fox had several minutes to get away and hopefully find somewhere to go to ground. Once hounds had returned to Mr. Oliver, we listened out to ensure there was no “marking to ground” and then carried on – the hounds had been moved on to another part of the woodland. Somehow we managed to find them, despite the size of the area and they were once again speaking. We believe they lost this scent, just as we found Darling, darling (Master Patrick Darling). Now Pat doesn’t like being called “Darling” by “lowlife” like us (he is a funny man…) and responded by calling one of our sabs a “dick” and trying to move us around with his horse. We were laughing too much to pay much attention to him.

We all had a little visit around this time from James Smith and Liam Thompson (ex-Ross Harriers supporters) and they had managed to drag Luke James out of the city for a nice day out in the countryside. They weren’t being very talkative so we left them to it and found the hounds again in another covert. Hares were running all over the place and soon after they gave chase to a fox into a larger woodland nearby, they rioted on deer. Repeatedly. We finally lost them at around 3pm, so can’t guarantee what they’ve been up to since, but with so much wildlife in the woods and so many scents going all over the place, it is always possible that they were unable to pick up confidently on one scent. Indeed we had watched them go round and round for an hour or so prior to this… We certainly made their day more difficult regardless.

See you soon Paul and friends!

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