Crazy About Birds

By Kimb

Fox Hounds

Some of you may be surprised to learn that fox hunting happens around our parts. There is a hunt club just down the road out here in Free Union, Virginia - where we live - and they generally hunt two or three times a week (I'm unclear) during the months when the foxes aren't breeding or whatever the protocol is. We mostly don't notice them at all as they hold their hunts in a variety of places, not always right here near us. But every now and then we actually have dogs and/or people on horses galumphing around our property. Today it was suddenly dogs. I was alerted to the situation by the sound of Bugsy barking outside. Swee'pea was sleeping on the couch next to me and we both got up to go see what was happening. The first thing I saw was an enormous herd of deer racing across the bottom area below our house and I though Bugs had just spooked them. But then I started hearing dogs barking and some odd popping noises (some kind of gun they fire to gather the dogs?) and people yelling. And then down the hill above the house come about a six or eight dogs. I quickly rounded up Bugs and Swee'pea and shut them in the house and went out with my camera. I wasn't positive it was the Farmington Hunt Club until I looked at their website and determined that their dogs do in fact wear the electronic tracking collars that these dogs had on. It seems to me that they were actually chasing deer at this point, which is not exactly their brief, if you ask me. Eventually, after sniffing around the deer tracks in our front yard, they raced off and presumably the huntsman managed to gather them up again.

They say the Fox Hunters don't actually harm the foxes, but I can't really think it's a good thing for the poor creatures to be chased by a pack of dogs. It intrigues me that the President of The Wildlife Center of Virginia rides with a hunt club over in the Shenandoah Valley... His wife is a big horse woman - dressage is her thing - and he got into fox hunting in an effort to share her interest in horses, I guess. He was a bachelor until he was in his fifties, I think - he's now 65 or so. She's a good deal younger. It's an interesting situation!   ;-)

Anyway - this is a Silly Saturday entry because it was pretty silly watching deer running one way and dogs another - and me trying to get our dogs safely in the house.

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