Monday, November 16, 2009

Hunting at Plainfield on Wednesday, November 4th or “The Wiley Coyote”

It wasn’t exactly the kind of hunting day that was expected at Plainfield. And when Budweiser started speaking in the woods between Plainfield Road and the 40-acre field, Fred thought “Oh, he is babbling again” and so he got onto him. Next thing I heard over the radio was something like “Darn if that Budweiser wasn’t right!!” The pack picked up his line and took off towards Plainfield Road. Fortunately, Elaine and Shannon saw the coyote, and he turned back into the jump side of the territory. Patriot and I headed back to the 40-acre field, and there I saw him for the first time of the day, just trotting across the field towards the woods on the west side. The hounds were soon in full cry after him. What a sight!! He took the hounds on a trek, here and there, and down to the hiking trail, heading east. What, no, now he was heading west again. I went up the gas line to the field, and there I saw him for the second time that day. I galloped on over to watch the gas line where the foot bridge is, and saw him again (time #3), heading into the woods, and headed for Lake Brandt Road. Down into the swamp and up the hill, he and the hounds both headed. I sat there on the south side of the coop in the swamp, debating whether or not to jump it into the cow field since there were other whips already there. When what to my surprise, here he came back down the hill in reverse (that was #4 sighting). I know Fred was relieved when I told him that the hounds were coming back into the territory. Then I heard Jan say that the coyote was over the coop (near the old round pen) and headed back towards Plainfield Road. We all galloped up to the road, Fred with most of the hounds, and at that point, Fred made a wise decision to stop the exhausted hounds (after running for an hour and a half) and let the coyote go on his way thinking that it had been a fun little jaunt. (He was seen crossing the road at the Hendicks.) Each time I saw him, he did not seem overly stressed that the hounds were following him - he just trotted out in front of them. He was a very accommodating coyote! So, lesson learned for the day – Budweiser is not just a pretty face and perhaps not a babbler – he knew what he was talking about!! And I am sure that Randall will not let anyone forget it!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July 26 Montana Chronicle


Garry and Carol arrived from NC on Sunday, George and Deb from Smith Mountain on Tuesday. We hunted Tuesday at same place as Sunday, but didn't do as well - short run on a viewed coyote.

Hunted Thursday near Dillon with the Treasure State Hunt at the headwaters of the Big Hole River. Our hounds worked hard but no fresh game. The fields were riddled with holes and two horses went down, no serious injuries; but Garry's horse got tangled up in wire and went down, stepped on Garry and sent him to the hospital... badly bruised and scraped up. He is ok but he and Carol have headed on back to NC.


"Maverick and the Bear": Saturday, George, Deb, Lloyd, Fred and Elaine went hunting back up at Sweetwater Creek. We found a big black bear and ran it for 2 hours. The hounds fought it down the creek and Maverick got bit on the butt. All horses (especially Smoke), hounds and people were exhausted, except Maverick, who wants some more.

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 19 Montana Chronicle


Penn-Marydel hounds from North Carolina can run Montana coyotes.


But, first things first: The second night here we hauled horses to the high mountains where we camped. The horses had to learn to be hobbled in order to eat. Smoke is a slow learner The next morning we helped drive 400 cows and calves the final 5 miles of the way to their summer pasture. There can not be a more majestic cattle drive.


The next day we hauled horses and mules to some higher mountains where we rode for 4 hours to camp at a beautiful pass. The mules gave the horses a lesson in the "hobble hop," a fast way to get around in hobbles. We saw 4 bears, one elk and a wolf. The wildflowers were something. Lloyd, 85, oversaw the entire event, as they were his mules and he has packed hundreds of miles with them.


Today we were back in the saddle, but with hounds-something Elaine and I understand. There were five of us: Lloyd's son Charlie; Jay, the manager of the 1000 head of cattle on the Anderson Ranch; his son Paul, who we have picked out for Randall; Elaine and me. Lloyd, had a sore leg from the previous three hard days of riding, and he took a pass. We met in sage brush country that is almost completely open; a place Jay and Paul said there were lots of coyotes. We took 14 of our 16 hounds as Yankee has come in season and Pogo was elected to stay and keep her company. Of course, Dozer, Paul's coonhound cowdog was along, too. As they are haying on the ranch almost around the clock, Jay and Paul could not get there until 8 am, so we started later than we would like.

The day was hot but there was good cloud cover. The first three hours were spent learning. About cactus, antelope, jack rabbits, and especially badgers. Around eleven Dozer holed one in a bank. Our hounds came to help, but the sound of the badger growling made them less enthusiastic than they are when we put a fox to ground. But we could not find a coyote. As we were admiring Dozers work, Jay heard a coyote yelp in the hills nearby. Apparently it is pretty common for Dozer's commotion to bring a coyote to investigate. And even though it was hot and late, we went looking. Paul spotted the coyote heading over the top of a ridge 200 yards away. It took about 5 minutes to get the hounds to the top of the ridge but when I topped it the coyote was just 20 yards away. It had waited. I guess it thought we were just Dozer. It learned better. Of the 14 hounds, 11 made it away on the coyote, which indeed had an "O.S." moment. For about 3-4 miles we had a fine chase and could see the hounds working up and down the hills and often we could see the coyote as it blasted out of Dodge. The 11 hounds stayed right together but finally the heat and the hill whipped them and they gave up when the coyote ran through a herd of cattle. The three hounds that did not keep up were two young hounds, Nimrod and Earl, and Leadbelly, who suffers from a low IQ. But the stragglers soon showed up and after a long ride we got back to the trailers about one We had a hunt breakfast of beer. It was good.


After getting back to the LL Ranch and getting animals squared away and getting some real food and a rest Charlie and Lloyd and I walked down the hill to the river and caught brown trout for supper. That was good, too.

Just before dark Gary and Carol arrived safely from three days travel from NC. Tomorrow we rest and get some more horses. Tuesday we try again.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

March 21, 2009 - Plainfield

video

It was a fun and exciting day with our substitute huntsman, Rich, who is normally a Master. In addition to his command of the hounds, Rich displayed skill with the camera and horn. Here it is, preserved for all to see.

Randall, Junior Whipper-In, showcases her investigative abilities as she searches for the quarry.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Performance Trial in Hoffman, NC - March 7 & 8, 2009

What a weekend! It is hard to know where to start.

*Hunting. *Counting the Moore County Hounds, which huntsman Jody Murtagh brought so he would have some familiar faces, there were 7 packs: Moore County, Sedgefield, Rockbridge, New Market-Middletown, Mecklenburg, Red Mountain and Stonewall. There were American, Crossbred, and Penn-Marydel hounds which for the most part had never seen each other. We stuffed them in a horse trailer for 15 minutes, Jody went in and put the mojo on them and then they hunted like one balanced pack for two fantastic days of hunting.

The first day was slow for the first hour and that gave the hounds a chance to get the feel of each other and the country. All the visiting huntsmen rode behind and were impressed how Jody gave the hounds plenty of time to hunt the "heads;" the wet places in the Sandhills that drain the land and which can not be ridden across. The hounds finally started speaking in a large head/creek and a coyote was viewed away at the bottom, which most of the pack followed; another went out the side with one hound behind it, Sedgefield Popper, darn it; and a third slipped out the back alone. (later a freshly dug earth was seen at the side of the head.) A full cry hour later the run ended. Of the 41 hounds out we had 37 at the end of the run. It doesn't get much better. By then it was 70 degrees and the horses and hounds were beat. With a long hack back to the meet and another day of hunting ahead we called it quits.

The second day started an hour earlier since the time changed on us. We cast soon after daylight and knew it was going to get warm fast. We had 9000 acres to chose from but we knew where three coyotes lived so we headed back in that direction. After a couple of false starts the hounds cold trailed for about 15 minutes, picking up steam all the time and then a small coyote was viewed crossing one of the many dirt roads on the property. It was full cry for the next hour and a half, finally ending in a swamp that was right at the edge of the world. Many horses were exhausted. I had to commandeer a "fresh" one from Paula Nelson, the Hilltopper's field master. Like the day before we were missing just a few hounds at the end.

Jody did an excellent job of hunting the pack. He made and executed difficult decisions on the spot and we had two of the best days' sport of the year. *
The facility and grounds. *The PT was held at the Gordon bird dog field trial grounds which are owned by North Carolina. The Clubhouse, stables, corrals and kennels are located in the middle of 9000 acres of sandhill pine forest. Each year thousands of quail are released. It is an incredible facility. But given its extensive use by the bird dog competitors it is hard to secure for a fox hunting. In fact, in order to fox hunt it you have to be in a performance trial.

*Hydration and nutrition. *Lots and lots of great food and beverages of every type were available breakfast, lunch and dinner for two days.

*Those who made it possible: *
The Moore County Hounds. As an incredible gift of support Moore County lent us their country (Even though the property is state owned and very difficult to secure the use of, it is in the Moore County territory.), their huntsman, and their whips. And since they didn't have a huntsman or whips they canceled a regularly scheduled day of hunting. We can not say thank you enough for this very neighborly thing. We will help you raise a barn someday.

The Judges: Jody Murtagh, Kerrie Murtagh Hayes, Clive Rose, Mitzi Cabeen, and Lincoln Sadler. These judges rode hard to make sure they could get as many scores as possible.

The food team: Erin Esposito, aka Kitchen Bitch, and her team of champions: Kit Lippert, Jan Sorrells, Paula Nelson, Judy Gallman, Elaine Berry, Drs. Spillman, Jenifer Pendergass, The Wiseman family and others who I am forgetting.
The Scorers: David Altfeder and his understudy Randall Wiseman

He who know and does all: Lincoln Sadler.

Visiting huntsmen: David Raley, Red Mountain; Doug Russell, Mecklenburg; Lili Wykle, Sonewall (cutest huntsman); George Harne, New Market-Middltown (second cutest huntman); David Connor, Rockbridge. These folks are the best and each has fantastic hounds.

Donald Minor: our kennelman and road whip.

We really really appreciate what everyone did.

*The Winners: "Who is that 74 dog?"
*The competition was really secondary to the adventure of hunting together with the best hounds of seven packs on an incredible facility. What an adventure. And almost every time I saw the hounds you could throw a blanket over them. So what I take away is a rich experience of a /superpack/. Nevertheless, the judges captured lots of scores and a few hounds stood out and Rockbridge Clay, number 74 was the winner. As I type this at the office the list of the top hounds is at home so I will sent the list of the top hounds out tomorrow.
The pack winners were: 1, Rockbridge; 2,Sedgefield; 3, Red Mountain

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cloverdale Lowgrounds – 10:00 a.m., Saturday, February 21, 2009

SH members arrived at the meet late Saturday morning. The field consisted of Kit and Kaitlyn. The hilltoppers, Paula, Sara, Bob, and Jennifer, followed. We moved off with 15 couple of hounds.

The day started out fairly slow with the first few coverts coming up blank.

Over an hour into the hunt Fred dismounted to walk with the pack into a covert. After a couple of minutes the hounds were giving tongue and were off. While Fred waited for his “Plow Pony” (Cash) to be dragged back to him the hounds could be heard in full cry. We finally caught up to the pack when they were stopped by the Whips close to a bridge on 58. This run was a small warm-up for what was to come.

The real action started when the hounds were cast below the pond and dam. We waited while the pack worked the small patch of woods along the river; a beautiful Penn-Marydel voice rang out, followed by many more. The hounds took off down the river trail, then curling back into the country. They ran a couple minutes before the first check. Jan sent off the first Tally Ho for a red coyote, and the pack was dead on! They ran in full cry making a large arc back to the river, on their way allowing more views of the beautiful coyote. When the coyote hit the river trail again it turned left and the pack followed. The wonderful territory provided a very exciting run, allowing the field to keep close to the action! We raced alongside the pack as they ran, with Photographer in the lead. As the coyote neared 58, it turned left toward the Leggett barn (more views in the process). Not 20 seconds later, the hounds did the same, they held check and had a much needed (for everyone) breather after crossing the small field. Plaza picked up the fresh line and they were off, voices ringing in the lowgrounds. Our coyote was sighted again by multiple riders and land owners, while it made another loop back to the river, this time turning right on the river trail, away from 58. The Whips and fields galloped on after the pack, leaving their poor huntsmen on a tuckered out Cash. The hounds ran right back to the same covert where the amazing run first began. There, the coyote disappeared. The pack stopped and returned to their huntsmen waiting at the pond. After a drink for hounds, horses, and riders we headed back toward the meet.

14 ½ couple of hounds were loaded into the trailer; Prado was out to be doctored on by Kit. His six inch wound was cleaned and sewn up. After Prado was taken care of and put in the truck we had a wonderful tailgate.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lennox Farm - Saturday, January 24

Hunt members, horses, and 14 couple of hounds gathered at the meet on Saturday morning. We moved off at 9:00am looking forward to great sport.

Fred took the pack to the first covert. In less than 15 minutes the hounds had spooked a grey fox out of hiding and into the view of whipper-in Elaine. The hounds burst out of the covert speaking, and raced down the trail to where the fox was viewed. They ran down through the timbered woods, pushing on around the pond and back toward us. We fell in behind the pack while they searched for scent in a patch of woods by an old barn. Maverick
then lead the pack excitedly across the next couple field and back into the trees. This run lasted about 45 minutes before the pack lost the line and moved on to hunt for another fox willing to give chase!

The hounds worked hard the rest of the morning. We came in with 13 ½ couple of hounds; Vacuum
was picked up that afternoon.

The pictures from our game camera on Lennox Farm show it is home to one or more grey foxes and a couple coyotes!