Traders Point Hunt
R.D. 1 Zionsville, Indiana
Jan. 21, 1955
The Traders Point Hunt has figuratively had its full share of obstacles this year. One of them is the lack of negotiable obstacles on the ground. Driven relentlessly north by the real estate men and an expanding city, they have had to branch out into country that is inadequately paneled, and where the landowners are not too keen on letting them through. In a country that has an abundance of foxes and marvelous galloping terrain, they are forced to drag in order to hunt at all.
At the start of the year, the entire professional staff was discharged, and no suitable replacements have been found to date. This has thrown a heavy load on the non-professional staff.
Added to the other troubles, Mrs. Conrad Ruckelshaus, joint master, was injured early in the season.
In spite of early difficulties, the Thanks-giving Hunt was one of the best drags I have ever witnessed. That this type of meet could be held in spite of adversity is a great tribute to the membership.
Staff Equipped With Transistor Radios
April 2, 1965
The Iroquois is now hunting with small transistor radios. One or two of the whippers-in are quipped with the pocket size instruments and the masters have access to the other.
When a whipper-in on a far point hears or sees some action that the MFH should know, he does not have to lose precious minutes riding back to report. With the radio, he merely reports, for example, that there are good hounds feathering and it looks as if they could open any minute.
The idea of the whippers-in communicating at great distance with one another and the MFH is not so startling as one would imagine.
The little radios have already proved their worth in gold as far as the Iroquois hunters are concerned. Several times this year they have helped us to stay with excellent runs that we very easily could have missed without the convenience of immediate communication.
The Future Of Organized Foxhunting
Commentary by Alexander MacKay-Smith
Sept. 17, 1965
From 1921 to 1938, the years during which Henry Vaughn served the Masters of Foxhounds Association, first as Sec-retary and then as President, the number of recognized and registered hunts increased from 44 to 130.
Mr. Vaughn was a man of great ability and charm, who gave most of his time toward the furtherance of foxhunting, and who was able to back up his efforts with ample financial resources. When he died in 1938, he proved to be irreplaceable. Obviously we cannot rest the future of foxhunting on finding another such man.
In 1959 things looked pretty bleak, and in 1960 the number of hunts dropped to a low of 97. Fortunately, we can report that, during the past five years, this trend has been re-versed: in 1961–99; in 1962–102; in 1963–106; in 1964–110; and in 1965–115.
The number of recognized and registered hunts has increased simply because there are so many more people interested in cross-country riding and in centering this interest in a pack of foxhounds. Of particular importance have been the educational programs of the Canadian Branches of the British Pony Club and of the United States Pony Clubs, Inc., founded in 1954, and now consisting of over 140 clubs from coast to coast with a membership totaling over 10,000, which make a written test on foxhunting one of the steps necessary to advances in grade.
Fortunately in North America we still have millions of acres of land suitable for foxhunting. We have the riders and the horses, and we can obtain the hounds. Certainly there would seem to be no reason why the number of American hunts should not continue to increase at an even sharper rate during the decades to come.
Los Altos Hunt
Our Present Day Problem
Nov. 19, 1965
The Los Altos Hunt, which has just commenced its 1965-66 season, is a drag hunt located in Woodside, California, an area where nearly everyone has a backyard horse. We seem to be having no trouble “meeting the problems of the present day,” due to the large post-war increase of interest in this area in horses in general and hunter-jumper type riding in particular.
Our chief “present day problem” has been to find new country to replace that lost in Woodside to freeways, subdivisions, and the Stanford University linear accelerator. Fortunately, there is still a good deal of ranching country surrounding the San Francisco Bay suburban area. We are becoming more trailer-oriented, and the Joint Masters have happily been very successful in finding us new country within a 100-mile radius of Woodside, the best of which is the ranchland to the south.
While it appears that we shall have no trouble acquiring a sufficient number of members this season, there was considerable discussion at the last Directors’ meeting of ways to slow down the pace and panel near gates so that more Woodside trail-riders could follow hounds and be encouraged to join.
The weather for the opening hunt on Oct. 10, was perfect. We hunted some of our last remaining Woodside country, soon to be lost to a freeway.
Show Riders In The Hunting Field
Christian T. Goeldner, MFH
Jan. 10, 1975
During the last decade an unprecedented growth has occurred in the membership of two organizations dedicated to the English style of riding and to the improvement of hunters, namely the American Horse Shows Association in their Hunter & Jumper and their Equitation divisions, and the United States Pony Clubs. The improvement is not only reflected in the size of the membership, but is clearly evident in the skill of the riders and in the quality of their horses.
Horsemanship has reached a level which can master the superior capabilities of a Thoroughbred. Today the Thoroughbred dominates the scene on the United States hunter show circuits.
It would be reasonable to assume that a similar development has taken place in organized foxhunting to a point where equestrian skills and the quality of horses are comparable to those found in the world of show riding. However, an analysis of the typical United States hunting field reveals a conspicuous absence of show riders and Thoroughbreds.
The facts of life are that most show riders do not foxhunt; that most foxhunters do not show; that organized foxhunting has not been able to attract a significant percentage of the truly brilliant youngsters engaged in show riding; that the majority of professional trainers of show hunters are opposed to foxhunting; and that their students, the young amateurs, echo the sentiment of their teachers.
It used to be that hunter shows came after the foxhunting season and were intended as an activity for the foxhunter during the off season. Every show rider was a foxhunter. Why have we, as foxhunters, lost virtually an entire young generation to our sport?
Perhaps a new approach to organized foxhunting is necessary in the United States in order to bring the sport back into line with reality.
Commentary by Alexander MacKay-Smith
Jan. 17, 1975
In obedience to her inexorable rule that only the fittest may survive, Mother Nature each year, with the help of gunners, trappers, and automobiles, disposes of some 70 percent of the fox population. Those who like to hunt foxes with hounds thus have the task of preserving the 30 percent that remain, and attracting them to the locations where they will provide good sport.
In some portions of the world, particu-larly the British Isles, this 30 percent is still too numerous, so that hounds are required to kill a considerable number of foxes each hunting season. In North America, on the other hand, foxes are so much less frequent that there is no need to reduce their numbers further.
Why are foxes so much more numerous per square mile in Britain than on our side of the Atlantic? Certainly not because of the milder
climate–foxes flourish all the way to the Arctic Circle. As with all other species of wild animals, their survival depends upon feed, cover and protection.
In the United States and Canada, not only is game, including foxes, the property of the state (not the landowner), but also few hunts own or lease coverts where foxes can lie undisturbed, or even try to keep existing coverts in the form of woodland adequately fenced so as to exclude cattle. Not many of our hunting countries have much of the cropland which supports the greatest mouse and rabbit population; our less intensively fertilized pastures produce fewer of these vulpine tidbits; and our big woodlands supply little of either.
The other half of the coin is finding the foxes presently in the hunting country and the role of the pack and of the hunt staff in accomplishing this, the most essential factor of foxhunting.
Commentary by Harry I. Nicholas, ex-M.F.H.
President, Masters of Foxhounds Association of America
Sept. 19, 1975
Recognized and Registered hunts are learning more and more how to get along with night hunters, farmer and other packs (some highly organized) hunting in what they had always considered “their country.”
All are out for the sport of foxhunting and should be treated as friends, not foes. A fine example is Eastern Pennsylvania’s Chester County, the home of five recognized hunts. There, because of a sudden scarcity of foxes due to trappers and gunners with artificial callers, a survey was made to find out how many foxhunting groups there were in the county. To everyone’s surprise, over 35 active packs were located with over 3,000 riders, car followers and interested landowners. Their combined pressure on the Game Commission brought a greatly shortened trapping season for foxes.
This same group is now working with the commission and the state legislature to abolish the use of artificial callers, steel traps and fox-scented trap bait.
What The English Parliament’s Vote Means
Commentary by John Strassburger
March 17, 1995
You may have heard or read during the March 4-5 weekend that the English Parliament had voted to outlaw foxhunting. But, as we reported last week, the bill wasn’t even at a stage where it could be acted upon. Parliament voted to allow a Private Member’s Bill to move on to the committee stage, where the Conservative majority will bottle up and drop the bill.
The English aren’t really arguing about animals. They’re really fighting a class struggle–urban and suburban dwellers vs. country residents. And it’s coming here: Too many people have no understanding of or contact with rural life or wildlife. They believe dogs, horses and foxes behave and think like humans. American animal-rights groups know foxhunting is out there–an article in the spring issue of Friends of Animals’ ActionLine proclaimed, “FOA would like to turn up the heat a little and requests your help.”
Masters Are Always Searching For New Territory
Sept. 15, 1995
You can have the best hounds and the best horses and best membership, but if you can’t take them out of the backyard, you can’t go anywhere,” said Sandy Dixon, jt.-MFH of the Brazos Valley Hunt in Texas. “Without land and territory, you don’t have a hunt.”
Dixon and other masters from Texas to California face the same problems that masters elsewhere do as they seek to find, develop and retain adequate fixtures.
JoAnn Senall, jt.-MFH of the newly registered Temecula Valley Hounds (Calif.), has, like Dixon in Texas, been faced with the problem of developing new hunting territory from scratch. “The major problems down here [just north of San Diego] are the insurance, No. 1, because we’re in California and it’s so suit happy; and No. 2, educating them on what foxhunting is all about.
“Foxhunting is so unknown here, and you have the cowboys who think you just turn the hounds loose and don’t control them. You have to demonstrate the control that you must have with a responsible pack.”
Giny Hunter, jt.-MFH of the Los Altos Hunt (Calif.), faces a more Eastern-style problem: the encroachment of civilization around their headquarters in Woodside, Calif., the heavily populated area just west of the San Francisco Bay. Los Altos no longer hunts around Woodside. Instead, they’ve opened country about 50 miles south, from Hollister to Paso Robles.