Sunday, Apr. 21, 2024

Huntingdon Valley Opens With A Banner Day

Huntingdon Valley Hunt
c/o Richard B. Harris, jt.-MFH
1395 Swamp Rd., Box 48,
Furlong, Pennsylvania 18925.
Established 1914.
Recognized 1915.


One of the most fascinating aspects of fox hunting is scent. We organize our country and carefully breed our hounds to provide the sport we desire, but the one thing we can never control is scent.
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Huntingdon Valley Hunt
c/o Richard B. Harris, jt.-MFH
1395 Swamp Rd., Box 48,
Furlong, Pennsylvania 18925.
Established 1914.
Recognized 1915.

One of the most fascinating aspects of fox hunting is scent. We organize our country and carefully breed our hounds to provide the sport we desire, but the one thing we can never control is scent.

Every day we go out “knowing” that it is going to be one of the best days we have ever had. There is no scent. Foxes pop out of every covert and hounds cannot run them. Then, when we go out convinced that we are going to have a long trail ride with absolutely no sport, the hounds fly.

On Oct. 21, Huntingdon Valley Hunt’s 94th opening meet was just that kind of day. We met at 10 a.m. to try to get out before the mid-day sun destroyed any vestiges of scent, but by the time the introductory remarks were offered, the hounds were blessed and the stirrup cup was served, the temperature was already in the 70s. There was a high bluebird sky and the prospects for sport looked dim.

We hacked to Dark Hollow, crossing the Little Neshaminy Creek. Richard B. Harris, MFH and huntsman of the Huntingdon Valley, drew the heavy cover along the creek.

Andrews Bridge Tango, a wonderful old bitch drafted to the Huntingdon Valley by Bob Crompton, MFH of Andrews Bridge (Pa.), began a line which she and several of the older hounds worked slowly but steadily through very thick cover and then out in the open through a soybean field where they finally lost, confirming our worst fears that there just was no scent. However, unbeknown to us, the hounds were simply working a very old line.

Little Neshaminy Creek makes a horseshoe bend through this portion of our country and we drew back along the cliffs of the far side of the horseshoe hoping to pick up the line of the fox, but it was not to be. We crossed the creek again below Wicen’s shooting range and began drawing north along the far side of
the creek.

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Our car followers on Mozart Road viewed a fox out of the covert. The hounds
began working a line that we all expected would come out of the covert where the fox had been viewed and then evaporate. But just as they were ready to emerge from the covert, the cry of Huntingdon Valley’s Penn-Marydels exploded.

There were two foxes and our pack was close behind the second fox. Hounds were flying after their pilot. The cry couldn’t have been better as they charged along the stream bank toward the Chain Bridge.
But just as they got to the bridge, our fox doubled back and crossed the creek. Hounds followed charging up through the woods as our fox twisted and turned trying to elude his pursuers. The hounds were not to be denied and emerged from the woods into several large cornfields, where they continued after their fox, finally putting him to ground after 45 minutes of superb sport.

In the heat of the day, horses and hounds were both cooked, so our Master gathered hounds and hunted slowly back to the meet.

We had 30 riders in the field, including eight juniors, all of whom had a great time. But one of the most rewarding parts of the day was that as we hacked in, we passed the home of Betty Salada, whose daughter had hunted with us when she was a child. She was thrilled to see the hunt.

Drew Azara, who lives just above the Chain Bridge and whose daughter hunted with us, heard the hounds and was out cheering on the hunt. It is always wonderful to have the support of the community as well as a strong membership, including many juniors, to share the day.

Steve Harris

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