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Hunt Report from North of the Muskokas

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  • Hunt Report from North of the Muskokas

    We met at dawn at Sam McGee's, or about 11:30 am, and meant to make best use of the light. Our usual pack -- mixed breeds of foxhound and siberian husky -- were equipped with their GPS collars, thermal overcoats, and muttluks. The assembled hunt mounted on horses, moose, and muskoxen-crosses. Each rider dressed for formality, melton frock over down-filled parka, balaclava to prevent facial freeze. The Masters wore red balaclavas, and looked just a little like a scarlet Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. A rider in second field had engineered their own heated helmet, properly covered in velvet and ASTM approved and, more importantly, approved by the Secretary. This brought friendly "comments" from his fellow riders, but by the end of the hunt, he, at least, still had ears.

    The McGee farm was well equipped with a 20m x 60m wikyup from wherein the hunt could assemble without fear of losing fingers on frozen bits while ensuring their mounts and hounds ready. Claiming landowner's privilege, Ol' Sam was cheerfully dressed in neon pink and orange in the best modern mountaineering fabrics, and, of course, the heated helmet, and mounted up on his best ski-doo.
    The hounds found their trail and gave tongue as they disappeared over a snow drift. Or into it. We weren't sure. The huntsman followed suit, his noble steed, a bull moose, ploughing the drifts like a hackney on steroids, proving, with his extreme knee action, that travesty of contrasts between the show-hunter rings of the south, and the truly handy northern hunter. Not that it was well appreciated at the time, our vision being much obscured by the blowing powder.

    Beyond the drifts we came to the tree line, and the hounds cast about, having lost the trail. A short check, for a conference and some much needed soul-warming beverage, and also so that Frere Jacques could readjust the snowshoes on his sturdy little black horse. Then back into the pinery where it was believed the quarry had taken refuge from the blinding light on the snow. The hounds feathering gave us hope and before long, it was every hound throwing tongue and the field cut a slalom through the woods. The chinook winds did their best to melt the path we travelled, but we barely had time to wonder at nature's beauty in the falling ice, as all those mounted on horses had to work to maintain control (save Frere Jacques, whose Cheval was born and raised in these woods, and responsible for much of the missing bark on the trees).
    To our relief we found ourself north of the tree line again, which was obvious, for the lack of trees. At full clip we crossed the tundra and came upon a shallow slough. A short check was again taken, this time for a chance to cool after such a heated gallop, and the need for rye & coke was high. MFH Billy of Moose Jaw plied his fellows with beer & clamato, but despite the inarguably higher Vitamin C, only the prairie-born would touch it.

    The second field caught up at this point and we were much delighted by little Aimee's performance on her Newfoundland pony as she gave an impromptu dressage freestyle on ice, which she had been practising for her Pony Club B test.

    Routing the slough, we came then to more drifts. Once again, the huntsman's bull moose made short work of them, but those drifts opened up to a line fence. No worry for the moose among us, nor the horses, though the muskoxen-crosses laboured a little, and Ol' Sam had to pull up his skidoo and find another path.

    There was then a series of ice block walls to negotiate as the hounds were rapidly vanishing across the Canadian Shield and over a distant hill. The field crested the hill at a gallop and came upon a lumberjack camp; our hounds, led astray by the scent of frying peameal bacon, and there was much fuddleduddle as Inuk, only his first season, had managed to get into the men's laundry and had playfully taken off with a pair of suspenders and a bra. Whipper-in Margaret had to dismount and attend to the hound and make apologies. But they were lumberjacks, and they're OK.

    The rest of the field having continued onwards, it was an exhilarating ride back into the boreal forest where an overturned canoe posed no obstacle to hound or horse or ruminant. In full cry, the hounds gave chase and soon sent to ground one arctic fox -- or we think so, anyways, as it was a bit hard to see if it was an arctic fox, snowshoe hare, or a polar bear, in the blizzard. But whatever it was, it was in good time, too. Our two hours of daylight were fading fast, master Akash could no longer feel his fingers, and most of the third field had already been blown off the hilltop and already returned to the warmth of the McGee igloo for maple syrup and Red Rose tea.

  • #2
    I love these stories! When I grow up, I want to be in the Royal Mounted Police! And grow antlers!
    Special Horses - equine volunteer to assist equines in need!


    • #3
      Two thumbs up! Thanks!
      "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



      • #4
        sorry we couldn't make it up this year - unfortunately the Timbit had a flat and we could not find any replacement snowshoes. I was hoping to bring you up some beaverpelt blankets and a couple of our poutine pizzas.

        Maybe next year.


        • #5
          You should cross-post this in the Hunting forum. I bet the Snobbington Hunt would be up for a joint meet!
          I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


          • #6
            Love it!


            • Original Poster

              Bravestrom, we missed you. We especially missed your beaverpelt blankets for those mounts with less yak in their pedigrees than others. And the poutine pizza, always fondly remembered.

              Hope you found some new snowshoes for Timbit. I hope you weren't using the peaked design, such as these, as they have such a troublesome tendency to pull those. I know some people say it's all in the farrier, but I say some horses just forge more than others. Apparently they stay on fine for the moosebred, so maybe conformation has more to do with it than smithing.

              Personally, I'm fond of the more platter type snowshoe , but I hear the latest trend is towards the more continental style, in wicker or iron.

              If you're still having trouble finding some, you may need to consider cross-border shopping. I hear this one from Alaska will run you a pretty $450, but depending on how the dollar's doing, that could be a bargain. Maybe there's a Black Friday sale on these ones in Missouri?


              • #8
                Great writing!
                pace, path, balance, impulsion and ??

                Don't panic! Ralph Leroy Hill


                • #9
                  Wayfarer, I'm sorry I missed the hunt!

                  We were well on our way to meet you

                  But the damn sled dog blew out a paw!

                  We had to call CAA

                  By the time we got up and running again

                  we were too far behind to catch up to you guys!


                  • Original Poster

                    CZF, sorry to hear!!

                    I keep my sled team equipped with winter paws, they have better traction in the cold and ice and are less likely to have these unexpected blowouts!

                    If you keep having problems with losing the winter tires, you could try these?



                    • #11
                      Shoot, if only I'd known!

                      I just haven't had the chance to get the winter paws put on. Thought we'd be ok, but that will teach me!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bravestrom View Post
                        sorry we couldn't make it up this year - unfortunately the Timbit had a flat and we could not find any replacement snowshoes. I was hoping to bring you up some beaverpelt blankets and a couple of our poutine pizzas.

                        Maybe next year.
                        Yum!!! Poutine pizza!!! <drool>