After a week filled with rain it was very nice to have dry weather for Saturday. Sure the footing was a bit soft but that wasn’t going to stop us! We met at the Franko’s and Marjorie and Larry led the first and second fields respectively. Rhonda Hettinger and Sue Bater whipped with Lori Baldwin and Britni Crotti helping from the ground.
The scenting conditions were very good. Maybe a bit too good! Rhonda reported that the hounds encountered the scent of a coyote in a similar place to the one that was found when we hunted this territory last Thanksgiving. This time, she said she was able to get the hounds back on track thanks to Cricket’s speed and a series of fortunate clearings and small fields she were able to turn the hounds before they’d got very far.
As a field member I can report that while we were waiting for the hounds, we were serenaded by a Barred Owl. It was a lovely moment to be in the quiet of the woods and hear him call.
The second piece went off without a hitch. Freedom and I got to play Staff for a few minutes while we guarded the gate back out of the field, but we weren’t needed. Freedom was not at all sure that he liked being separated from the field but I think he would have enjoyed the job had the hounds come near us.
Freedom and I dropped out after the second piece. We lost a hoof boot in the large field and the hour was getting late. But it seems like the third run held all the excitement.
I’d gone up the wooded ridge to the field above, to make sure the hounds stayed to the perimeter and didn’t get an early whiff of the drag from the other side of the field. But as we came into the open, there was a furry grey face and ears in the grass out in the middle. No time to call the huntsman, who had gone back to the hound truck on the road so I charged the coyote, hoping to drive him away. Apparently he wasn’t interested in going, or was challenging us, or was sick (might have been mangy–looked like way more than just a bad hair day from spring shedding)–who knows. Cricket made a pretty good attempt, twice, to run him out. He was actually still *in* the field as the hounds came up the ridge into the open, although they apparently didn’t see him (that’s when I got him with the whip), and I was able to stand on the line and deflect them. I think they were confused, though… I know I must also have been pretty close to the drag itself, but had no other choice that I could think of. And although it seemed like forever, the hounds actually did all finish and come in fairly quickly, once I had time to check my watch.
Must have been quite an exciting moment! Kudos to Rhonda and Cricket for handling the coyote. We’ll be hunting in an adjoining territory tomorrow and wonder if we’ll run into any more.
We had picture perfect weather for our first hunt of the 2012 season! The rain on Sunday and Monday helped soften up the ground and Wednesday was bright, clear and just warm enough.
For a weekday hunt we had a great turnout with several people taking vacation days from work to enjoy the sport. Leading the jumping field was Marjorie Franko on Spice and leading the Hilltoppers was Debbe Kelley on Thistle. Whipping in was Rhonda Hettinger on Cricket. It was particularly nice to see Larry Franko back on Boris who has come back from a tendon injury looking much younger than his 23 years!
The hounds were very well behaved and followed the scent well. There was a minor hiccup when they briefly picked up the scent of the third piece on the way out but Ginny and Rhonda had them back on track in short order.
We hope to see you all on Saturday at Arena Terrace!