Annual Fox Hunt at Ft. Leavenworth

(Frank) Here we are again. Aren’t you so happy? (Deb) I know we are. We’re happy to be here and happy to have you with us, too. (Frank) Oh, my. Hey, I know what the next story is but before you talk about it a little bit, it has to do with a fox hunt. But are you familiar with the Fallowfield Hunt? (Deb) Nuh-uh. (Frank) You’re not. Okay. Well actually, an artist named Cecil Alden back in 1904 painted six different pictures of a fox hunt starting with the breakfast and then gathering, and then finally the capture of the fox and then the dinner afterwards. Anyway, I happen to have those prints. Ha-ha. (Deb) I’m so jealous. (Frank) Well the thing is, when Linda and I were antiquing we learned about the Fallowfield Hunt and at that time you could find a lot of Fallowfield Hunt things around. I mean like tea sets and they were all hand-painted with scenes from the Fallowfield Hunt. And I don’t know if you can still find them or not but it’s really an interesting thing. (Deb) Well, the hunt, and you’ll hear a little bit about that in the story, is like a culture all of its own. And of course, having grown up in Virginia where fox hunting was a big deal, whether it was the people in the nice riding suits or the hillbillies just following the hounds. My grandpa, I can remember him sitting out on the front porch and listening to the hounds run at night. It’s one of his favorite things after he quit hunting himself. But fox hunting and raccoon hunting it’s a tradition that goes back to the British Isles and that’s what the story we’ll talk about in a little bit. And of course, I think that the hunt at Leavenworth is one of the oldest and certainly thriving. I think it’s a pretty cool story. (Frank) Is that where you go out and sit in the woods with a gunnysack and a club? Oh no, that’s snipe, sorry. (Deb) No. Whole different story; whole different set. The Fort Leavenworth Hunt was organized in 1926 by the 10th Cavalry Regiment and disbanded during WW II. The pack of hounds was reconstituted in 1964 and two years later was recognized by the Masters of Fox Hounds Association. Military personnel and their families, as well as civilians, are subscribers to the Hunt. The Kennels are located on Fort Leavenworth. The Hunt enjoys the unique distinction of hunting on the post, covering land that marks the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail. This sport carries on the tradition of a sport, which has not changed much since it first came to us from England in 1650. The hunt country is on Fort Leavenworth and nearby in the vicinity of Easton. Twice a year the hunt moves to the wide-open expanses of the Flint Hills at the Mulvane Ranch. This is truly a unique hunting experience, hunting over 15,000 acres of native prairie grass. During hunt season hunters go out regularly, weather permitting. Because of weather, it is wise to check with a joint Master before each Hunt to make sure of time and place. During the off-season, they exercise and train the hounds, work on trails, and conduct fund raising endeavors. The object of the Fort Leavenworth Hunt is to pursue a fox or coyote with the hounds through hunt country, offering the subscribers of the hunt an opportunity to view this chase. The actual hunting is the work of the huntsman and staff. The subscribers and guests are observers. There are 25-35 hounds used in each hunt. The thrill is in the chase, watching the hounds work and hearing them give tongue, doing their job guided by the Huntsman and assisted by the Whippers-in. The Field Master leads the field of riders into a position to view the fox or coyote being pursued. The hunt’s intentions are only to chase. The hunt is designed to provide a safe and friendly atmosphere for any rider wishing to participate, offering both the novice and the accomplished rider a safe and exciting experience.

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