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Hunt Report - Hawken School - 12/6/20

Hawken is an almost-sacred spot for the Chagrin Valley Beagles. When my father was a young beagle Huntsman, the Whitford beagles were kenneled here; the first time I tried my hand at hunting hounds, it was at this well-thicketed campus; and the beagles have never once suffered a blank day in these parts. With freezing temperatures, and lots of snow left over from a blizzard earlier in the week, conditions were challenging and our field was small. For those hale and hardy enough to brave the chill, the rewards included a roaring fire at the Athletic Field’s pavilion, jolly company, some terrific hound music, and multiple views. The briar patches here are so dense, that it is impossible run with the hounds. I have tried to do so on many occasions and usually find myself bloody and left behind, so I took a different strategy this time around. I sent the whippers-in ahead to encircle the covert, watch for riot, and keep the little hounds well away from the roads. Meanwhile, I tried to position myself just alongside the thickets where I might follow by ear and direct them with the horn. It took about 5 to 7 minutes of searching before the beagles hit a line. For your reference, the covert where we hunted is surrounded by the athletic fields to the east; a cottage near a gas well road to the south; a cross country trail to the west, and a parking area to the north. Throughout most of the hunt, the beagles were in a low lying bottom area just north of the cottage . They circled throughout this soggy area for close to an hour. I started off trying to direct them by horn while I stayed close to the cottage but then I later moved to the cross country trail. Here, whipper-in, S. Kroschell got a view. The beagles, though close to five minutes behind, followed the line. Another view was had by R. Mock and me. This time, the rabbit went west of the cross country trail, towards the road, but seemed to hunker down or go to ground somewhere. With the thick snow, the beagles did not have much success jumping her out of this area north of the trail. The pack then tried back, just north of the soggy bottom, and here they jumped a second rabbit. I got the view and so did a member of the field . She was a huge rabbit and moving slowly. She may have been tired from running, or it’s possible that the thick, crusty snow may have been slowing her down. She hopped leisurely to the north and then circled to the east. The beagles, again, a few minutes behind, followed her line. With temperatures dropping, we decided to try to pick them up when they began to lose the line close to the cottage. Overall , the pack had a great time, and got lots of praise for their efforts. Since I was unable to see them for much of the hunt, I cannot rank performances, but I did hear great tongue from Pike, Jenkins, Gulliver, and Sizzle. Iroquois appeared to be packed up nicely for most of the hunt, as did Dallas. Bertram struggled with the difficult, snowy footing so we tried to be kind and took him back to the comfort of the hunt truck a little earlier than the others. I would classify this hunt as a tough, but very good day. Special thanks is owed to Eleanor Anderson for coordinating the fixture, To Rob Mock for making sure we had a cheery blaze stoked in the outdoor fireplace and for watching the roadways, to all the whippers-in for working tirelessly at their stations on those frigid and slippery trails, to our Master for overseeing all the adventures, and to our field, who wrestled themselves out of their warm, cozy beds to come play in the snow with us. Thank you, everyone… It was a great morning to be outside!

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