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Longreen Opening Meet


By Tommy Brannon; photos by Brooke Ballenger

Harriet and Jake McFadden welcomed the Longreen Foxhounds to their Birdlands Plantation in Como, Mississippi for Longreen’s 61st annual Opening Meet and Blessing of the Hounds on November 3, 2018. This fixture is a hunting preserve that was purchased and restored by Harriet’s grandfather in 1936. The preserve consists of mature hardwood and planted pine forests, interspersed with pastures, open fields, and lakes. The jumps are coops over the barbed wire fences, and wildlife is abundant! The 5,111-acre property is also the site of Bobwhite quail hunting and bird dog field trials. The white columned plantation house, circa 1910 with plenty of old south charm, was once the residence of Harry D. Taylor and Patty Floyd Taylor. One of the buildings on the plantation is an original chestnut log cabin dating to the 1830s.

The stirrup cup was a recipe of Ex-MFH Imogene Erb, who was present (un-mounted). Many of her family participated in the hunt: her daughter-in-law Karen Erb, her daughter Margret Atkinson, Margret’s daughter-in-law Jocelyn Atkinson, and Jocelyn’s 10-year-old son Walker, who rode on his first fox hunt. Walker’s pony Candy was on her first hunt, as well as Jocelyn’s favorite Polo mount Dynamite.

In addition to the mounted hunters in three fields, there were four carriages and three Tally-Ho wagons for spectators.

Susan Walker, MFH brought the Longreen pack of Penn-Marydel hounds to be blessed in front of the plantation house – and then the hunt was on! The previous night’s rain had softened the ground, but the day of the hunt was sunny and warm. Footing was still good, however, because Birdlands has extensive established pastures and well drained trails in the woods. Scenting was spotty, but there were several short runs and the hounds managed to put “something” to ground in a thicket, although no one actually viewed. Suzan blew “gone to ground” as the children were invited to dismount and have a look. The quarry remained in the hole and would not show itself. Harriet said there is lots of wildlife at Birdlands, including coyote, gray fox, red fox, and bobcat, and speculated it could have been any of these.

After the hunt everyone enjoyed the traditional “Hunt Breakfast” on the grounds.

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