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Longreen at Shannondale Farm East
On Saturday November 22, 2019, Longreen Hounds traveled to Shannondale Farm east just south of Hughes, Arkansas, to try out a new hunt fixture. After nearly two inches of rain on Thursday and Friday, there was plenty of mud in the harvested row-crop fields, but plenty of wildlife abounding.
The skies had still not cleared for Saturday’s hunt, with chilly temperatures and mist to light rain falling during the day. Despite the rain, the sandy soil provided good footing for the horses. Farmers here don’t deep plow and their pivot irrigation systems require culverts to drain the ditches so the wheels can continue from field to field.
The first quarry that hounds found was a Bobcat, which ran circles in the woods along the edge of Millseed Lake. After running a while, hounds were picked up at a check and Huntsman Susan Walker followed the “cavernous ditches” off to the east. It wasn’t long before hounds picked up the scent of a coyote, who carried the hunt “east for a good gallop and lots of ditch crossings,” Susan wrote.
At the next cast, Claudia Mangum viewed a coyote, but in a new fixture without established place names and huge ditches to get around, it was hard to quickly get hounds to the view. But when put on the line, the hounds hit the line well, but had multiple casts to try to keep the line.
Another cast later and hounds hit a Bobcat line again, but after about 15 minutes, one hound began “sight racing something” taking several hounds with her. The quarry was not viewed and hounds were “gently” lifted from that line.
Hacking back the two miles to the trailers, the rest of the pack had lost the bobcat and were hunting east. The two packs were joined, with staff, on the way back to the trailers. It had been an eventful first time at the new fixture, and everyone had plenty of mud to take home with them. Hope the farmers won’t miss all that soil come planting time next spring!
After loading up horses and hounds, riders all met for some good down-home Arkansas cooking at the original St. Francis Restaurant in “downtown” Hughes, Arkansas.
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