Deadline for Feb. 2021 issue: Jan. 22
Deadline for 2021 Field Trial Review: Feb. 3
Longreen Hunt in the Delta
The Longreen Fox Hounds ventured into Blues Country, south of Clarksdale, Mississippi on January 25, 2020 to hunt the vast acres of row crop land in the Delta. This was one of the few Saturdays of 2020 that hadn’t seen rain – and even had some sunshine.
Fox Hunting in the Mississippi River Delta is a bit different than other places. The terrain is so flat that an unobstructed view on a clear day is about three miles in any direction. And “View” can well be operative word for hunting in the delta. Coyote, fox and bobcat, as well as deer, are so abundant it is not uncommon to view all of these species on any given hunting day, and sometimes multiple individuals.
Eastover Plantation consists of wide open, no-till row crop fields interspersed with wooded areas where the coyote live. There are deep drainage ditches, shallow lakes, creeks, and bayous. Several tractor roads crisscross the plantation with bridges and some culvert ditch crossings. There are no fences, and thus no jumps, but the ditches are almost impossible to cross or jump on horseback.
The Longreen riders prepared for the day by tying their horses’ tails in mud knots and coating underbellies and horses legs with Laser Sheen to help keep the delta mud from sticking.
Susan Walker, MFH and Huntsman brought nine couple of Longreen’s Penn-Marydel foxhounds to chase coyote, and one coyote gave the hounds a long and fast! Included in the pack were some veteran hounds and several enthusiastic youngsters, who proved to be quite tenacious.
Susan cast into a wooded area and not ten minutes into the hunt, hounds opened on a line that proved to be productive. A coyote ran out and back into the woods, and was viewed by Whipper-in Allison Crews. He then exited the woods running west with the whole pack working the line. He ran into Harris Bayou, where the hounds lost the scent. Susan called them up and roaded them to a new cast at Twin Wood.
The hounds struck again; a tally-ho was heard and all hounds were on the line. Several coyote were viewed within the next half hour by both the field and staff, but the hounds stuck to their original coyote. One coyote meandered across the field quite unconcerned with the riders.
The pack ran in pursuit to Cadillac Wood, circled and twisted in the flooded areas, went back to Twin Wood, then all the way to Harris Bayou. What a great view for everyone, hounds racing through the flood waters in full cry! They crossed the bayou, went south, then southwest before doubling back east to the bayou crossing at Kline Johnson Road, where Kodie Young saw the coyote with a buck running behind it in front of the pack. The coyote veered off, but the buck stayed straight and the pack again stuck to their coyote. There was another view as the coyote raced north back to Cadillac Wood.
At this point Susan radioed to have the trailers brought around for tired horses and hounds. The chase had gone 20 miles by this point. A few hounds were picked up, but the rest of the pack said they were not through yet. They went east across Palmer Road following the bayou. Then the coyote reversed; hounds checked; and Susan started blowing “home.” Then the hounds turned straight NW towards Susan a quarter mile away in full cry. The coyote then turned west into the woods and headed back towards some catfish ponds, where Midge Ellison viewed it and the staff got in position to stop the pack. The young hounds were still pressing, but finally yielded and packed in. Susan’s GPS recorded five hours and a 24-mile run. Whew!
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