Rural Missouri - August 2012 - (Page 14)

A Hundred Years on the Hunt Bucklin hunters carry on a century-old tradition A lone fox hound gazes out over the Bucklin hunting territory just after the “Master of Fox Hounds” called for hunters to release their dogs during the annual Bucklin Fox Hunt. dedication. The site, which houses a kitchen and the hound and “went to ground” in its burrow. communal area, was constructed in 1997, becomBack at the Bucklin fox-hunting grounds five ing the fourth and final location of the association’s minutes outside Marceline, Marty explained his headquarters since the first hunt took place 100 t barely 9 in the morning, the heat was hunting heritage. In a photograph taken in 1913, years ago. Previously, Bucklin hunters had dependalready as palpable as the dust rising off he points to the gentleman wearing a bowler hat ed upon the generosity of local landowners who the road. Along the gravel path, a white on the bottom far left. “That’s my grandfather,” allowed the group to use their property temporarily. pickup truck bounced and rolled from side he says. The photo is of the association’s founders. But, after raising enough money to purchase their to side in search of a pack of hounds in Marty is a third generation fox hunter. own 3-acre corner of land, members worked togethhot pursuit. Founded in 1913, the Bucklin Fox Hunters er to construct the current campsite. On the second and final day of Association was formed through the efforts of • In the dim morning light, after roll call and a the centennial running of the Bucklin about a dozen men, including Charles HerBucklin quick breakfast of biscuits and gravy that David preFox Hunt, David Courtney of Marceline riman Sr., Marty’s grandfather, and his two pared in the camp kitchen, the hunters readied their scanned the rolling landscape on either brothers, Ed and Ira. “Back then, you just dogs for the release, or “cast.” side of his cab, hoping to spot a coyote, turned them loose, and the last dog to On this two-day field trial, the hounds are sent the dogs’ most abundant quarry. As seccome in was your winner,” says Marty. into a 25-mile expanse of outer Bucklin territory for retary of the Bucklin Fox Hunter’s AssoBy the 1950s, the informal group 5 hours each day. On the second morning, hunters ciation, David also participated as one of of men had grown in number and ceremoniously present their dogs to the “Master of the judges responsible for awarding points developed a standard set of guidelines the Fox Hounds” overseeing the event before lining to individual fox hounds during the weekend-long following the national fox-hunting field trial rules. up for the cast. The air is filled with anxious baying, anniversary event. Numbers were painted on the dogs to distinguish yelps and whines. At the master’s cry of, “Hunters, While the mention of fox hunting typically between the two scoring categories — double digits cast your hounds!” a wave of gold, brown and white invokes images of horsemen racing through the for “derby” dogs 2 years old and younger and triple careens toward the open field in search of its quarry. English countryside, in Missouri and several other digits for “all-age” dogs. “It’s just breathtaking to see those dogs turned states including Mississippi, North Dakota and TexInside the main building of the Bucklin fox loose at daybreak,” says Susie Watson of Bucklin. For as, fox hunting has evolved into a sport of its own. grounds, evidence of the association’s rich history her, like many other hunters, the best part of the Here, there are no calls of “tallyho” and no sign line the walls in the form of memorial trophies and event is that early morning release. of the white breeches and scarlet coats. In place of photos. The shed itself is a testament to the group’s Most hunters now follow the packs horses, trucks and four-wheelers provide using radio tracking technology or GPS. the swiftest mode of transportation. Yet Using antennas that follow signals emitted what most distinguishes fox hunting in by radio tracking collars, the new technolthe United States from its British counterogy allows hunters to more easily locate point is its purpose. their hounds at the end of the 5-hour run. “(It’s) the sport of the chase, the enjoyIn North American regions where the ment of turning a dog loose. That’s the red fox is less populous, other species have foundation of fox hunting I guess you’d been incorporated for the chase, including say in the U.S.,” says Marty Herriman of the more numerous bobcat and coyote. Marceline, president of the Bucklin Fox Now functioning as a competitive trial Hunter’s Association. “We do not want sport, success of a hunt is based upon four to catch the fox. We want him to go into criteria: speed and drive, hunting, trailing his den when he is tired, and then we will and endurance. In the field, a network of chase him another day.” coordinating judges follow the packs that Originating in England during the form once the hounds are released and 16th century, fox hunting with packs of award points based on a dog’s demonstrahounds was initially used as a method tion of each of the first three categories. of pest control. Riding out with their Endurance is scored separately following dogs, farmers banded together to manage the hunt. A general average is then calthreatening populations of “vermin.” This culated to determine the top 10 award system eventually evolved into the cerwinners, which receive trophies. Money is emonial pastime we recognize today. traditionally excluded as a prize to encourWhen fox hunting moved to the U.S. age good sportsmanship, says Marty. Three fox hounds relax after the first day of the two-day hunt during the bench a century later, the emphasis was placed The event also includes a bench show, show. Hunters have the opportunity to present the best of their Walker or July upon the chase rather than the kill. A during which hunters parade the best of hunt came to a close when the fox evaded breeds to earn further points at the Bucklin Fox Hunting trial. by Katie Alaimo kalaimo@ruralmissouri.coop 14 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - August 2012

Rural Missouri - August 2012
Table of Contents
Comments
Columns
Exploring yesterday today
Forget 10,000 casts
A hundred years on the hunt
H2O & Go
Hearth and Home
Out of the Way Eats
Bloody August
Marketplace
Around Missouri
Locomotives in the landscape
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - August 2012

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