A Simple Gift, from Sidelines News

For as many years as I can remember, Gerry Hoover has been the Field Master for Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds during the summer exercises known variously as “hound walking” or “hound jogging”. This period, commencing for Cheshire the beginning of July, is when the hunt staff introduces the young hounds to the rigor of paying attention to the Huntsman while being distracted by freedom and the temptation all sorts of new smells. As foxhounds follow scent and are not “sight” hunters they are now being trained to ignore rabbits, cats, groundhogs and other creatures they may come across and to focus on the scent of the Fox. “Whips” are kept busy trying to keep the hounds together in a cohesive bunch. Gerry’s role is pretty much the same for the people who come out behind the hounds during the summer – to keep the group together a safe distance away from the hounds so the followers themselves are not yet another distraction for the hounds when they are working, and to round up the stragglers.

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