As we bushwhacked up through the boulders of the hill Christine, with Conner, on the south side of the wooded hill began to tally-ho foxes as they came out. One, no a brace; wait one more, all heading south along the Wacopin except for the last who upon seeing her turned and crossed the creek. She was afraid we'd have a split, I told her to pick a line and keep them on one or the other. She responded with some doubt if that would be possible! Trying to catch up with the screaming hounds, we came into the Colt Field on the south side above where the pack was about to emerge. Some of the less experienced new entries started to go heel back into the woods but quickly turned around as the main pack burst out heading south across the field. Over the panel jump and into the rock pile we went. Here the veterans held up until the over exuberant puppies continued past and drew all forward. As the voice shut down they circled back to the rock pile and marked it. Two.
Not wanting to lose any time I picked them up and headed to where Christine saw the third fox turn. Barbara, at my request, pushed the hounds off the hole and up to me. I cast them west at the base of the Colt Field and immediately they opened up! Crossing the creek, out across the Long Field the leaders went full speed. Again, Barbara pitched in, and stopped long enough to push some tail hounds out of the trees and get them running to catch up. We all flew across the Long Field as the lead hounds hit the next run and brush. I turned west to the Wheatlands Field but they turned south.
Sending Robyn to Polecat Hill Road, we turned to catch the field heading south across a little run after the hounds. Up and over, then through the Island Field they headed into Homewood. For lack of a jump, Sheila and the field had gone to open the gate into Homewood while we watched to see what the hounds did. They had checked in the woods and then gone on. Down to the gate and through it we went. Now running behind the field going east, out into the field I went when I saw Christine coming through the east gate with Sheila meeting her. The field all had gone that way, so I thought the hounds must be that way until I heard speaking behind me and off to my right behind.
With a sweeping right turn, I ran to the hounds that were heading south to Middleburg. They checked in the old fence line and cast about. With no way in for us, they now started to push towards Foxcroft Road. Not good. Calling for Robyn to run down the road and cut them off, I saw her in the distance going over a hill just about to a point ahead of them. They again checked in the field, and I started calling them back. Sheila had even dismounted and started across the field on foot when they started coming back. I wasn't sure if that fox had gone that way or not, as they hadn't been as hot. Blue had thought the fox turned east. Earlier when Sheila came up, Blue had come out into a cornfield and started east only she had cut him off and stopped him. Either way, we were way close to Middleburg and cut off from getting to them so as they began to come back it was a relief.
I circled back just west of the line we came in on. If the fox had circled that way, we'd pick it up. If not, we get back into our country. After a slight delay, as the staff let them go back to the old line, we moved northwest across the old cornfield heading for Polecat. Moving along the marshy defile we came to a brushy dead woodpile. Sanction stopped, then opened. Just then Christine, 10 yards from me on the other side, started screaming tally-ho as the fox burst out of the cover opposite Sanction, running back south in full view of both fields. The tail hounds who had been on that side were hot on his ...tail! The rest of the pack came pouring around with a huge voice. I went galloping full tilt at the field when I realized no one was moving and it was quiet. Everyone was looking across to the west where the hounds were stopped. The fox had run to the next little clump of trees where he had a very nice den! Whether this had been the fox who had given us the dodge previous or not, this one had gone to ground here after a short little sight chase. Three.
From here we continued north on Polecat turning west into the Glenwood fields prior to the barns. Up to the copse of trees we went, where just the week before a fox had burst out of. Again the hounds exploded with voice and down towards the stable to a culvert, the same one he had run into last week! Not much of a run but it counts. Four.
Next, north past the stables, across Polecat into the woods along the road we drew. About half way between Wheatlands and Whitehall they opened up. Across the road going west they went to the woods behind the grandstand. Here they checked, a den is here but they really weren't marking it and hadn't come to it screaming, so maybe just a cold line. Picking them up, we went back down the way they came from and across the field near the White Hall springhouse. Here they opened again going northeast. Had that fox gone downhill and not up? Had the puppies carried us heel again?