An over 110-year-old local fox hunting club is updating its accommodations for one of the most integral parts in continuing the decades long tradition.
Originally located in Manassas and named after the Battle of Bull Run, Bull Run Hunt has begun construction on a new kennel for its hounds. After relocating to Culpeper in the 1980s, the club opened its now former kennel - which can be found alongside the new kennel - inside an old barn that was built to house livestock, not hounds.
Plans for a new kennel were announced at BRH’s board of director’s annual meeting in May, outlining the approximately $400,000 four-phase project. According to Hunt Master Adrianna Waddy, roofing has already begun.
The new kennel will be able to comfortably house about 80 hounds. It will have four runs, or lodges, a medical room, office and feeding area.
Those considering donating to house the BRH hounds, email Waddy at email@example.com.
The hounds are owned by the club, however, some of the club’s approximately 100 members adopt hounds that retire, won’t hunt or get injured. Different breeds of hounds are used depending upon the territory. BRH hunts with mostly crossbred hounds, typically American/English crosses.
The hounds are bred to hunt and are trained from birth by the huntsman. The huntsman brings dogs in training along, walking on foot and then finally on horseback with the other hounds. Dogs in training learn to stay with but not in front of the huntsman, obeying the horn. The hunting horn is blown with different notes that each have a meaning such as gone to ground, going home, moving off, drawing and more.
Fox hunting, which dates back hundreds of years, involves tracking, chasing and, if caught, the killing of a fox, by trained scent hounds. A group of followers are led by a master of foxhounds to follow the hounds on foot or on horseback.
BRH has a professional staff, consisting of a huntsman and some whipper-ins, whose job is primarily to keep the hounds safe and on the fox or coyote.
The huntsman brings about 30 hounds to each meet. He turns the hounds out and follows along on his horse as they try to get the scent of a fox or coyote. If the hounds find a fox, it will be chased to the ground, up a tree or some place safe. The club does not kill foxes.
If the hounds find a coyote, they will be permitted to catch it.
The club’s formal opening meet is at the end of October and closing meet is at the end of March.