TVH Boxing Day Hunt

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By Tommy Brannon, MFH

Boxing Day is a traditional British holiday celebrated on December 26th. It is a time when tradesmen, such as butchers and bakers, received gift boxes from the “Lord of the Manor.” It is also a traditional day for fox hunting. Many hunts in the U.S. schedule Boxing Day Hunts, as this is at the beginning of mating season for fox and coyote and the runs can be terrific. The male foxes and coyotes leave their home territory seeking a mate; in the process they mark trees and shrubs, leaving a lot of scent in order to attract females. The hounds pick up the scent, “speak to the line,” and all of the hound and horseback rider activity gets the fox or coyote moving. This, in turn, leaves more scent, which excites the hounds even more and the crescendo builds to a great run. Quite often the visiting fox or coyote will circle a few times and then head to his home territory where he knows his way around. When this happens, especially with coyote, the runs can be fast enough for the hounds to lose him. But even if the scenting is particularly good, the hounds will stick with him, sometimes running out of the hunt’s territory. Although there is never a guarantee of a great hunt on any particular day, every foxhunter loves a day of riding and sport on Boxing Day. They also get to show off those new boots, flask, or bridle that they got for Christmas.

Tennessee Valley Hunt (TVH) had several coyotes afoot on their Boxing Day hunt. The children were out of school for the holiday break and were invited by Huntsman Ryan Johnsey to help with the hounds. What an exciting opportunity for the kids! The hunt took place on the Nicely Farm in Strawberry Plains, TN. The weather was sunny and cool: good for scenting.  And game was afoot! Three coyotes were viewed and another there was chased along the Holston River. 
Here are a few photos taken on Boxing Day 2018 hunts from Tennessee Valley Hunt.

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