Old Chatham Hunt (Old Chatham, NY) October 24, 2015, heavy frost.

It was epic.

After last Wednesday’s blank day–the first since the early cub hunting season–hounds were cast south from meet at Good Hope Farm. On the ridge above the state highway hounds worked a line, little packets of scent here and there, huntsman, Thomas, took hounds west then back east, south, they worked diligently, if very slowly.

On the dirt road to the west the best lead hounds streamed down the steep slope and crossed, still working westward, a voice here and there, up the next slope and over the hayfield, speaking more steadily running south now in the next woody swamp along dirt road turning again to the west. Those hounds crossed, picking up more steam in swamp to the south of heifer pastures east of county road. Tommy, having brought up remaining pack recast hounds and in full cry swung northeast, swinging west and then south through woods and into large scrubby heifer pasture where they swung east.

Large, stunningly dark coyote was viewed by all fields–a real treat for them. Quarry ran east across both dirt roads to the original ridge from the first draw where hounds were called in, a cast to the north yielded nothing and Tommy turned them to the south. They picked up running through corn to the state highway, continuing across where the coyote circled in area hemmed in by the blacktop roads and the Kinderhook Creek. After some maneuvering coyote crossed creek and hounds followed, worked their way up the tall banks, heading south, pilot leading them across another county road to area of the old Berry Orchard.

Our very helpful car whips took over for a time as the riders worked to get over or through the creek and into position. Pilot and hounds swept up through old orchard and were headed back to creek where Tommy (who had the misfortune to ride into a sinkhole along the creek and managed to extricate himself and horse) called in hounds. All on but 3 left behind mid run. A grand time.

Quick reading of tracking collars had Nuclear going more than 17 miles. I rode over 19. Wonderful breakfast afterwards where staff straggled in from far reaches of country.