Beaver Meadow Foxhounds

Beaver Meadow Foxhounds – History

Beaver Meadow Foxhounds is a small, but very active, hunt in the central area of Southern Ontario. Fabulous territory is part of its landscape with beautiful rolling sandy hills in the south, clay farmlands with plenty of coverts in the middle, and rugged, rocky forest territories in the north, which is part of our famous Canadian Shield.  Fox, and coyote are the basic hunting quarry and are plentiful throughout the area.

Early Years

Beaver Meadow Foxhounds became a registered hunt in 1992, Joanne Bird and Olga Chernuck being the Hunt’s first Masters. The huntsman was Paul Burnett and the kennels were in Harwood at the farm of Randy and Joanne Bird. In 1998, Gayle Killoran became a Joint Master and in 1999 Guy Cooper from Wales was hired as the professional huntsman. The kennel was moved to his farm near Campbellford and remained there until Guy and his family moved to Georgia to take the job of huntsman for Bear Creek Hounds in 2001. Masters of Foxhounds recognized Beaver Meadow Foxhounds in the year 2000. Jamie Hughes was appointed Joint Master in 2001 with Kelly Kock assuming the huntsman’s duties and the kennels moving to her farm for the following two years.  In 2003 hounds moved to their current location at Reviresco farm in Warkworth, Ontario. Tarina McLennan hunted hounds from 2004 to 2008.

Present Day

Since 1998 a Board of Directors, with a new constitution, has assisted Masters in the function of the hunt and an Annual General Meeting is held each spring of the year for the membership’s input. Board meetings are held every second Thursday of the month at the homes of the Directors.

The small pack of 12-14 couple is predominantly crossbred with some full English and American/Penn-Marydel with an ongoing breeding programme. Throughout the year’s important drafts, Old Dominion Parsnip and Beaver Meadow Carnage have improved the pack. Offspring of these two fine bitches and those of our homebred Beaver Meadow Lily make up the bulk of the pack. The goal is to produce mid-size, biddable hounds with good voice that can be easily heard and followed in our diverse country.

The fixture card is always full, not only with hunt related activities, but also many social gatherings throughout the year.  Beaver Meadow is noted for its warm hospitality and is most famous for its great outlay of stirrup cups.  Beverages, food and decorations are plentiful each fixture with many tall tales being relived after the hunt into the late hours of the afternoon.  

Very important to the club is its great association with neighbouring hunts throughout North America.  Regular joint meets are held with Limestone Creek (New York),Wellington-Waterloo (Ontario), and Toronto North York, (Ontario).  Members are in regular attendance at the Ontario Festival of Hunting and the Quebec Festival of Hunting held bi-annually and many take a trip in late November to Virginia to guest hunt with hunts that are just starting their formal season in the south.  

Beaver Meadow endeavours to keep its members active throughout the year with a variety of activities.  Trail rides take place in the summer to encourage a variety of horse enthusiasts out as well as give hunt members the opportunity to expose young horses to riding in a group.  A hunter pace is held annually. Many eventers bring their mounts out for continued conditioning, fine-tuning or just the opportunity to stretch their legs.  The Masters’ race is of course a race over fences in our hunt country by any persons who wish to take the challenge.  Similar in respect to a point-to-point (more popular with our southern friends) the Masters’ race includes following our huntsman over a specific section of the course and then the field is off and it is a mad scramble to the finish. Not for the faint-of-heart indeed, and is truly a great spectator thriller for our club.

Evidence of our events throughout the year are recorded below by a variety of our hunting members-

Members perspective FROM THE HUNT FIELD by sponsor Greg McEwan

 This is it. This is it EXACTLY!

Chests heaving, heavily pulling in burning-cold autumn air …bolting headlong across a harvested hayfield …” “Ware Hole!” …Searching frantically for danger and treacherous footing through tearing, slatted eyes…pass through the gap…hard left onto the gravel road …full out to the corner …rocking rhythmically, tuned to and in-sync with a mass of raw harnessed energy…”Hold Hard!” …an adrenaline rush, building, building, climaxing, then a trembling crash as we hold up.

The music rising from the covert on the left is all at once exhilarating and frustrating -the source just beyond reach. The thicket is dense and impenetrable. Ah, not so! There’s a flash, black and tan, and another, red this time, appearing and disappearing in the wink of an eye. Listen! There’s a squeal! There’s a howl! There’s a yelp!

What the devil have they caught?

I cast a furtive glance around at my fellow riders, all friends, all of a like mind, all drawn to the excitement, all engrossed.

Later, hacking back along the road, our horses spent, our flasks lightened, our hunt lust slaked for the moment, we are content with the excitement of the day.

“Ware Motor” -from somewhere behind. As it slowly passes the driver and his companion are all smiles and awe, momentarily drawn into our world.

What a unique spectacle we present. We are tuned into centuries of tradition as displayed by our turn-out. Passersby seem to delight in this. We’re not just horse-back riders. It’s like an officer in a scarlet tunic is a “Mountie” not just a cop. And, like the RCMP we have an esprit de corps based upon our traditions.

As I’m riding home I’m saying to myself, ‘This is it. This is it EXACTLY!’ I’m remembering a question that was posed several months before on a blustery February afternoon in a small meeting hall in Keene. It was during our AGM.

The question was, “When you are happy hunting, what are you doing?” It was one of a number of questions on a questionnaire presented by Master Hughes designed to help us understand the desires and get a finger on the pulse of the membership of this club. The answers once compiled became the foundation upon which our new long-term plan has been built.

Those who attended the meeting not only had a good time but also had the opportunity to influence the direction of our club in a very meaningful way. Decisions about everything, from what we want to look like, how we want to act, how we want to be perceived, how many hounds we keep, how we take care of them, who needs training and from where is it going to come, were put in motion based upon the responses of the participants.