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River View Harriers - Bustins, Reens Pike - Sunday 28th January 2007
A bright dry and crisp late January meet at Bustins, Reens Pike kicked off with a lawn meet at Sonnie and Mary Bustins, and Mary had obviously been up early as all present were watered and fed before hounds were unboxed at 11.10 am. The first draw was a short walk from the meet, drawing double ditches at the back of Corberts. No find by 11.40 am but then Primrose (a third season Old English Foxhound bitch, her mother bred by the famous Hugh Robards) marked cold before the remainder of the pack joined in. A double bank that could have proved a deep dig, but we opted for the bolt. Once hounds were taken back and the terrier at work, our fox was quickly away, and hounds in full cry. However this was not long lived as hounds were marking to ground again in a narrow bank some five to six fields on. While waiting for the terrier man, two foxes bolted almost simultaneously, having the narrowest of escapes but hounds got off together on the first one, except Lasher who hunted the second fox away on his own. The fox being hunted by the main pack circled up towards Corberts, and back down towards Cahermoyle before going to ground, yet again.

Next draw was Cahermoyle the first two woods drawing blank, although there was a dead fox outside the first wood, not gun shot marks, probably poisoned by one of the local sheep farmers. Hounds found further on in Cahermoyle in some old woodland, but soon it was evident the pack was split. The main pack hunted left handed out of the wood and over towards the back of Ardagh village, the remainder, 5 couple or so hunted a hare in the opposite direction towards Ardagh golf club. The main pack checked at the back of a housing estate, and not having all hounds, we returned to gather all and continue to the next draw.

Next draw was the furze around the water tower between Cahermoyle and Kilcolman, usually a certain find, drew a blank as did the fort opposite at the other side of the road. Next draw was Cussens, hounds were slow to find but a few hounds opened drawing a double ditch. The fox doubled back along the ditch the hounds had just drawn, and up the hill towards where the cars and followers were parked (Christy Carrig well known on the river by many had a birds eye view) and then turned right handed, running down towards Cussens farmyard. Hounds hunted well on past the farmyard and continued on through the bogs at the back of the farmyard before temporarily checking. Bugler, a black and tan harrier, however spoke to the right of the check and soon all hounds were on again, and hunted through the lower part of Ardagh golf club. Upon exiting the golf club hounds hunted up hill towards the fort in which we earlier drew a blank. The fox briefly lay up here, but soon crossed the road, continued towards the forestry plantation at the top of the next hill and then turned back down towards the road, heading for the Fort behind Francis Woulfes farmyard. We were certain he was going to go in. However Francis had his greyhounds loose around the farmyard and hounds hunted by the fort, crossed the road again and hunted back towards Cussens and checked in a field where cattle were outwintered. Christy Carrig and John Flaherty saw the fox going on and into the golf club again, that being only three or four fields from where the hounds checked. It being 4.30 pm at that stage, we decided to call it a day, as we were missing Lasher, a tri colour harrier and we were a long way from the meet.

By 6.00 pm we still had not found Lasher but had another problem. Lincoln, a full brother to Lasher had been put into the van earlier in the day as he was off form, staggering and trembling. We suspected the possibility of he having picked up poison from one of the sheep farms we hunted over earlier. Once back at the kennel, we dosed him with washing soda in the attempt that he would throw up what he had ingested. He appeared to be making a recovery, but to give him every possible chance it was off to the veterinary surgery at 7.30 pm. Unfortunately the vet did not have the same prognosis, his day had come and Raymond the vet advised that he be put to sleep. On the way to the vet, I got a call that Lasher was around Bustins house where we met but he would not come to Sonnie. After leaving the surgery, it was back down to Bustins, but Eddie Harte had just picked up Lasher and had him in his jeep. Amazing the way apparently friendly hounds just won’t come to strangers, and more so when it gets dark. Eventually at 9.45 with Lasher back in the Kennel it was time for a shower and some food for me. A typical twelve hour day devoted to hounds and hunting, all in an amateur sport with professional enthusiasm.

Submitted or last changed: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 ; 12:41

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