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A Thankful Potomac Hunt

Some 45 fox hunters spend time in the saddle at Gogo and Austin Kiplinger's "Montevideo."

“It was one of the best,” Anne Davies proclaimed after five hours in the saddle, following the traditional Thanksgiving Meet at Montevideo, Gogo and Austin Kiplinger’s historic Poolesville home.

The good Lord must have been listening when the Rev. Merritt Ednie of Boyds Presbyterian Church intoned, “speed for the fox,” among other blessings.

"We got our second wind after nearly two hours of hunting around Montevideo,” Anne Davies reported. Earlier, Melanie Hoffmann and Francie Dougherty, who were not astride, viewed a big red fox running through Dougherty’s back pasture. He dodged in and out among grazing horses, slowing down hound work, before streaking off, with no doubt, a sly grin.

“HE’S A good fox. He was there last year,” huntsman Larry Pitts confided. “He often runs the same route, crossing logs in Seneca Creek, running through Ray Poole’s cattle, and today, four times, through pig fences,” Pitts observed. “We hunted him one day last year and he totally reversed his route,” he marveled.

It wasn’t until early afternoon, following several loops between Montevideo and Partnership roads, that jtMFH Peter Hitchen announced to the remaining field, “for the convenience of those who need to drop out and head home for Thanksgiving dinner, we are going to swing back by Kiplingers where trailers are parked.”

But, for the die-hards, the best was yet to come.

Huntsman Pitts and whippers-in Steve Currey and Brian Hagan roaded hounds down Kiplinger’s drive and crossed River Road. “Hounds immediately picked up a scent and we ran like the wind. It was wild galloping territory,” Davies reported.

“We lost Larry and Steve at the bottom of a steep slope leading into a creek. There was a double trunk tree sticking out of the water. They jumped into the creek, leaped over the tree, landed on top of the bank and kept going,” Davies related.

MFH Hitchen, who was not yet fully recovered from an accident 10 days ago when his horse slipped and fell, thought there must be a better way to get across.

“By the time we found it they were out of sight, though we ran like hell. We followed, checked and finally caught up miles away,” Davies recalled.

Pitts related later in fuller detail. “Hounds struck behind the old Seneca school house and ran for nearly four miles to Sycamore Landing road. Finally, Steve was able to call off some of the young hounds. I had four couple of the older hounds with me. We didn’t know where anyone else was.

Pitts, who recently started carrying a cell phone for emergencies said, “I finally got a call from Anne (Davies). They were not far away, but until she called, they couldn’t find us and we didn’t know where they were. We could not hear each other.”

“We had a blast at the river,” Rainer Bosselmann later concurred when asked about the Thanksgiving hunt. He, Davies, Tom Gutierrez, Phil Snoy, (hunting his new horse), Marge Edmundson, Tom Hoffmann and daughter, Halloran; Laura Pitts who had coaxed a few lagging hounds to stay with her; the Master and the staff, Larry Pitts, Currey and Brian Hagan, were the happy hunters who brought closure to the day.

“WE WALKED hounds five miles all the way back to Kips, from the far end of the McKee-Besher hunting preserve,” a happy Davies reported. Mike Hagan, driving down River Road, picked up two hounds in his jeep. Ross Fields, who pulled up earlier, spotted several on the road and corralled them into his horse trailer.

“When we finally reached Kip’s drive, other hounds came pouring out of the woods together. It was a wonderful feeling to have them all back at once, after a great day,” Davies concluded.

Although the hunting was good, there was a degree of sadness when Hitchen earlier announced that Amelita Weller died that morning. The mother of jtMFH Vicki Crawford, Amelita seldom missed a hunt event, although she kept her two feet on the ground. Surely her wings were soaring on this day of good hunting. She would have loved it.