Ready for the chase
Mock fox hunting event taking place on P.E.I. this weekend, partially in Prince County
Jeannie MacLean is going to relive a piece of her childhood this weekend.
Maclean, of North St. Eleanors, is going fox hunting – sort of.
These days the ‘hunt’ doesn’t actually include any living prey. Instead, it’s more about recreating the tradition of the English-style fox hunt, in all its pageantry and excitement, without the controversial practice of hunting live foxes. Growing up in Manitoba, MacLean participated in a fox hunting club but hasn’t done so in the years since she came to P.E.I.
However, she recently discovered the sport is active on P.E.I. when Pat Uptegrove, of the Emerald Island Hunt Club, contacted her. Uptegrove and her group have partnered with the Annapolis Valley Hunt Club in Nova Scotia for the past several years to hold an annual event in P.E.I. Uptegrove asked MacLean if she was interested in hosting part of this year’s hunt and MacLean jumped at the chance.
“It’s the excitement of it,” said MacLean.
“It’s a lot of fun and it’s a great social thing to get together with friends, and meet new friends.” Uptegrove said she wanted to approach someone on this side of the Island because she’s been getting inquiries from people here interested in the sport. “We’ve found there are quite a number of riders up in Prince County who have heard of us and wanted to know how they could join in,” she said.
The two clubs are joining together Friday and holding an exercise on a property near Kensington.
Saturday is their main hunt event, which is held on Uptegrove’s Hummingbird Hill farm, near Montague. It will involve all the same trappings and rules of a traditional British hunt, but instead of chasing a live animal the hounds will follow artificial scent markers left by a drag-line from a horse or ATV. This process will be repeated several times throughout the day. Then on Sunday they’ll be coming to the Southwest Lot 16 area to explore some new territory. This event will not involve the laying of any artificial scent, so instead of chasing something specific, the foxhounds will be allowed to follow whatever scents they happen to find.
There is no danger to wildlife as the hounds are not trained to kill what they track, said Uptegrove.
Exploring new territory is always an exiting opportunity, she added, for the riders and their animals.
“It’s the thrill, and the challenge,” she said.
Anyone interested in learning about fox hunting on P.E.I. can contact Uptegrove at email@example.com.
Jeannie MacLean, of North St. Eleanors, and her horse Billy-Joe will be participating in an English-style fox hunt and associated events here on P.E.I. this weekend. A scent marker is used instead of a live fox for the event.
Emerald Island Hunt Club of P.E.I. and the Annapolis Valley Hunt Club of Nova Scotia have been joining together for an annual fox hunt on P.E.I. for a number of years.