The Duke of Beau­fort’s wolf-hunt­ing ex­pe­di­tion

Dover Tele­graph and Cinque Ports Gen­eral Ad­ver­tiser 18 April 1863

BBC History Magazine - - History Now / Backgrounder -

The aris­toc­racy have al­ways lived ec­cen­tric lives, and in 1863 the Duke of Beau­fort was no dif­fer­ent. While most rich men went to France to en­joy the fash­ion and food of Paris, the duke had a dif­fer­ent idea. He wanted to hunt wolves. How­ever, tak­ing a pack of 44 fox­hounds to Poitou turned out to be a fail­ure, for the “sim­ple and rather-to-be-ex­pected rea­son that his well-trained fox­hounds took no more no­tice of a wolf than they would of a don­key”, and re­fused to run af­ter it.

Lo­cal jour­nal­ists re­ported that 250 to 400 peo­ple had turned out on Easter Tues­day to see the English duke’s pack per­form. Af­ter hunt­ing for two hours, a wolf ’s scent was found by a com­pet­ing French pack, but the English dogs ig­nored it “and no hal­loo­ing could arouse them from their in­dif­fer­ence”. Quick to try to turn em­bar­rass­ment into suc­cess, the duke an­nounced that he was “go­ing to try what can be done in the way of ed­u­cat­ing the hounds for the new work re­quired of them”.

News story sourced from british­news­pa­per­ar­chive.co.uk and re­dis­cov­ered by

Fern Rid­dell. Fern reg­u­larly ap­pears on BBC Ra­dio 3’s Free Think­ing

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