What keeps foxhunters marking their calendars for the first week in February year after year? Whiskey Road Foxhounds’ Hunt Week!
Located in Aiken, South Carolina, WRFH’s Hunt Week boasts some of the finest hunting in the area, with a variety of fixtures and lots of parties.
While many other southern clubs have caught the hunt week fever, somehow, Whiskey Road’s version has stood the test of time, and with good reason.
Great footing, Southern hospitality, fun hunting and enjoying the camaraderie of around a hundred fellow foxhunters has proven addictive.
Your colors are welcome! Huntsman Joseph Hardiman and Jt. MFH Barbara Nelson lead a sea of scarlet. photosbycat.ca/Catherine Davey photo.
Hunters from as far as Canada and California joined in the fun earlier this month, when the club experienced a sold-out crowd. “There’s nothing like a blizzard in the Mid-Atlantic states to swell the field during Hunt Week,” says MFH Lynn Smith, who is credited with founding Hunt Week 18 years ago. “This year we were over-subscribed and had to turn away folks. We also were privileged to add a number of new seasonal members who came down for Hunt Week and decided to stay longer and continue hunting with us.”
And come from everywhere they did: every year folks from Maryland, Virginia, New York and Kentucky are joined by others from the Midwest, North Carolina and Florida who make the trek to Aiken for hunting and partying as only foxhunters can.
Freddy Davis and her Connemara led first flight. photosbycat.ca/Catherine Davey photo.
“Meeting new people who share the same interests is one of the highlights of Hunt Week for me,” says Jt. MFH Barbara Nelson, who has been in charge of Hunt Week logistics for the past four years. “Of course watching a fine pack of hounds puzzle out the line of a coyote, and the variety and size of the coyotes in our country is also a treat.”
This year, Whiskey Road shortened the format to three days of hunting and five of parties, a decision that worked well for everyone. Barbara says that in the past, when Whiskey Road offered either a full week or half, a majority of participants chose the first half of Hunt Week… and the decision to reduce the length was an easy one. “We found that most people could get away for a long weekend more easily than a full week,” she says. “And the shorter format is easier on staff, hounds and horses as well. This is the first year Toronto and North York hounds didn’t hunt one day during Hunt Week, but their hounds and huntsman were unable to leave Canada until we were underway. With luck, they’ll be back hunting one day with us next year.”
Whiskey Road Lawyer, one of our favorite hard-hunting hounds. photosbycat.ca/Catherine Davey photo.
If Whiskey Road’s Hunt Week sounds like fun, mark your calendars and join our Facebook page to keep in touch. And when those winter winds start howling and the mud in the paddocks is pastern-deep, load your horses and come on down to enjoy some Southern Foxhunter hospitality. Y’hear?
Belles of the Ball (held the Friday of Hunt Week): Paula Jack, Chris Powers, Barbara Nelon, Victoria Jacks, Freddy Davis, Molly Springer. photosbycat.ca/Catherine Davey photo.
The season isn’t over! For more information on hunting with Whiskey Road Foxhounds and our Hunt Week, visit our website here, or contact Jt. MFH Barbara Nelson. Whiskey Road hunts Thursdays and Sundays from mid-October to the end of March, and visitors are welcome. Contact the Masters or hunt secretary for permission to hunt.