Crispin Wilson is perhaps the only professional staff member in America who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. The 29-year-old native of Southern Maryland has worked hard to forge a career and path of his own and currently serves as kennel huntsman at Midland Foxhounds, where he arrived two years ago after whipping in at the Deep Run Hunt Club (VA) for several seasons. A man of many interests, but none more so than hunting, he's recently found himself in the truck on the way to meets listening to a lot of the Clash, Talking Heads, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash.
e-Covertside: How did you become involved with hunting?
Crispin: I became involved with hunting at about age 7 when my brother Peter and I would go out at night with our neighbors, the Trosbachs, from the next farm over, who truck hunted at night for fox. Then when Peter took the huntsman job at De La Brooke I whipped in for him chasing red and grey fox across the peninsulas of St. Mary's, Charles, and Calvert Counties in Maryland. I chose this profession when after college I simply asked myself what I enjoyed the most and the answer was simple; that combined with some gentle nudging from hunt staff buds.
e-Covertside: What are the best characteristics of the pack and the organization itself?
Crispin: This is my 2nd season with Midland. Its quite a distinctive pack. To me, two qualities that set them apart fromother packs I've seen and been a part of is their drive and intelligence. For better or for worse, they are without question the keenest bunch of hounds I've known; and when you combine near human intellect, they are truly a force to be reckoned with. Perfect for running coyote in big country, but tricky to manage.
Great characteristics of the Midland organization as a whole include the honor of carrying on Mr. Hardaway's legacy. He comes and hunts in his truck quite often. To this day I am still in disbelief that I'm able to hunt with Hardaway on a weekly basis.
It is also a fantastic group of people who come together for their love of hunting with hounds, and good company. Its a great time. As Mason says, the jubilance and explosive enthusiasm of the hounds is what sets us apart.
e-Covertside: Name three things you never hunt without.
Crispin: Live rounds, wire cutters, and a good luck charm.
e-Covertside: What makes your territory unique? What types of modifications have you made/will you make for this territory compared with your previous experiences?
Crispin: What makes this territory unique is its size and diversity. Midland's Fitzpatrick country is a coyote hunter's paradise. It has everything from cyprus swamps to open, grassy, cattle country. Besides coyote, we also see grey fox, red fox, bobcats, and the occasional hog. In this country in particular I've found that when hounds hit you really need to be prepared to cover some ground. Whether hunting them or whipping in to Mason, I've been astonished at how fast they'll leave you in the dust if you're not careful. Especially on coyote.
e-Covertside: What are your goals for the pack?
Crispin: Future goals are to keep the hounds responsive in kennels and at hound exercise. I'd also love an chance to see what this pack could do in other parts of the country, preferably west of the Mississippi.
e-Covertside: What are some of your most memorable experiences hunting?
Crispin: The most memorable experiences I've had have been as a new huntsman. January 19, 2013 was an amazing three hour run where hounds and staff were able to come together and and get it done. On my birthday at the end of October, we had a great go from the kennels and wound up with both hands full. Whipping in, there was also the day in the heavy fog when Marion Thorne brought the Genesee Valley pack down to Rutlands; it was truly a surreal day. There are too many to choose from.
e-Covertside: Do you ever speak to hounds in Chinese?
Crispin: I've never had to use Chinese to speak with hounds. I guess if any we're going to learn it it would these hounds. No, honestly I've been more tempted to direct torrents of foreign profanity at people. There was a guy at Deep Run who knew Mandarin and we'd go back and forth. It could come in handy though. As in secret communications. Or if mounted fox hunting ever took off in China I'd truly have an edge.
e-Covertside: What activites do you enjoy outside of hunting?
Crispin: Outside of hunting I love other forms of hunting, especially with dogs. The armadillos in Georgia have provided endless sport for my Jack Russell Terrier, Squid, and I. I love to fish and swim. In a past life I used to sail some on the Chesapeake. I like to read as much as my time allows. I also have two lurchers.