As Hurricane Irma tracked up the length of Florida and into the southeast, many of our hunts were impacted by the wind and flooding that accompanied the storm. Fortunately, staff and supporters across several states prepared ahead of time to reinforce kennels, stockpile supplies, and coordinate cleanup efforts.
All horses, hounds, and humans remained safe, with varying amounts of cleanup and minor property damage to assess. In Martin County, FL, Four Winds Foxhounds joint Master John Stanley reported, "Irma definitely delayed the start of our hunting season. Horses and hounds are doing well. Our kennels and barns fared well in the storm due to a major rebuild we did after hurricanes Frances and Jeanne. The care of the animals is difficult due to lack of power, high water levels and shortage of fuel. High water levels have displaced a lot of wildlife. We have been working tirelessly moving cattle to high ground and checking fence lines. We are grateful it wasn't any worse and we should be back up running in a couple of weeks."
From South Creek Foxhounds (kennels in Dade City, FL), Sarah Fox Sears said: "The kennel is made to withstand tough weather, so the hounds made it through Irma perfectly. No electricity still puts a damper on everyday life there, but we are blessed to only be worried with branches and clean up. The horses were moved out to open pastures or concrete barns. They all did great. Mostly picking up debris and drying out and we will be ready to start the season."