Photo by Zina Balash
Arapahoe Hunt’s November 2012 Rendezvous Week featured five days of fast-paced hunting on the rolling hills of the high-desert plateau just outside of Denver, Colorado. The Arapahoe’s country is wide-open except for two river bottoms which hold cottonwoods, and a plethora of ravines ranging from the mild to the mildly terrifying, if taken at speed. Similarly, the quarry—coyote—enjoys putting in fast paced runs, which adds to the thrill of the chase, especially with the possibility of snow in the mid-November Mile High City.
Hunters and hounds from Juan Tomas (NM) and the Grand Canyon Hunt (AZ) gathered outside of Denver, Colorado to partake in the long and blistering runs for which this country is so famous.
Along with the three packs participating, hunters gathered from Caza Ladron (NM), Ft. Carson (CO); Bijou Springs (CO); Eglington and Caledon (Ontario, Canada) and two travelers from across the pond, Harry Humble from Percy Hunt and Marc Hunter from College Valley and North Northumberland Hunt both in the UK. Overall, more than 80 people participated in the capstone day, Saturday, when the three packs hunted together.
Grand Canyon’s Huntsman Peter Wilson gave it a go with Peter Delaney’s hounds on the first day of the joint meet and provided an exceptional day of hunting, accounting for two coyotes in less than 45 minutes of hunting their pack of American, Penn-Marydel and Crossbred hounds. Peter explains, “I like hounds that can hunt the vast, dry country we have and Mr. Delaney has allowed me to experiment with some atypical breedings, as we find what works best for our country.” He explained that they started with purebred American and Penn-Marydel hounds when the hunt was formed some ten years ago, but now they have developed a few Crossbreds that are really hunting well. It’s a fun experiment for them to see what works in their high, arid desert.
The second day, Huntsman and Master Adren Nance from Juan Tomas in New Mexico, put in a long day trying to raise the bar set the day before and hounds stayed out long past the time that many of the followers had energy to keep up with them. A coyote crossed the driveway in front of hounds as they were stopped and finally given leave to return to the kennels, so they literally hunted all the way home after even more than a solid three hours in the saddle and a hunt which went from one corner of the 35,000-acre hunt country to the opposite corner, and back again, and in a corkscrew and zig-zag fashion as many coyotes were started.
The third day is was Arapahoe’s turn as Huntsman, Dr. Marvin Beeman, MFH, took its pack of English hounds for a whirlwind tour of the territory as well, followed by the day that all of the followers look forward to the most—the day when the three packs are combined for a day of hunting.
The fourth day, the field of nearly 100 riders gathered to watch some 34 ½ couple comprised of some from each of the three packs gather on the lawn in front of the kennels to be briefly introduced to one another for a bit of stern smelling , before they were led off and put into cover together as one pack.
Viewing of the quarry can be fantastic and thrilling in this wide-open country, as it was this day. Hounds covered 25 miles as they ran, starting coyotes which were viewed on at least three occasions.
The weekend rolled on with the annual Huntsman’s Dinner and auction on Saturday evening following the combined pack hunt, which is chaired by Vivian Jenner and which raised $26,975 for the hounds of the Arapahoe. This event has become the largest fundraising event of the year, as wearied hunters dined at the University Club in downtown Denver and bid away on everything from live auction trips, to silent auction items of everything from paintings to used paddock boots. For those not wearied, the weekend rolled on with a regular hunt of the Arapahoe Hounds on Sunday morn, just a few hours after the music had ended.