Greg Thompson is a man who is not afraid to try new things. He took up surfing last year, just a few years after he began hunting professionally. Thompson grew up riding ponies and working with coon hounds and beagles, but was too much of a cowboy to want to try foxhunting. In spite of the fact that his grandfather, Bob Thompson, hunted with Cheshire in Pennsylvania, Greg didn’t actually participate in a fox hunt until 2010. Now hunting encompasses his world and he is a 2012 graduate of the MFHA Professional Development Program and currently in his fourth season hunting the hounds of Wicomico Hunt on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
e-Covertside: How did you become involved with hunting?
Greg: My grandfather used to hunt with several local hunts in Pennsylvania, as well as having his own hounds. I grew up with coon hounds and beagles of my own, so I have always had an interest in hunting with hounds and dogs. My wife's family has been involved with this hunt for years and that's how I got here.
e-Covertside: What are the best characteristics of the pack?
Greg: I would say these hounds’ best characteristics are their ability to hunt slow and steady in poor conditions, but when it's good, they can really run well together.
e-Covertside: What are the best characteristics of the organization?
Greg: I have a lot of freedom here with the breeding and drafting of hounds. It may not be a large organization, but there is a good group of people out there hunting, many of whom have been doing it for twenty years or more.
e-Covertside: Name three things you never hunt without.
Greg: My leatherman, hunting whip, and a hound list.
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?
Greg: This country is unique for Maryland. It is a lot more like the country they have down south, with big thick pine forests, big swamps, and a lot of ditches. We don’t have many small coverts that are easy to navigate, and you can't expect to be right with hounds all the time. It helps to have a good thoroughbred horse that can easily run around the outside of our big coverts all day long. I use GPS collars, and have learned it is usually quicker to go around rather than try and bushwhack through miles of green briars. The footing is good though, and we don’t get as much snow and ice as our neighbors in western Maryland.
e-Covertside: What are your goals for the pack?
Greg: I would like to breed a hound that I feel is best suited for this country and open enough territory to hunt them the way I want.
e-Covertside: Any memorable experiences you’d like to share?
Greg: I enjoyed being able to hunt with Tony Leahy down in Georgia and have dinner with Mr. Ben Hardaway as part of the MFHA’s Professional Development Program.
e-Covertside: Do you have hobbies/interests outside of hunting?
Greg: Besides any form of hunting, I just got a new rope horse and hope to do some team roping this summer. I also started surfing last year. There's a drive on beach nearby where you can get away from the crowds. It's a good way too cool off and get some exercise when it's hot. My brother in law and some local guys I've become friends with talked me into trying it. Now I've got my own board.