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The Second Annual Maryland Foxhunters Dinner Club was held on Thursday, January 13, 2011 at the Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds clubhouse near Damacus, Maryland. Some 80 foxhunters representing eleven Maryland foxhunting organizations met for food, drink, camaraderie, and a discussion on fox hunting in the lovely room with two roaring fire places on a cold evening. Members from Carrollton Hounds, Elkridge-Harford Hunt, Warrington Beagles, Flint Hill Hounds, Goshen Hunt, Green Spring Valley Hounds, Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds, Marlborough Hunt, Mt. Carmel Hounds, New Market-Middletown Valley Hounds, and Potomac Hunt were all represented at the event.

Carrollton Hounds President Jason Dudderar, who organized this event and the first dinner last year, welcomed the guests and introduced the evening by stating that the purpose of this annual event would be to provide a social and educational opportunity that fosters relationships within the Maryland foxhunting community as well as to raise money for worthy causes such as the Master of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) and Maryland Association of Wildlife Conservation (MAWC).

Jason then started the evening by introducing Ed Fry, of Flint Hill Hounds and long term board member of MAWC who spoke about this important organization. MAWC has been in existence for over 30 years and is made up of Maryland foxhunting, beagle and basset clubs, and serves to promote and preserve hunting with hounds. Its purpose is to educate the community on country sports and to affect legislation that could be detrimental to our sports. For more information please view the MAWC website at www.mawc.net.

After Ed spoke, Jason introduced the featured speaker, Dr. Roger Scullin, VMD, MFH of the Howard Country – Iron Bridge Hunt (HC-IB) who spellbound all attendees from the most novice in the crowd to the most experienced in the crowd with his unique expertise and knowledge on the topic of breeding foxhounds. Dr. Scullin presented his views on how to approach breeding for a hunt’s territory and conditions. As the dinner was being held in the clubhouse adjacent to the kennels, six different HC-IB hounds were brought into the club room by Huntsman David Pickett and whipper-in Kelly Burdge. Dr. Scullin then discussed the background of the hound, hunting abilities and what the thought process was in breeding that particular hound. Dr. Scullin demonstrated the influence of Penn-Marydel, American, Old English, and even Beagles and Harrier hounds in the HC-IB pack as a result of pursuing the ideal foxhunting pack.

Dr. Scullin related that today they are looking for a hound that can run solidly for one to two hours, account for a fox (hopefully by putting it to ground) and for hounds to be there at the end. He wants hounds that love to hunt and love to hunt as part of the pack. Considerations to reach this goal included hound nose. He made some fascinating remarks on scenting and of the science of decaying scent and how different breeds of hounds approach scent conditions. He related that in going outside of HC-IB to breed, he rarely goes outside of Maryland with the idea that the scent conditions here are difficult for chasing fox and he is looking for hounds that have proven themselves in our area. Dr. Scullin stated that the one thing he looks for when he goes outside of HC-IB to breed hounds is who chose the sire and dam of the hound he is considering as a sire. The reason he gave for wanting to know who bred the hound is that every huntsman or Master of foxhounds has his or her own biases that are inherent in his selections and it is paramount to understand those biases in order to know what you are likely to get from breeding to a specific hound.

Dr. Scullin told the audience that the MFH and huntsman need to discuss what they want in a pack and to write it down on paper. By being an observer of the pack and writing down your observations, it’s easier to formulate in your mind what your goals are.

There was overwhelmingly positive feedback on the evening as a whole and on Dr. Scullin’s exceptional presentation. Many expressed hope that the event would continue to take place at least annually due to its ability to bring the Maryland foxhunting community together in such a positive environment.

For more information about upcoming Maryland Foxhunters’ Dinner Club meetings please contact Jason Dudderar at jason.dudderar@mssb.com

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