In Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas, and Georgia, there has always been more or less unorganized fox-hunting by farmers and others in the winter months; so that the roll of the American hunt clubs with recognized titles and regular meets is by no means a complete index of the foxhunting done in the United States. In Kentucky, too, fox-hunting is a sport as familiar as one would expect it to be in a State first settled by sportsmen, and always famous for its horses. But fox-hunting there seems to be an occasional recreation, the feature of a holiday, or taken up when the spirit prompts. There are good hounds in Kentucky, some of them of high degree and long descent. It seems not to be difficult to get together a pack, and horses are always abundant and fit in the blue-grass region. One reads of notable fox-hunting by large parties assembled for the purpose as early as August, and of ten-mile runs, over fence and wall, through underbrush and whatever intervenes, with large fields, and many mounted ladies in the following. But of organized clubs keeping hounds and hunting on stated days, there is no report. Among the best-known Virginia packs is the Deep Run hounds of Richmond, which go out twice a week in the season. At Warrenton, in northern Virginia, in a horse-raising district, the Warrenton Hunt Club hunts twice a week, under the mastership of Mr. James K. Maddux. There is a sprinkling of English settlers near Warrenton; and the hunt is popular with them as well as with the other farmers, who train their horses in its runs. Sad to say, the country about Warrenton is un-suited to the pursuit of foxes, and it is only occasionally that they are hunted.
The Swannanoa Hunt Club of Ashe-ville, N.C., affords sport to Asheville's winter visitors. It has a pretty club-house. The local foxes about Asheville know the resources of the country too well to afford adequate sport; but by importing stranger foxes, and turning them loose, the club gets very good runs.
Still farther south, at Aiken, S.C., Mr. Hitchcock's hounds help make life pleasant to refugees from a Northern winter. In his Northern home, near Westbury, Long Island, Mr. Hitchcock is one of the pillars of sport in the Meadowbrook Club. His hunting at Aiken is different from most other American fox-hunting. The country is rough, the woodland extensive, and the hounds are less under the huntsman's eye, and more on their own responsibility, than in the Northern hunting. After thorough experiment, Mr. Hitchcock has found the American hound better adapted to his use than English hounds, and has now a strong pack of modern American fox-hounds, about thirty couple, which he hunts all winter. His pack meets from December to May, three times a week at daylight, and goes out with fifteen or twenty riders in the field. The fences about Aiken are rail-fences when there are any, but much of the country is not enclosed.
Cross Country in the Genesee Valley. The Genesee Hunt Club.
Except for the somewhat nebulous Aga-wam Hunt Club of Narragansett, the sole hunting stronghold of New England seems to be the seat of the Myopia Club, started in 1882 at Hamilton, some twenty miles north of Boston. It has a farm sparsely planted with golf-holes, and a comfortable club-house, which is the home of some of the members in the summer months, and is a centre of activities all summer long for golf enthusiasts and polo-players. The Myopias have tried fox-hunting, but found it impracticable, or at least too inconvenient, and have fallen back on drag-hunting as better suited for their circumstances. Their hunting begins early in September, and lasts three months. They have about twenty-five couple of hounds of British descent, which meet three times a week, and scour the country for twenty miles around. Their fields vary from fifteen to twenty-five riders. Their country is a country of stone walls three feet high and upward; and the obstacles being reasonably low, their runs are tolerably fast. Most of the Myopia huntermen are sons of toil, doing business in Boston, and they adjust their sport to the more imperative demands of their more serious occupations.
In the Genesee Valley, in Livingston County, New York, there has been an organized hunt for nearly twenty years, the fame of which is exuberant among; hunting Americans. Its headquarters are at Gene-seo, the county town of Livingston County, and the home of Mr. W. A. Wadsworth, M. F. H. Mr. Wadsworth and other members of his family, and other families, are owners of large landed estates in the Genesee Valley, and actually live, for most of the year, on or near their land. This makes the conditions of existence in the neighborhood of Geneseo different from those that ordinarily obtain in American farming country, which, as a rule, in the North at least, is owned in small lots by the actual cultivators of the soil. The Genesee Valley hunting is an indigenous growth, begun for the amusement of residents of the valley, conducted from the time of its organization at the cost and under the direction of the present M. F. H. The club has an organization, but its dues are nominal and it has no club-house. Mr. Wadsworth keeps up the pack, and mounts and pays the huntsmen and whips. Such reputation as the hunt enjoys is due first to him and to the durable and rational quality of his devotion to sport. The hunt finds other good backers in the farmers of the valley, in the owners of country places who spend a large part of the year there, and in earnest sportsmen from Buffalo, Batavia, Rochester, New York, Chicago, and other places, who hunt regularly once or twice a week in the season. It also attracts visitors, who come in increasing numbers to get a taste of the quality of its entertainment. The hunting country is a strip of farm and woodland, twenty miles long or thereabouts, and from four to eight miles wide, through which flows the Genesee River. The country is beautiful; the enclosures are large; the fencing includes almost all varieties of rail, board, and picket fences. Horse-raising is one of the industries of the district, and the huntermen are well mounted. The hounds of the Genesee Valley Hunt hunt wild foxes three times a week from the latter part of September until it gets too cold, which usually happens about Christmas, Some drag-hunting was done last fall with a small pack set apart for that purpose; but drag-hunting is regarded in Geneseo as a subsidiary sport, to be winked at and endured in the present state of human weakness, but hardly to be countenanced, much less encouraged. Mr. Wadsworth's hounds are either imported or of English stock, and from twenty to thirty couple of them are always ready for work. The field of riders varies from twenty to fifty; and, though the numbers dwindle somewhat as the season advances, the hounds have a strong following as long as the hunting lasts. The country is too extensive to admit of earth-stopping, and the foxes usually get away, though eight or ten are killed every year; hut the hounds usually find, good runs are the rule, and notable runs are common.