Master’s Report November 2018

Dear ORH Member,

     You showed the William Woods University girls and two professors a good time. The bear helped but they rode in the rain Friday like troopers. Sunday, beautiful, gave us scent but it wouldn’t hold except for the bear.

     As you know, it is deer season which restricts our use of territory. With the exception of Cherry Hill, every fixture now hosts a deer hunting club or hunting parties. I remind you they pay the landowner. We do not.

     Sara, Bob, Pam cleared trails at Cherry Hill and Bob, James, Sara, Kathleen, Chris, Mark, Ed, Susan, and Pam at Oak Ridge. The Hollands allow us to use that Sunday for Opening Hunt and give us the use of the Carriage House at no cost. This is a large gift indeed and we are now on our 26th year of same.

     Oak Ridge hosts weddings throughout the year. Usually these take place over a weekend. An activity was planned for Nov. 4, Sunday but the Hollands gave us Nov. 11th. In effect they surrender a payday for us. Given the world in which we live, this is extraordinary.

     The Waynesboro Symphony proved a smashing success, another triumph for Mark Catron and Anne Seaton. I will let them tell you what happened after the concert. Quite wonderful.

     Thanks to Andy Lynn, ex-MFH of Keswick, Stephanie Gill, professional whipper-in and Heather Player, professional whipper-in and huntsman, we had enough horses for the WWU girls. Thanks also to Heather and Stephanie whom I asked to ride those days to help in the field if needs be. Only one horse and rider went down and that was due to slippery red clay. No injuries.

     Per usual, I check with other masters and huntsmen. Those of us in Virginia and Maryland are having similar seasons. Those chasing coyote are getting more scent than those of us chasing foxes. Pennsylvania is doing a bit better but it’s been wet there, too. South of us, well, the damage is terrible but they’ll pull through. Much as we all love foxhunting there are people without homes. Kentucky is doing ok and Nevada is the usual “Yahoo”.

     The bridge floods. The boys get back to work. The last flood didn’t tear it up but it was out of commission for two days. I await another quote on labor but I am not hopeful.

Given all the problems with communication, if there is hard rain assume the bridge is out and use the back entrance to TTF off Rt. 611.

     Having been hermetically sealed in the recording studio with two dub days to go, I don’t know much about outside events. This is a good thing. I will, however, trundle to the polls on Nov. 6, and hope you do, too.

Up and Over,

RMB

The Difference Between a Subscription and a Private Pack

     Some time ago I said I would explain this as I don’t think many of you know the details.

     A subscription pack elects its master or masters on May 1st. A Board of Governors is also elected at this time and Committee Chairs may also be elected. A Committee Chair does not automatically sit on the Board of Governors. Each subscription pack figures that out for itself. The huntsman is not elected. Staff hires or assignments are the province of the masters.

     When a subscription pack works, a great deal is accomplished as the workload is spread. Also, dues are usually higher and canvassed. That, too, is a big help.

     The problems arise when all these different committees, people on the board, engage in in-fighting which sometimes happens. Then uproar ensues, even club splits and generally a few people march out at a high decibel level no matter what. They may well be right but it creates chaos. Sometimes it takes years to recover from these tempests.

     A private pack is exactly that: private. It is usually owned by one person or a few people. Oak Ridge is private as is Red Rock and I think Stonewall is, too. Lynne Beegle Gebhard calls it a benign dictatorship. Membership is freed from politics to enjoy hunting and one another’s company. The workload falls on the master or masters’ shoulders. However, they may do ask for labor assistance and sometimes financial Assistance. The dues are usually lower, often much lower, at a private pack.

     Think of this as an inexact parallel but a subscription pack is a C corporation for profit while a private pack is more like a non-profit structure.

     This doesn’t mean there can’t be in-fighting at a private pack. People being people disagreements occur but the frothing is usually at a lower temperature. One can be dismissed from a subscription pack usually by a Board of Governor’s meeting. One is dismissed by a private pack with a subtle or not-so-subtle “Hit the Bricks”.

     When the weather is good and the hunting good, fewer dramas arise no matter where you hunt. Eventually people realize no master or huntsman can control the weather. It all evens out.

     Being a private pack you all can enjoy the hunting, one another, the beauty of central Virginia with few distractions. The last few days remind each of us how beautiful central Virginia can be as well as how variable the weather.

Weather

     Years past I made the call concerning hunting three hours before the first cast. As more people from farther away joined this was pushed back to four hours. My accuracy impressed even me.

     Given members at even greater distances, I now make the call the night before. This creates more mistakes because the Weather Channel makes mistakes. Our weather system by the mountains changes rapidly. You all have looked at the radar, clear, get here and it’s anything but.

     As stated at the beginning of cubbing, I will go in a soft to medium rain, light winds. I won’t go in a downpour or high winds, given the moisture in the earth, the small root balls of pine trees, high winds can create havoc. Each time winds pop up over even 20mph pines come down. The next day John and Toot clear the roads. We often can’t check the trails for days. The roads come first and we have many trails here, Mr. Campbell’s, Jim Klemic’s and Foxden.

     You all may not realize how much work there is to do or for this year how distressingly consistent.

     Please don’t bug Lynn Stevenson about when and where. The call will be made the night before a hunt. When you have your fixture card, the call will be made the night before a hunt.

     Given how odd this year has been I expect to wake up and find unannounced either snow or forsythia blooming.

     Onward

College Signs

     About twenty interior jumps remain to be adopted. Lafayette College and Florida State University came on board. It’s easier if we can get these painted in ten or more at a time.

Be sure to tell me what color you want as the background. Cost: $100. And it is your jump forever.

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