Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Day Driven Hunt

The New Year's Day driven hunt tradition at Middleton Hunt Club in Charleston County concluded with the tradition of shooting one's weapon at the end of the last drive of the season, to salute the deer of the woodlands. Before the cacophony of gunshots, a most enjoyable and productive New Year's Day hunt was conducted. The huntmaster began the day with a safety talk, and then standers loaded onto trucks to deploy into the woods. Horse drivers and a pack of dogs would begin their drive on cue, and they stirred up the woods with hollering, whip-cracking thicket-busting techniques that only deer drivers possess. The first drive of the day yielded a 6-point buck for Hamilton Boykin and two does for Donnie Buhrmaster. The second morning drive yielded a doe and a buck for Dietrich Schweers, and after closer inspection the buck had recently shed his antlers. After a filling lunch of hoppin' john and collard greens, the third drive of the day yielded three hogs with two going to Tim Ford and one to Donnie Buhrmaster, who had a grand New Year's Day hunt. After the hunt the deer were cleaned and divided into parcels of meat for the hunters that wished for some venison nourishment.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Laura Gruber likes to ride in the pick-up at MHC and so too does Bob Baldwin; deer hunters return to 'the bench' with their quarry in tow; a good meal is an important part of hunting traditions - especially on New Year's Day; deer hunters that encounter wild pigs know how to welcome them - with buckshot!!

A story about one family's recent deer hunt breakthrough at Middleton is here.
An epitaph to the story written by the Editor of the Charleston Mercury is as follows:

The Middleton Hunting Club is a grand 103 years old, and the club is honored to hunt the majestic properties of Millbrook and Middleton Plantations. These magnificent lands contain ancient mouldering rice fields, open mature woods of white oak and red oak, high lands of stately longleaf and loblolly pines with glimmering bay branches to barbor the bedded buck.

These historic woods are fairly permeated with ancestral tradition, indestructible as the ancient, moss-covered live oaks that line the roads, and the club members hold these properties dear.

Middleton deer drivers are mounted on sturdy, surefooted woods horses. These horses posses the ability to jump over fallen trees, cross water-filled canals and race alongside the pack of hounds. At hunt’s end they will gladly bear the fallen buck on their back for they are fearless; they are woods horses.

At Middleton, drivers and standers alike are equipped with long whips, which are swung for the lash to crack like a rifle shot to stop a running pack of hounds or rouse a bedded buck. All communication is with an old-fashioned blowing horn; one triumphant blow signifies that the deer is down, two blows mean the stander needs help, “Come quick!” and three long blows mean that the drive and hunt are over.

Thus has it been since the long-ago beginning of deer hunting in these ancient woods and the Middleton Hunting Club members are dedicated to keeping these traditions alive.

Therefore, thus shall it always be.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.