Grandfather Miller’s Fox Hunt

Grandfather loved to hunt in his earlier years and many were the stories that he could tell about his hunting ventures. One story that I remember him telling was the time he went fox hunting.

After trudging through the woods for some time his dog finally picked up scent. The baying of the hound was music to Grandpa’s ears. He stood quite still as he listened to the melody of the hound gleefully giving rise to the instinct of his kind. Unlike his ancestors, hunger had nothing to do with the chase, but rather the excitement of the chase itself.

Grandpa listened intently as the feverish pitch of the bawling hound slowly faded in the distance. The dog meticulously picked his way through the underbrush and disappeared over the distant hills. Grandpa smiled to himself as he heard the canine’s voice fade. “Got to be a fox the way he’s heading away.”

Judging approximately where the fox would choose to pass by on his circuitous route to evade his pursuer, and knowing that it would take a while Grandpa found a place to relax where he could clearly see the activity of the chase. For a long time he listened to the chipping of the chipmunks and an occasional blue jay scolding at something in the distance. The gentle breeze carried the sound of conversation from a couple of crows as they made their way over the distant horizon. Suddenly in the distance he heard the faint sound of a dog barking.

Eagerly he strained into the wind to hear the melodrama. Slowly, ever so slowly, the baying of the dog drew closer. Suddenly he saw motion off to his side. Hardly daring to breathe he cautiously turned his head and saw a fox ambling warily along stopping every few minutes to listen to the dog in the distance. Grandpa’s adrenalin pumped overtime as he watched the fox’s antics.

The fox walked over to a tree that had blown over and with a deliberate effort climbed on it and made his way to the far end which was quite a good distance from the ground. He lifted his nose into the wind and keenly surveyed the countryside from his elevated position. Suddenly with a flying leap he hurled his body out into space clearing the many branches and landed on the ground a good distance away from the tree. Not missing a beat he ran merrily, seemingly unconcerned about the villain that was chasing him.

Grandpa watched as the dog, hot on the tracks of the fox, ran up to the windblown tree and barked treed. Grandpa was quite amused as the dog ran all around that tree bawling his head off. He never ran out quite far enough to catch the scent of the now long gone fox. Grandpa felt quite fortunate to be able to witness such a spectacle.

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