Something that I don't talk much about in my blog posts is my husband's hobby/sport. If you've spent your entire life in a city, like I did, you may not even realize that things like this exist. And yet, they do. When I first met my husband, and subsequently moved to the sticks, I discovered a whole different world than the one I grew up in. That much, you already know.
Until recently (and I've lived hare about ten years now), I still thought that his chosen pastime was a local or regional thing, but it isn't. If you look in the rural areas in your own region, you might just be surprised to find that it exists there as well, as surprised as I was, in fact, to recently learn that there are groups dedicated to this kind of activity very close to where I was born and raised.
My husband hunts......pretty much anything that moves. When I first met him, his main interest was fox hunting. (and no, to all you out there who are horrified, they do NOT actually kill the fox) although in the modern era, fox hunting is generally equivalent to coyote hunting. The main point of it is to have a dog that can hunt and trail, identify his quarry, and corner it for his master. Lately, however, his tastes have veered toward Coon Hunting (yes, that means 'raccoon' to all you city folk). The main differences between the two are:
1. fox hunting is a day time sport, coon hunting is at night
2. with fox hunting, you run a pack of dogs, the more, the better. With coon hunting, its usually just one per hunter.
The major differences end there. There are other slight differences, such as the breed of dog, etc., but there are many similarities as well. For example; with both sports, you can hunt individually, or as a group. Group hunts are often in competition form. And, as with any dog-related competition, there is always a 'show'. A bench show for hunting dogs is not like the fancy dog shows you see on TV, and often (but not necessarily) being called a 'show dog' in hunting circles is not a compliment. But, I've also found that that depends on whether or not you have a dog pretty enough to show. Mainly, at group hunts, the bench show looks for the composition of the dog, his composure on the bench, how well the dog 'stands', and how well the handler keeps the dog on the table and in his stance, etc. The hubs had a group hunt Saturday night, and, of course, there was a bench show. However, this show was strictly for the youth hunters. Now, Ty is not a hunter....yet. But he does want to be just like his Daddy, and the club that Matt hunts with is a very strong proponent for youth hunting. This time Ty got to show his first dog. Daddy took his pride and joy, Chevy (formally known as Leach's Hot Rod Chevy) who isn't just a pretty dog, but a darn good hound, too. Ty had never shown a dog before, so this was his learning experience....for which he took second place. Don't get me wrong, he didn't have much competition this time, which was a big part of why we took him. It gave him an opportunity to learn from the club, and win a prize, which made his just proud as a peacock, and now he can't wait until next month's bench show, where he'll surely do a better job of handling Chevy, and maybe get another plaque, just like this one.