A Horn for Hunting
Earlier this summer visitors from South Carolina spent a fun morning hunting with me and the Woodpont pack. A question asked was about the horn I use to call hounds back after a run. The horn I use is the same as those used by formal packs of foxhounds, harriers, beagles, and bassets in the U.S. and Great Britain.
My horn is the simple "Beaufort" style made by the Henry Keat company in England. I have used this same horn nearly 30 years, having bought it to replace a previous horn lost while gun hunting in Iowa's weed fields. They are mostly indestructible, but can be dented if dropped, although I understand the Keat company can repair most dents. Several times I have dropped my horn unknowingly and later noticed it was missing, but luckily was able to retrace my steps and find it. This model is about 9 inches long, so will fit into a deep front pants pocket. They are made from copper with a nickel mouthpiece, and the mouthpiece end is slightly heavier which I have found helps somewhat to keep it from falling from your pocket. Keat sells the Beaufort horn for about $150, depending on the exchange rate between dollar and British pound, and they have a website for online purchases. There are various other styles available, differing in size of the opening and metal used. Antique horns from years past are much sought after as collector's items.
On YouTube, you can find videos of huntsman demonstrating all the various calls made with these horns to notify hounds and others hunting (the field) when different things are happening. There are horn blowing contests associated with horse shows and hound shows. For my purposes, I keep my horn calls really simple - just short toots when I am changing direction and want the hounds to know, and long blasts to call them back from distances after a run has ended. It is surprising how well the hounds respond, and will come running from great distances, often from much farther than a human voice would carry. I have found my horn to be a tremendously useful tool in hunting my pack of hounds.
Hunting, Coach and Tandem Horns
SO21 3 RA