Nov 20, 2021 • 8M

From the archives: the scent of a fox

A fox hunt without the fox

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Mary Ann Archibald
Celebrate art, writing and more.
Episode details
Fox hunt in Burlington, Nova Scotia.

From the Archives: Scent of a fox1
So I’ve been digging into my audio archives. It’s a project that’s been on the back burner for a couple of decades. My goal is to digitize and archive these bits and pieces of work I’ve done over the year. Thanks to SubStack, I now have a place to do just that. (Thank you SubStack!) As a result, I may even be able to toss the mixed tapes, CDs and other analog and digital audio recordings that take up space and spill out of a a large, clear plastic box..

This podcast, is a recording from around the mid 90s when the late Alistar Marshall graciously hosted me for the day on a fox hunt in the Annapolis Valley. We started off on his farm in Cambridge and travel to Burlington, Nova Scotia to follow the hunt. We set up points along the long course that I could go meet the riders and record the experience of the hunt from beginning to end. I remember how clear the air was and how much intense fun everyone, including the horses and hounds had. I like to think that even a nearby fox, was able to enjoy the day too.

Notes from the radio piece2:

It was a clear, sunny autumn morning, Allister Marshall, the master huntsman of the Annapolis Valley Hunt Club, and I standing in an apple orchard. Fox hounds bark and bay and the horses load into a trailer to go meet the other riders for a full day through fields and forests along the rural area along the Bay of Fundy.

It’s a traditional fox hunt in almost every sense.

But in this hunt, the valley foxes are safe because it’s a “drag hunt” — one of their members drag a fox-scented rag, along the trail to give the dogs something to follow.

Interestingly, fox hounds hunt with their nose, not their eyes.

“So a fox could be running along the top of the rail of that fence they could see it but they’d still be looking for the scent on the ground,” Marshall says.

And off we go …


In the late 90s, I spoke with one of the founders of the Annapolis Valley Fox Hunt in the mid-90s, the late Alistar Marshall, who patiently and graciously explained the joy of galloping through fields and farmlands along the Bay of Fundy in the Annapolis Valley where the fox hunt gathers. (Circa autumn 1996)


The audio was created from a cassette tape that I recorded onto my iPad so you might hear a little of the mechanism of the tape humming.