Hunt sniffs out new hounds

The Bloodhound Drag Hunt

The Bloodhound Drag Hunt

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The island’s Bloodhound Drag Hunt is back on the scent.

Founded in 1974, the Hunt has had bloodhounds here in the island right up until a few seasons ago.

‘For one reason or another it became difficult to keep them. There is a lot of work involved in keeping, feeding and exercising them and they are not house pets!’ said the Hunt’s Sammy Leahy.

Now the bloodhounds are back after landowners Simon and Caroline Riggall agreed to allow them to be housed at Church Farm on the Great Meadow estate.

There are seven hounds in total based at Church Farm.

Sammy explained: ‘We do not and have never hunted anything as a bloodsport. We always follow a scent laid by keen cross country runners so there is no danger or controversy in what we do!

‘There is also a long tradition of involvement with the Manx farming community and we have donated to and supported the IOM Farmers’ Benevolent Fund during the recent snow tragedy and our Boxing Day cap goes to this cause also.

‘Likewise, we have quite an association with local pubs around the island where we often meet, notably the George in Castletown on Boxing Day and we are hoping to revive more such links with other pubs with historical links for us!’

The British Bloodhound first arrived with the Normans and became particularly popular in the Borders for protecting property against poachers and cattle thieves.

They possesses the keenest sense of smell of any other dog breed and can track scent that is many days old over considerable distances.

Anyone involved in looking after these hounds will testify to their energy, boisterousness and sheer wilfulness which requires a great deal of patience and tact to contain and train for the sport of drag hunting.

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