02/05/04 — Fox hunt this month

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Fox hunt this month

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 5, 2004 2:01 PM

ALBERTSON -- This is the month of the annual fox hunt.

The Washington's Day Fox Hunt will be Feb. 21 at the Albertson Ruritan Community Building on N.C. 111 at Albertson.

Fox hunts were popular in the 1940s when Albertson started its annual event. Organizers say the crowds were had fewer than 50 people then.

The hunts continued until the 1960s, when deer began migrating into the area. The growing population of deer interfered with the fox hunting. The fox dogs would take off after deer instead of concentrating on their quarry.

The event is not really a fox hunt any more.

The tradition has evolved into a field trial governed by national rules for hunting dogs. Hunters can register their dogs by calling 1-252-568-4703.

The event tests the dogs' speed and drive. The hunters don't ride out on horses any more. At this event, the 19th Field Trials for Fox and Deer, they will use four-wheel drive trucks with big dog boxes in the back.

Many more than 50 people are expected this year.

The event is sponsored each year by the Albertson Ruritan Club and begins at 5 a.m. with breakfast at the Ruritan Community Building. Breakfast is served until 8 a.m., and at 7 a.m., a memorial service will be held for deceased neighborhood residents.

From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., barbecued chicken, barbecued pork and fish stew will be served.

All plates, for breakfast and lunch, are $5 and are prepared by members of the volunteer fire department. The proceeds are shared by the Albertson Ruritan Club, the fire department and the recreation center.

One of the organizers, W.M. Rouse, says he's hoping for 300 dogs to show up for this one. The dogs will be released at 7 a.m. at a farm about four miles from the Community Building.

It's become a big social event, Rouse says. Many people who come don't even join the hunt or field trial. They hang out at the Community Building and enjoy the fire department's cooking. Some come for Rouse's fish stew.