Photos: Hunt club releases the hounds in Jamesport

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11/18/2012 4:02 PM |
Smithtown Hunt Club's opening hunt Nov. 18, 2012

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Smithtown Hunt Club hosted a  scent hunt at the  Kujawski Farm in Jamesport Sunday.

If you were traveling along Sound Avenue in Jamesport Sunday afternoon, you might have passed a group of people wearing red coats and riding horses as they chased a pack of foxhounds.

The Hampton Bays-based Smithtown Hunt Club held its annual opening hunt at the Kujawski Farm to celebrate the beginning of the season, which runs from November until March.

Master of foxhounds Kevin Maple said Smithtown Hunt was founded in 1900 and it agreed to stop hunting foxes about 10 years ago due to protests against hunting on public lands. Since then, Smithtown Hunt has created “drag” or “scent” hunts by simulating the sport of catching a fox by placing a fox’s scent throughout a designated area.

“To us, it’s very much like the real thing,” Mr. Maple said. “It retains the excitement of the chase.”

About 30 horses gathered at the potato farm for the stirrup cup and the blessing of the horses, riders and about 20 foxhounds.

Mr. Maple said his non-profit group, which has a kennel house in Shoreham, held its annual opening hunt on the North Fork because the trails it maintains in Old Westbury were destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. For more information about the Smithtown Hunt, visit smithtownhunt.org.

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