THE HISTORY OF HOUNDS AND HUNTING
This year, 2015 marks the 112th Anniversary of Hounds and Hunting and it would be an injustice to let this important milestone pass without referring to its origin and its history, as well as to give due credit for the many fine programs it has sponsored, the great knowledge it has imparted, and the open mindedness with which it has permitted discussions and innovations to be aired, uncensored, throughout its pages over the years.
To those who have recently chosen to become involved with our breed and sport it is easy to understand how you might naturally assume that things in beagling were always as you find them today. Cozy clubhouses, fenced in running areas, superhighways, fast traveling autos and planes were nonexistent when organized beagling began. The first American gasoline automobile (The Duryea) did not come into being until 1892, two years after the National Beagle Club ran the first licensed Beagle Field Trial. The first airplane with a motor was put together by the Wright Brothers in 1903, the same year as the first copy of Hounds and Hunting was published. Today we have over four million miles of paved highways, trouble free fast moving vehicles and airports in most major cities so distance, time, and inconvenience is no problem when moving about from place to place. Therefore, we no longer have to possess the hardiness of our pioneer predecessors who had nothing to rely on except railroads and the horse and buggy for transportation. How many of us today would have the fortitude to embark on a venture such as the one they faced, under the conditions they were required to endure, and persist, as they had done against tremendous odds to create a sport that would endure to furnish succeeding generations untold pleasures. They started with practically nothing, from scratch, and we are reaping, and will continue to reap benefits from their efforts far into posterity.
Hounds and Hunting also started from scratch. It was a dream in the minds of the original publishers who envisioned the potential popularity of our breed and had enough faith in the Beagle, as a breed, to devote time, money and effort toward making this dream become a reality. 1903 was not an encouraging year for beginning a publication devoted to a breed and sport that had shown little growth up until that time, so it appears the magazine was created more out of love of the beagle, and as a challenge towards its promotion than because of any expectation of a profit, and certainly the first years of publications showed no indication that the magazine’s popularity would ever live up to the hopes of its creators.
From 1903 to 1916 the magazine went under several different names. In 1916 the first Hounds and Hunting was printed in Decatur, Illinois when the name was changed from Hunting, Camping & Fishing. Prior to that it had been Fox & Hound, a combination of Trappers World, The Fur Winner, Wildlife, Beagle Fancier etc. over a nine year period. The new name was to better classify is as “A Monthly of Information About Beagles, Fox and Coonhounds, Hunting and Outdoor Life.” The breed first mentioned is a tipoff of things to come with the editor playing up beagles more than all other news combined.
The magazine, under the new name Hounds and Hunting was first printed by Fred O’Flyng who worked it out one page at a time, on a foot powered press in a buggy shed at Clarksdale, Illinois. According to Ike Carrel, Fred didn’t know much about beagles, but he believed some day they would be popular enough for a breed publication. Fred said, “They sell for good prices, are king of the rabbit dogs for cottontails and jacks, field trails are pushing them to the front. Sportsmen should fraternalized at the trails and shows by competing with the best from other kennels. Friendly rivalry is advancing beagles through an inviting field. It’s a great game, this game of breeding winners and running them at trials.” This was the gist of his writings.
To quote Ike, “It’s doubtful if Fred ever owned a good beagle or attended a trial, but he did attract attention to beagles and trials, eventually getting a clientele of beaglers as a united audience for beagle news.” In need of better printing, O’Flyng went to former townsman and boyhood friend, Eugene Linxweiler, who had a printing shop in nearby Decatur. Later the magazine became Linxweiler’s to settle bills for printing, after a beagle book O’Flyng had advertised but never compiled necessitated the refunding of hundreds of dollars in advance orders. It’s said this printing bill amounted to less than $1,000. Quite a sum in those days, but would not be a drop in the bucket compared to today’s printing costs.
Willet Randall started writing for the magazine in 1909 and Glenn Black in 1914. F.B. Zimmer, owner of the Debonaire Beagles of Gloversville, New York conducted a department and actually suggested the name, Hounds and Hunting in 1915. Enamored with beagles at Westminster in 1882, Zim purchased Constance, by importing Ringwood x Norah, a Rowett bitch. Later he bought Blue Cap Jr. and in 1884 imported Bannerman from an English pack of nine inchers, which with many of the better Rowetts gave a start toward a family of his own. It was shortly after this that the first beagle dual champion, Frank Forest sold for $1,000.
Used extensively, Frank Forest and Bannerman were rivals, being recognized as the leading sires. About this time Capt. William Assheton bought and imported from Sir Arthur Ashburnham of England, Blue Cap and Blue Bell, later the foundation of the Blue Cap strain. Some regarded this pair as “Most beautiful in color with blue mottled collars, legs and underparts, black blankets, less cobby than the Rowetts with the sweetest of expressions.” These hounds, with Ringleader, were the backbone of the breed with Hiram Card taking up the Blue Caps through the importer, Capt. Assheton.
Henry Prentice, whose great book, The Beagle in America and England, (a collector’s item now out of print) was also a frequent contributor whose reporting and stories really made the Western a popular club with his almost monthly tales of Western happenings and by introducing Western leaders and Western beagles as regular characters in his cast.
Henry Prentice was from DeKalb, Illinois. Nearby was W.A. (Dad) Powell of Taylorsville, Illinois who implanted the ideas in Mr. Prentice’s mind to compile his great book on beagling, then insisted on the undertaking and contributed liberally towards its success. Mr. Powell was owner of the Alibi Beagles and he contributed much good advice and advertising copy to the magazine in its early years. Also nearby was Victor Wiley of Allenville, Illinois who owned, among others, the great Imported Ch. Stock Place Sapper. J.V. Burton of the famous Rock City Beagles at Batavia, Illinois and many other great houndmen of yesteryear, all nearby, and ready and willing to offer their advice and assistance toward promoting our breed and sport through a magazine dedicated to this objective.
Decatur, the city, and Illinois, the State proved to be a very good location for our magazine to get its start. It was a hot-bed of beagling, centrally located and with a profusion of sincere and dedicated breeders of both field and show hounds, and so as a result, both beagling and Hounds and Hunting grew up together.
When the magazine changed its name to Hounds and Hunting and professed its intention of devoting its powers of influence primarily toward promotion of the beagle, there was a welcome response from all over. Beagle lovers had found a champion of their cause. A means of communicating with each other, an opportunity to exchange views, a chance to become aware of the success and characteristics of various hounds and bloodlines, and a place to look for advice and guidance. With but few responsible organizations (There were only 13 clubs holding accredited trials in 1916) beaglers were literally mavericks, except for the most dedicated and affluent ones who had the ways and means to travel great distances to participate in their chosen sport and learn from those with broader experience. When Hounds and Hunting came along, devoted exclusively to our breed, it created a bond of friendship among all good beagle lovers throughout our entire realm that still persists and seems to grown warmer with the passing of time. I grew up having great respect and admiration for those great beaglers of the past who chartered our course, and with an awesome feeling of gratitude toward those farsighted dedicated men who pioneered our wonderful magazine which has done more to get us together and keep us together than any other thing.
When the first issue under the name of Hounds and Hunting came out, it contained a page sized picture of Ralph Butz, the Bumo breeder with Dr. McElroy’s boys from beagles of Birch Brae and Willett Randall, originator of the Patches and their beagles. Next, a story of Butz’s first visit to Randall’s Adirondack home. Ralph Butz really made every attempt to possess the very best. He and Randall became close friends in their beagling associations with the $600 Patch serving as a background for the Bumo hounds. Also a picture of Delmarnia Arietta (Kishwaukee Dick x Symphony) the dam of Fd. Ch. Bohemia Dix which shows a well made open marked bitch with five special ribbons at the Delaware State Fair.
An editorial in the first issue insists that the publishers interest in the beagle is from the heart, but they need the support of all beaglers with news to acquaint the fancy with current happenings. The second issue, calls October the month of trials with all but the National and Northern Hare being run that month. That Fall, thirteen trials were run which brought another editorial “Will The Beagle Game Be Overdone?” The editor estimated the number of sportsmen in the country at 25 million, which made it evident the beagle’s day was only dawning, that his readers will never see the day when the sport would be overdone. There must have been some reasoning for all this explaining. Advertisements were from R.W. Heitman, Bumo, Debonair, Balaboo, Patch, Yellow Creek advertised a Walker foxhound, but no beagles. W.A. Powell offered Redland Scott at stud. Better known hounds advertised in 1916 were Springers Invincible (Wheatley Councillor x Wheatly Fernot) Dungannon McDuff advertised at 13 1/4 inches with a 15 in earspread, and Ganymede Crocket. B.F. Zimmer, whose Debonair Kennels at Gloversville, New York were prominent in early days compared cottontail and hare hounds.
Ike Carrel became Editor of Hounds and Hunting, then a year later an equal partner, until Linxweiler’s death in 1939 at Decatur. Ike continued to run the magazine until 1941 when he and Anna bought it from the Linxweiler’s estate. In 1942 the move was made to Greenfield, Ohio, a more centralized point for IBF and fall trial events. Ohio had hosted the International from 1931 to 1951, seven of these years on the Highland grounds at Greenfield so this was a move for the best at the time. Robert F. Slike, Robert B. Bromeley, Henry A. Satterwhite and Lester R. Edwards bought the magazine from the Carrels in 1954 and moved it to Bradford, Pennsylvania. In 1976, Bob and his two sons, Robert, Jr. and Arthur purchased the three partners interests.
Robert Slike, Jr. wrote “As for my own personal feelings toward our magazine, Hounds and Hunting, they probably differ widely from that of later generations. I saw my first issue (a .20 cent sample copy) in 1922 and immediately became infatuated. It was a small magazine at that time, but the fact that is was devoted and dedicated exclusively toward the promotion and improvement of the beagle and field trials gave me a feeling that I had suddenly made a great discovery that would effect me the balance of my life. In 1924, after graduating from High School and getting my first job I became a subscriber. Hounds and Hunting became my Bible, and through reading it (until the pages wore out) beagling became a religion with me. I dwelled on every printed word, savoring and absorbing every bit of information and advice tendered by those of greater experience and success than myself and developed a great respect and admiration for the pioneers of our sport, who through sincere dedication had conceived and created Standards and testing methods for the improvement and promotion of our breed. I am still in awe of the great beaglers who preceded me, as well as those who were the Seniors in our sport when I was just a beginner. They were my gods. To overlook or forget them would be like turning our backs on such great public figures as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and other great leaders of yesteryear.”
In 2010, the Slike family was ready to consider retirement. Having dedicated so much of their life and energy to the publication, they would only consider selling to someone who had an equal dedication to the sport. When approached by Tom and Tamah DePriest in the summer of 2010, they knew they had found the right buyer. Tom and Tamah purchased the publication in November of 2010 and moved its location to Scottsburg, Indiana. Since Tamah’s father had been a long-time subscriber of Hounds and Hunting, she was well aware of the publication and its importance to the sport. Tom had always wanted to own a business, and as a beagler who enjoys competing in the Two Couple Pack format, he had found the perfect fit. The DePriests have a desire to see the sport of beagling grow and prosper. It is their goal to continue the great tradition of previous owners by providing a publication that will benefit the breed and the sport.
This is perhaps the most famous Beagle picture of all “The Merry Beaglers”