There has always been a long tradition of hunting with hounds in Germany. It was the Roman emperor Julius Cäsar who wrote about the Germans using hounds and horses to chase deer.
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Stags were hunted with huge packs of hounds, followed by men on foot and on horseback.. In medieval times beaters used to chase the deer into a special arena, where it finally was shot to entertain the princely court and numerous invited spectators accompanied by the music of trumpets and drums.
In the 17th and 18th century princes and dukes adapted the Parforce Jagd from France.
Hounds and Hunt staff were brought from France. The Language of hunting people at that time was French. There were 12 famous packs of hounds at princely courts in Germany.
The influence from England was brought to Hannover by King George I who was Kurfürst of Hannover. His Huntsman at the royal court of Hannover Graf von der Schulenburg looked after 300 Hounds and usually caught 15 – 20 stags and 40 – 50 wild boar a year.
In 1848, the revolution in Germany cut the right of the gentry to hunt across the farmers’ land. This brought a lot of change into the hunting scene.
It was the time when the Senne heath near Paderborn became interesting for hunting.
The Bishops of Münster and Paderborn made this area their favourite hunting area.
The Westfalian Hunting Club was founded under the protection of the Duke of Nassau and Luxemburg.
In 1864 the Duke of Nassau sent his Master of the Horse Baron Breidbach to England with the mission to buy some thoroughbred horses for his stable. He convinced a certain Andrew Tate to come to Germany to become the Duke’s Huntsman, being responsible for 35 couple of hounds and the horses .
After the First World War the Officers of the 15th Prussian Cavalry Regiment, Schloss Neuhaus, started hunting on the Sennelager Training Area. They had Meets on Tuesdays and Fridays at Schloss Neuhaus to hunt wild boar, deer and foxes.
Between the wars 110 Cavalry Units used to hunt and in addition to that 15 private packs were hunting regularly in Germany. Very famous were the hunts at the Prussian Stud Trakehnen.
In 1934 the Nazi Regime banned hunting wild animals with hounds in Germany. That was the time when Drag hunting was started by those who wanted to continue with that wonderful kind of sport.
The Hunt of the Cavalry School of Hannover was one of the most famous in the whole country at that time..
After World War II step by step several drag hunts were founded, so that there are now 25 packs of hounds who are members of the Deutsche Schleppjagdvereinigung. They hunt with Foxhounds, Beagles, Harriers and Anglo Francais. A famous hound show is held every year at Schwarzenstein which judges from England also attend. These drag hunts are supported by subscribers and booked by local riding clubs who organise the Meets, build hunt jumps, provide lunch … The hunts are accompanied by horn music in the French tradition, the hounds are fed with the Curée at the Halali.
Besides these, the Weser Vale Hunt is a very special pack with strong connections to Britain.
One cold winter’s afternoon in 1969, in an Officers’ Mess in the South of England, three officers were discussing the imminent move of their regiment to Germany. They wondered what on earth they were going to do with themselves in their spare time if they could not hunt on horseback, with a pack of hounds. They decided to start a pack of hounds of their own and take them with them!
That is the origin of the Pack of Bloodhounds named the Weser Vale Hunt.
The Pack was formed at Cachy Barracks, Perham Down, near Andover in Hampshire in January 1969 under the Joint Mastership of Captain Robert Campbell RHG, Captain Richard Wilkinson RHG and Captain(QM) Bill Stringer RHG.
Purpose: to hunt “the clean boot”. The Country to be hunted: The Federal Republic of Germany.
By March 1969 the nucleus of the pack was kennelled at the newly amalgamated Blues and Royals barracks in Detmold.
The first opening meet of this new hunt, The Weser Vale Hunt, was held there on 1st September of that year.
The name “Bloodhound” is derived from “blooded hound”, not from their love of drinking blood! They are a very old species of hound of pure blood, which was bred in the Ardennes hills from the 7th century onwards, originally by Hubertus who later became the patron saint of hunting people.
Hunting “the clean boot” means that no artificial scent is used for them to follow. During the Mastership of the Household Cavalry officers they hunted a human quarry – a young officer or trooper who ran ahead – so that as opposed to the rigid certainty of following an aniseed or animal urine trail, hounds could be seen having to work out their line of pursuit “clean boot”, i.e. only from the scent of man himself.
After a number of years when the Household Cavalry regiments were stationed at Athlone Barracks, Sennelager it was decided to keep both regiments in UK and so, in 1990, the Weser Vale Hunt pack was handed over to German friends who had hunted with them for many years.
Herr Horst Moog and Major Busso Freise took the Mastership. Honorary Master is the Commanding Officer of the Household Cavalry Regiment, Knightsbridge Barracks, London.
The pack is kennelled at Rosenkotten near Detmold, the home of the Freise family.
Joint Master and Huntsman Busso Freise and his wife Angela – 1st Whipper In – are responsible for exercising the hounds, breeding and hunting every weekend. Both are in their office now in the 23rd season. They maintain a good relationship for breeding-purposes with some British Bloodhound packs, the Midland Hunt in the Netherlands and the Rallye Ma Joie in Belgium.
Instead of a human runner, nowadays they hunt someone on horseback, but still no artificial scent is used. The Huntsman simply wipes a cloth over the horse’s legs and shows this to the hounds before the hunt begins. It is amazing how these Bloodhounds are able to stay on the line of their quarry even in an area where lots of other horses had been before. There are normally 30 to 40 meets from August to March. They take place in an own hunting country in the area Paderborn, Detmold, Höxter, Bad Driburg and Steinheim. In October there is a week of hunting South of Berlin. In March the season finishes with four days’ hunting on the Lüneburg heath.
In the Summer an annual Hunt Dinner for Masters and Whippers-in, past and present, and their guests is held in the Turf Club in London.
Busso Freise, Joint Masterr and Huntsman at the Meet with his hounds
Full Cry on their Line…
Master Horst Moog on the Grey
First Whipper In Angela Freise
Angela and Busso Freise after a long hunt, coming home through the park gate at Schloss Merlsheim