Foxhunting Always Popular Sport


Foxhunting Always Popular Sport


Foxhunting has always been a popular Kentucky sport and this is particularly true in Madison County. It is almost uncanny the way men lying around the fire can pick out their own hound's bark. It was the fox hunters who reported the return of the mountain lion to the mountains of Kentucky, but many people attribute the hearing of the catamount cry to a little mountain dew.

The most famous dogs in our community were and are the Walker hounds. When his friend, William Fleming, went to Europe in 1853, Jason Walker asked him to purchase a pair of British foxhounds. Fleming brought back two dogs from the famous kennels of the Duke of Buccleuch on his estate near Edinburgh. These kennels still exist and high quality hounds are still sold there.

The first pair of Scottish hounds were named Rifle and Martha and they arrived in Richmond via the Lexington stage coach. Jason Walker and a large crowd from Madison and Garrard Counties were on hand to greet the newcomers. A hunt was held almost immediately and the dogs showed great intelligence, stamina, and speed.

Walker never sold any of his dogs, but he gave puppies to his relatives and friends. From the original pair have descended many famous hounds of Central Kentucky. The Walker fox-hounds are nationally famous and are often spoken of today.

The national foxhunt was held in Madison County in 1927. This was an occasion for great social activity. In addition to the hunt a horse show was held at Eastern Teachers College. Trials were held all over Madison County. In 1932 the national hunt was in Lexington and a trial was held near Boonesborough. The State Association held a fox hunt in Madison County in 1926 and 1933.

So from Edinburgh, Scotland, to Madison County, Kentucky, the Walker hounds have given chase to the wily Reynard. The fox has won the race as often as not and fox, hound, and man have had a grand time.


Dr. Fred Engle




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Dr. Fred Engle, “Foxhunting Always Popular Sport,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed August 19, 2018,