The mellow music of the beagle's call is one of the outdoors' glorious sounds. Whether it be the single bay of one hound at work with his solitary hunter or the symphony of a pack giving tongue, the beagle's deep, pleasant voice is a rare treat to the ears. But it is the combined sight and sound of a pack that is the most stirring, and beagling has continued to lure more and more followers to the fields, despite the competition of fox hunting.
The beagle, a small, sturdy dog with a big voice, was derived, some say, from a cross between the dogs of the ancient Britons and those brought by Caesar. English huntsmen developed the beagle into an excellent hunter of the hare, and his small size was carefully preserved so he could be followed on foot. In the halcyon days of beagling, the squire would sound his horn and each owner would appear with his hound—and thus the pack was formed.
These days, however, fine, matched packs are owned individually or the kennel is supported by subscription, as in the case of the Treweryn beagles of Berwyn, Pa., pictured on these pages. Each Sunday afternoon from October through March, 75 to 100 enthusiasts come to listen to their hounds, to experience the joy of the chase and the pleasure of a 10-mile cross-country hike in the frosty air. When Mr. David B. Sharp Jr., the master of the pack since 1929, is not working his hounds over the Pennsylvania countryside, he is proudly competing them in shows and field trials. Just this week, in justification of his pride, his Treweryn beagles were top scorers at the National Beagle Club Pack Field Trials at Aldie, Va. for no less than the fifth time.
The Treweryn beagles sally forth as Master David Sharp Jr. (third from right) and hunt staff in green livery cast hounds at start of hunt at home of Samuel Eckert. They ran hare for almost two hours.
Strung out across the autumn fields (above), hunters are still moving at leisurely pace. But the going soon gets tougher (above right) as hounds pick up a scent and take the field cross-country. This may involve negotiating wire fences, as Mrs. Avery Andrews and her children Emily and Avery are doing here. Finally, when the dogs are in full cry (below), the hunters must pick up and run. This is beagling's climactic moment, and though the prey is seldom caught, all the fever of an all-out chase is there.
Chasing the hounds, now in hot pursuit of game, hunters clamber up hillside and over wooden fence in hunt's most arduous stage. Mrs. David B. Sharp Jr., hunt master's wife, is in foreground; Reese Howard just ahead.