Chula Hunt


A tradition continues in November when the Chula Homa Hunt rides to the hounds and to the thrill of the chase.

For Allison Crews, the sport of fox hunting with Chula Homa (Choctaw for “red fox) has been an important part of her life for more than 30 years.

“This hunt is a fox hunt in the oldest tradition. It’s all about the hunt and not the kill,” Crews said. “We got out to go get muddy and just have fun outside.”

The hunt is not only a great way to spend time with family and friends in the outdoors, but it’s more of a lifestyle than a pastime, said Crews, president of Grogan + Crews Inc. Insurance. 

The Opening Hunt and the Blessing of the Hounds for 2020 is set for Nov. 14 at Tilda Bogue, private hunting land north of Canton, beginning at 9 a.m. 

“With something like this, you can’t just go out and hunt the foxes by yourself,” Crews said. “You need a group of people, horses, and hunting dogs. There’s a lot involved and it’s so much fun seeing it come together.” 

Crews noted that this year there are new guidelines to follow due to Covid-19, including how guests follow the progress of the riders in the hunt.

“We usually pile into wagons and group together, but since we’ll need to social distance, we’ll have attendees drive in their own cars to the hunting checkpoints,” she said. “Masks are required if you can’t social distance.” 

Guests are welcome but should contact the club secretary at if interested in joining in the festivities.

The pageantry of the sport of fox hunting will be display at the hunt on Nov. 14. “We’ll dress in red and black coats, depending on who you are and what you’re doing,” Crews said. “I think anyone can find something fun in this and we look forward to people coming out and spending a day in the country.” 

Sue Skipper, the Honorary Joint Master of Foxhounds and the Honorary Huntsman Emeritus, has been fox hunting since 1970 and been riding with Chula Homa since it held its first formal hunt in 1982, organized by Mrs. Alex S.Payne. “Sannie Elizabeth, nicknamed ‘Whitty,’ started her own pack of hounds in the Bolton are and asked me to go hunt with her,” Skipper said. “That’s what started the Chula Homa Hunt.” 

Watching the hounds run and do what they are bred to do is Skipper’s favorite part of the whole experience. “It’s always fun observing how the dogs behave, and the social aspect of it is great too,” she said. “It’s challenging, and there’s a lot of work that goes into training the hounds and for people who are just getting into hunting.”

This hunt is all about the chase. Skipper said it’s very rare for the hounds to actually catch a fox.

“The thrill of the chase is a big part of why it’s so fun,” she said. “If you want to come, be sure to RSVP. We’ll be serving catered box meals instead of our normal buffet breakfast due to Covid so proper social distancing will be followed.”

A more recent member of the Chula Homa Hunt, Beth Zito, has been participating in the festivities for more than a year now. 

“I grew up fox hunting, so it was a no-brainer for me to take part in the Chula Homa Hunt,” Zito said. “It’s such a great outdoor activity with a solid group of people.”

For those who have never ridden in a fox hunt, it’s a different experience, Zito said. A rider never knows exactly what will happen on any hunt so there’s always a new adventure to experience.  

“Some days are more laid back, and others are challenging. There’s obstacles like trees and lakes to avoid when you’re following the hounds as they chase the scent,” she said. “It’s nonstop excitement.”

 “The challenge of it is learning and training yourself, and keeping up with the hounds,” Zito said. “Each hound has a different personality and what they like to do. Each of them has weaknesses and can be distracted.” 

Whether the fox is found or not during the hunt, the fun and festivities aren’t over.

“When we call it a day, we gather around the horse trailer and a horn is blown to call the hounds back,” she said. “They all run into the trailer, and after that we sit down and eat food that everyone brings and discuss the experience.”

Fox hunting is a not-to-be-missed experience, Zito said. She encourages people who have never hunted before to give it a try and at least experience the thrill of a fox hunt.

“I want people to come out and explore. Even if people don’t have a lot of experience, they should give this a shot and work their way up to more challenging hunts,” she said. “The opening hunt is really beautiful and it’s such a wonderful day…from the tailgate rides to the blessing of the hounds.”