Foxhunting as we know it became popular in England in the 1600’s and in North America, William Keppel, Earl of Albemarle and governor of Virginia, established a foxhunting pack in 1742. The early colonists enjoyed foxhunting on a regular basis and George Washington is said to have been an avid foxhunter.
Hunting season lasts from October until the end of March, when scenting conditions are best. The ingredients of a successful hunt are not very different than they were in colonial times; horses, hounds and riders following the call of hunting horns everywhere across the Virginia countryside.
Deep Run Hunt Club began in 1887. The name “Deep Run” was taken from a stream of that name which runs through the western part of Henrico County into Tuckahoe Creek. Hounds were kept at “Chantilly”, three miles west of Richmond on the Deep Run Turnpike, now called Broad Street. The club moved to “Rosedale Lodge” in 1896, near the Hill Monument in Ginter Park. The club moved a total of five times, each time due to rapid development and expansion of the city of Richmond. In 1923, an old farm house on Broad Street (currently the site of Richmond Ford on Broad Street and Westmoreland Avenue) was turned into a clubhouse and hunting flourished there until 1932, when the club purchased land in Goochland County where the clubhouse is located today.
In the eastern part of Goochland County hunting has become increasingly difficult as bulldozers and developers continue to build more roads and houses. In 1996, the hunt club purchased land in Cumberland County and moved the kennels, stables, hunt staff and much of the hunting activity further west. Hunting will continue in the “home country” of eastern Goochland for as long as possible and there are no current plans to move the clubhouse in the foreseeable future.
Today’s foxhunter is very concerned about preserving open space and conservation of wildlife. The decrease in open space may be one of the greatest challenges to the sport of foxhunting in the 21st century.