Promoting wildlife conservation and protecting countryside sports

(first appeared in the December 2014 issue of The Equiery)

Maryland Association of Wildlife Conservation was formed in 1976 to promote and protect all hunters’ rights in general, and those who pursue game with hounds or dogs in particular. MAWC is active in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and seeks not only to educate the countryside sport community, but also to play a vital role in the formation of the laws and regulations that affect these sports. MAWC’s over 1,000 members include foxchasing packs, basseting clubs, coon hunters, and beagle packs throughout Maryland. MAWC supports all hunting and chasing sports.

MAWC finds itself active on a wide variety of legislative and regulatory issues: well-meaning but misguided puppy mill bills that would negatively impact a wide variety of sporting kennels, dog bite legislation, matters concerning access to public lands, regulated hunting seasons, and more.

MAWC experienced several major leadership changes in 2014. Earlier this year, Equiery associate publisher Jennifer Webster took over the reins as MAWC’s association manager. After insuring that the organization had transitioned into Jennifer’s capable hands, longtime president Jay Young retired. Former vice president John McFadden, MFH (De La Brooke Foxhounds W) was elected president and Ed Fry (Flint Hill Hounds) was elected vice president.

On September 21, MAWC saluted Jay Young at its first annual sporting clay shoot and fundraiser. It turns out that many of our foxhunting clubs include keen shooting members. The MAWC fundraiser shoot is a great way for foxhunters from around the state to socialize with each other, and a way to invite other sportsmen to get involved.

Salute to Jay Young
by Crystal B. Kimball, Equiery Publisher
As we all know, foxhunting is about the pursuit of the fox and the cry of the hound.

But, as we also know, foxhunting is about a lot more than fox, hounds and horses. It is about landowner relationships. It is about territory management, and so much more.

In the game of foxhunting, we know and revere our leaders whose names contain the moniker “Master of Fox Hounds,” or MFH–but not all leaders in modern foxchasing sport MFH after their names.

We also have myriad laws with which we must cope, from labor and immigration laws to laws that manage hunting AND chasing, how kennels are licensed and managed, recreational use of public AND private land, and liability.
Modern foxchasing not only needs its Masters, but it needs those leaders willing to work behind the scenes, without the benefit–or privileges–associated with those three little letters.

It needs people like Jay Young.

In his formal role as the president of MAWC and his informal role as inspiration for all of us who are responsible for running the business of a hunt club, Jay Young has provided almost two decades of leadership to the Maryland foxchasing community.

Over the years, Jay has graciously shared his expertise in membership development, revenue streams, and land preservation with virtually every club in Maryland, and if a club did not have Jay come out and speak with them on some of these topics, shame on them. There is no greater wealth of knowledge in Maryland on these subjects than Jay.

As the publisher of The Equiery, I knew I could always count on Jay to provide me with templates for language for easements, or to dash off an official letter for MAWC for this, that or the other.

As president of MAWC, Jay was responsible for crafting formal positions for Maryland foxchasers on legislative and regulatory matters ranging from misguided efforts to ban puppy mills that would have abolished kennels in the process, to wise efforts to ban leg-hold traps; from attempts to expand the season for GUN hunting of fox (into the season when the fox are whelping), to hunting licenses. And of course, for the last ten years, coping with the incremental spread of Sunday deer hunting, county by county, from private to public land. Jay was there through it all, fighting the good fight, losing a few battles, but winning most of them, for the betterment of our sport.

It has been a great pleasure for me to work with Jay. I will always consider him to be a mentor and a personal inspiration.

The sport of foxchasing in Maryland is better today because of Jay’s long tenure as president of the Maryland Association of Wildlife Conservation.
On behalf of all Maryland foxchasers, Jay, we thank you and we salute you–and we will miss you.

Clays for Cash
MAWCOn September 21, thirteen teams of four shooters representing five Maryland hunt clubs gathered at First Mine Run, a private shooting club in White Hall operated by father and son team Henry and David Pitts and assisted by Richard Smith of the Royal United Company, for the first annual MAWC Clay Shoot fundraiser. Competitors shot a 75-clay course earning points towards overall high scores.An additional 40 people came to enjoy a beautiful autumn day in the Baltimore County countryside, cheer on their shooting teams, and bid farewell to outgoing MAWC president Jay Young. The event concluded with a barbecue dinner, awards ceremony, and toast to Mr. Young and raised just over $3500.

Pictured with new MAWC association manager Jennifer Webster (center) are EHHC winning team members (L-R) Govane McClees, Burley Cocks and Andrea Seefelt-Knight. Also pictured is new MAWC president John McFadden. Not pictured is team member Charles Mace.