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Clear Creek Beagles

by Robert L. Mason

In the waning weeks of hunting seasons, Saturdays grow precious, and it becomes tantamount to sacrilege to squander such golden days on anything less than a rabbit hunt.  Yet, on a glorious Saturday some weeks ago, I found myself enroute, not to a hunt, but to a viewing of the Clear Creek Beagles.

I rendezvoused with Eld. Willie Jones, at his home just outside Elizabethtown, Kentucky.  “Preacher,” as I often refer to him in my book, The Ultimate Beagle: The Natural-Born Rabbit Dog, is my very dear friend and long-time hunting companion.  At 80 years of age, he is pastor of the Church of God In Christ, in both Elizabethtown and Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Standing over six feet tall, he is straight as a pine and stout as a weathered oak.

Openly chiding ourselves for squandering such an ideal hunting day, we set out for Oldham County, Kentucky and a meeting with the Honorable W. P. (Buck) Wiseman, Jr.  A prominent Louisville attorney, Buck Wiseman and his gracious wife, Josephine, are Joint Masters of Clear Creek Beagles. 

I had been privileged to meet the Wisemans and Ms. Jean S. Maclean, the club’s Secretary/Kennel Huntsman and 1st Whipper-In, several years earlier.  I had since visited their kennels and photographed one of their weekly hunts staged variously across spacious farmlands in Oldham,  Shelby, Mercer, Clark and Fayette Counties, Kentucky.

The men, women and hounds of Clear Creek Beagles carry with them a rich freight of tradition, fine hounds’ blood and old-world pageantry. Uniformed in what I loosely term “Old English Riding Clothes,”   (Green, morning glory blue collar, green piping, tan breeches, green stockings, Bone buttons with hare’s mask & CCB), the Joint-Master, huntsmen, gallery and hounds constitute one of the most colorful and delightful spectacles in all of Beagledom.

Whips in hand and accompanied by more than a score of hounds, the Joint-Master and his Whippers-in crack their whips loudly in the cool fall air, assembling the hounds and directing the pack to likely cover.  Members of the gallery, looking on anxiously, strategically position themselves for a lively chase. And lively indeed were the chases I witnessed, the hounds, loosely bunched, pushing their quarry with purpose, animation and zeal.

The men and women of Clear Creek Beagles are keepers of one of the bright and timeless flames of Kentucky Beagling.  Founded in 1902, by Master Phillip B. Weissinger of Undulata Farm in Shelby County,  Kentucky, the Clear Creek Beagles hunted widely throughout Shelby, Oldham and Jefferson Counties.

Throughout the 1920’s and ‘30’s, Mr. Weissinger enjoyed an impressive following in the Louisville area.  However, the Great Depression adversely impacted on his personal finances, and his supporters rallied around him to create The Louisville Beagle Club.

That organization sponsored the field activities of the Clear Creek pack until the early 1950’s, when declining health compelled Mr. Weissinger to relinquish most of his pack to the Louisville Beagle Club, which thereafter adopted the name Fincastle Beagles.  Fincastle Beagles, in turn, amalgamated with the Rollington Foot Beagles in 1987, thereupon returning to the name, Clear Creek Beagles.

Upon my first viewing of the Clear Creek Beagles, I was singularly impressed with the command exercised over so many hounds by Joint-Master Wiseman.  Without a single leash or any strenuous calling, he was able, at any time, to gather his pack around him like well-behaved children.  The secret, Buck explained to me, is that he exclusively hunts English Beagles.  He insists that it’s not possible to get that degree of obedience from American Beagles. 

My dear friends and hunting companions, Earl Pennington and Garrett Humphrey, knowledgeable and experienced houndsmen in their own rights, found themselves equally impressed by the Clear Creek Beagles.  Preacher would be no exception.  After meeting Joint-Masters, Buck and Josephine, and spending several hours with the Clear Creek Beagles, Preacher and I agreed that, while nothing quite compares to actually hunting over fine hounds, our visit to the kennels of Clear Creek Beagles had been a Saturday well spent.

  Note:  For more information on Clear Creek Beagles, visit the following website:  http://www.clearcreekbeagles.net .

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).