Wayne Fox Hunting features festivities, etiquette and no blood

By Burt Constable

The first rule in Wayne-DuPage Hunt the club is not making assumptions about hunting club members.

Yes, they seem to be a large group on horseback with a herd of barking hunting dogs hunting foxes. Yes, several riders carry whips. Yes, the closing ceremony is called “The Kill”.

But there are no foxes, except for the wild creatures that occasionally join the crowd of spectators. The whips are essentially silencers, broken to get the dogs’ attention. No one carries a weapon and there is no blood.

“We’ve never killed an animal,” said Fred Iozzo, 71, who leads the hunt as Huntsman and has held the prestigious Master of Foxhounds title for the past 27 years. “We have never killed a toad as far as I know.”

Members talk about how much they love their horses, love their dogs, love tradition, love to dress up, love etiquette, love language, love camaraderie, love nature, and many even love foxes. Wayne-DuPage Hunt, a merger between Wayne Hunt and the DuPage Hunt of Wheaton in the mid-1930s, has been recognized by Masters of Foxhound Association since 1940.

From their first hunt in Wayne, generally in mid-April, to the last hunt of the year, generally in early December, the group of 65 riding members usually conducts hunts at. 6:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and enjoys a longer, more populated hunt at 10 a.m. on Sundays. Instead of a “live” hunt that hunts foxes, the dogs follow the “drag”, a scent (usually fox urine) on a lure that is pulled across the grounds by riders on horseback before the hunt starts in Wayne.



The dogs follow the trailing scent of fox urine, while riders from Wayne-DuPage Hunt follow their trail during a Sunday hunt.

The dogs follow the trailing scent of fox urine, while riders from Wayne-DuPage Hunt follow their trail during a Sunday hunt.
– Rick West | Staff photographer

“It’s really fun. You have to make it interesting for the dogs,” says Jennifer Carroll, one of the people responsible for the features, which must take into account the wind, humidity, the sun and other factors to ensure that the dogs can pick up the scent. . “If it’s not for the dogs, you’re just on a walk.”

A recent Sunday hunt attracted nearly four dozen riders, the most skilled wearing scarlet (not red) jackets denoting men, and black or navy blue jackets to identify women.

The jackets are called “pinks”, possibly because the very first ones in England were made by a tailor with the surname Pinke, says Carol Hancock, 78, a former president of the club who knows of strange trivia like it. She has also been a leading force in the Wayne Area Conservancy Foundation, the Wayne-DuPage Hunt conservation arm, which preserves and maintains land, including the savannah, where her husband, former President Doug Hancock, 84, recently planted 90 oak trees. To learn more about the hunt, visit waynedupagehunt.org, and to learn about conservation efforts, visit waynearea-conservancyfoundation.org.



Three days a week, the riders of the Wayne-DuPage Hunt saddle up their horses, prepare their dogs, and go fox hunting in Wayne, where no foxes are hunted or killed.

Three days a week, the riders of the Wayne-DuPage Hunt saddle up their horses, prepare their dogs, and go fox hunting in Wayne, where no foxes are hunted or killed.
– Rick West | Staff photographer

The hunt is basically a tasteful, energetic costume party in nature with hunting dogs and horses. The First Field features the best riders on fast jumping horses. The second field is a little less skilled, and the third field can take things slowly and not jump while the group travels on paths, through tall grass and along muddy streams.

It is a smear table for the senses.

“It’s the clothes we’re wearing, the terminology we use, the label – and there’s a lot of etiquette,” says Carolyn Bailey, who drives a caravan with a dozen vehicles to great places to see the hunt, as her husband, Wayne, Bailey, Marie Iozzo and Pam Ruminski are Whippers-In.

Riders should not get between the dogs and the hunter, never shout, never walk past the foreman or foreman, and always respect the property, which includes forest reserve and private land. Members who have earned their “colors” have the privilege of driving in front, and colors refer to the collars, not the coats. Wayne-DuPage Hunt has a canary (not yellow) collar with scarlet-colored tube. Other clubs have different colors.



Master of Foxhounds Fred Iozzo signals the end of the hunt for his horn for the riders of the Wayne-DuPage Hunt.  The ceremony is called "Drabet," but the group never kills any animals.

Master of Foxhounds Fred Iozzo signals the end of the hunt for his horn for the riders of the Wayne-DuPage Hunt. The ceremony is called “The Kill”, but the group never kills any animals.
– Rick West | Staff photographer

And buttons mean something. Huntsman’s coat has five, staff members (which includes anyone with a Whipper-In title) have four, and riders have three.

The dogs are never called dogs, but if the hunt encounters someone walking a dog, the animal is called a “cure dog”. A deer is a “hole”. The danger warning uses “ware” instead of caution, as in “ware hole” or “ware haunch.” The sound of the hunt is very important. A dog “honors” by “giving tongue on a line,” meaning the dog follows the path taken by another dog and makes a sound to let the rest of the dogs follow in “full scream.”

The hunter has a horn which he blows in various patterns to command the dogs, let other riders know what is going on, and to end the hunt with a mournful melody. At that time, the Hunter and all the staff and riders participate in the Stirrup Cup, where a tray of drinks (usually port wine in a silver cup) is held on the stirrup so that the riders can reach down and have a drink.

On Saturday night, members wore party clothes to the annual Hunting Ball, which also adheres to a strict dress code and etiquette. “It’s not an exaggerated thing,” said Carol Hancock, the seventh generation of her family to live in the area. “These are people who are passionate about conservation.”



Tradition and etiquette are essential to the riders of the Wayne-DuPage Hunt.  The color of the jackets, the number of buttons and the colors of the collars all indicate performance.

Tradition and etiquette are essential to the riders of the Wayne-DuPage Hunt. The color of the jackets, the number of buttons and the colors of the collars all indicate performance.
– Rick West | Staff photographer

The social bond was a big plus for Jennifer and Steve Carroll from St. Louis. Charles, who met on a hunt, got married and can now see their 22-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, join the hunt for her horse named Eddie.

“My dad and my mom and sister were all members of the hunt at once,” Steve Carroll says. “It’s getting in your blood.”

Jennifer Carroll remembers a cave of foxes near the barn and kennels. “They usually come out and see us go,” she says.

The club’s new state of the art kennels have professional staff and lots of volunteers to take care of the club owned dogs. Emmitt O’Brien, 11, began working with dogs as a kindergartener with his father, Patrick O’Brien. Now his sister, Olive, 7, joins them.

“I just like hanging out with the dogs,” says Emmitt, who has a rescued Victorian bulldog named Mila at his home in Wayne. “I like the connection with me and the dogs.”

His favorite was a retired dog named Take Two, who died of old age. The family is looking forward to the hunts.

“I’m not a rider, but I can still get out and enjoy the beauty,” says Patrick O’Brien.

One rider fell, but neither she nor her horse were injured. The dogs occasionally take a wrong turn.



Riders of the Wayne-DuPage Hunt follow the dogs through tall prairie grass, open fields, mud, trees and whatever nature sends their way.

Riders of the Wayne-DuPage Hunt follow the dogs through tall prairie grass, open fields, mud, trees and whatever nature sends their way.
– Rick West | Staff photographer

“It never goes the way it should, ever. It would be boring if it did,” says Huntsman Iozzo, who sat on his faithful 19-year-old horse named Steeler because it came from Pittsburgh. The dogs have returned to the kennels, but the riders are enjoying drinks and appetizers, and the horses are being treated with apples and carrots on the ground near a chattering stream. The scene resembles an oil painting from the 19th century.

“It was a great day,” Iozzo said. “Look at the trees. It’s about getting out into creation.”

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