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Article for September - October 2010

The Eyes Of Laboka —
Ed Lowndes on Mounted Deer Driving:

Laboka - photography by Phillip JonesI ride into the woods along deer trails looking for a deer's hiding places. My tacky, Laboka, will usually see deer lying in hiding. When Laboka sees one, he stops and stares into its eyes. I focus my eyes into the thicket, fallen tree, or cane patch and spot the deer. If the deer is suitable to pursue, I "jump" it, and the chase unfolds. The deer will run its course through old-growth hardwoods into Carolina bays. The deer knows it can escape into the water and thick marsh grass where hounds can't follow. The deer's speed and wits usually let it escape through the standers. I ride Laboka to the perimeter to stop the hounds' pursuit. While on my horse, I loudly crack my whip to simulate a gunshot, and the hounds believe the deer has been harvested. I blow my cow horn to regroup the hounds behind Laboka, who leads them into the woods to look for another deer. This old style of hunting brings "fair chase" into our vocabulary. My horse's name, Laboka, means "the mouth" in Spanish. He's very inquisitive and nuzzles objects he finds interesting.

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