Hinkel Schillings and Shade Pate are uncle and nephew. For over sixty years, along the Texas-Louisiana border, they have gone fox hunting. Several times a week they sit around a fire from sunset to dawn listening to their hounds bark. That’s all there is to fox hunting — listening. There’s no kill. A pack of hounds simply chase a fox around and around in circles through the woods until the dogs get tired and return to their cages. The dogs bark all the while — the hunters call it “giving mouth.”
The men know the voice of each of their hounds and can tell from the bark how close each dog is to the fox. The hunters root for their favorite dog, reminisce of hounds of old, and tell stories. When a visitor is present, the men spend a great deal of time baying and yelping — imitating the barks of hounds past and present to illustrate the finer points of the sport. But mostly they just sit quietly and absorb “the music of the chase.”
Recorded in Logan, Texas. Premiered February 8, 1993, on All Things Considered.
This documentary comes from Sound Portraits Productions, a mission-driven independent production company that was created by Dave Isay in 1994. Sound Portraits was the predecessor to StoryCorps and was dedicated to telling stories that brought neglected American voices to a national audience.