Complete Book of Coursing


The Complete Book of Coursing

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THE COMPLETE BOOK OF COURSING

by Steve Copold. Hardcover $50 + $5 s&h ($15 outside US). 96 pages, 8.5 x11 size. Covers all aspects of lure and open field coursing. Reprint of the 1976 coursing classic, greatly expanded and updated. Companion video, $50.
BIG COMBO SPECIAL: Order the book with the Video for $75, a savings of $25 (add $10 s&h, $24 outside U.S.).




Preface


Books are not men yet they are alive
They are man's memory and his aspiration.
They are the link between his present and his past,
The tools he builds with.

Stephen Vincent Benet
Coursing is an anachronism that has survived the passing centuries. It has lost its exact moment in time, and instead has spread itself across nearly all of recorded history. Why after these thousands of years have the hounds and the pastime survived where mighty edifices have returned to the dust? This cannot be a chance occurrence; the odds against it are phenomenal. There can be no concrete answer for the question. It is an involved and, sometimes, perplexing matter with a dozen variables: the hounds, their masters, the chase, traditions, the sport, and on, and on. Each individual that fancies or cares for one or more of the sighthounds must find his own answer.
Hounds, Hares & Other Creatures has been written for the showman and pet owner, as well as for the coursing enthusiast. It is a survey of the subject, and although it was designed to be comprehensive, it could never be all inclusive. The subject is too broad. I was faced with many decisions concerning what to include and what to omit. I chose to lean more toward putting in than leaving out, to make the book as complete as possible. Hopefully, all major areas were touched, and my regrets for any which may have been overlooked. Every book has errors; this cannot be an exception. Editorial assistants and I have tried in earnest to remove as many mistakes as possible. With luck, what is left will be minor slips and no one will be offended. If such is not the case, my sincere apologies.
I should like to thank all of those who have helped assemble the manuscript, and a very special thanks to Sally Bell and M. H. "Dutch" Salmon for their assistance with the Great Coursing Hounds section. My deepest appreciation to my wife, Kay, not only for putting up with the project, but for her encouragement and inspiration as well. Finally, my thanks and admiration to the marvelous hounds that make it all happen.

Steve Copold
Conejo Run Kennels
Mission, Texas
September 1976

Retrospective


In 1976, when I wrote the preface for the first edition of Hounds, Hares & Other Creatures I had just passed my 30th year. Looking back, it is surprising how clearly one is able to view the world at that age. Now, with the completion of this revised and expanded edition, I am passing 50 and, for me, the world is a significantly grayer and less well defined place than it was in 1976. It must be assumed that any lack of clarity is somehow tied to the turned pages of calendars that expired long ago and the wisdom that one hopes to collect along the way. It is a sad fact that the vision and simplicity of our youth lingers for all too brief a time.
The joy felt while watching the hounds and their quarry in full-flight remains completely undiminished in spite of the years. Sadly, coursing itself is no less an anachronism than it was in 1976. For better or for worse, that is plainly the way of our world and the way of contemporary society. The rapid expansion of urban centers, and the suburban sprawl that inevitably surrounds them, has hastened and exacerbated the pressures that make it ever more difficult to find the required expanses needed for the chase.
There is also the matter of friends long since passed on. All of the hounds in this volume have gone on to their reward and now are chasing hares in whatever heaven a caring God surely provides for them. Oddly enough, it is not just the dogs and the people that are so often missed, but sometimes the other creatures as well. I cannot possibly count the number of times I have fondly reflected on the nights we chased old Quasimoto, a coyote of amazing strength and character. After more than a dozen runs, over a two year period, the hounds finally ran him to ground. It is still impossible to sort out the complex morass of emotions that one instant brought to bear; a confusing mixture of joy over the success of the chase and a very deep feeling of loss at the death of a supremely worthy adversary.
Although it is a very small segment on a time-line that runs for several millennia, it is still extremely satisfying to look back and realize that coursing has survived for another twenty years. There is no way to predict if it will survive the next twenty years. As has happened with so many other equally arcane traditions and pastimes, it may well fall victim to the rising pressures coming along with the end of the 20th century. These certainly include further urban expansion and environmental policies driven by a mix of good intentions and political correctness. Just as responsible, however, may be the perception that it is acceptable for function to follow form. It is my fondest hope that if coursing leaves an enduring legacy, it will be the certain knowledge that functionality, along with a sense of aesthetics, must be a factor in the future of the sighthound breeds.
Once again, my deepest love and appreciation go to my wife, Kay, not only for putting up with the renewal of this project, but also for her great love, strong encouragement, inspiration, and for being the most important thing in my life for more than 23 years.

Steve Copold
Conejo Run Kennels
McAllen, Texas
January 1996