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Blessing of the Hounds

Memorial Gate in Hitchcock Woods

The Aiken Hounds' annual Blessing of the Hounds in the Hitchcock Woods is one of Aiken's favorite, longstanding Thanksgiving traditions. Each year, the ceremony is part of the Aiken Hounds' Opening Meet, which officially kicks off Aiken's busy hunt season. Now in its 101st season of hunting in the Woods, Aiken Hounds is one of four hunt clubs in the area.

Aiken Hounds is distinguished as having the oldest drag hunt in the nation. In a drag hunt, cloth saturated with fox scent is dragged across the terrain to create a trail for the hounds to follow. Mounted riders follow the pack, which is rewarded at the end of the artificial chase.


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