Last weekend, the Masters of Foxhounds Association joined the largest wildlife and nature event in the United States, the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE) in Charleston, SC. Our presence through the exhibition's three days included sharing information with visitors at our booth, supporting local artists at a gala, welcoming hounds from local hunts, and connecting mounted foxhunting with the greater community of conservation and sport.
A friendly foxhunting group was ready to answer questions at the MFHA booth all weekend. Photo by Maggie Johnston.
SEWE welcomes more than 40,000 guests annually, so it was a tremendous forum to promote our programs and services. Executive Director David Twiggs said, "SEWE has been a great opportunity for educating the public. We have talked with hundreds of people who stopped by interested in our sport. It is amazing how many sportsmen don't know our sport is so strong in North America."
The three-day celebration includes seminars, every type of sporting and working dog competitions, vendor tents, gallery exhibits, and educational activities. SEWE's website states its mission to provide "the public with easy and affordable access to wildlife and nature conservation programs; it increases awareness about the need to protect our natural environment; and, it celebrates our collective love for wildlife, nature and our role in enjoying them for generations."
Wiggins huntsman Tommy Gesell and Amy Gesell at the gallery reception. Photo by Maggie Johnston.
Dog & Horse Fine Art and Portraiture of Charleston hosted a gallery reception, "Meet the Masters," which benefited the MFHA. Properly attired representatives from Lowcountry, Middleton Place, and Wiggins Hounds answered questions and admired the sporting art on display with gallery guests and clients. Featured pieces included oil miniatures, jewelry, and sporting art created especially for the occasion.
Twiggs, his daughter Salem, and Maggie Johnston managed the MFHA booth throughout the event. Lowcountry Hounds participated on Friday and Sunday, with Wiggins Hounds making an appearance on Saturday. “We’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to share the sport of foxhunting at SEWE this year," said Wiggins huntsman Tommy Gesell. "Not only were we able to showcase local hunts, but we were also able to help connect interested folks with hunts in their own area. I think the MFHA’s presence at SEWE will benefit packs from all over the country. It was a privilege to be part of this. I’m hoping that David and the MFHA will make this a yearly tradition. It’s been a lot of fun!”
Hunting dog fans from all backgrounds learned about mounted foxhunting in North America. Photo by Maggie Johnston.
"SEWE has been a great experience for Lowcountry Hunt," said Lowcountry whipper-in Liz Howard. "We've connected with the likes of Quality Deer Management Association as well as the South Carolina Plantation Managers Association. There is a fabulously diverse crowd of sportsmen and dogs/hounds from American Foxhounds, Labradors, Pointers, to the native SoCo Boykin and Griffons. It is the perfect mix between field and fowl. There is a shared love between land conservation and the belief in the true outdoorsman lifestyle. It is a blessing to participate in this event and we thank the MFHA for this opportunity."
To learn more about SEWE, visit their website here.