As Moore County Hounds’ beloved Kennelman, Bill Logan has found meaningful connections with hounds and humans alike. Photo by Lynn McGugan
By Josh Walker
“Bill [Logan] shows up to work at the kennels looking like he is escorting British royalty on a pheasant hunt,” Sara Hoover, a member of Moore County Hounds, described the club’s Kennelman. “But instead of royalty, there are 60 hounds, which he cares for with a gentle hand and a kind voice.”
“When he first started working with the hounds,” Bill’s wife Diane remembered, “he wrote down all names and memorized them.” And even now, to this day, “he always gets dressed up when it’s formal season because he wants to show his respect to the masters and the hounds.”
For Bill, tending to the hounds of Moore County Hunt in Southern Pines, North Carolina, is more than just a duty. It’s a symbiotic relationship. He finds them to be generously soothing. Before retiring, he worked in mental health for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in Northern California. “It was a pressure cooker,” he described. “A lot of stress. But these hounds…” he paused. “They are the embodiment of God’s love. They share so much of their energy so freely.”
Photos provided by Diane Logan and Molly Thompson Photo.
More than knowing all their names, their personalities touch him differently. The ones he relates to most, he admits, are the ones not so unlike himself. “I generally like the older hounds,” he said with a chuckle. “They’re real steady and set a good example for the younger hounds.” And yet, “Some of the bitches are such sweethearts in the kennel and then such powerful hunters out in the field. Just being around them and watching them work lifts me up.”
Bill and Diane moved from Red Bluff, California, to North Carolina in 2014. They had ridden endurance and ride-and-ties with their Arabian horses. “When we made the move, we sold those horses and Diane got a Haflinger,” Bill said. In 2015, they learned about the Walthour Moss Foundation, which strives to preserve open land, protect and improve wildlife habitat, and offer a place for equestrian purposes. Their Bushwacker Club members frequently convene to clear trails, trim brush, and repair fences and crossings in the area. That’s when they met Lincoln Sadler, Moore County Hounds’ Huntsman, and his wife, Cameron, who serves on the Board of Directors for the Walthour Moss Foundation.
“We started talking about beagles,” remembered Bill, who grew up with beagles as a young boy. “He invited us to go beagling with the pack he had at that time.” That’s when Lincoln mentioned that he needed a kennelman.”
“He is about the nicest person you could ever meet,” Cameron said. “He’s a pleasure to have on the MCH team. He’s easy-going and a hard worker.”
Not long after he took the job, Diane joined the club and started hill-topping with her Haflinger. Bill wheel whips in a truck with a hound box over its bed. As much as he loves watching the hounds work, he takes his role and their safety seriously. “When the hunt is on and the pack splits and there are hounds going in a different direction, that can be worrisome,” he said. “But we’ve always had good luck finding any hounds separated from the hunt.”
“Bill is always calm and cool no matter what the situation brings,” said Lynn McGugan, a member who road whips and is also an accomplished photographer. “When the hunt is over, you can hear him talking to the hounds, asking them all about the day.”
Back in the kennels, Bill feeds, cleans and doctors. “I can always tell when something is wrong with one of the hounds because Bill is off himself,” Diane said, “He’s always been a real dog person, and now he’s a hound person.”
On hunt days, dressed to the nines, he’s one of the first to the kennels. He cleans and collars before the staff hacks or trailers to a meet. “In the off-season,” he said, “We walk the hounds three times a week. That’s when I really have a chance to be with them outside and see how they move. Those are the times when I really get to know them better and differently than I can in the kennel.”
Beyond his connection with the hounds, it had been the members and fellow staff at Moore County Hounds who softened the landing when he and Diane moved across the country. “Every day, I learn something from the hounds and Lincoln about hound care, hunting, and this lifestyle,” he said. “When I first met these foxhunting people, I found them to be very welcoming and generous with information. I never felt like an outsider around them. When you get that feeling—that you’re onto something meaningful and worthwhile—that’s the first feeling I got with Moore County Hounds.”
Photos courtesy of Diane Logan.