It’s considered a seasonal milestone by some — like playing conkers or the harvest festival — but for the first time in more than a century Baily’s Hunting Directory will not appear this autumn.
For 101 years, barring world wars, Baily’s has been published annually ready for the new hunting season.
But this year there will be a gap in the collection after Cambridge-based Pearson Publishing decided not to produce a 2008-09 edition.
“We can’t do it this year,” said sub-editor Tracy Knightly. “Our work load is changing and we are moving more into digital publishing. Producing the directory takes up so much of our time.”
Major General Barney White-Spunner, who has edited and collated advertising for the directory for 10 years, is also unavailable to edit this year’s edition, due to military duties in Iraq.
“We are not saying this is permanent, but shall take a break and reassess the publication — not enough people buy it in its present form,” said Ms Knightly.
“It may be possible to split the two aspects of the directory — the hunting reports and the directory of hunts. But no decision has yet been made.”
Pearson Publishing offered Baily’s for sale last year, but a suitable buyer was not found.
The publication has a circulation of around 1,000 copies each retailing at £39.99.
Alastair Jackson of the Masters of Foxhounds Association said: “It is clearly expensive to produce at such a high standard and for hunting people to buy on a regular basis.
“However, I am confident that there will be much enthusiasm for the production of a new-style Baily’s in the not too distant future.”
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (1 May, ’08)