Carl Edward Shaffer, huntsman, dies

Carl Edward Shaffer Sr., the former huntsman of the Mount Carmel Hounds who also raised hunting dogs, died of heart disease Oct. 24 at his Sha-Hill Farm in Parkton. He was 83.

Born at his parents' home in Upperco, he developed a love of horses while harvesting crops as a boy on workhorses on neighbors' farms. He later showed and trained horses. Family members said he trained Billy Blitz, winner of working hunter division championships, including at the Harrisburg Horse Show in Pennsylvania.

He was a Sparks High School graduate and played on the school's basketball team.

While training show horses, Mr. Shaffer worked at Black and Decker Corp. in the products service division.

He was also a 4-H Club leader, a part-time farmer and a member of the Hereford Volunteer Fire Department, where he was honored for more than 60 years' service.

Mr. Shaffer retired from Black and Decker in 1982 and farmed full-time alongside his son, Carl E. "Jay" Shaffer Jr., who lives in Parkton.

Mr. Shaffer remained active in 4-H work and took a week off yearly for the Maryland State Fair at Timonium, where he visited exhibits and enjoyed the thoroughbred racing. He was also a member of the Manor Race Committee from 1971 until his death.

He owned and cared for 17 couples of Penn Marydel Fox Hounds, a breed of hunting dog.

"His biggest thrill was having a champion Penn Marydel at the Radnor Hound Show two years ago," said his wife, the former Mary Pearce. "Carl inherited his love of hounds from his father, who hunted with beagles."

She said her husband started fox hunting on horseback in the local area in the 1960s. His group was originally known as the "stump jumpers" and evolved into the Mount Carmel Hounds, a farmer's pack whose members hunted two days a week. The kennel of 34 hounds is at the Shaffer farm. Mr. Shaffer used a cow's horn instead of a traditional hunting horn.

After his 1970 marriage, Mr. Shaffer began fox hunting with the Elkridge Harford Hunt Club, where his wife had been a member.

He was huntsman of the Mount Carmel group and retired from actively hunting in 1996. Family members said he then would ride out on horseback and "hilltop" with the hounds, meaning he observed them from hilltops.

"He finally hung up his tack and rode his blue pickup truck instead to follow the hounds," his wife said. "On the day of his passing, Carl was with his hounds, who made loud, beautiful music for him on a spectacular chase. He viewed the fox and his hounds right behind. He stepped out of his truck and sat down on a bench and his heart stopped."

Services are private.

In addition to his son and wife of 40 years, survivors include two grandchildren.

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