Walking through the home of Randy Frasier and his wife, Kathy, north of Ruston, La., you can tell they are dog people. On one wall hang nearly a dozen framed magazine covers featuring Randy, four generations of his family including his grandfather, and a string of red Walker hounds. The covers are from the publication The Chase, a magazine produced for the foxhunting community, and feature the Frasier brothers’ foxhounds after they have won hunting competitions across the country.
Draped over the couch is a custom-made red-and-white quilt adorned with sewn-in photographic panels that visually tell the history of the Frasier clan and their love of dogs and the foxhunting sport in which they’ve invested so much of their lives.
“Growing up, I lived out in the country. We didn’t always have running water or electricity, but we always had foxhounds,” says Randy, sporting a Frasier Brothers Ragin’ Reds foxhound cap and matching red hoodie sweatshirt.
A Special Bond With Hounds
But the dogs were more than a family tradition for him. He developed a special bond with foxhounds at an early age.
“As a kid it just triggered something in my spirit, these hounds making this beautiful music,” says Randy, becoming more and more animated the longer he talks about the dogs. “At an early age, I could listen to the hounds and understand what they were doing just by the way they sounded.”
The dogs were a natural way to introduce a country boy to the outdoors and hunting. Back in the 1960s in the woods of northern Louisiana, deer were virtually nonexistent. The countryside held plenty of foxes and coyotes, however. Since running dogs was a part of their heritage, Randy and his older brother, Barry, got their first dog when Randy was just 7 years old.
As the brothers matured and grew older, they entered their dogs in hunting competitions across Louisiana, and success soon followed. But then life and family caught up with Randy. For a while, he stepped away from raising the dogs he loved, working for many years for the City of Ruston’s water department, while also running his own poultry farm and raising thousands of broiler chickens each year. In 2001, he retired from his city job and ramped up his poultry operation, a venture that is still going strong today and involves his oldest son Travis as well.
A Serious Competitor
“When he retired, it wasn’t long before he got back into the dogs,” says Kathy. Randy tried out some “big red dogs” that belonged to a friend in Texas and was so impressed with them, he ended up buying them. The thrill of the chase soon beckoned him again. He and Barry combined their resources and became kennel partners in a business that became known as Frasier Brothers Ragin’ Reds.
Now, on any given weekend when Randy is not tending to chickens, the Frasier brothers’ red foxhounds can be heard in the hills and woods across the South, from North Carolina to Texas. When he’s not competing, Randy judges foxhunting events and serves as an ambassador for the sport by speaking at various functions. He credits his ability to travel the country with his dogs to the freedom that Southern AgCredit helps him achieve.
“Southern AgCredit really keeps us going. They finance our home, our trucks, our tractors, our poultry farm — they’ve been a blessing. They really work well with us and help with any of our financing needs,” he says.
Fast Service From Southern AgCredit
“When we were about to build a house, this place we live in now came up for sale, but the deal needed to be done quick,” Kathy adds. “It would have taken weeks for us to get financing somewhere else, but Southern AgCredit had us ready to buy this place in just a few days. You can’t get service that fast with other lenders.”
“It is always a pleasure working with Randy and Kathy Frasier,” says Southern AgCredit Loan Administrator Angie Simpson, who has worked with the Frasiers in the associations’ Farmerville branch for years. “They run a very efficient operation. It is customers like them that have made our cooperative what it is today.”
Just as Southern AgCredit has built a solid reputation with borrowers across northern Louisiana, Randy has built a solid reputation within the foxhound community. He says his dogs are dependable, low-maintenance and hunt well, and that is a great source of pride for him.
“All I ever wanted to do is improve the dogs to work hard to be better,” he admits. “These dogs have been good to our family.”
The type of foxhunting in which Randy Frasier participates is British at its root, but it is steeped in Southern tradition. Not to be mistaken for the hunter-jumper equine sport, the Frasiers’ brand of foxhunting focuses more on the dogs.
The hunts are straightforward. As in the tradition of old-time Southern fox and coyote hunters, the owners listen closely after the dogs are turned loose to run. By tuning in to specific inflections in a dog’s bay, the owner can tell whether a dog is on a hot trail or simply trying to find the scent of a fox.
Each year, groups like the Masters Foxhunters Association sanction events across the South, where hundreds of dogs and their respective kennel owners compete against one another. The dogs often have colorful names such as Jazzy, the name of one of Frasier’s dogs, which help owners recognize an animal’s lineage.
The competitions involve 20 or so judges scattered throughout the hunting area who evaluate each dog on several factors: how it generally behaves, whether it is loafing or hunting hard, how it handles, if it false barks and if it follows false tracks. The dogs ultimately are scored on how they hunt and handle. As in most competitions, the dog with the highest score in the end wins.
Randy points out that the competitions are not about harvesting foxes and coyotes. Rather, they focus on how well the dogs work and handle in the heat of the chase.
Although various dog breeds compete in foxhunting, Frasier raises Walker foxhounds, a strain of American foxhound that was developed in Virginia just after the nation was founded. It is an active, friendly dog that’s bred for its ability to hunt by scent and get along well with other dogs in its hunting pack. Not to be confused with the treeing Walker coonhound, the Walker foxhound and its cousin, the coonhound, share many of the same physical traits, although they are separate breeds. However, one characteristic all hunting hounds share is their deep, long speech (or howl) that signals when they are trailing game.