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Get 'Em Started On Rabbits

by Matthew Cogswell

          It is vital that we as hunters get the next generation of Americans started in hunting, both for the preservation of the sport and for the wildlife we pursue.  There is no better way to introduce kids to hunting than through chasing Mr. Rabbit behind a couple of Beagles.  Too often we as hunters put too much emphasis on the trophy aspects of hunting, especially for the likes of big game.  This is reflected in most of the hunting programs on television nowadays.

          There is nothing wrong with that for older or mature hunters who have learned what hunting is all about.  It is a natural progression that the more experienced hunter wants to pursue something bigger that involves more strategy and planning.  I myself love deer and turkey hunting and will never stop pursuing these worthy adversaries, but this passion for the sport was instilled in me through hunting rabbits.  And to this day, hunting cottontails behind Beagles is still my favorite type of hunting.

          It takes me back to a simpler time when I was younger and didn't have so many worldly concerns.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that most hunters started out hunting rabbits.  There are several good reasons for this.  Rabbits are plentiful, and they thrive in even the smallest amounts of habitat.  Though they are abundant, they are still a challenge to hunt.  Even a veteran hunter and hound are still hard pressed to bring home a couple bunnies for the pot.  It doesn't take much money or planning to engage in this pastime.  No intricate camouflage patterns or calls.  No special shells or optics.  You just need a gun, a handful of shells, and some chaps to take you into Mr. Rabbit's domain.  And most importantly, at least in my opinion, you need the services of nature's cutest and most good-natured animal, the Beagle.  Granted you can hunt rabbits without them, but Beagles add that dimension of pure innocence to the sport.  Here is an animal that was created to hunt rabbits, and he loves to chase them more than anything else on earth.  Besides, very few adults, let alone children, can refuse the big sad eyes of the Beagle.  They just beckon you to take them hunting.

          For these reasons a child should be introduced to hunting by way of the rabbit.  It's exciting, inexpensive, and just pure fun.  And for you old timers, a fountain of youth does exist.  Just grab a Beagle and your gun and recall why you started hunting in the first place.  For the fun of it!

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).