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Murphy's Law Of Rabbit Hunting

by Dave Fisher


          Who is this guy Murphy anyway? Does anybody really know? All I know is it's some guy that says that if anything can go wrong... it will. And the other day, when I was wiping the blood from my ear, the sudden thought of Murphy's law suddenly hit me. Actually it began earlier in the same week.

          My buddy Bob and I parked in one of our spots and casually let the dogs down. Sometimes we're not in a real big hurry, and as we fumbled around for our gear and chaps, Bowser went over in the nearest weed patch and jumped a rabbit. Now, it has been very hot and dry here in Pennsylvania so good clean runs had been hard to come by. Not the case with this rabbit!

          The ground was frosty and perhaps a little damp, but for whatever reason... this was a run, baby! The dogs headed straight north for several hundred yards, then swung to the east. Bob was already moving in that direction so I proceeded slightly northwest where the dogs had taken the rabbit the first time. I'm thinking I haven't heard a better run since February of 1997, when the dogs again swing around in my direction.

          In a few minutes they were bearing down on me. I tightened the grip on my stock, but never saw the rascal... only the tip of five tails as they went streaking by. Now, in Bob's area, several hundred yards to the east, I hear the dogs swing again, and Bob doesn't shoot. They're coming hard again, but more north this time. I head down the trail another 50 yards and take a position high above an old rail bed. Then I see it; a vegetable farm off in the distance where we've run rabbits before.

          "Naaaaa, can't be," I say to myself. "That rabbit wouldn't go all the way over there?"

          Yeah, he did. And Bob and I spend the next half hour coaxing the dogs out from under a farm shed! Which brings us the Murphy's Law #1 of rabbit hunting:  If there is a house or building of some kind within two miles of your hunting territory, the rabbit and dogs will end up there!

          As I said, it was very warm here in Pennsylvania for the early season. Which means it's been hard to dress for. Which brings us to Murphy's Law #2. If you leave the truck dressed in only a light vest and shirt... it will rain, snow, or a cold, 50 mph wind storm will move in before you get back!

          Also, there is the "Dog Factor." This brings several laws to mind, like: (#3)  Just when you need them for hunting the most, three of your best bitches will come in heat at the same time, and the males that are housed around them get so stupid they won't hunt or be much good anyway!

          ( #4)  Whenever you have a buddy that wants to bring a few of his dogs, and he assures you they won't run a deer... they will! Taking a couple of yours along for the ride!

          And has this ever happened to you? You're out hunting and suddenly one of your dogs come up missing. (#5)  You spend the rest of the day looking for the dog only to find out when you get home that some "good Samaritan" has picked him up and taken him home! It takes you five phone calls and two trips to his house to recover the dog, that the idiot should have just left alone!

          The above scenario happens to me a lot in March right after our hunting season is over. The weather breaks off and on and the older dogs have hunted quite a bit so they don't mind easing up a little to puppy train. So one day I take two new pups, Kate and Alley out for their first outing in the real world. I go into a fairly small thicket, but in no time the pups are missing. The brace of older dogs I have with me are running around the thicket like everything is fine. Two hours later... still no Kate and Alley. I'm pretty ticked off and worried by this time, so I load up the older dogs and run them the two miles back to the house.

          I'm going to go back and look for the pups, but just in case, I go into the office and check the answering machine. "Hello, Dave? this is Mr. So & So, I have two of your dogs tied down here on my porch. Could you stop over and get them?"

          Having lived in this little town for 30 years, I know where Mr. So & So lives and it only makes me madder! He lives on one side of the thicket, and it is a sure bet that if he would have just left the dogs alone, they would simply have joined back in the chase with the older dogs. But by the time (like always), I'm just happy to get the pups back so I thank him and drive off. It's the fifth Law of Murphy.

          (Law #6)... It's deer season... it's 50 or 60 degrees and you would rather be rabbit hunting. You can't wait to get the deer in the freezer and get back to rabbit hunting, and take advantage of this spectacular weather. The deer season ends, the next day it's 10 degrees with snow and three inches of ice piling up everywhere. You're staring out the window, 'cause you can't stand up outside... it's that guy Murphy at it again.

          (#7) You're out hunting. Things seem to be going along fine, you've taken a couple nice rabbits, when one of the dogs (usually the pack leader) seems to have lost his brain. He won't listen, you can't get him to come in, and he's generally disrupting things. What's worse sometimes is the dogs are running very close to a busy highway. Ahhh, you're prepared for this, so you reach for the transmitter for the shock collar... and you quickly find out it won't work! Either the battery has gone down, the turn-on plug is missing, a wire is off... something, but this sucker just ain't going to work... just when you need it the most. And if I had that guy Murphy, I'd strangle him!

          (Law #8) I mean, let's face it, there are just so many rabbit spots around where we live. You try to be conservative and only hit each area a time or two during the season, but it's always possible someone else might be hunting those same places. It's funny, too, because around the area rabbit hunters seem to know each other. You know where I'm going with this, huh? You haven't hunted a spot for the entire season, trying to "save" it for a special day. You and your buddy load up the dogs and travel over to this saved "hot spot". And, of course, when you pull up there is another rabbit hunter's truck, who you know well, is parked in the exact spot where you usually go in. Now, I'm not sure our buddy Murphy had anything to do with this, but it seems awful funny that we would both head to this one tiny spot on the same day.

          (Law #9) This law might pertain to only me, but I doubt it. I'm generally healthy, except for a very bad back, and I don't get bed ridden very much. If I stay away from big crowds, I rarely even get a cold. But at some point during the rabbit season, when the weather is perfect, I'll have a visit from our friend Murphy and I'll come down with something. It's more than likely going to be the flu or something similar, and as I run from bed to bathroom I sneak a peek out the window, and see gorgeous, damp weather and the dogs whining and crying in the kennel. As I'm bent over the toilet, I hear a faint shotgun blast in the distance. I'm sick! And I'm sicker, because I can't make it out there! About this time, the next guy I meet that's named Murphy, I'll probably deck him.

          (Law #10)  If something's going to go wrong at home it's going to go wrong while your rabbit hunting. Boy, I don't want to dig up any painful memories, but this is from the guy who went hunting, came back and his house had burned down! So it stands to reason that when I'm out hunting near home and the fire whistle starts to howl... I get awful nervous. Then there's the the time when my buddy Denny Malone and I were stranded on Beaver Island and couldn't get off. Back home my water line breaks and runs $200 worth of water down the driveway, because I was two days late getting home.

          It just goes to show you that that no good Murphy guy had been working overtime.

          I'm sure you all have your own Murphy's Laws of Rabbit Hunting. There seems to be enough of them to go around. And if your name happens to be Murphy please don't call me!

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