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Real Rabbit Hunting Stories

by Gill Davis

          I have many Beagle stories, but I think the best ones are the ones people just don't experience. Have you ever had your dogs put one up a tree? I am talking about a cottontail rabbit here. I did once! There was a hole at the bottom of an old Oak and the pressure was so hard the rabbit scurried straight up to about a three foot bend. Let me tell you all, the dogs were going crazy!

          Another time, I got a place in the back of our farm where I ran in a soybean field. The field ended at the river. The drop off to the river is about 7 feet straight down to the water. The soybean field stretches to about three feet from the edge of the river. One day I was trying out a Prospective male for use as an outcross. He was pretty good so I had already bought him.  His name was Toby.  

          I took him out with some of my finest line bred hounds to see what he would do against them in a competitive atmosphere. I always have to completely test any hound that I may employ into my breeding program. Anyway, I  Hit a track with one of the old hounds and away they went. The old hound was right behind the rabbit. All things sounded good!! Toby didn't take long to hark in and get  going. The race began and Elsie and Sally both quickly joined in (they are my older female stock).  What a  sound they made!!!  soybeans are thick so it takes a lot of hard running to penetrate those thick, scratchy vines. It takes a good, hard pushing hound to even get close to a rabbit in this stuff, and Toby hung right in there!!!!

          By golly I thought, Man I might have found me a potential hound to bring into my bloodline!!!! With this crew there was hardly any checks and the pressure was great on Mr. Bunny. But, I couldn't see through the soybeans enough to tell if Toby was really holding his own with this pack! Forget all the excitement, I had to see what this potential breeder was doing in the pack and let me tell you, they were Hammering!!!!!!! I was desperate to see!! So I moved to the edge of the soybean field where there was the 3-foot of clearing just before the drop off into the river. Here comes the hounds! Wow, what a racket! echoing off the trees along the banks of the river behind me. It sounds like that rabbit needs to pull a trick or two just to stay alive!  Man, what that rabbit did next, I had never seen before!  I could make out Toby about ten foot back behind the old dogs which wasn't too bad!

          But back through the soy field they went in the other direction. I needed to see Toby do something like get a check or something I could say was worthy. But, it was just too thick. My familiar hounds where really carrying the mail! Here they come back; its been about a 30 minute flat out, non-stop race and the pressure was ON!!! Toby was finding out you don't ever let time slip away when your running with this group! But, he still looked like potential! 

          Here they are coming right towards me! The sound vibrates every pool and tree! He's got to be close to me, the hounds are only 20 yards back and tearing through that stuff like cutting machines on High speed with razor blades!!!! Now the dogs are ten yards away and OOPs the rabbit drives out stretching all the way and JUMPS!!! He sails way out off the bank 7 feet down and hit the water and sinks about one half a foot under! Pops back up swims for the other bank!!!!! WOW! and right behind him only about 7 feet Elsie tears out and Sally almost beside her by a nose. Toby is back about 15 yards and bringing up the rear! The first two just ran straight to the drop and zing!!!!! both jumped as far out as they could. The rabbit was just now getting to the other side! The two girls Elsie and Sally sank about 2 feet and disappeared for a second. All of a sudden with water exploding as they emerged dog-paddling, I could just see there heads. Folks, these hounds were tonguing while they were swimming, just as hard as if they were running on land. Their little feet paddling at the sky and now straight for the rabbit who just got up on the bank and RAN!!!!!

          Here Comes Toby out of the soybeans and WOW what a slide on his butt! He was sliding for home and stopped right at the edge of the drop off! Toby looked at me as if to say, "Them bitches are Crazy man I ain't doing that!!!!!"  It was so clear he was saying something like that, that I cracked up laughing and leashed him up. Shaking my head saying, "Well Toby ,I guess you don't know to many crazy girls like these kids back at your old home, lets get you home." Well, he was glad to go, and the other two I left there pounding that poor rabbit. I sold Toby a couple days later. He was a good hound, but just not hard enough to make the grade. Toby's new owner said, he was the best little hound he had ever owned. I don't doubt that at all, he was pretty good. He showed good sense. He just wasn't showing them any secrets.

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