AS we settle in for yet more snow (okay, yeah, I concede that you Midatlantic residents got a lot more than we did, so I’ll be quiet, but still. I hate to sound like a whinebag, but it’s really messed up our season) … As I was saying, there’s more “frozen precipitation” forecast, so It doesn’t look great for foxhunting. As we’ve seen in recent posts, it ain’t easy getting a horse across frozen mud.
Not so with beagles! The little hounds can go out with their foot followers in much worse weather than we can. It makes sense for foot-following, because rabbits tend to run tighter, twisty-turny lines in a smaller area than coyotes do. They’re slower, too.
As we contemplate the snowy forecast and the possibility of another foxhunting freeze-out, we’ll take some comfort from this report from our friends over at the Clear Creek Beagles. Clear Creek whipper-in Jean MacLean takes it from here:
I DREADED the thought of going beagling yesterday! I thought it would be horrible because of the snow cover and the cold air temperature. But Buck (huntsman Buck Wiseman) was convinced that it would be a good day, possibly close to his all-time best hunting day of a zillion years ago when he ran a hare for five hours, covering 25 some odd miles, with similar snow, ground and air temps! I was the ultimate skeptic.
Eleven couple of hounds and 4 people met in Shelby County yesterday. We only stayed out for about an hour and forty five minutes, but hounds ran for almost the entire duration!! We made a false start down the farm lane to the brushy banks of the creek. At that point we returned to put a lame Sunlight in the trailer and picked up Nate Lord and Preston Thomas.
We returned to the creek and started working down the near bank. A tricky rabbit slid out of the covert behind the pack, but I viewed it out. Hounds were on it. They all made a few loops around, quickly crossing the very cold creek and seemed to go back to ground in or near the original brush pile. All humans crossed the creek, without much damage. The hounds worked up the banks on the other side of the creek and got a new rabbit up. I had to return to the creek and assist Enid in her crossing. She thought it was too cold the first time and did not want to do it again. All hounds worked hard on the snow. Fortunately for them the ground was soft and muddy underneath. Those with jet packs had to slow themselves down some to work the lines on the snow. Socket and Snuffbox were dynamite working out the twisty turny lines of this rabbit, but again it went to ground. At this point I believe the first rabbit moved and was picked up again. This time great circles were made back across the creek in a winter wheat field, through a junk pile and then back tiptoeing through the creek. Hounds worked hard to stay close and ran this rabbit at least twice around his intricate “lose them quick” path!! The front end of the pack pushed him hard enough that he went to ground – to stay!!
One more rabbit was run around through a field of flattened sorghum, an old barn, down a tight wire fence row and then across a field back to the creek. At this point it was really cold and time to call it a day. It did not measure up to the best hunting day ever BUT it was a great day to be out to see all of the hounds working so well and together!!!
Nature points – 3 coyotes seen on the way to the meet, countless Canada geese, a covey of quail, 3 or perhaps 4 rabbits.
THANKS, Jean, for that cheerful report, and I’m only sorry the houndbloggers weren’t there to enjoy it (but that creek did look c-c-c-cold).
Here’s hoping your weather, wherever you are, isn’t too terrible!