Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving! The first real day of rabbit season for me. It marks the first day I can really go rabbit hunting as I have a hard time counting anything that ends before 4:00 PM as a day's hunt.
The anticipation was high as the normal hunting trio, Preacher Griffith, Ken Murray and I are joined by my friends from NC, Todd Herndon and Brian Michaels. These two had left the comfy confines of Tobacco Rd for a day in the South Carolina Pine thickets. I always enjoy taking a person hunting for the first time in the pine thickets. If you've only hunted hedge rows and farm land, pine thickets present an entirely new learning opportunity.
The day started off on a bad note as the first thing we noticed as we rolled into Greenwood, SC was that our normal breakfast joint, Gary's, was closed down. We looked around and found the Waffle House (no other café's in town.) Finally a few minutes after 8:00 we cast the hounds. Six dogs hit the ground, Daisy, Wilma, Nita, Blue, FC Cocoa Star and FC Slab Town. As we make our way into the pines I can see right off the dogs are smelling a bunny. They are all excited and the tails are going. As I stand their watching I see Mr. rabbit bust out of his cozy bed and 6 little beagles in hot pursuit. They travel a 100 yard or so and I hear a split. Five dogs still going strong and Star is headed back in our direction in hot pursuit. A minute later preacher shoots. "Thank you Star" is all you hear as Preacher collects his rabbit. We all fan out in the direction of the other race as Star rejoins the other dogs. Back and forth across the hill side the dogs run the rabbit. Shots are fired but Mr. Rabbit continues on. Finally an hour and change later Brian breaks the constant roar of the hounds with a shot that brings the race to an end. A few minutes later one of the hounds speak and another race is on. About a half hour into the race a split occurs. Two rabbits going and I am in prime position. A few minutes later I see the rabbit sneaking by with Star, Wilma, Daisy and Nita in hot pursuit. A quick shotgun blast later I end the race. Meanwhile Slab and Blue are pushing another rabbit towards me. Within a minute I hear Ken's 410 sound off and start to walk out to get a drink as by now the temperature has climbed into the upper 50's and my briar clothes are getting hot. Ken reports he missed the rabbit. Oh no I figure, I've missed my chance. I decide I can wait a little longer on the diet Mt Dew and head deeper into the briars for a shot. Just as I get into position I realize I only have one 28 gauge shell left. I need to make it count. The race continues on another hour of more and I really start to need something to drink. I want to just catch the dogs but I have no lead. I figure I can shoot the rabbit and then tease the dogs up out of the thicket. Since I only have one shell I have to make the shot count (I may have left out that I had shot a few times already and missed.) Finally at 1:00 I just head out toward the truck. I let everyone know I am going to the truck to get something to drink. We all leave the dogs running. We have our ritual Vienna sausages and oatmeal pies and guzzle down some MT Dew. After a quick lunch break Todd and I grab some leads and head back off to collect the dogs. We don't even carry our shotguns as we had no intentions of killing the rabbit. We just wanted to catch the dogs so we could get some more. We get the dogs and switch packs for the afternoon hunt.
The second pack consisted of Boot Scootin Boogie, Pete, Star Rocket, Lady Bird, Cinderella, and Bell Star. The after noon was more of what we had that morning. Several long runs with very poor shooting. I think I killed a couple more and the Preacher did too. Ken missed a few times and Todd never got a shot. We finally just caught the dogs as the last few rays of sun was still keeping the ground visible. We packed up and headed to the Dixie for Cheeseburger plates and making fun of one another's poor shooting. A good time with good friends. I go to sleep that night wishing for more.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Although our season opened up on Thanksgiving day, most of the rabbit hunting in our part of the world starts January 2nd (when the deer hunters have to go back to their wives.) I will try my best to take some notes of how the season goes this year. I did have a chance to go for a couple hours on Thanksgiving day and then again the following Tuesday.
First the Thanksgiving morning hunt. Ken, Preacher and myself had to meet at the local Hardee's for breakfast. We normally eat at one of several breakfast joints where a fellow can get a good breakfast, but the Holliday had them all closed. Not to be deterred, we came out of Hardee's and it was raining! Can you believe, the upstate of SC has scarcely seen rain for the last year and now it's raining! We made out way over to the little wood patch we were going to hunt. B/C it was Thanksgiving we had only planned to hunt a couple hours. They are both whooped and have to be back for the in-laws or some nonsense. Ken earlier than Preacher so we decide to hunt until 11:00 AM then Preacher and I would head over to the beagle club and run some puppies until he had to go.
The hunt started off fine. We had an instant split. Three dogs Cinderella, Lady Bird, and Call girl go left, while Nita and Slab Town go right. Just what the Dr Ordered, two rabbits. We all took up position and waited for one of the bunnies to be run by us. At one time I was sure I was going to get both rabbits without moving as both sets of dogs were pushing towards me. I did get a glimpse but it was just to quick and too far away for me to shoot. A few minutes later and the report of the Preachers Remington 1100 20ga light lets me know the rabbit had snuck past me and was dead. As the dogs come by I get in behind them as I wanted to see how Call Girl, a pup I raised last year, is looking on her first hunt. As we approach where the preacher I notice he is visibly shaken. He's all red faced and fighting with his gun. He tells me in excitement. I SHOT THAT RABBIT BUT ONLY WOUNDED IT AND AS IT WAS CRAWLING AWAY A FOX CAME AND GRABBED IT!. I've seen a rabbit I was chasing get snatched by a hawk but never a fox. That was amazing. Why didn't you shoot the fox I asked, MY STUPID GUN IS JAMMED, he tells me. Right then Ken starts in about him using that POS Remington shot gun.
In short order the three little Star females hear the race Slab Town and Nita are having and then take off to them. 20 minutes later my 28 gauge ended that race. By now it was time to go.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I have seen a lot of talk about entry fees as of late. The price you pay to enter your dog in a trial. Today most clubs charge a fee of $20 for entry. This goes to keep up the beagle club, pay the judges, pay fees of 3.50 per hound to the AKC, and probably a few other things I can't think of right now. I have some old hounds and hunting magazines and noticed in the 1940 the entry fee was normally $5. If you adjust for inflation that is about $93 today. $20 sure seems cheap.
Lets just look at the facts. If you were to burn a tank of fuel to go the a trial $75. You have to eat weather you are running dogs near home or at a trial so that is a wash. You enter two dogs at $20 each. You have a total of $115 in the trial. Now lets assume entry fees are at $25. The total cost of the trial is $125.. That is an increas of 8%. That does not seem out of line to me. I've heard the argument from folks who enter three or four dogs in each trial. I wonder if they really have 3 or 4 dogs they think may win the trial? If they do then they could easily sell one of the dog and recoup the cost of the entire trial season. That way they can continue to have fun. If in fact they don't have 3 or 4 that are good enough to win, they should cosider only bringing the best to keep their prices down.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Here's a little something that has bothered me lately. Let me set the stage for you.
I was at a field trial judging the 15" female class last week. We had 36 hounds entered. Not a huge class but fairly large for 15" females. Six packs of six. It was a terrible scenting day as the south east is still in the grips of a historic drought and high pressure. After running through the first series my judging partner and I decided to bring back 11 hounds for second series. There was one from a pack, three from another, none from a couple packs, you get the idea. We chose the best dogs (that day) from first series to make our 2nd series. A pack of 5 and a pack of 6. Keep in mind I've told you scenting is near nothing. Any one who has followed many dogs can attest that once you get more than 4-5 dogs the race will degrade on a poor scenting day. We ran our second series and then had a pack of 6 for our winners pack. They ran fair. The main thing is they did keep a rabbit going and they never stopped hustling around trying to find the scent at the checks.
Conversely across the hill, 13" judges went about their task in a completely different manner. They had 7 packs in first series. They ran them all and miraculously had a 21 dog second series. Not that big a deal you might think. True but wouldn't you think it even more miraculous once you've learned 3 dogs came from each pack. How about the odds of the best 21 dogs that day being divided evenly 3 to the pack. Even a rookie in the statistics field can tell you this is almost never going to happen. I even know some of the pack didn't really run at all.
To top this, they ran their second series and low and behold they had three dogs from each pack back to make a nine dogs winners pack! I'm not sure if it took 4 or 5 rabbits for them to get this winners pack run off.
Don't misunderstand, I know these guys are new to judging and for that matter fairly new to running dogs. They will get better as they gain experience. In the end, likely they will make good hounds men. This of course assuming they keep their minds and ears open to learning dogs.
The point I am trying to get across is this: judge with an eye at keeping only the top performers in the series. Don't worry about how dumb luck divided the packs. The trial that has more than one worthy dog in every pack is indeed few and far between. If you are not sure run the pack down to one or two dogs to insure they can keep the rabbit moving, if they fail eliminate them. Judge these trials like the fate of beagling itself rests on you decisions. Remember Accomplishment over style? This means the rabbit must be accounted for! So what if this dog is flashy and shoots to the front and looks like a world beater. He had better be able to run the rabbit without those behind him or he is of little use to the beagle breed.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

So many people have wrote in wanting to know about the Preacher and Slab Town Boogie Man. While history had a chance of being written last weekend. It did not happen. On a day when it seemed everything might come together perfectly; things failed to line up. Slab finished fourth proving himself to be part of our elites by placing in every trial every entered. He will not go down in history as the only undefeated dog to make FC in just three trials, but he will surely go down in history.
I thought I might make a few notes on beagles and the production of first rate rabbit dogs. I wonder how many people actually think about their average dog. I was talking to a friend this past weekend on how to improve my dogs. He remarked, "Scott your running three of the best little females I've ever seen. They'll just need more running to get even better."
I knew right off he had missed my point. I didn’t mean how to improve individuals, as I feel quite comfortable knowing how to prepare a dog for competition, I meant how to improve the average. How to make sure the product I produce is very consistent across the board. How will I make the next leap in breeding that most pups from a litter are field trial winners and extreme rabbit dogs?
I know I could pad the numbers by finishing more dogs. For me it is not about that. I'm not going to take a dog to a field trial unless I've spent some time in a pine thicket killing rabbits behind this dog. Two many beaglers never hunt and never find out what their dog is really made of. I could give you a list of FC's advertised in the magazine right now that we have owned and sold because they just did not meet our standards.
There is another group of beaglers out their as well. I call them mug hunters. These are the guys who want to buy a dog ready to win a field trial. They don't want to do the work it takes to breed and develop first rate dogs. These guys will buy a good dog and if they can't get it to win in a few weeks they are ready to sell it and find another. A person like this is not going to find what they are looking for in this sport. They may be better served to look into softball or possibly golf. Don't misunderstand, I know we all have to start somewhere. In fact I think it wise to buy the very best you can when you get started. But at some point you need to know a good thing when you see it and stick with it.
Alas, just like with all things it does take all kinds to make this game work.
Since I'm rambling on, here is another thing that strikes me as odd. Why all the complaining about a single field trial. Have you ever went rabbit hunting with a deer hunter. They always have a great spot for you to bring your dogs to hunt. You set it up, you give up going to your normal good place to go with this guy. You drive up and the trees are so thick you can't walk in them much less any sun light hit the ground for a briar to grow. The days usually turn out bad for rabbit hunting. The same think goes for a field trial. Trials are run by people, judged by people, and the contestants are people and their dogs. All prone to the ebbs and flow of normal emotional stress. To having a good day, to having a bad day. One trial should not be weighted like the world hangs in balance. Sure, I would have liked it better if my dog could have ran a little longer, but the fact remains, I'm not going to get up in the air over it if the judges decide to run him for 30 seconds. Sometimes it just doesn't turn out. It's a sport, enjoy it. The idea of going to the trial is to see what others have. Go to the trials, watch the dogs, learn what others are doing and stay on your course. If you can't handle that then chances are this isn't for you.
The picture is one I took yesterday with my phone of two little Cocoa Star females playing in front of the house.

Monday, September 24, 2007

If you take the time to read my blog let me say thank you. I understand I am hard to follow most of the time. I'm not versed in forming paragraphs the proper way. Shucks, I feel pretty fortunate when I get a sentence complete. Only to be out done by the fact that I am one of the worst spellers to be allowed a public forum.
It's time I make sure everyone who follows my blog is aware of a an outstanding son FC Covington Cocoa Star. His name is G & S Slab Town Boogie Man. Slab is out of a very good rabbit hunting bitch named Carolina Judy. Judy was a no nonsense female. She was as solid as they come and didn't mind doing her work. She hunted very good, would run up in the engine room and would honor the work of her pack mates. I sold Judy to Rev. Jeff Griffith with an agreement he could breed her to Cocoa Star. The product of this breeding was a great litter. Their were 5 pups. Three male and two females. All 5 pups earned 1st place ribbons at UBGF Derby trials!
Of these 5 really good dogs one was something special. The kind you just don't see every day. Fact is you don't see a dog like this every year. I would venture to say most folks who might be a casual observers of the field trials and keep a good pack of rabbit hunting dogs may never get to see a dog like this in their life. Slab comes out of the box with a certain presence about him.
Any way, I started on this entry to let everyone know about a possible history making event. So far no AKC gundog beagle has earned his Field Champion title in just three trials. That would make him undefeated! Slab town has been entered in two AKC trials. The first was a Gundog Brace format held at Friendship Hill, Md. on Sept. 8th Where he won the first place ribbon out of 62 13" males. Slab was handled by Mr. Todd Herndon of Stokesdale, NC. Next Slab was entered at the SPO trial held at Quail Farm beagle club in Mebane, NC on Sept. 21. This time their were 92 little males in the class. Slab was co handled by Todd Herndon and Jared Griffith( one of Rev. Griffiths boys.) Once again Slab displayed his talents with an outstanding winners pack run to win the class.
The next trial on our fall circuit will be at Mountain Valley in Gretna Va. On Oct, 5th. Slab Town will have a chance to be the first ever undefeated AKC Gundog Field Champion. Wouldn't that be great! The fact is Rev. Griffith (Preacher) has worked very hard with his dog this summer. He allowed him to run nearly every day, including the month of August when it was over 100 degrees nearly every day. It is nice to see hard work pay off.
Whether Slab wins Mountain Valley or not, it should not take away from the fact that this is a very special dog. There are a number of good dogs at the trials. Several of them could win on any given day. They are breed good, they have owners or paid handlers who spend a lot of time running them. Those dogs will have their day as well, but for now, it looks like it's a Slab Town world.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Thanks to all the people who came and joined us for the 2007 World Beagle Extravaganza. It was great seeing old friends and meeting a few new ones to boot. I met another man named Jeff Griffith. That's something you don't do everyday. I'm not sure the beagling world is ready for two of them :)
After things broke up at the club house; Doug, Bill and Chance Thomas, Jeff and Jacob Griffith, Preacher (Jeff Griffith), Gary Morman and his buddy Brad, Johny Finley, and I went to Doug's place to run dogs. I think we mixed and matched 5 or 6 different packs of dogs. It sure was a good time. It was the kind of day you hate to see end. Good people just enjoying dogs together. I hope we can do it again real soon.
For those of you who missed it, plan on being here next year.
PS. Preacher, please get permission to stay out and run dogs a little longer next year!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Isn't the internet a wonderful tool? There is so much information available for anyone who cares to sit and research it. When it comes to dogs you can get almost any knowledge you need about the health and well being of your dog. If you could get to needed medicines you could almost be your own vet for anything that didn't need surgery.
When it comes to a dogs performance, especially beagles, the internet is not the place to learn proper operating procedure. Have you ever considered how much time it actually takes to get a dog to it's full potential. How many dogs would a man need to follow to truly understand all the things he is looking at. Years ago hounds men used to poke fun at the tailgate hunters who would say "listen to old blue, he got that one." The man would say it so much he had everyone believing Old Blue was a super dog. The modern version of these dog running sessions (cause people don't actually go run their dogs every day anymore) is the internet discussion forums. Seems the person with the biggest mouth (or strongest fingers) is the one that is heard. This tends to mislead the newcomers to our sport. I always wonder how people have time to be on those boards all the time.
When I was coming up we ran dogs nearly every day. I sure used my share of flashlight batteries following my dogs or anyone else's who would allow me to follow. I can remember running my dogs at two in the morning worrying that someone was going to call the police. I guess what I am trying to say is take what you read in these discussion forums for what they are, peanut gallery bull sessions. You can learn a lot. For sure there is some really useful knowledge that can be gained. The drawback is, if you haven't put your time in and wore out a bunch of pairs of boots, you will not likely be able to tell the difference. Hope your running is good.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Going to your first field trial.

By Ken Murray
Edited by Scott wilson

Going to your first field trial can be confusing and a little bit scary. Where to go, what to do, what to say, are questions the first timer has to ponder. Scott and I thought a list of do's and dont's might be helpful and entertaining. "How to go to a field trial" will be an A to Z list of the usual things you will encounter at your typical AKC licensed SPO trial. Let's get started:
A. A subscription to Hounds and Hunting Magazine. It is known as the field trialers bible. All SPO trials are advertised in the magazine. You will be able to pick a trial close to your home to attend. The ad will include Entry fee, Dates, closings time (the cut off to have your dog entered) running order, directions, to the beagle club, and the most important information, weather they will be serving breakfast and lunch.
B: Which class will I enter?
Field trials are divided into four classes.
13" dogs
15" dogs
13" bitches
15" bitches
Select what you think is your best hound, either male or female, and show up on the appropriate day. Your dog will need to be AKC registered and it can't be spayed or neutered.
When you arrive at the beagle club, go to the secretaries desk and ask for an entry form. If the form is confusing, sit down next to someone filling out their's and ask for help. Everyone, for the most part, will be happy to help you. All the information you will need is on your dogs registration paper. After you have completed the entry form, go to the secretary and enter your dog. You will best be served at your first trial to have your dog premeasured. You will have to decide between 13" and 15" premeasure. Guess at which one fits your dog best because it really doesn't matter.
Now that you have your dog entered:
C. Eat Breakfast.
Support the beagle club. Eat meals, buy raffle tickets, they need your money and you like competing at trials; you need them to provide you with a place to compete.
D. Mingle, make new friends. There will be lots of folks telling all they know or don't know about beagles running rabbits. Try not to get confused by all the talk about bloodlines.
E. Premeasure.
You will be called for your dog to be measured and placed in either the 13" or 15" class. You will then need to go back to the secretary and get your dogs number.
F. Write your dogs number down!!!
For the remainder of the trial, you will need this number to identify your dog.
G. Roll call.
Announcements are made, various officials are recognized. Every entrant in each class is read from the roll. When your dogs name is called answer "here."
H. The Drawing
Each class will randomly drawn into packs of 4,5,6 or 7 dogs. Pay attention to which pack your dog is drawn.
I. Going to the field.
Most clubs have running grounds near their clubhouse. Some will require you to drive to the running grounds. It will have been announced during the announcements but if you missed it just ask someone in your class for directions or simply follow them. Be sure you don't get mixed up and show up at the wrong running grounds. Often 15" and 13 " will be in two different locations. When you arrive at the running grounds the other handlers will be busy putting the proper color collars on their dogs. The color of collar your dog needs is determined by the order he was drawn in his pack. For example. The first dog drawn in a pack will be Red, 2nd dog white, 3rd dog blue,4th is green, 5th is yellow, 6th is orange, and seventh is black. If your dog is the third dog drawn in the 2nd pack his collar needs to be blue. Once you have your dog collared you are ready to go.
J. Go to the field.You need to gather with the other handlers of you pack in the field. The group of you need to be ready when you are called for by the judges. Keep your dog quiet. Don't let him get his lead tangled with the other dogs Keep your dog in control and not to close to the other dogs. You are now ready to go.
K. Next Pack
You lead your dog to the judges and marshall. The marshall is in charge of you and your dog in the field. The marshall will call out each dogs number in the proper order and you are to answer with the color of your collar.
L. Cast the hounds.
The marshall will announce "cast the hounds" and you simply turn your dog loose. The marshall will indicate the direction you need to hunt your dog. The judges will be watching for dogs that fail to hunt. Even if they appear to not be paying attention, they are watching. Encourage your dog to hunt, just like you do when you are gun hunting. Stay close to the other handlers and dogs. If you dog starts to wonder off in a different direction, work him back towards the others. Handlers and dogs should all be hunting together for a rabbit. Often, dogs or handlers will roust a rabbit and not know it. If you were to see a rabbit watch the direction it goes and yell Tally HO. Yelling Tally Ho may seem strange at first but it announces to everyone that game has been jumped. Using the term Tally Ho any other time is just poor etiquette.
M. Call the dogs.
Once some one has yelled Tally Ho it is treated just as if a dog is barking. The dogs that have been at this a while will come on the run. If your dog does not know what it means don't worry. As soon as the other dogs start barking he will hark right in, if he doesn't then he is probably not ready for a field trial. If a dog jumps the rabbit their will not be a Tally Ho and the dog opening will signal the game has been started.
N. The run begins
Here is the order. Rabbit, dogs, judges, marshall, then handlers. Stay behind the marshall with the other handlers. Do not discuss any dogs performance where the judges can here. Always follow the marshal's instructions. As the run progresses we come to---
O. Picking up dogs.
As the judges evaluate dogs performances, some or all the hounds will be eliminated. This is accomplished by the marshall picking up the hounds the judges indicate. If the marshall calls out your color get your dog and leave the field. Your dog is through for the day. If your dog is not picked up you will soon hear.....
P. Handle the Pack.
When the judges announce "handle the pack" go and catch your dog. This means your dog has "stayed down" and is still in consideration. He may or may not be called back to second series. After your pack has run, you should…
Q. Watch the other packs run. You are free to watch the other packs. As you spectate you should not intervene, physically or verbally with the other packs. By watching with other gallery members you will become more accustomed to the actual happenings in the field at a trial. We are now getting to my favorite part of the trial.
R. Dinner (or lunch if you are up north.)
Same as breakfast, participate. Usually the cost is $5 -$8 and the quality is good. After dinner…..
S. Second series.
Same as first series but with less hounds. The dogs are redrawn into different packs and go back to the field for further evaluation. After second series, we have either third series (which is just like the preceding series) or we have the winners pack.
T. Winners pack.
Every field trialers goal is to get his dog into the winners pack. If your dog is still in the mix - Congratulations! If not, go watch the best of the best compete that day. There are four places given, 1st - 4th and NBQ. NBQ stands for Next Best Qualified. The field trial ends when the judges shout..
U. Field Trial.
The trial is over, awards are presented, and it's time to go home. There are a few more thought and I need to share them with you.
V. Attitude
Field trials are supposed to be fun, so have fun.
W. Judges
Never openly criticize the judges. Thank them for judging the dogs and keep your thought to yourself. Complaining accomplishes nothing good because the judges decisions are final. If you feel the judges have performed poorly, don't enter your dog in any more trials judged by them. Speaking of judging…
X. Honestly judge your hounds.
when evaluating your dogs abilities, do so with open eyes. There are no perfect dogs. Yours is no exception. Don't let kennel blindness cloud your vision when assessing your hounds. Viewing your dogs and those of others with an open mind will help you.
Y. Make friends.
A field trail is a great place to meet other dog men. When you attend future trials, it makes it more enjoyable if you know other beaglers. Besides meeting great people, the best advise I can give you when you attend your first trial is….

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Do you ever here peopel complain about the cost of fuel, bulding material, or just about anything else? I hear one guy say our government needs to stop sending our money over sees.
All that sound good but who is sending money over sees? The fact is, it ain't the goverment nearly as much as it's the Amercan consumer. Look at the parking lot of Walmart. Who is in their buying all that chineese product? The same people that complain about the price of gas! We buy cheap chinese product so the the Chineese need to buy fuel for thier manufacturing plants and cars. 30 years ago we were the only real market the oil companies had. Today any number of countries will gladly buy it.
Who's to blame? Ask your self, where were your shoes made? We've done this to our sleves. This insationable appetite for cheap goods will not end any time soon.
The next time you buy something, give a little thought as to the country of origian.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I've had something on my mind for a few weeks now. If this applies to you then maybe it will help. Have you ever ask a beagler about what kind of dog food he feeds. It seems that more often than not they tell you what kind of feed they buy and where at. They almost always tell you the price they pay. Folks we need to wake up our sport. Good dogs are expensive. Shotguns are not cheap. For crying out loud, look at the price of the pick up trucks many are driving. Why do I still hear about beaglers trying to put the cheapest dog food possible into their dogs?
If you had a race car, would you show up at a race with watered down gasoline in the tank? I expect not. Why not feed your dogs properly? Who has to clean your kennels. Around here it's me. I want that job to be quick and easy. I want all of the dog food I buy with my dollars to be put to work, not washed out back of the kennel.
As you may expect, I have many visitors at my kennels. Most people remark about how shiny or good my dogs and puppies look. I wonder if they think that it's by accident. Look in my feed barrels, you won't find any 11.99 a bag dog food in their. If you want your equipment to work properly you have to take care of it. If you want you dogs to look and perform their best, you have to feed them right. For a while now I have been experimenting with different feeds. The one thing I can say for sure, you get what you pay for.
I have worked in the automotive quality feed for the last dozen or so years. I've learned that it's important to check your process at each step. The components or ingredients need to be tested and verified just as the finished product has to be tested. I know there are huge companies that have giant advertising budgets. They do a great job of touting their product. As you know all those ads cost money! That's passed right into each bag of dog food you buy.
I've found that Diamond dog food is a great choice for most kennel owners and hunters. They have the highest quality standards in the industry. They manufacture their feed right here in the Carolina's, and use no imported byproducts from China.
I have been very impressed with the puppy food as well as the new line of Diamond Natural dog food.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Of course I haven't updated my blog lately. I thought I ought to do a little something.
I do have an announcement. I have several nice Star pups ready to go today. Please call us if you would like one.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Well, this pciture doesn't belong in the rabbit hunting blog. This is the first calf we've bottle fed. She's and F1 Angus/Sem cross.

I'll add a good beagle pic to balane things out. :)

Seriously, we have started a new venture to compliment the beagle operatio. Five Forks Cattle Company. Moslty the cattle are hard work but we hope to make a good go at it. I sure have a lot of super nice calves this year. I hope I can get the better ones to small ranches and modern mini farms. The rest will end up at Bloom as certified Angus beef.
The other picture is me and J and J's Smokin Line Blue. Taken in 1991. Boy did I have a lot of hair then.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It was a big weekend around the RHB camp. On Friday, Wayne Wardlaw finished his and Ken's 15" female Ginger at Robeson County. Ginger has a litter of pups out of Cocoa Star that may turn out to be the kind of litter history that can make history. They were born last summer. Wayne has one male that can already defeat much more experienced dogs and has beat two FC's in a short run. Ken has two females and a male. He told me yesterday he likes those two females so much he would not sell them for $10,000 ( I figure that's bluffing but for a man that doesn't care if Chili goes to forty dollars a bowl, who knows.) There are also two of these pups in the deep south. My understanding is one is owned by Joey Johnson and the other by Hall of Famer Scotty Panel. I hear these two pups have people talking down that way.
Ginger was not the only new FC this weekend. Tate's Yogi Bear won SE Georgia 15" male class to become Star's 3rd FC. As far as I know their have been 4 Star pups actively campaigned in AKC field trials so far. Three of them have finished and the other has two wins. How about that for producing power! I know of at least two more in the hands of rabbit hunters that could finish if campaigned.
Five Forks Cocoa Tom was taken to Abbeville's derby trial on Friday and got 2nd place behind his brother owned by John Price. I'm sorry I don't know the name of John's pup. The very next day Tom is taken to the Gundog Pack Elite National Championships where he gets 2nd place after a 30 minute brace with the current National Champion. I knew Cocoa Tom was a good one when he first started. He started his first time out and was a natural at running a rabbit. He has better than average top gear and just seems to zone in on a rabbit track even when all hell is breaking loose around him. I'll be adding more about Tom in the future. In the mean time, anyone who wants to breed to a good little male that is breed to produce is in for a treat. We will be offering free stud service from Tom until further notice. Our goal is get some early pups out of Tom so we can prove our breeding program works. Tom's mother Dreamer is Star's half sister out of Cocoa Bear and a top producing female named Lad Di.
Another Star female Sly Town's Clipper got 2nd place at the Abbeville Derby as well.
Jimmy Roland has a very nice Star male named Pepper. He was 4th at SE Georgia this weekend.
As if all this trial info was not enough I had a chance to go rabbit hunting with my friends Ken Murray and Randy Keese. Randy lives in Kennesaw Georgia but that Atlanta traffic hasn't taken the good ole boy out of Randy. Randy has some really nice females and he and his dogs are always ready for a hunt.
Darn, I just got a hot issue here at work so I am going to finish this later. But the just of the hunt, I killed my limit with my new 28 gauge shotgun again. Randy and ken each killed on rabbit. Until next time………….

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sorry, I have let this thing get so far behind. I should really do better. It's been pretty busy at work and even more busy at home. It' s already February and gun season will be coming to an end soon. I sure didn't get to go as much as I had hoped for this year. I didn’t work in December so I just didn't have many days I could take off in January. I've got a new 28 gauge shotgun that I just love hunting with. In fact I took it once already and I got my limit that day. This could be my new good luck gun! I'll get to go a few more times before our season is over at the end of the month. Thank goodness Ken's line of work allows him to go hunting at will. In fact he's been taking some of my dogs hunting with him. That helps a lot.
In other big news, Oopsy Daisy is now an AKC field Champion! She is truly a gritty little female. I went rabbit hunting with Ronald Phillips of Georgia last month and he couldn't believe it. The next day he called and said, "Scott, I know Daisy is a good field trial dog, but she is a whole lot better hunting dog! In fact, she's a borderline jump dog." These were very kind words. I wonder how many people who own beagles truly understand first quality rabbit dogs? Many people attend a field trial and never "get" what it is that separates winners from the also rans. Conversely, many rabbit hunters have never get to see top quality dogs do their work. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with either group. I just know the price of dog food, kennel space, boots, and trucks is the same; no matter how good your dog is.
FC Tate's Lady Bear had her puppies last week. She is now a proud mother of a litter of five. Brad called me Saturday night to let me know her litter mate Tate's Yogi Bear got his second win at SandHilll this weekend. Mr. JW Orvin, Tate's grandfather and Brad's father-in-law told me that Yogi was the best rabbit dog of all the pups he's raised. You better believe I will be breeding one of my better female to Yogi. I'm not sure how many people outside of the South Georgia group know J.W. but he is indeed a man that knows how to breed top notch hunting beagles.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Yesterday was an odd rabbit hunt. I get to go rabbit hunting a fair amount and most days are typical. Not yesterday! Was it odd because we killed a truck load of rabbits? No. Was it odd because we found a bobcat and treed it? No. What then? It was odd because we killed only three rabbits. We ran them hard and furious! We even ran them all day! In fact, we were running rabbit number four when it got dark and we caught the dogs.
I've never been and had that much trouble cutting the rabbit off and shooting it. Don’t get me wrong, their was shooting. If I remember right their were seven shots fired to get the three we got. LOL
The party was Ken Murray, Larry Penley (Clemson University gold coach) and myself. We cast the first pack of dogs, a group of six year old dogs and Ken's old Controller female that had gotten out of the kennel this week and ran so much she looked like she was going to die. They jumped the first rabbit about 8:15AM. It was a solid race for about an hour or so until the rabbit crossed Ken at short range and ended his merry little pursuers chase. Larry had seen a sneaker come out of one briar patch a little earlier so we called the dogs over to the spot to see if they could do anything with it. Sure enough, the race was on and boy what a race! It ran for a while with me missing at least one shot. After a nearly two hours of this the rabbit had had enough and crossed the road. This was his mistake as the three of us would cover that road like a fat woman on a toilet seat. After a while of running on that side of the road the rabbit made an attempt to come home where Larry proved that a gold ball is not all he could hit. We checked the time and it was 12:15. We decide it was time for lunch. Over to the truck we go where the morning pack was put to rest and we busted into various types of junk food.
By the time we turned the next pack out it was 1:00PM. This pack consisted of two of Ken's 08 derbies, his four year old male Seaborne, three of my 07's and Daisy. By now the sun had made the day almost hot in these briar clothes. To make things worse the dogs were hunting like crazy but had not found a rabbit. After about twenty minutes I decided to take a little rest. After all, I hadn’t heard Ken or Larry in the last five minutes. I found a proper pine tree and took a seat. It was quite nice and shortly I fell asleep. It couldn't have been 10 minutes or so when I was woke from my nap by Starlet, one of my derbies, as she had rousted Mr Bunny from his bed. The other dogs fell in the race was on. This rabbit had apparently read the rule book as he made one big circle and came right to where I was still sitting. The trusty Ithaca did not miss this time.
Since this race was so short (only 20 minutes or so) I felt obligated to get up and encourage the dogs to find another. Within a couple minutes the dogs had another bunny up and there race was hot and heavy. I tried for a while to cut the rabbit off for a shot with no luck. I decided should move in and get a look at my derbies any way. Instantly I noticed one of my future superstars was not performing as she normally does. I knew why too. Her tail has gotten so badly damaged by the briars this year she is in a lot of pain. I slipped into the race and caught her. Figured I should put her up before the damage gets worse. I get back from the truck and the race is still solid. We all three shoot at it and do our best to cut it off but this guy is tricky. As darkness approached the pressure to kill this rabbit mounted. Can you believe it, it got dark on us. We ran that rabbit all the way to dark and never killed it. I caught the dogs with the last couple minutes of visible light.
The thing about this day was, we ran dogs nearly all day. This is not that strange until you consider we only used four rabbits!