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!

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