Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What's the difference between a rabbit hunter and a houndsman.HMMM.. A simple question at first, but is it? I gave this some thought this week. I wasn't able to come up with a whole article on the subject but I did come up with a few key differences.
A rabbit hunter is focused on one thing, shooting rabbits. A houndsman on the other hand is focused on the hounds performance.
A rabbit hunter keeps beagles to increase the number of rabbits he kills. A houndsman shoots rabbits for the sake of the beagles.
A rabbit hunter will normally be found standing in the road, waiting on the rabbit to cross. A houndsman (assuming he is still able bodied) will be in the thickets watching for tell-tell signs of how his dogs are performing.
The rabbit hunter is quite content if his dogs can bring a rabbit back around most of the time. A houndsman is concerned the hounds are working in a manner that is pleasing to him and his senses. For not only must he hear good hound music, he must see hound work that is in his eyes efficient and intensive.
A rabbit hunter will bask in knowing he has one "jump dog." A houndsman will be gratified to see an entire pack of dogs eagerly searching cover.
A rabbit hunter will look at young dogs as a liability. A houndsman will know the young ones are the reason he's hunting.
Let me make this very clear, there is nothing wrong with being a rabbit hunter! If a person loves to shoot rabbits, so be it. In fact, we as sportsmen need to stick together or the anti-hunting groups will be upon us.
Of course there are many folks who may fall somewhere in between. I just want to point out one important reason people will not agree on dogs. The fact is, what is perfectly acceptable to one man, may be terrible to another.
Happy running.

Time is a little short this AM as I have been off hunting the last several days. I just wanted to pass along a couple pictures from yesterdays hunt.

The two black and tans you see are outstanding prodigy of the late FC Cocoa Star. On the left is Preacher Griffith with FC Slab Town Boogie man and on the right is Ronald Phillips with his female Queen of Five Forks.

The other picture is for those who have never seen Swamp rabbits. You can see the standard cottontail Andy is holding compared to the two swampers. For size reference, Ronald is 6'4" tall and the swamper is as long as his torso.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

FC Covington Cocoa Star Aug,1, 1998 - Jan.6, 2008.
This weekend started out pretty normally as far as beagles go. Tony Martin brought a bitch by to breed to Star on Friday. Star did his job just like he always did. I was up early on Saturday and Ken and I went down to Poplar Branch to run a pair of young females. While I was at the trial my wife called to say Star was in the yard playing. Star was never the kind that got out of his kennel. Mostly staying in his dog house unless it was feeding time or he could here the sound of a dog lead giggling. The point is, I was quite surprised to hear he had escapes his pen. Amy was kind enough to catch Star and place him in one of the whelping pens. When I got home I saw that Star had simply torn through the chainlink wire. I've seen dogs do this but never Star. I fed Star a little extra Saturday night as I thought I could see he had been loosing weight the last week or so. On Sunday morning I went to the kennel to load some started pups to go for a run. I was surprised to see Star laying stretched out in his pen, His body was cool but not stiff. I buried Star on the hillside opposing the kennel.
I've heard it said the most important contribution we make to the world is those we leave behind. Star certainly made a large contribution to the world of beagles. We are blessed to have a number of very high class females sired by star. They will allow us to continue the work we have started. Most of the dogs that carry Sta's genes are owned by rabbit hunters. This very fact may keep him from his just recognition as one of modern beagles great sires.
While discussing sires, I remember reading years ago a beagle writer who wrote "If your hunting buddies aren't breeding to your stud dog something is wrong." I can't remember who the writer was or the exact quote but I can tell you this. Houndsmen who saw Star work, breed to him. Anyone who hunted with him knew, he was a rabbit machine. Many hunters had never seen so much intensity from a dog that straddled the track. A couple years ago I got a call from a rabbit hunter wanting to look at some dogs.It was Jimbo Williams. I didn't know Jimbo and he didn't know me. I told him I was running the next day and he was invited to come watch dogs run. I ran Star for him that day. We talked and watched dogs, pretty much the norm. The next day my phone rang, it was Jimbo. He told me he wanted to get some dogs like he saw and how much he liked Star. I think I caught him by surprise when I ask him, "what did you like about Star." He answered me " I just liked the way he ran, I liked how he just turned right where the rabbit went even when the other dogs missed the turn."
I was fortunate enough to co-own Star with Doug Grant since Star was three years old. Star taught me a lot about rabbit hunting. What traits and actions were important and which ones are not. Thanks to Star I was able to make friends and meet people I would have never met. I am lucky to have known such a fine specimen of the breed. Star lived a long life for a stud dog. He was rabbit hunted right up until his death. Star was in the truest sense of the meaning, A RABBIT DOG.