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.


Anonymous said...

i must disagree, as a rabbit hunter, and only a rabbit hunter...i want all my dogs to search with enthusiam, if i am running 2 or 5 dogs they better all be searching for the next cottontail. i agree in the fact that i want my dogs to bring back the rabbit as fast as they can, even if they are not on the track,,,but 10 or 12 yards off and taking air my mind that is a dog that chases to catch...not chases just to chase. i stand in the thickets watching the quality of my dogs...hate dogs that skirt just to get the front, or stand around waiting for the other dogs to open no matter how well they can run a rabbit. My dogs are not a liability, they are the only way to hunt rabbits as a rabbit hunter and as u say a houndsman. The actual difference between a rabbit hunter and a houndsman is a rabbit hunter does not need to see his name and picture of himself in a magazine to be accomplished...the accomplishment may just be knowing u have the dogs that accomplish the task at hand in a very fast and efficient manner, along with hearing some beautiful hound music. The rabbit hunter was and always will be the backbone of beagling. The houndsman is and always will be a way to make a buck along with maybe going rabbit hunting once in a while.

Scott Wilson said...

Anonymous, first let me say thank you for reading the blog. I always enjoy reading the opinion of others. I wonder if you missed my point? The fact is most beaglers fall somewhere in between. Everyone does not have the same passion for hounds and their methods.

As I read your comments it’s easy to see you have two separate issues in your paragraph. First, it’s apparent by your comments you do care how your dogs perform. You’ve simply stated the obvious and reiterated what I posted in my blog. You’ve admitted to enjoying the hound music. You’ve mentioned “hating” dogs that skirt briars. Let me interject, they’re just dogs. They are not all created equal. Some will do things differently than others. It’s what’s in their genes. Don’t hate the dog. Just be grateful you can recognize the fault and move on. As far as dogs “winding” the rabbit 10-12 yards away, well-maybe. I’ve been running beagles on rabbits for nearly 20 years and have watched well over 10,000 dogs run. I’ve never seen one that could “wind” a rabbit from that distance with any consistency. Maybe I will one day. Until then I’ll use my experience to form my opinion. I’d suggest the next time you see a dog running that distance from the track you consider the possibility he may just be a smart old that is doing the very thing you “hate.” I suspect you may be simply playing devils advocate here and I can appreciate that as well.

I can only imagine you know someone who’s sent in their own picture to a beagle magazine. Perhaps they’ve bought a good dog and advertised his stud services along with their own picture. That doesn’t make them a houndsman or does it preclude them from the title. I’ve always felt it best to focus on the hounds and what you’ve been able to produce.
As far as making money in beagles, I think the gasoline and truck manufacturers are the one’s making the money with beagles. Houndsmen travel all over the country to see different hounds work and perform. That uses lots of gas as well as wearing out trucks. It’s the only way you can have a true idea of what others are producing. The only way to benchmark and see how you can improve. Thanks for your input.