Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My good friend Ronald Phillips calls a few weeks ago wanting to go rabbit huting in Mississippi. He knows my wife is nine months pregnant and there is no chance I can be gone for three days hunting. That doesn't stop him form asking to borrow a few dogs. :) Seriously, Ronald has some really nice young Star dogs and I ask him to write me a story. It sounds great. I can't wait to go next year:

Hunting Trip in Mississippi
By: Ronald Phillips

I got invited on a rabbit hunting trip to Mississippi to provide the beagles. We hunted two miles northeast of Brooksville, Mississippi. We arrived on Thursday afternoon in a rain storm with lightning. After the storm passed, we turned out some beagles for an hour to have some fun. We harvested three rabbits in that short period, but the dogs had a little trouble in the water. Water does not run off on the flat ground of Mississippi like other places. Also, I learned that running rabbits on alkaline Okolona silty clay soil might be a little different. We were hunting a little different terrain from hunting in Georgia. A man could hunt 6 beagles for a week and never get them scratched up. They don’t have the briars that grow in Georgia. Only the thickest briars in Georgia will have a rabbit. The dogs could not account for a couple of rabbits which was not acceptable to me. You have to account for your rabbits in Georgia because you might walk a few hours to find another one. Thankfully, they were more abundant on this day.

On Friday, we had five rabbits at lunch with four hunters. We consumed the normal pork and beans and changed out the dogs (not needed due to lack of briars). At the end of the day, we had accounted for 14 rabbits. I thought that we had an excellent day. The country store was the gathering place for locals and hunters in the morning. I learned from an older gentleman ( in his early 60’s) whom was a beagler that morning: running rabbits had been very difficult for the past few weeks, his male won a trial and then the next time he got a third because field trials are all political, and you need to get rid of all your young dogs because they can’t run a rabbit.

On Saturday morning, the same crowd plus some new beaglers and fox (coyote) hunters were gathering up for the daily events. I learned from the beaglers that the average was 12 rabbits harvested a day. I was a little ashamed of our 14 at this point. We only had three hunters for the day, so we were going to have to do a little better than we did on Friday. We hunted for four and half hours and had 13 rabbits harvested. We decided at this point to clean rabbits and head back to Georgia. We had 30 rabbits in the cooler and that would be enough for fried rabbit.

Would like to say, “Thank you” to Andy Brady for the fine rabbit hunts that he provided us this year. He can find the good places from Georgia to Mississippi. Take your truck because his likes to break down in Birmingham, Alabama and makes for a late night and long wrecker ride.

rabbits don’t run as small a circle in the more open cover
rabbits don’t stay in the weeds and fields, they immediately head for cedar trees and big woods up and down drainage ditches
rabbits don’t slow down to slip and slide, they just try to put a large distance between themselves and dogs, they will double occasionally
harvesting 12 rabbits in Mississippi is easier than harvesting 4 in Georgia
Okolona silty clay loam soil makes you taller as you cross the field and don’t wash off your truck
as many dead coyotes on side of road as deer and rabbits in Georgia
the alkaline soil must produce as many rabbits as volunteer cedar trees
you can show your dogs in a show immediately following the rabbit hunt because they want have the cuts from briars
don’t need a “jump dog” or as hard a hunting beagle
go to Mississippi to get a cooler full of rabbits to fry
Cottontails are everywhere
No blue tails
where are the big swamp rabbits????? They got the water for them

This was my first experience trailing rabbits in Mississippi, but I will return again if God willing. I had hunting experiences in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Maryland; but this one will be remembered. Take a hunting trip to Mississippi and enjoy the golf course type hunting for a few days.

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