It's cutting them loose and having the pack run the rabbit until it gives up and goes in a hole or gets caught. And although the dogs usually don't catch it, they run like they want to. Just me and my pack of hounds, in any condition, on any day, in the roughest places I can find . . .

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hogs in the Wild

You never know what you might see running dogs in the clearcuts. I shot this video of a wild boar in Vinton County last weekend.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Great Start to the New Year

We had a box full of young dogs. Our goal was to shoot around them and kill a rabbit or two. We picked a spot that is a lot easier than many of the places we run. It was a switchgrass and weed field with a couple of small woods ajoining it on one side and a wooded hillside on the other. Although it had had a lot of hunting pressure this year, there was still a decent rabbit population.

The Old Man and I cut the dogs loose and away they went. I couldn't help but wonder who would jump the rabbits. Fifteen minutes later and still no chase and I was really worried. Then Cole jumped a rabbit and they all fired in making some music. They circled the rabbit, even working across a corner for about 80 yards across a plowed field. This chase and the next two were a little more choppy than I like with too many checks but the dogs settled in and got better throughout the day.

The time between races was really short today. After each chase, the dogs quickly jumped another rabbit. Cole had the best day of his life. He jumped at least 6 rabbits.  Plus he ran a lot of the front and got way more than his share of the checks. It will be very interesting to see if he can keep this going. 

All of our dogs are the walking wounded. My long Christmas break, a trip to run hare, and no time off has them needing a break. Even so, they had a good day. They hunted pretty well and seemed real intense on the checks. Even though the young dogs had to be the show, they did well. I even shot a rabbit today. Who knows, a few of the young dogs may even become the experts some day.

I ran Cole, Martha, Meg, DK, and Ding. The Old Man ran JJ, Dilly, and Suzie.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Running Hare

Looking Across the Swamp Waiting on the White Rabbit
When you haven't done it in a while, you start to forget how easy it is. And how exciting. And how addicting. And how good it is for the dogs. And how much conditioning it takes for the dogs to do well. And just the sound of the music as dogs fade in and out of hearing. Most of all though, you forget just how glorious it is to have a pack of hounds pounding for hour after hour working together in screaming pursuit of the big white rabbits.

I saw Jeff Kerns a while back and the first thing he said was, "when we going to Michigan?" Two weeks later Jeff, Jeff Allen, the Old Man and I were headed north. Four guys, 25 dogs and a truck and trailer loaded full headed to the swamps for a little running.

Although we just took a short trip, it was an amazing one. The dogs ran great with lots of different dogs contributing. In fact, that was the best part of the whole trip. On every chase if you listened close, you could hear a lot of different dogs getting work done. All of us had some young dogs, but they handled the trip well and acted like they had done it all before. 

I took Ding, a pup out of Dennis and Dilly that had only been run in the wild three times and he ran for 4 1/2 hours with the pack one morning and found his way out of the swamp when we caught the dogs. There were several other pups and they all ran well with the pack and hung in the chases like veterans.

This was a great trip and I can't wait to go back. When you haven't run hare for a while, you forget just how amazing it is. Getting to see the rabbits in their white coats made it even better. And getting back to Jeff's question, "when we going to Michigan?" Soon, real soon.

I ran Dennis, DK, Meg, Cole, Poppy, Martha, and Ding. The Old Man ran Tony, Chip, JJ, Dixie, Suzie, and Dilly.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Time for a Talk with Dennis

I hadn't had a conversation with my favorite dog, Dennis for a long time. The first time I talked with him, he had just survived his first field trial. I talked to him again when I took him to another hunt and he won. I decided maybe it had been too long and figured we should have a talk.

Me: You've been jumping a bunch of rabbits lately.

Dennis:  I love it when I can see them tear out of the briars, scared to death.

Me:  Well, it sure makes it fun to run when you jump so many. You had five jumps yesterday.

Dennis:  Yeah well . . .

Me:  So, uhhmm, keep it up.

Dennis:  By the way, I've been wanting to ask you something.

Me:  Yes?

Dennis:  How come we haven't been going to those things where dogs bark all the time?

Me:  Field trials?

Me:  I've just been enjoying running. We'll go again sometime.

Dennis:  Seems to me like you've just been enjoying riding horses.

Me:  Well, that to.

Dennis:  Is it because I didn't do so well that last cast in the finals? You know at the World with all those dogs.

Me:  Didn't do so well--you stunk Bud!

Dennis:  I know, I kinda lost my head a little.

Me:  A little?

Dennis:  All right, I was running around like a nut job.

Me:  Yep! I was so proud of you the two casts before that. You looked like a million bucks. I knew you were going to be famous. A World Champion. And then--WOW!

Dennis:  At least I got my picture taken. Anyway, if I looked so bad then why are you raising all these pups out of me? Are you wanting to replace me?

Me:  No. I hope you will be an amazing reproducer, like your dad, Logan Elm Neal. You know something special, kind of like magic in a bottle.

Dennis:  I know what kind of magic you want in a bottle.

Me:  OK, enough conversation. Time for you to get back in the box.

I guess I'll never learn. Talking to dogs is probably a sign of being a little crazy or frustrating enough to make me crazy.

Today I ran Dennis, JJ, Dilly, DK, and Martha.  It was 62° and sunny.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

It's All in the Spot

The running this summer has been great. The good conditions with a lot of moisture have helped. Nothing helps more though than having good spots to run. Now, depending on who you ask, beaglers have differing opinions on what makes a great running spot. For me though, nothing beats a big, tough, clearcut with a lot of cover and room to stretch out and run.

I have run one spot 2 or 3 times a week this summer. Usually the most I ever run a spot is once a week. However, every time I have run in this one clearcut I have had at minimum of 2 hours of nonstop running. Jeff Allen and I ran there Tuesday and ran 3 1/2 hours and didn't hardly move. This clearcut is loaded with rabbits, on a steep hillside, and so thick an ant has trouble getting through. Once the dogs get in there and stir up the rabbits, the dogs can run until they can hardly move.

This clearcut has been the most fantastic running spot I have ever run. It helps that it sits in the middle of 1,800 acres of clearcut of all ages. Now, I would like to claim that my superior dogs have been running great and deserve all the credit. Seriously though, I have to admit, it's just one fine spot for running dogs.

Today I ran Dennis, JJ, Poppy, DK, and Dilly. It was 75° and sunny.

A Beagler's Breakfast

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

This Summer Weather

Poppy Walks a Track up the Road
I was watching the news and the weather came on. The Meteorologist said, this is the 19th day in a row that it has rained, but it it about to get better. I know you are ready for some sunshine and we are going to get it. It won't rain for the next two days. I am sure viewers everywhere were celebrating. For beaglers in Ohio though, June has been fabulous!

All of the rain has kept the water holes full. It has made for good scenting conditions. The temperatures have been cooler than normal. All of the factors that make running dogs good have made June a great month to run. Day after day, the dogs have benefited from the weather and chases have been super.

As I listened to the forecast I thought back to today's running. The Old Man and I ran about 4 hours and the dogs never went 5 minutes without a rabbit. Tony had a great day and that helped, but it was cool and wet, and all the dogs ran well. We mostly just sat in our chairs and enjoyed listening to the beagle choir sing.  There was music the entire time and it sure sounded sweet.

I ran Poppy, JJ, Silly, and Dilly. The Old Man ran Tony, Chip, Dixie, and Dissident. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Hunting Mushrooms

There's always time to take a day off from running when the mushrooms are coming up. My daughter, Megan brought Zoom out and we found a good mess. A four year old can really find them when you get him within a few feet.  :)

Carter and his big find.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Looking to the Future

Allen Boyz Kennel
One of the things that keeps beaglers going is thinking about the future. We are always planning litters and dreaming about that special cross. Every pup we start is the next world beater. Every check that our pup gets is the best check ever. We put all our hopes on our dogs on next rabbit season and the next field trial.

Nothing beats the hopes we have for the next generation. As a grandparent, we know our grandson will be an allstar at everything. I put a page on this website just to brag about my grandson, Carter. 

This picture is of my buddy, Jeff Allen with the next generation in his kennel. This is Jeff with Mason, one of Jeff's grandsons. Mason and his older brother, Xavier have already started to run dogs and will be rabbit hunting in no time.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Certain Style

Do your dogs have a certain style? Do they run alike? Work a check alike? Drive out of a check alike? When someone sees a dog, do they know if it would fit in your pack?

I was talking with southeastern Kentucky beagler, Greg Sammons on Sunday and he asked how I picked dogs I was going to keep. I tried to describe a certain style that my favorite dogs all had. All had a straight away drive out of the check. It's not blazing fast, but they didn't falter or fall off. They just drove out of a check with a controlled power. 

When I think of the best dogs at Logan Elm Beagles, Hobo, Neal, Nada, Willie, Gypsy all had that style. When a pup starts, without even thinking about it, I compare him to these dogs and their look when they ran. When I am making a cross, I consider the likelihood that it will produce dogs that fit.

Naturally, it's not just as easy as finding dogs to fit the style. I look for independent hunt, and dogs with the stamina to quit only when I make them get in the truck. I want a good mouth that I can pick out. I also want the conformation to withstand day after day of pounding running.

As I was running last night, I was thinking about all this. Recently, I have been making an adjustment to my pack. Some dogs I have had for a while are gone. Some dogs that haven't been run much are getting more hours. My pack wasn't running as smooth as they should. Dogs were getting too rough and wide in the check area. Those that stay will have a certain style. 

I ran Dennis, Cole, Poppy, JJ, and Silly. It was 57° with a little rain.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Longest Walk

The judge yells, handle your dogs. The cast is over. You catch your dog and start back to the truck. You know the score is close. Your stomach is knotted. Your head aches. All the fun of the cast is gone. Pressure is thicker than the thickest fog. 

You are trying to go over the scoring one more time. You can't remember how many checks the yellow collar dog had after the last race. The handlers are making small talk, but you can't concentrate. All that work, training for months, and dreaming, and hoping comes down to the next few minutes. You just want to get this over with. Your heart is pounding like a big bass drum.

Questions pound your brain. Did I get that last check? How much were they scoring that pink collar? I know my dog sounded good, but was it enough? What dog was that with the chop mouth that I heard so much at the end? I know my dog was leading, but did yellow collar catch me? 

It's the longest walk.

Picture by Jeff Allen at 2015 World Hunt

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Lotta Action

Running Grounds at the World Hunt
The best part of going to the World Hunt is visiting with friends and fellow beaglers. It's 3 or 4 days of nonstop dog talk so for a beagle addict like me it is perfect. When a conversation starts, you never know where it will go, but below is one I had with a guy, and long time beagler, Bob Lahti.

Beagler:  The next round will be tough.
Me:  Really?
Beagler: Yep, got two *** ***** (kennel name) dogs in it.
Me: Well, it will be ugly
Beagler: What?
Me: They will be rough and they might be hard to beat, but it will be ugly for sure if there are two *** ***** dogs in it.
Beagler:  They aren't that rough.
Me:  Well, there's always a first time.
Me:  What do you think Bob?
Bob Lahti:  Be a lotta action.

If you have never met Bob Lahti, he is a gentleman and an all around good guy. He also knows rabbit dogs and always runs some good hounds. He taught me something at the World. From now on when I see a rough, blow up the race, I have to have the front, skirting, cheating dog, I'll know what to say: He's got a lotta action. And if it's one of mine, I'll have the perfect description of his running style.   :)

Picture by Jeff Allen at 2015 World Hunt