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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, December 12, 2012

Fox or Not

One of the challenges of running is night is that you usually can't see the rabbit so you have to trust your dogs.  Normally that isn't a problem until you have one of those chases that seems just too good to be true.  When this happens you stand there and consider--fox or not?  Shock or not?

Last night I ran four males in a big area with several clear cuts.  The dogs started a chase just before dark about 20 yards from where they jumped a rabbit the last time I was there.  They made three circles similar in pattern to the last time I was there but they were smoking.  Then they headed down the hill, across the woods, crossed a small creek and then the road and ran in another clear cut.

About half way through the chase I started considering the possibility that they were after a red fox.  I hadn't had any trouble with them running foxes, but anyone with hounds knows it can happen any time.  

On the first circle in the other clear cut I was thinking about what I would do if I knew it was a fox.  In my mind, I knew there should be no question, I should shock dogs if I have any doubt as to what they are running.  As I listened to this chase though, I just wanted to hear some more.

The dogs finished the second circle and holed the rabbit at a spot where I have holed rabbits many times.  As they came in, I gave them a pat on the head and thanked my lucky stars that they managed to have a race like that on a rabbit.  And later, when I saw a shooting star, I wished for a long life with lots of offspring for that rabbit.  

I ran Chip, Butcher, Rep, and Rambler.  It was 34 degrees when I started and got down to 28 by the time I quit.

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