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.