Even before dark the snow was crunchy. Each step crackled. There was only a couple of inches in most places and there was even bare ground here and there. The stars were out on this clear night and the temperature was dropping through the 20's.
I was running dogs from a year old to nine years old out in front of the house. They jumped a rabbit almost as soon as they hit the cover. The running was a little choppy but in about 2 1/2 hours the dogs ran 4 or 5 rabbits with very little time between chases.
After about an hour of running, I started noticing a trend. Whenever it got tough, the old dog stepped up. And Tony, the next oldest dog was owning the night. The young dogs got their share, when the running was easier, but the tougher it got, the more the older dogs ruled.
Is this a sign that nose improves with age? Or is it just that in tougher conditions, experience pays off? Most likely it is a combination of both. I do think that as dogs mature, they become much better at running in tough conditions. After all, if the old dogs didn't show up the young ones once in a while you would have to wonder about them.
I was running Neal, Tony, Rep, Rambler, and Butcher.