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 . . .

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Running Hare in Wisconsin

In the previous post, I talked about going to the 2013 Hunted Hare.  The one thing I didn't talk much about was the dogs.  On this trip I took Chip, Rambler, Gypsy, and Tony.  All had run hare before, so that part of the trip was nothing different.  However, none had ever run in snow that was anywhere near the 1 - 2 feet that they had in Wisconsin.

A big reason for taking this trip was to have the chance to evaluate my dogs in these conditions.  One thing that probably helped the dogs was the temperatures were somewhat mild for Wisconsin in February ranging between 20 - 30° Fahrenheit.

There were several factors that I knew would make it a challenge for the dogs to perform well including:

  1. Spending 15 hours and traveling 750 miles in the truck.
  2. Running in deeper snow than they had ever seen.
  3. Running with different dogs
  4. Running with dogs that had run their whole life in these conditions.
  5. Sleeping in the box with four dogs.
  6. Running hare that run in trenches rerunning their own tracks.
  7. Meeting my expectations, which naturally were very high.
Overall, I was pleased with the dogs I took.  None of them were amazing, but all of them ran like I expected.  Chip ran the best of the dogs I took, but that was no surprise.  He has been running well in snow all winter.  He didn't run as much front as some of the dogs he ran with, but got a lot of short checks to smooth out races.  At the end of Sunday's running, he was pulling at the leash and didn't want to quit.

Gypsy showed that making a trip 8 weeks after having pups is not a great idea.  She got a few nice checks, but physically wasn't ready to fight through the deeper snow that they faced in places.  I think in top shape she would do really well running hare in the snow.  

Rambler ran well on Friday.  He ran a lot of front and got some checks.  At 18 months old, he adapted well.  However, during a lot of the running on Saturday he showed his age.  He didn't get in to the groove like he does at home.  He definitely suffered from jet lag.  I was optimistic though, because he showed me that when he makes the trip when he is 3 or 4 years old, he will be a prime time player.

Tony ran just like she was at home.  She jumped rabbits and got checks.  When she opened the race was on.  Her screaming loud squeal stuck out as she powered and ran the front.  Just like at home though, she made the race too jerky for what I like.  She needed to settle down, but didn't do it enough.

All in all, I was pleased with the four dogs I took on the trip.  They didn't come in and dominate the day, but all contributed to the running when I ran them.   All seemed to me to have enough nose to run in the snow.  They had a little less mouth than some of the dogs, but opened when they had a track and shut up when they didn't.  I would love to have had a week to give them all time to adapt to the conditions.  One thing for sure, I will definitely run hare in the snow again.

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