As much as beagling is about training dogs and the thrill of the chase, it is even more about time with friends. In fact, I wonder how many beaglers go to field trials for the camaraderie? I would bet the majority go to visit with others that love the sport of beagling.
When I think about what makes running great, I first think of trips. The trip to the ARHA LP World Hunt with 700 dogs and beaglers from all corners of the country is a blast. And what makes it so fun is the chance to visit with people that you may only see once or twice a year. After several years and a few casts together though, it is great to get to see everyone each year.
Hunting trips are always the highlight of my year. It's never about going to hunt. The arguing and teasing, making fun of each other and everyone's dogs--that is what makes the trip. I have been lucky enough to have made many of these trips to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. That is what makes the recent problem with wolves so important.
Last February, Jeff Allen and I crashed a party in Wisconsin. We went up and joined the Hunted Hare Group for their annual get together. They welcomed us to their weekend of fun and we had a great time running. We really enjoyed a fish fry with the best crappie I have ever eaten.
Lately we have a tradition here on Thursday nights. A few of us run together, each bringing 2 or 3 dogs. It's always a blast, even when it makes for a short night Thursday and a long day Friday. When it comes to running beagles, nothing beats the time with friends.