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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 . . .

Friday, August 16, 2013

When the Rabbit Gets Caught

Logan Elm Black Butcher
You know life is good when you are out running on a 50 degree morning with the fog raising up from the hollers. The pack is loud with high scent and a lot of excitement. You can pick out dogs if you listen close but mostly it is just a roar. 

The hounds are making big circles in the clearcut with few breakdowns and every dog getting a piece of the work. As the lead dog misses a turn, one behind it cuts it off and the chase never pauses. The pulse builds and the pack senses the coming end. They jack up their intensity even more with each loop gaining speed.

Then, like a flip of a switch, the chase is over. Sometimes the rabbit makes a hard double and tricks the pack. Many take refuge in a hole. Once in a while a smart rabbit will run a couple hundred yards down a dry dirt logging road to trouble the hounds. Occasionally though, the pack runs to the catch. 

There's always a mixed feeling when this happens. You feel pride that the pack pursued with intent and ran with purpose. You feel sadness at the loss of a rabbit, never to run again. You can brag about a dog that made the sweeping drive leading to the end. You hope that there are plenty more rabbits to hear the music again. You respect the rabbit that gave a great chase around and around the clearcut. The one thing you never do is take it lightly. It always means something when the pack runs to the catch.

Mike Vigar came down yesterday and ran with the Old Man and me. We had some great chases in a big young clearcut. It was nice to get back to what we all love to do.

I ran Butcher, Rambler, Gypsy, and Chip. The Old Man ran Hot Head, Lim, and Village Girl. Mike ran Hoss, Jack, and Yankee.

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