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, December 23, 2014

There's No Place Like a Clearcut

There's no place like a clearcut for running beagles and there's nothing better than a day of pounding running with friends and family. Usually you have to deal with that first half hour. The dogs are too keyed up and don't know each other. They tend to make a few mistakes and the running is choppy. Most of the time there will be a few splits. Then they settle down and that's when it gets good.

We had a crew yesterday running at one of Jeff Allen's spots. My brother, Gregg came over and the Old Man was there. Joe Adkins joined us for the day. Everybody brought a few dogs and traded dogs in and out of the chases throughout the day. By the time we left everybody and every dog was tired but happy. It was just a great day of running.

This made the 8th day out of the last 10 that I had run. The dogs were quick to get in the groove. With all the running, Chip was his usual, Mr. Consistent. Butcher has clearly moved to the top spot of my dogs.

During the eight hours of running, a lot of dogs had the chance to shine, and everyone got the opportunity to feel good about their dogs. More than individual work though, it was nice to have great pack work and a lot of dogs running well together. It didn't seem to matter which dogs were switched in or out, the pack just kept running well.

It was mostly cloudy and 38°. I ran Butcher, Chip, Cole, and Dennis. Gregg ran Bailey, Dolly, and Pepper. Dad ran Village Girl, Diamond, Dissident, and Dixie. Jeff Allen ran Wes, Flame, Meg, and Dee. Joe Adkins ran a young male out of Trails and a Rocky female and a young bluetick female.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fill the Truck

I walked out this morning to load the truck. I have been rotating my dogs all summer to make sure that all of them get their share of running. I was thinking about what needed run as I went out to the pens. None of the dogs have been run too much during the last week, so I knew they were all ready to go.

I put three on the leash and loaded them in the truck. I walked back to the pen, and grabbed three more. I loaded them and walked out to one of my big ground pens and looked at the young males. They all seemed anxious to go. I caught three more and headed for the truck. I loaded them, started for the house, and then decided to go back out and just empty the pen. I figured I should just fill the truck.

I went in the house and got Carter out of bed. In a few minutes we were headed outside of Laurelville to a huge clearcut. We had to make a stop on the way for some breakfast, but eventually we got to the running spot.

It took a bit to get all the dogs collared up, but they jumped a rabbit real quick and the chase was on. Having eleven dogs loose gave us plenty to listen to. They ran well with several chases lasting for quite a while. The young dogs held their own, starting rabbits and getting some checks. It was a great morning and the truck full of dogs made some good music this morning.

I ran Chip, Gypsy, Ob, Butcher, Trick, David, Dennis, Silly, Billy, Cole, and Kurly.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

It's Always Better With Friends

We ran over five hours this morning and the dogs ran great. We were in a huge area with several clearcuts of different ages. It was a beautiful summer morning with a temperature of 50° when we started. We were running a bunch of dogs (I think 16) and I heard a lot of them have a moment of stardom. 

Mike Vigar and Chris Hopkins came down to join me running dogs this morning. Both are regulars and make running dogs a good time. The dogs are important and we all listen and pay attention (at least some of the time). Most important though is just having a good time. As much as I like field trials, nothing beats a morning like today--three guys out enjoying the running just having fun.

I ran Butcher, Kurly, Cole, Gypsy, Chip and Dennis.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Some Days it's Easy

I like running in the summer. It sorts the dogs, letting those with grit and ability rise to the top. But summer running is work. Rabbits can't physically run as long. Dogs get hot and have to work to breathe so they can't run as well and many hunt less. Pests are everywhere--ticks, mosquitoes, deer flies . . .  Plus there are always a lot of little rabbits that make little circles, dipping and diving.

Some times though, it all comes together in the summer and then it is great. Dogs start to adapt to the heat and any little break in the weather makes a huge difference. And so it was today. The high for the day was 74°. It rained yesterday and last night. A front passed through and pushed out all the humidity. All in all, it was a perfect morning to run.

The dogs jumped a rabbit before I had them all collared up and turned loose. They ran for over two hours with just a few checks. I am sure they switched rabbits, but it didn't matter. They sounded great. When they finally came in I moved them down the road about 100 yards. They were running again within a minute. After an hour and forty minutes, a chase ended by the truck.

I called the dogs and moved them about 75 yards down the road the other direction. Gypsy and Ob jumped a rabbit within a couple of minutes. After being out a total of five hours, the dogs circled up by the road. I called them in, loaded up, and headed for home. It was a great morning of running and it was so easy--nothing but pleasure. Days like today help deal with all those summer days when it's not quite so good.

I ran Gypsy, Chip, Butcher, Ob, David, Trick, Silly and Billy.

Monday, June 30, 2014

It Was Good When it was Good . . .

Right out of the truck we had great running. The dogs pounded with few checks and far between. Rabbits came quick and stayed up and ran. The fog was so thick you couldn't even see across the holler. By the time the fog finally lifted around 9:30 the dogs had already had a good workout.

Chris Hopkins came down to run and the way the dogs started made it well worth his trip. We went to one of my favorite clearcuts and the dogs took the grand tour right out of the gate. Although you could rarely see the dogs, you could hear a lot of dogs chiming in. It was a great start to the morning.

After the dogs had covered most of the area we where in, I decided we should move around the hill. I thought a new area would keep the good running going. When we dumped the dogs out, they were hot and didn't seem to ambitious. It took way too long to get a rabbit and then it only stayed up for about 15 minutes. We loaded the dogs and headed for a nearby clearcut with a pond.

The dogs quickly jumped a little rabbit but it didn't run far. Then Juno hit a rabbit and the chase was on. For the next hour or more the dogs hammered. They ran the best chase of the day. They ran the clearcut from the top to the bottom and all around. It was the kind of chase that made you smile.

When the chase was finally over, we called the dogs in and headed for the pond. All of them got a good soak and cooled off. Then we spent the next hour trying for one more chase. The young dogs had had enough and the older dogs were not exactly busting the brush. It was highly aggravating. Right at the end though, David jumped a rabbit after being out almost six hours on a hot summer day. That made it all ok.

This was a strange morning. When it was good it was really good. When it was bad, it was nothing. Luckily there was a whole lot more good than bad.

I ran Butcher, David, Dennis, Trick, and Kurly. Chris ran Molly, Juno, and three pups.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Luck of a Beagle

Yes, the Left Leg is Twice as Big
After a Run in with a Copperhead
Butcher won the Champion Class yesterday at OHBC's Little Pack Hunt so I was really happy. I took him out to run today and he sounded real good until he didn't. I noticed he was going back and forth on a logging road in the middle of the clearcut and wasn't trying to get in the chase. Needless to say I was a little aggravated.

When the chase ended and the dogs came in, Butcher wasn't with them. I could tell by the Garmin he wasn't moving. I started that way and began calling him. I could see him slowly moving towards me. By the time I got him, it was easy to see why he wasn't running.

He ran into a copperhead and got bit on his left front leg. Thanks to some aspirin, benadryl, and penicillin he will be OK.  He obviously will be getting a few days off though.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tired Dogs

From Front to Back--Logan Elm Cole,
Silly, Ob, and David

I have been running a lot lately. Need proof? Just take a look at these dogs in their pen.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Four in a Row

The Old Barn at Farmers
Why would a dog run better on the fourth day? Today made the fourth day in a row this week that I have run Chip and he hunted and ran the best today. It has been hotter than blazes all week. The dogs can't even rest well or eat like normal. Every time they get a chance they are diving into the creek.

I would think by the fourth day, Chip would be tired. I would expect him to hunt with less enthusiasm and too start to run a little sloppy. It would be only normal for a dog under the kind of physical stress that I have put on him to loose his intensity.

Somehow though, he has gotten a little better each day. I am sure this can only work to a certain point, and tomorrow I will see if it continues. I think that goes back to his sire, Neal and Hobo the generation before. I suppose, like with most things, I will have to push it to the max just to see what happens.

I started out in a big clearcut this morning but somehow the thunderstorms missed it. There wasn't a drop of water anywhere. About 10:00 it started to get really miserable so I headed to Farmer's where the creek always has water to finish the day.

I ran Chip, Ob, David, Kurly, Trick, and Cole. It was in the 80's before noon.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I Love Summer Running

Chip Coming Out on the Track
At 8:00 this morning it was 76°. By 9:00 I was sweating like crazy and I wasn't doing anything. It was so humid you knew thunderstorms were coming before the day was over. The rabbits would only run about 15 - 20 minutes at most. I think it was too hot for them. 

The dogs ran though. At times there were a few more checks than I like. It took a little bit between rabbits and the dogs hit the creek between chases. There was never a time when they weren't breathing hard. But still they ran.

After about 3 1/2 hours I loaded up and headed for the house. Normally I would have run longer but by then, the dogs had enough. The clearcut I was running in is tough running even in good conditions. It is thick and steep. Today everything was harder. And that's why I like running in the summer. 

Any dog can run in good conditions. Any pack can have good chases when it is easy. All the dogs can get checks and jumps on the good days. On a day like today though, the dogs are challenged to the max and the best will rise to the top. Need proof? Gypsy jumped five rabbits today.

I ran Gypsy, Ob, Chip, Butcher, Silly, and Billy.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Rain, Rain, and More Rain

The grass has been growing good the last few weeks. It seems like every day lately has had a chance of rain and we got it. That sure makes it good for running dogs though.

Chris Hopkins came down last night and we went down to a big clearcut to run. Right from the start the dogs jumped a rabbit and got after it. The chases were steady with some big sweeps. You could tell from the beginning that scenting conditions were great.

I have been spending a lot more time riding horses lately and less time running dogs, and my dogs showed it. As Chris said, "you always do that. It's that after the World Hunt lull." And he is right. Every year after the ARHA World Hunt I run less, taking a bit of a break until summer.

The dogs were a little rough at the start, with more energy than was good for them. After a bit they settled, but it really didn't matter. That's what is so great about good scenting conditions. Even when dogs aren't dialed in they can still burn up the woods. As every beagler knows, you can't beat running in the rain.

I ran Gypsy, Chip, Butcher, and Ob. Chris ran Molly, Juno, and a couple of pups.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hog Wild at the Lease

You never know what might be running around in the clearcuts. One thing is starting to be real certain though, there are a lot of wild hogs. These two were trapped at one time right in the middle of one of my best running spots.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

It Was Wild!

You take some young dogs and run them hard during the winter/hunting season. You try to give them lots of chances to figure out what being a rabbit dog means. You pound them in a pack, trying to maximize opportunity and minimize chances for trouble. They are just starting to look good and figure some things out. Then you put them up for two months.

So then you take five dogs and do everything possible to get them at the top of their game. You run them hard and then run them sharp. In other words, run them all they can physically stand to get them in top shape, and then run them at the top of their game to maximize their ability. Then give them two weeks off.

Then you load the whole bunch up and head for a big clearcut. You see a rabbit crossing the lane on the way in and you know it's going to be exciting. You collar up the dogs and away they go. They pound off the hill so fast they are almost outrunning their bark.

You are on the edge of 2,000 acres and you may need it all. When you see the dogs on the first check, it seems like they are going to use it all just regaining the track. Quickly, Butcher snatched it up and away they went, hammering off the hill again.

The ARHA World Hunt is over and it's back to just running for fun. The dogs had a blast and most of the time, I did too. Some of the races were a little choppy, some of the time. Most chases though were fast and furious. It was wild but I had a blast.

I ran Butcher, Ob, Chip, Gypsy, Kurly, Dennis, David, and Trick.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Sick World Hunt

It started with a sneeze as we pulled out. Little did I know how sick would come to describe this year's World Hunt. In twenty years of competing at the World, I have never seen anything like this one. 

At this year's World Hunt:

1.  I spent at least four hours a day sleeping in the truck.
2.  ARHA only ran two rounds on Thursday because of thunderstorms.
3.  I was too sick (flu) to run most of my dogs and can hardly remember running the ones that I did.
4.  I spent about 12 hours a day in bed at the motel.
5.  We ran 12 dogs that never won a cast (last year we had 9 dogs that won their first round).
6.  Evansville, IN set the record for rain in a 24 hour period while we were there.
7.  There was a tornado siren 40 yards from our motel window that went off at least 6 times Thursday night.
8.  The back of my head is still sore from it laying on the head rest in the truck.
9.  I got a lot of weird looks from people who went away thinking I was as rude as ever because my brain was working about like going 10 mph on a super speedway.
10. I infected more people than Magic Johnson but at least it was with the flu and not AIDS.
11. Gypsy ran so bad she got an immediate pass to retirement.
12. Got to meet Zach Moore and Aaron White from Kansas, show them how horrible a couple of my dogs could run, and felt too bad to even think up some kind of excuse.
13. Went to the Log Cabin, one of best restaurants in the world twice but was too sick to eat and couldn't taste what I did eat.
14. Saw a lot of people I had been waiting a year to see and then couldn't think enough to carry on a conversation.
15. I sneezed enough to fill a five gallon bucket and spread millions of flu germs throughout Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.
16. Gregg ran Jake and got scratched because he couldn't catch him (even with 7 people helping). I caught him when he ran down the road and sat down at the back of the truck.
17. Jeff and I found out that some people would do anything to win including ruin any chance of a friendship but the guy still got last in the cast. :)
18. When a judge says, "I missed that one check" it's not a good thing.
19. We ran 12 dogs that never won a cast (for all kinds of reasons which I am still trying to figure out).
20. Oh, by the way, did I say I had the flu?
21. We had one dog that won a cast and he just kept winning until he was a World Champion and really that's all that matters.

To anyone that tried to talk to me at the World, if I seemed off my rocker, I was and I am sorry. To anyone I might have infected, I am truly sorry (don't worry you will be up to 50% in a week). All I can say is this was one sick World Hunt.  Congrats to those that placed. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

2014 ARHA LP World Champion Logan Elm Bailey

ARHA LP World Champion
Logan Elm Bailey
Congrats to Gregg McGuire and his son Matt on winning the Open Class at the ARHA Little Pack World Hunt in Evansville, IN. Bailey ran strong in each round, showing he was the hound to beat. He had a strike jump and then got the first check to start every round. Once he got the lead, he never let up. He won the final cast 215 - 100 - 25.

Bailey has always been a good jump dogs but over the winter his track running strength has come on strong. He has a high clear short bawl that stands out as he runs a track. All of Gregg's hard work training really paid off at this year's World Hunt.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Ready for the World, Well Maybe . . .

The Winter That Just Won't Let Go
It's a little weird, but I almost hate to see the ARHA Little Pack World come this year. I have been pounding the same five dogs for the last couple of months. The crazy weather conditions and growing pains (ability wise) of Kurly has driven me a little nuts at times. Plus, getting the old dogs in top form is always a challenge.

As I ran yesterday though, I realized how easy running has become. The dogs are tuned. When you turn them lose they get gone and jump a rabbit. They are on their toes and full of energy. They are running as a team without distraction. They run like they mean it, driving out checks and pursuing with the intent to catch. When they hole a rabbit, they come in like they should.

Today, Kurly jumped the first rabbit. Chip got the first check. Then Gypsy, Butcher and Ob got a check. I was running five dogs and all five scored before another dog scored. Then Butcher got another check, and then Kurly, and so it went all day. 

After the World it all changes. I will get the young dogs and pups back out. I am sure they will throw in a few challenges, both with handling and running. The easy days like yesterday will be gone for a while. Although I am excited to see how my young dogs progress, I know there will be plenty of pot holes in the road, but I can't wait to pound them. 

It's always exciting to see who can rise to the next level. I will be running Trick, Dennis, David, Cole, Billy, Silly, Jimmy, and Fury. It will be interesting to see who will still be around in the fall. In the mean time though, there's this thing called the World Hunt with about 700 dogs waiting.

Today I ran Chip, Ob, Kurly, Gypsy, and Butcher.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Well Hello Gypsy

Logan Elm Gypsy
The dogs screamed tonight. Jeff and I ran at the landfill and the dogs burned it up. They ran heads up the entire night. A good part of the races were almost as hard as the dogs could physically run. It was fast and furious and a lot of fun.

Gypsy has been through a slump forever. She raised pups in back to back litters. This slowed her down and allowed her to get totally out of shape. Then she got the tick disease, Ehrlichiosis. This robbed her of all of her energy and fire. Basically she has been just another dog and not a very good one at that.

Tonight though, she slayed them. She was absolutely slamming. She got short checks and long checks. She kept all the races going. She ran the front a lot of the time. When she didn't have the front, she was just a slight breakdown from regaining it.

The dogs burned it up tonight and Gypsy was a large part of the reason why. I had almost forgotten how she could control the day. Tonight though, she sure reminded me and was it ever great. It was awesome and I can't wait to run tomorrow!

I ran Gypsy, Chip, Ob, Kurly, and Buther. Jeff Allen ran Wes and Flame. It was 37° and cloudy.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sure and Steady or Full of Flash

Logan Elm Obstruction
Today I ran with Jeff Allen and Delbert Erb. We ran at Jeff's lease for close to 6 hours and had some real good chases. The last hour was especially good with dogs hammering across the hollow on this big hillside clearcut. A lot of dogs contributed to the day and it was a great way to spend the day. We had a good time with lots of time to talk about dogs.

Towards the end of the running, Jeff mentioned to me what a great day Ob had. Driving home I started thinking about his comment and had to smile. Ob isn't a superstar. He is just a good dog that keeps getting better. 

The Old Man, Gregg, and I have all owned Ob at one time. This winter I have really put a lot of hours into him. He has become a good, steady, dependable dog. He jumps rabbits. He gets his share of checks. Other dogs run the front more than him, but he runs so much rabbit that he keeps finding his way to the front of the pack more and more.

Contrast this with Kurly, his 3/4 brother. Kurly get noticed, good or bad. He is less than 18 months old, but sticks out in any pack. He can get a check and run half a circle pounding the front. He can also cause some problems dragging the pack around when he should settle down a little.

Luckily, I have both dogs and they benefit from each other's strengths. As I thought about Jeff's comment though, I knew most people would prefer Full of Flash over Sure and Steady. In fact, many times that would be my choice. I have to say though, it sure was nice to be running Sure and Steady today. It's also nice to run with someone that notices the difference.

I ran Gypsy, Ob, Chip, Butcher, and Kurly. Jeff ran Wes and Flame. Delbert ran Flame, Cooter, and Bitty. It was 37° and mostly cloudy.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

How Bad Do You Want It?

Keith's (Norwester) Boomer Dog That Makes it Possible
For him to Run in the Tough Canadian Weather
For me, owning the best beagles possible is an all-consuming passion. I know it and just accept it. There is never a day that I don't spend a good part of it thinking about beagles, running beagles, talking about beagles, and for the last year or so, writing about beagles. This is something I will do the rest of my life. I have run all of my life and I just don't see it changing.

Right now, a lot of guys that compete in ARHA are running a bunch as they prepare for the ARHA Little Pack World Hunt on April 3 - 6. Once it is over, they will resume other obligations and hobbies. Once spring hits, a lot of guys get out the boat and start fishing, or coach their kid in baseball. And that is as it should be.

Running for me though, never stops. You might call it an addiction and I couldn't really argue. I run all year long, year after year. Occasionally something will make me think about this.  Norwester wrote this on a recent  post on the Hunted Hare about confirmation,:

When I wrote that the conditions and environment have you backed into a corner....I'm not exaggerating. There were a number of years I had big strong looking handsome hounds...that couldn't circle a hare in winter...not once.
I was telling Bud, and I've told Tom this too, one year I went 6 weeks....NEVER SAW A HARE...and I was running every day.

Now that is what I call dedication. At least I get to see a rabbit or two every day.

Today I ran with the Old Man. I ran Gypsy, Chip, Butcher, Kurly, and Ob. The Old Man ran Tony, Village Girl, and Jed. It was sunny and 45°.

Friday, March 21, 2014

And Then it Gets Even Better

So the Ranger got to spend the night in the woods. The new tires with the super grip were covered in mud. The truck sat there where it slid off the logging road, buried deep in some wet mud with a totally ticked off owner who was mad as everything.

This afternoon, I went over to my brother, Tom's to head out on a Ranger rescue. We hooked up his trailer and loaded his tractor. At least I knew having a tractor with tire chains would get me out. We traveled about 20 miles down to the lease and headed up the big hill to drag out the Ranger.

We unloaded the tractor about half way back to the truck. We piled chains, shovel, chain saw, and jumper cables into the tractor's front end bucket. Then we headed back through the woods to the spot of the buried green truck.

When we got back to the scene of the disaster, I noticed that it didn't look like the front tires were throwing much mud. As I looked closer, I could tell the four wheel drive wasn't working. No wonder the Ranger spun out and ended in a sink hole. Then the passenger hub caught my eye.

I told Tom, I wonder if the hubs are locked in. A quick look and I was madder than ever. We locked the hubs in, I started the truck, and then I pulled out of the mess. The good news--the Ranger was rescued.  The bad news--it really just needed a driver who was a little more than a half wit.

I can't wait to load the dogs in the morning and see what kind of disaster awaits.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

They Stunk

My dogs were so wore out they could hardly walk so I gave them three days off. My reward? Tonight they stunk. What happened to my dogs? They were full of energy. Why didn't they use it productively?Tonight they were horrible. To top it all off, I forgot my collars so I knew if I lost a dog, I was just out of luck.

After an hour of running, I drove back farther on the lease than I had been in quite a while. The dogs were running within minutes. Driving a rabbit was no problem, except for the pack of five dogs couldn't stay together for ten seconds. 

They split and got back together. They wouldn't pull up and then they would overrun. Where did my dogs go? Finally, I couldn't stand it any more. I loaded up and headed for home. Well, I planned on going home. 

Unfortunately a big wet spot in the woods decided to claim the Ranger Danger for the night. Yes, three miles from the road, 9:00 at night, and the Ranger was buried. I did what every idiot does when the tires start spinning. I spun them until there was no hope in ever getting out.

Finally I gave up. I called the Old Man and said I need a ride home. I walked out about half way. While I was waiting for him to get there, the dogs jumped a rabbit and hacked it around. More of the same. Could someone please remind me of the reason why I run dogs? But honestly, I can't wait for the weekend.

I ran Kurly, Ob, Chip, Butcher, and Gypsy. It was 45° and should have been a great night for running.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Rating Dogs

Bud Denny posted about an interesting method for rating dogs on the Hunted Hare Board. His method is explained on this post with some discussion also.

Rate your dogs with 5 points in each category, five being strongest. Hunt, Nose, Line control, Checkwork. As my thinking always is you may be able to fib to everyone else but be honest with yourselves. Just your running dogs but can add pups if you wish. Then what is their strongest point and weakest.

So a rating table would look like this.

So I did this and found out this is hard work. I did it, thought about it, and did it again. Then the Old Man did it, and we compared. It was amazing how similar we scored. And I am still thinking about it and am going to score again. I also thought about adding stamina, conformation, health, value in breeding program, and personality. 

I'm sure this method is not perfect, but the results were interesting. The dogs that scored the highest were Chip, Gypsy, and Hot Head. That really wasn't a surprise to either one of us. Some of the other dogs' scores were a little unexpected, and definitely something I will have to consider. 

This is a great idea and an easy to use tool for someone that is concerned with having the best dogs possible. I am anxious to try it later this spring to evaluate young dogs when I start to put a lot of hours on them. Thanks for a great tool, Bud!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Heart of the Chase

Heart of the Chase?
Chip and Gypsy are always there. It doesn't matter which of my dogs I run, most of the time the chase revolves around them. Other dogs get theirs. But it seems like they always keep themselves in a good position. Usually they are in the middle to front half of the pack. Even in tough cover, they stay in the pocket. When they get out, they get back in quick.

I noticed this last night as I was running. It was in the 70's which is the warmest weather they had seen in several months. The running was fast and furious. Rabbits were out and scenting conditions were good. After a little while though, dogs were fighting to breathe. They still had on their winter coats and the sun was beating down on them.

As the night went on, different dogs had turns where they shined. All of them looked pretty good, but each had chases where they were the top dog in the pack. Through it all though, Chip and Gypsy anchored the pack. I am sure some of this was age and experience, but they have always been like this. 

The longer they ran, the more Kurly was right there with them. I almost wanted to quit listening at one point. I am trying to not get my hopes up too high, because anyone who owns beagles knows how easy it is to get too excited about a young dog but . . .

When I started thinking about the heart of the chase, Boadie came to mind. He was a big, old, ugly bluetick with a clear ball that you would swear was a coonhound. When he opened, dogs just pulled into him. Other hounds surrounded him in the pack, but the pack was his. When the dogs got the edge off and settled into a groove, you could count on great chases with him as the anchor.

Then I started thinking about Hobo running hare. It didn't matter if you were running 5 dogs or 25, he owned races on hare. He always jumped a lot, then he would just take over. He ran a lot of the front, but even when he wasn't leading, you knew someone would miss a turn and he would take over for the next half of the circle.

The more I thought about this heart of the chase thing, the more certain dogs came to mind. Usually they were the ones that were most successful in competition, but what made them great was when you were just out running dogs. Rocky, Nada, Willie, and Jed almost always owned their pack. Neal was the most recent dog that was always the show.

Then Kurly got a check and drove around the hill. Is it safe to dream? Will he be the next on the list? Maybe, maybe not, only time will tell?

I ran Gypsy, Chip, Kurly, Butcher, and Ob. It was 70° when I started but got down to 57 ° by the time I quit.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Weekend at the Hunts

Logan Elm Kurly
OHBC had hunts Saturday and Sunday. Although it was busy, especially considering we lost an hour's sleep due to the time change Saturday night, it was a great two days. As Secretary/Treasurer for the club, I had plenty to do. Thankfully, a lot of people stepped up and made the job much easier. You can see all the results on the American Beagler Board.

The dogs ran decent, but not great. The cold and snowy winter has definitely made an impact on getting dogs in the groove and ready for trials. Butcher ran well both days and placed 2nd and 4th. The dog that beat him both days became a Grand Champion with his win on Sunday.

Logan Elm Kurly had the chance to go to his first competition this weekend. He is only 17 months old, which is a lot younger than we usually take dogs to field trials. However, he has been competing with the older dogs and seemed like he was ready for the challenge.

Logan Elm Obstruction
On Saturday, he got a little rattled. He got down with a barking idiot that eventually minused out. Kurly got a good bit of work done, but made too many mistakes. He ended up 5th, which is fine considering it was his first hunt. On Sunday, he had a good day. He won his first round and then tied for first in the semi-finals. Although he lost based on the tie-breaker, he ended up 3rd in the hunt. I was very pleased with his weekend, especially considering it was his first time out.  Plus it qualified him to run in the ARHA World Hunt.

 I ran Ob on Sunday and he placed second. He was winning with a minute to go in the finals when the other dog jumped a rabbit to beat him. That's the way it goes in competition. Ob has been in three hunts and has a DNP, 4th, and 2nd. Matt ran Jed on Saturday and in a cast with a lot of barking on the frost, he placed 8th.

We had a great weekend. A lot of friends made it to the OHBC hunts. A lot of guys stepped up to help, especially with judging. The dogs looked OK, especially considering their age, and the limited number  of times they have been in hunts. Next stop, the ARHA World Hunt!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Good Day for Gregg

Gregg McGuire and Dolly
(aka Logan Elm Hot Shot)
The Old Man, Gregg, and I went down to Ironton, Ohio for their ARHA Little Pack hunt today. We hadn't been down there for a while and it was sure great to see everyone and hang out at their club. This club has great members with a lot of hospitality for everyone. They also have a good crew of judges which makes it so much easier to have a hunt.

Gregg ran Pepper and Dolly and both made it to the Open Class finals. Pepper finished 2nd (congrats to Dave and Mike Harr on their win) which qualifies her for the ARHA World Hunt next month. Gregg's son, Matt will be running her at the World. Dolly was 4th which gave her the points she needed to become a Little Pack Champion.

I ran Kurly at his first hunt today. He is only 16 months old which is much younger than I usually run dogs at hunts. He got beat but he looked good (if that is possible when you lose). He was a little tentative at first, but quickly got his feet under him and was running real well at the end. I am anxious to give him another shot next weekend.

Running conditions were strange today. None of the casts pounded. It seemed like scenting conditions were tough for all the dogs. A huge storm is predicted starting tonight and for the next couple of days. Freezing rain and up to 10 inches of snow is in the forecast. It seemed like the rabbits could sense the changes ahead and just wouldn't get up and run like usual.

Today was a great day spent with good friends having a good time. It was a beagle field trial with sportsmanship and camaraderie. Congrats to my brother, Gregg and thanks to all the guys at the Ironton club for a good time!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Advantage of a Family Kennel

I just got Kurly back. I have owned him before, traded him to my dad, and just traded back for him. It is so nice when a dog gets a break from me, goes to a different trainer, or gets to run with different dogs for a while. Then, when the time is right, he comes back home.

A few years ago, I traded Willie and he won the World Hunt a year later. He just drove me crazy. The Old Man got him and he never looked back. He just kept getting better and better. He got check after check and made every race better. He became an awesome dog with a different style of trainer.

Our kennel is lucky in that this happens all the time. I have Ob now. I owned him before. Gregg had him for a while. The Old Man had him for a while two different times. Dad has Trick, Dissident, and Village Girl--all dogs that I had for a while.

Recently, I traded Jed to the Old Man for Kurly. All of the running I was doing was bugging Jed. His attitude was bugging me. I am absolutely certain the Old Man will make me sorry I ever traded him. I know he will have him busting at the leash for the World Hunt.  But I traded for Kurly and if you draw him in a cast, you better watch out.

Having a family kennel is an amazing advantage in having good dogs. This is especially true when you have a low level of tolerance like I do. When I loose patience with a dog, I know I can swap with the Old Man and he will ease the dog along and make him a good dog. When he has a dog that needs a little bit of direct and involved training usually I can bring out the good. 

Trading dogs back and forth is one of the main reasons our kennel has continued to raise dogs that are competitive and dogs that make good gundogs.

Monday, February 24, 2014


Within minutes of turning loose, the pack was in the groove. They settled into a smooth, hard running pack within minutes. Chases were fast without a lot of breakdowns. All the dogs were getting checks. Different dogs were getting some front.

This was the 8th day out of the last nine to run this bunch of dogs. There was no interference from pups trying to find their way or figure out where they fit. There was no distraction from barking off, backtracking, or trashing dogs.

Jeff Allen and I were running at our favorite clearcut. It was a beautiful night with plenty of rabbits. The running was awesome. But really it was no surprise. In the last week, all the dogs had all the running and more that they could ever want. And it's really no great shock when they can run, it's expected. 

When dogs get a lot of running, they get into a routine. They know each other. All foolishness is long gone. It's all good. And that is what best describes tonight. The pack was groovin. Or, as explained in Merriam Webster dictionary:  grooving--a state in which you are able to do something well and easily especially because you are doing it often.

I ran Butcher, Chip, Gypsy, Kurly, and Ob. Jeff ran Wes and Flame. It was 28° with a ten mph wind and partly cloudy.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My Dogs Sure Got Better and it Only Took Two Days

Tonight they screamed. The dogs ran like their tails were on fire. I know there were two jumps but mostly the dogs just ran. I didn't need a good jump dog because the dogs were almost always running. I didn't need a check dog because there weren't many. I didn't need trash free dogs because they never had the chance to even consider running an off track.

In just two days my dogs got sooooo much better. They went from hacking away at a track, jumps to a hole, and pecking at scent until the loss to heads up running and all out rabbit chases. These same dogs that drove me crazy this weekend all the sudden ran like greyhounds on a track. It's amazing that they could get so much better so quick.

Oh, by the way, it was 56° with very little snow and rain earlier in the day. This weekend it was in the 20's with over a foot of snow. Isn't it funny how a 180 switch in conditions can make dogs sooooo much better. I found the perfect solution to making my dogs great. All I need is perfect conditions.

I ran Butcher, Chip, Gypsy, Ob, and Jed.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hunting Comes First

I got an email from Don Bronchik recently that made my day. He sent this picture of a pup he bought last year. 

He said, This is the dog I bought from you in early spring of 2013. She is quite the dog as in the last 3 trips she has retrieved 6 bunnies. He goes on to say  . . . great nose, no bad habits, she is a fine dog.

My dad started taking me rabbit hunting before I was old enough to carry a gun. Through all of my life, we have continued to hunt. We also have been going to beagle competitions for almost all of this time. When it comes to thinking about crosses and dogs down the road though, hunting comes first. 

I have never kept a gun shy dog and I won't. I hate dogs that do not hunt and dogs that cause the pack to lose rabbits. This goes back to all those hunting trips in my life. Nothing makes me crazier than needing a rabbit to run and having a dog stand by me. And when the rabbit is up, I sure don't want some idiot causing a loss before the dogs get it circled back.

This is why this email meant so much. When I see a picture of a dog from our kennel that is making a great gundog, I know we are on the right track. Anyone who knows me knows that I am super competitive and love beagle field trials. Bottom line though--hunting comes first!

Thanks Don for sharing a great picture!

Ten Jumps, Zero Circles

I know the dogs jumped at least 10 rabbits today, and maybe more. We had a problem though. The dogs could run but the rabbits couldn't. With 16 inches of soft snow, the rabbits couldn't get through it well enough to stay up. Any rabbit that didn't hit a hole in a hurry was destined to be lunch. 

We watched one rabbit as it tried to get across the road. It took all it had to climb the bank on the other side. In the 20 yards or so that we watched it, you could see that each jump took every bit of physical strength the rabbit had and it needed much more. It made it about 50 yards down the hill and dove in a hole.

Chris Hopkins came down today to run with me and we sure tried. The dogs hunted well. His female, Juno had several jumps. When the dogs jumped a rabbit, the chase was on, but almost as quickly, the chase was off. The rabbits that weren't already in holes were sitting close enough so they could get in one quick.

The big clearcut where we ran had plenty of rabbits. In fact, I was quite surprised at how many the dogs found. Until the weather breaks though, good races just aren't going to happen. The dogs could run, but the rabbits couldn't.

I ran Butcher, Gypsy, Chip, Ob, and Jed. It was 27° with so much snow I couldn't get my truck all the way up the hill to the clearcut (But that's another story).

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Where Did the Scent Go?

Which Way Did He Go?
A Great Question For Tonight's Running
Jeff and I were so excited. It finally warmed up a little. The crust was off the snow. We met down at a big clearcut with high hopes. The running had been OK but we knew tonight was going to be better. It was great just to see that snow soften up. 

I cut loose about 20 minutes before Jeff got there. Chip jumped a rabbit and I had a couple of good, hard circles. I was pumped up for sure. The rabbit crossed the lane and I walked down to be on top of the crossing. Then the race blew up. About 40 yards from the road the dogs shut up and never barked again. 

Jeff pulled up and turned Wes and Flame loose. I called my dogs up and we put all the dogs on the line. They ran about 40 yards and lost the rabbit again. We gave them plenty of time but they never got the track going again.

During the next several hours we had plenty of rabbits. Most sounded like they were jumped out of the set. But the races were never good. Some lasted a while, but all were choppy with way too many checks. None of the races were steady and none lasted as long as they should.

This same bunch of dogs has been running good in the snow all winter. What was going on tonight? Conditions should have better, or at least I thought they should. Unfortunately tonight was way tougher running than almost any we had seen all winter. And as the night went on, it got colder and the snow crusted. Then we really struggled.

Once again, running dogs showed me there is still a lot to learn. It seems when I think I know about running dogs, the lessons just keep coming.

I ran Chip, Butcher, Gypsy, Ob, and Jed. It was 30° when we started and 19 by the time we quit.

Monday, February 10, 2014

You Never Know with This Crazy Winter

We pulled up to the pine thicket and I just shook my head. There was 8 inches of snow, a half inch of ice, and then two inches of new snow on top. I just wanted to turn the truck around and go home. I could tell that every rabbit within 100 miles was holed up. 

I couldn't believe I suggested running, and then coming to this spot, in these conditions. It was crazy. To make matters even worse, there were four of us and 13 dogs.  Even a novice beagler knows in these conditions you only want one or two dogs.

Anyway, we cut the dogs loose and they headed out. We stood on a path for about 10 minutes without a bark. Then we had two deer bust out of the pines. A dog booger barked but no one claimed it.  :) And nothing ran them. Then we went a few more minutes without a bark. It was really looking like a wasted day.

Then I heard Ob open about 180 yards away, first just a couple of barks, and then a few more and a few more. Hot Head joined in and then another dog and another. The race was on. After that, rabbits came pretty steady. The running was a little choppy at first, but got better throughout the day. The dogs ran over four hours and the last few chases were great.

It was a super day to run dogs. We had a good time. We had a lot better running than anyone could have thought possible. A lot of dogs contributed to the running. And once again we found out that you never know how it's going to be with this crazy winter.

I ran Chip, Butcher, Jed, Ob, and Gyspy. The Old Man ran Hot Head, Dixie, and Tony. Jared McAllister ran Rondo, and two females out of Mr. Wilson. Jeff Allen ran Wes and Flame.

It was 25° with a lot of snow.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Chip Becomes a Grand Champion

About 18 months ago Larry Harrison sent a young dog up from West Virginia. He was showing a lot of potential and Larry wanted to see him get to the hunts. Fast forward to today and Odell's Chocolate Chip got his fifth champion win at Pike County Beagle Club this afternoon to earn the title of Grand Champion. He had two wins here, two at Chillicothe, and one at Jackson.

Chip is out of Logan Elm Neal X Licking River Little Misty. I raised two pups out of this litter but neither made the cut. I was extremely happy to get Chip and have a chance to see what kind of rabbit hound he would mature in to. After many hours in the field and a year and a half later, I can honestly say he is the dog I never leave home without.

I appreciate Larry's thoughtfulness for two reasons. He gave me the chance to get to run a dog every day that makes the pack better by being there. He jumps a lot of rabbits and runs a rabbit the way I like. Larry also gave Chip the chance to become successful at the hunts. He saw the potential in Chip and wanted him to have the opportunity to compete.

LP Grand Champion Odell's Chocolate Chip

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What Am I Doing Out Here?

It was 8:00 PM and a winter storm warning was blasting on the news with a temperature of 24°, 15 mph winds, and snow coming down like crazy. No one told the dogs and rabbits though. 

Thanks to modern technology, Gore-tex was keeping me dry and warm. I had on my Cabella Extreme Pack Boots. I was layered up and standing back to the wind. Why wouldn't I run? After all, it had only snowed two inches in the last hour. The weather forecasters were only predicting a foot of snow, or a half inch of ice, or some combination of both.

The dogs and rabbits didn't seem to mind though. The chases were pretty steady and rabbits were staying up, giving a good chase. Chip and Gypsy didn't even seem to know that it was snowing. Running for the fourth day in a row seemed to only be making it better.

Running on a night like tonight is a great part of being a beagler. We run when it doesn't make sense. We run when no one would want to be out. We get out in the worst of conditions and don't mind a bit if the running is good.

I ran Butcher, Chip, Gypsy, Ob, Dilly, and Jed.

Monday, February 3, 2014

One Day Later and Winter is Back

Ob Heads Down the Lane
Twenty miles southeast of me got six inches of snow last night. Twenty miles southwest of me got less than an inch. Naturally we traveled southwest to run today. Although the spots in that area aren't quite as good as going the other direction, the weather dictated where we ran.

Surprisingly, the rabbits were out pretty good today. With this rollercoaster of a winter the running has been absolutely impossible to predict. Days when you think it will be good have sometimes proven frustrating. Other days when you go mostly just to get out of the house have turned out great. 

The Old Man and I ran two spots today and both are much more open that where we usually run. The dogs were a little wider and definitely enjoyed some wide open running. There was just enough fresh snow for good running, but not so much as to slow down the rabbits. 

The pack today was all broke dogs with comparable ability. The competition was stiff with a lot of dogs getting checks and running the front. This was the third day in a row for my dogs with two hard days this weekend. Getting all these hours after some days off definitely paid off with dogs looking a little better each day.

Although we weren't judging, choosing a winner would have been very difficult even if we tried. The dogs are close enough in ability that all of them helped the races. Separating them would have just been a matter of preference, depending on the style of running that we prefer. Even though winter was back today, it was a great day to be out.

I ran Butcher, Chip, Gypsy, Jed, and Ob. The Old Man ran Hot Head, Dixie, and Tony. It was 24° and mostly cloudy with slight winds.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Perfect Conditions

It was still dark this morning when I turned loose on a rabbit that crossed the road in front of me. The rain was coming down pretty steady and the temperature was 37°.  The 3-4 inches of soggy snow from yesterday was almost totally gone. After a winter of absolute rotten conditions today was unbelievable.

I saw headlights and Jeff Allen came down the road. We were back about a mile from the hard road in a clearcut that is the best spot in the world to run cottontails. This was our first time in quite a while to run here but we has just recently worked it out to get back into it. And the running was amazing.  For five hours the dogs ran almost nonstop.

If you love heads up, screaming chases that go almost out of hearing and back, this is the spot for you. Today was the kind of conditions that bring out the best in any spot, but make this spot unbelievable.  Not only is it loaded with clearcut after clearcut, but the steep hills give the dogs a cardio workout that separates them and brings the strong to the top.

March Madness (training for the ARHA World Hunt) began this weekend. The young dogs are on the shelf for a couple of months. Between now and the first week of April it is all about getting dogs ready for the big show. A few years ago when Gypsy won the World Hunt she ran for two months in this spot. Running like we had today reminded me of what put her in condition for success. As all beaglers know, nothing beats a great spot and perfect conditions.

I ran Butcher, Jed, Ob, Chip, and Gypsy.  Jeff Allen ran Wes and Flame.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Long Term Breeding Plan

Gary Hutchison of Westwind German Shorthair Pointers shared on edited version of an article written by Jerold S. Bell, D.V.M. that appeared in the September 1992 American Kennel Club Gazette that details an excellent plan for the line breeding/long term breeding program of a successful kennel. This is based on years of success in their kennel. This article is one of the best I have ever read to use as a guideline for a kennel's breeding program.

One tip they share is:

Successful Breeders use specimens within their line that have at least one truly great trait and breed them with specimens that in turn are great where the other dog is weak. This is the "secret to line breeding" - the only way to successfully fight off the drag of the breed.

To read the entire article you can go to the page, A Guide to A Successful Breeding Program.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

One Rabbit Kind of Day

The Old Man Trying to Keep Warm
The temperature dropped for 40 straight hours plus two inches of fresh snow fell. The wind was blowing 15-20 mph. Every cottontail in Ohio was in a hole. Right in the middle of this mess we decided to go run. After all, who wants to sit around the house all day?

We weren't really in any hurry to get out of the truck so I took the long way to where we were running. I knew of a clearcut that hadn't been checked out yet. It was a little dicey once we got past the end of the road and started out the logging road. When I saw the clearcut though, it looked like a rabbit paradise. There were briers as far as you could see.

We collared up the dogs and dumped them out. At first they just wanted to romp and run in the new snow, but after a bit they got down to hunting. As good as the spot looked, there wasn't a rabbit track anywhere. The weather had them buried deep. 

After about 45 minutes we loaded up and headed to another spot out a different logging road. It looked just as good. Surely they would find one rabbit that wanted some action. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. An hour of hunting with not even a bark.

We loaded up and headed to the spot we planned to run in the beginning. This is where the Old Man runs most days. After about 20 minutes Hot Head busted out looking at a rabbit, saving our day. Thankfully he wanted to run and gave the dogs several circles.  It wasn't the kind of day a beagler wants but it sure beat sitting around the house all day.

I ran Chip, Gypsy, Jed, Ob, and Butcher. The Old Man ran Hot Head, Dissident, Village Girl, and Amigo.  It was 18 ° with a lot of clouds and wind.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Why Can't I Ever Video When It's Good?

Hack around and hack around and don't want to fight through the green briers too bad and it's so easy to get some video. The dogs are in sight a lot and getting their picture is easy. The cover is so thick and the conditions are tough enough that filming is a piece of cake. 

Then, the dogs get over the hill in the clearcut and they screamed. They set the woods on fire and it was only 19° with a cold north wind. They ran for an hour and a half with hardly a check. We were standing on the hill listening and it sounded great.

That was yesterday. Today I tried to video for an hour. I never did get a decent shot. Trees were in the way. Thick cover interfered. Then the dogs went to the pines and scorched over the hill and back, and then made another circle. It got up to 38° and they were eating it up. Conditions were great as the snow melted.

Unfortunately, there was no evidence. The batteries were charged on the video camera but I never recorded anything. I guess I could have went out and ran around like crazy and got a little film. It sure was great the last two days though, just listening to some good chases. There's no video though so you will just have to take my word on it.  :)

I ran Chip, Gypsy, Butcher, Jed, and Ob. The Old Man ran Lim, Kurly, Tony, and Village Girl. I am pretty sure six of the dogs had a jump today.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Moonlit Night

Some nights it is just great to be out. It seems like it's not really as much about the dogs as much as it is just being there. Last night was one of those nights. I stood forever in one spot on this hill on an old logging road in a clearcut. I just stared at the moon. I'll bet I went ten minutes and didn't even hardly hear the dogs. I was just staring at the moon, enjoying being out, and daydreaming. 

I ran Gypsy, Butcher, Ob, Jed, Silly, and Dilly.  It was 35° and partly cloudy.

Wish I Was Running This Rabbit

Here is a picture taken by Tom of River Bottom Beagles. So often when I see his pictures it makes me wish I was there.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Video of Beagles Running in January

Here is some footage from some of our running in early January. For Butcher, Ob, and Jed this made their 16th day out of the last 18. They were obviously showing some signs of fatigue. We were running in a Vinton County clearcut. There was a little snow but it warmed up a little and started to melt. Temperatures for the day ranged from 23 - 42 degrees. It was a beautiful day and made you glad just to be out running.

I ran Butcher, Ob, Jed, Silly, Dennis, and Dilly.  The Old Man ran Dixie, Lim, Village Girl, and Village Amigo. It was the day before a big storm so we ran a bunch of dogs for quite a while, just trying to get them all some work.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Edge of Winter

A Great Spot for a Rabbit
There was just a skiff of wet snow, with snowflakes falling. Temperatures were in the high 20's. The ground was wet and scenting conditions were great. We were hunting in an area where we had good chases a couple of weeks ago. 

I am almost positive that two of the rabbits we ran were the same ones we ran the last time. The dogs jumped them in the same spots. The rabbits ran in the same areas. The best part though was that they gave the dogs a good chase, staying up and running for a while.

As the day progressed, real winter starting taking over. The temperature dropped throughout the day and the wind picked up. The wet snow turned icy. The ground started to get crunchy as you walked. 

About 4:00, the Old Man and I loaded the dogs and headed for home. We had been running about an hour south of the house. With each mile we traveled north, the conditions worsened. By the time we got home we had 6 of new snow with more falling. The temperature was 21 degrees with 15 mph winds. Thankfully we got to spend most of the day just on the edge of winter.

I ran Butcher, Ob, and Jed for the 8th straight day and Dilly and Silly. The Old Man ran Lim, Village Girl, Amigo, and Kurly.