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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 . . .

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.

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