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 . . .

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Running Hare

Looking Across the Swamp Waiting on the White Rabbit
When you haven't done it in a while, you start to forget how easy it is. And how exciting. And how addicting. And how good it is for the dogs. And how much conditioning it takes for the dogs to do well. And just the sound of the music as dogs fade in and out of hearing. Most of all though, you forget just how glorious it is to have a pack of hounds pounding for hour after hour working together in screaming pursuit of the big white rabbits.

I saw Jeff Kerns a while back and the first thing he said was, "when we going to Michigan?" Two weeks later Jeff, Jeff Allen, the Old Man and I were headed north. Four guys, 25 dogs and a truck and trailer loaded full headed to the swamps for a little running.

Although we just took a short trip, it was an amazing one. The dogs ran great with lots of different dogs contributing. In fact, that was the best part of the whole trip. On every chase if you listened close, you could hear a lot of different dogs getting work done. All of us had some young dogs, but they handled the trip well and acted like they had done it all before. 

I took Ding, a pup out of Dennis and Dilly that had only been run in the wild three times and he ran for 4 1/2 hours with the pack one morning and found his way out of the swamp when we caught the dogs. There were several other pups and they all ran well with the pack and hung in the chases like veterans.

This was a great trip and I can't wait to go back. When you haven't run hare for a while, you forget just how amazing it is. Getting to see the rabbits in their white coats made it even better. And getting back to Jeff's question, "when we going to Michigan?" Soon, real soon.

I ran Dennis, DK, Meg, Cole, Poppy, Martha, and Ding. The Old Man ran Tony, Chip, JJ, Dixie, Suzie, and Dilly.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Time for a Talk with Dennis

I hadn't had a conversation with my favorite dog, Dennis for a long time. The first time I talked with him, he had just survived his first field trial. I talked to him again when I took him to another hunt and he won. I decided maybe it had been too long and figured we should have a talk.

Me: You've been jumping a bunch of rabbits lately.

Dennis:  I love it when I can see them tear out of the briars, scared to death.

Me:  Well, it sure makes it fun to run when you jump so many. You had five jumps yesterday.

Dennis:  Yeah well . . .

Me:  So, uhhmm, keep it up.

Dennis:  By the way, I've been wanting to ask you something.

Me:  Yes?

Dennis:  How come we haven't been going to those things where dogs bark all the time?

Me:  Field trials?

Me:  I've just been enjoying running. We'll go again sometime.

Dennis:  Seems to me like you've just been enjoying riding horses.

Me:  Well, that to.

Dennis:  Is it because I didn't do so well that last cast in the finals? You know at the World with all those dogs.

Me:  Didn't do so well--you stunk Bud!

Dennis:  I know, I kinda lost my head a little.

Me:  A little?

Dennis:  All right, I was running around like a nut job.

Me:  Yep! I was so proud of you the two casts before that. You looked like a million bucks. I knew you were going to be famous. A World Champion. And then--WOW!

Dennis:  At least I got my picture taken. Anyway, if I looked so bad then why are you raising all these pups out of me? Are you wanting to replace me?

Me:  No. I hope you will be an amazing reproducer, like your dad, Logan Elm Neal. You know something special, kind of like magic in a bottle.

Dennis:  I know what kind of magic you want in a bottle.

Me:  OK, enough conversation. Time for you to get back in the box.

I guess I'll never learn. Talking to dogs is probably a sign of being a little crazy or frustrating enough to make me crazy.

Today I ran Dennis, JJ, Dilly, DK, and Martha.  It was 62° and sunny.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

It's All in the Spot

The running this summer has been great. The good conditions with a lot of moisture have helped. Nothing helps more though than having good spots to run. Now, depending on who you ask, beaglers have differing opinions on what makes a great running spot. For me though, nothing beats a big, tough, clearcut with a lot of cover and room to stretch out and run.

I have run one spot 2 or 3 times a week this summer. Usually the most I ever run a spot is once a week. However, every time I have run in this one clearcut I have had at minimum of 2 hours of nonstop running. Jeff Allen and I ran there Tuesday and ran 3 1/2 hours and didn't hardly move. This clearcut is loaded with rabbits, on a steep hillside, and so thick an ant has trouble getting through. Once the dogs get in there and stir up the rabbits, the dogs can run until they can hardly move.

This clearcut has been the most fantastic running spot I have ever run. It helps that it sits in the middle of 1,800 acres of clearcut of all ages. Now, I would like to claim that my superior dogs have been running great and deserve all the credit. Seriously though, I have to admit, it's just one fine spot for running dogs.

Today I ran Dennis, JJ, Poppy, DK, and Dilly. It was 75° and sunny.

A Beagler's Breakfast

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

This Summer Weather

Poppy Walks a Track up the Road
I was watching the news and the weather came on. The Meteorologist said, this is the 19th day in a row that it has rained, but it it about to get better. I know you are ready for some sunshine and we are going to get it. It won't rain for the next two days. I am sure viewers everywhere were celebrating. For beaglers in Ohio though, June has been fabulous!

All of the rain has kept the water holes full. It has made for good scenting conditions. The temperatures have been cooler than normal. All of the factors that make running dogs good have made June a great month to run. Day after day, the dogs have benefited from the weather and chases have been super.

As I listened to the forecast I thought back to today's running. The Old Man and I ran about 4 hours and the dogs never went 5 minutes without a rabbit. Tony had a great day and that helped, but it was cool and wet, and all the dogs ran well. We mostly just sat in our chairs and enjoyed listening to the beagle choir sing.  There was music the entire time and it sure sounded sweet.

I ran Poppy, JJ, Silly, and Dilly. The Old Man ran Tony, Chip, Dixie, and Dissident. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Hunting Mushrooms

There's always time to take a day off from running when the mushrooms are coming up. My daughter, Megan brought Zoom out and we found a good mess. A four year old can really find them when you get him within a few feet.  :)

Carter and his big find.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Looking to the Future

Allen Boyz Kennel
One of the things that keeps beaglers going is thinking about the future. We are always planning litters and dreaming about that special cross. Every pup we start is the next world beater. Every check that our pup gets is the best check ever. We put all our hopes on our dogs on next rabbit season and the next field trial.

Nothing beats the hopes we have for the next generation. As a grandparent, we know our grandson will be an allstar at everything. I put a page on this website just to brag about my grandson, Carter. 

This picture is of my buddy, Jeff Allen with the next generation in his kennel. This is Jeff with Mason, one of Jeff's grandsons. Mason and his older brother, Xavier have already started to run dogs and will be rabbit hunting in no time.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Certain Style

Do your dogs have a certain style? Do they run alike? Work a check alike? Drive out of a check alike? When someone sees a dog, do they know if it would fit in your pack?

I was talking with southeastern Kentucky beagler, Greg Sammons on Sunday and he asked how I picked dogs I was going to keep. I tried to describe a certain style that my favorite dogs all had. All had a straight away drive out of the check. It's not blazing fast, but they didn't falter or fall off. They just drove out of a check with a controlled power. 

When I think of the best dogs at Logan Elm Beagles, Hobo, Neal, Nada, Willie, Gypsy all had that style. When a pup starts, without even thinking about it, I compare him to these dogs and their look when they ran. When I am making a cross, I consider the likelihood that it will produce dogs that fit.

Naturally, it's not just as easy as finding dogs to fit the style. I look for independent hunt, and dogs with the stamina to quit only when I make them get in the truck. I want a good mouth that I can pick out. I also want the conformation to withstand day after day of pounding running.

As I was running last night, I was thinking about all this. Recently, I have been making an adjustment to my pack. Some dogs I have had for a while are gone. Some dogs that haven't been run much are getting more hours. My pack wasn't running as smooth as they should. Dogs were getting too rough and wide in the check area. Those that stay will have a certain style. 

I ran Dennis, Cole, Poppy, JJ, and Silly. It was 57° with a little rain.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Longest Walk

The judge yells, handle your dogs. The cast is over. You catch your dog and start back to the truck. You know the score is close. Your stomach is knotted. Your head aches. All the fun of the cast is gone. Pressure is thicker than the thickest fog. 

You are trying to go over the scoring one more time. You can't remember how many checks the yellow collar dog had after the last race. The handlers are making small talk, but you can't concentrate. All that work, training for months, and dreaming, and hoping comes down to the next few minutes. You just want to get this over with. Your heart is pounding like a big bass drum.

Questions pound your brain. Did I get that last check? How much were they scoring that pink collar? I know my dog sounded good, but was it enough? What dog was that with the chop mouth that I heard so much at the end? I know my dog was leading, but did yellow collar catch me? 

It's the longest walk.

Picture by Jeff Allen at 2015 World Hunt

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Lotta Action

Running Grounds at the World Hunt
The best part of going to the World Hunt is visiting with friends and fellow beaglers. It's 3 or 4 days of nonstop dog talk so for a beagle addict like me it is perfect. When a conversation starts, you never know where it will go, but below is one I had with a guy, and long time beagler, Bob Lahti.

Beagler:  The next round will be tough.
Me:  Really?
Beagler: Yep, got two *** ***** (kennel name) dogs in it.
Me: Well, it will be ugly
Beagler: What?
Me: They will be rough and they might be hard to beat, but it will be ugly for sure if there are two *** ***** dogs in it.
Beagler:  They aren't that rough.
Me:  Well, there's always a first time.
Me:  What do you think Bob?
Bob Lahti:  Be a lotta action.

If you have never met Bob Lahti, he is a gentleman and an all around good guy. He also knows rabbit dogs and always runs some good hounds. He taught me something at the World. From now on when I see a rough, blow up the race, I have to have the front, skirting, cheating dog, I'll know what to say: He's got a lotta action. And if it's one of mine, I'll have the perfect description of his running style.   :)

Picture by Jeff Allen at 2015 World Hunt

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I Lost When I Should

I think I got off one exit too soon!
I always try to be a good sport but sometimes it is extremely difficult. I hate to lose. I am not 100% sure it is a good thing, but practice has made losing a little easier. The ARHA Little Pack World Hunt challenges everyone's sportsmanship. When you spend months focusing on the one goal of winning the World, losing is heartbreaking.

This year at the World Hunt, I lost when I should have. And that's a good thing. In all the casts that I lost, my dogs got beat. No crying. No complaining. I had good judges that knew hounds and judged the dogs fair. Looking back at each time I lost, whether it was in the first round or last, the dogs got beat, period.

The judging this year was the best I have seen in 20 years of attending the World Hunt. The judges gave everything they had to stay with the hounds. In some casts they were put in incredibly difficult spots, but they made the best of it, and still managed to get the right dog back. In every cast, the judges were judging the hounds. I didn't see one incident of favoritism, or buddy judging.

Anyone who has ever attended a field trial knows how hard it is to lose. It makes it a little easier though, when you know your dog had a fair shot and just got beat. Great job to all the guys that stepped up, took a score card, and judged.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dennis gets Third at ARHA World Hunt

The Old Man and Logan Elm Dennis
One thing that always makes it fun to go to a field trial is when your dog runs like you know he should. At the 2015 ARHA Little Pack World Hunt, Dennis made it a blast for me. At only two years old, I knew he was too young to be competitive on such a large stage (around 700 beagles), but they way he had been running I decided to give him a shot. By the time it was over, I was glad I did.

He ran the first time in the third round on Thursday, the first day. When I cut him loose he acted like he had spent a couple of days in the trailer. He stood around, ate some grass, peed on 5 or 6 bushes and really just got me aggravated. Finally he got bored and decided to go hunt. His cast had one hard chase in particular that lasted about 20 minutes and I heard him in there a lot. By the end of the cast, he was moving on to the next round. He didn't run great, but sounded good for his age and experience.

Dennis didn't run again until Saturday morning. He sat around in the trailer while they ran the first rounds of the Champion and Grand Champions on Friday. When we cast the hounds on Saturday, he acted ready to go and was gone as soon as I cut him loose. It took this cast about 10 minutes to get a rabbit. He opened first and I thought he might have a jump but only was scored a strike. They dogs ran hard for about 40 minutes. When the chase ended he was in second place, 15 points behind the leader. 

The dogs had one more chase and with about five minutes left had a long check. One dog was hacking around trying to backtrack. Twice I saw Dennis start towards her. He kept trying to work the other way down this gravel road. Finally, as all the other dogs got clear down the hill on the backline, he worked far enough down the road to get the check. This was the best minute of the hunt for him and he ran well for the rest of the cast, which had no more checks. This check gave him the cast win.

Sunday morning, Dennis started out in the semi-finals. This was a cast of great dogs, great handlers and true sportsman. I got really good judges, Matt Glomski and Jeremy Rice. Dennis ran like he was at home in this cast. I was pleased that he controlled the track, getting a lot of short checks and keeping the race going. This was the best pack of dogs I saw at the World Hunt this year.

After winning this cast, Dennis went straight to the finals to compete against two other dogs for the title of World Champion. Chris Holstein was handling an eight year old female and Frank Fulks had his five year old female. This proved to be the undoing for Dennis. Unfortunately, his age and lack of experience caught up with him. Within minutes I could tell he was shot. He just lacked the intensity needed to compete. Physically he was still strong but he just didn't have the maturity to hang in there. Congrats are due to Coalfield Kennels on their win. Their dog earned it.

Looking back at the ARHA World Hunt, I am pleased with Dennis. He did better than I could have ever hoped. Very few two year old dogs manage to accomplish what he did. He will get a few days off and then we can just go run for fun. No more field trials for us for a while.

Picture by Jeff Allen at 2015 World Hunt

Monday, April 13, 2015

The 2015 World Hunt

Larry Harrison and the Old Man
Two World Hunt Old Timers for Sure!
There is no beagle event like the ARHA Little Pack World Hunt. With over 700 rabbit hounds and beaglers from all over the United States it is truly amazing. Even after attending for 20 years in a row, this is still the highlight of my year. Nothing can beat the friendship, competition, sportsmanship, and fun at the World Hunt.

In a lot of ways the World is like a big family reunion. Beaglers from all over have the chance to visit with friends from near and far. I really enjoyed seeing so many people, catching up, and sharing a few laughs. Occasionally some bad news is shared and I always go home thinking of the struggles facing friends, and hoping for the best.

Meeting people is a big part of the World Hunt. So many people have connected on the phone or computer and this is a chance to put a face to the name. When strangers draw out together on a cast, one of the first question people ask is, where are you from? Then it's, what line of dogs do you run? Within minutes friendships are made that will be renewed each year.

I handled or spectated in 14 casts over four days. In cast after cast, judges gave their all to be sure the right dogs moved on in the hunt. For anyone that hasn't seen the reclaimed strip mine ground where they hold the World Hunt, it's hard to imagine any better spot for cottontail rabbits anywhere.  It's great for rabbits and dogs, but the Scericia Lespedeza, briars, swampy cane patches, and grounds that seem to go forever make it hard on judges.

I ran in and watched a lot of casts that ran 50+ minutes out of the hour. The rabbit population was amazing and the majority of casts had plenty of running to sort the dogs. I did run in one cast where there were too many rabbits. We caught the dogs eight times on splits. The judges deserve credit though. They did everything in their power to make it fair for everyone.

The picture below is really what the World Hunt is all about--people just hanging out having fun, supporting each other when someone runs a dog, and lending an ear with the disappointment of a loss. I had a blast at the 2015 World Hunt. Thanks so much to all the people that shared their friendship. I will see you next year.

Jeff Kerns, Chase Derrick, Scott Derrick,
Scotty Derrick and Josh Elkers at the World

Pictures by Jeff Allen at 2015 World Hunt

Bailey Wins Hound of the Year Runoff

Logan Elm Bailey won the ARHA 2014 Open Class Hound of the Year Runoff. The top 10 dogs in each class go to Lynville, Indiana the day before the ARHA World Hunt. Judges for this hunt are selected by the Watchdog Committee and then drawn into casts. The top 10 Hounds are rolled into two packs of 5 and then the winners run in a final cast to determine the HOY Runoff winner. Congratulations to  my brother Gregg for his success with Bailey.

Friday, April 10, 2015

At the World

Have you noticed that there have been no new posts lately? I am at the ARHA World Hunt. There is a lot to post once I get home.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sled Dogs, Beagles, and the World Hunt

The ARHA Little Pack World Hunt is next week and once again the anticipation is building. As I read the post below about the Iditarod, I couldn't help but notice the similarities to training beagles. A lot of dogs have the breeding and ability to win, but only one will. It seems like so often, the trainer is what makes the difference.

And, a week from now, a lot of beaglers that tried so hard to win it all will have to live with their loss. They will have to wait for another year until they get another chance.

He can see the village of Koyuk on the hill in front of him. Has been able to see it since he left Shaktoolik; a mirage that never seems to get closer. Once he arrives, he's only one more run to White Mountain and an eight-hour break that fixes everything. Then it's Nome and the finish line. He's that close.
But when he turns around, he can see another dog team. It's hard to tell how close, there's nothing but miles of sea ice, no landmarks to compare, and the air waves rising off the ice are like staring down an Arizona highway. For the first couple hours, he hoped it was his imagination, or a snow machine; but now it's clear. It's a dog team. Dallas Seavey, dressed in jet black befitting a movie villain, is gaining.
There's a lot going through Aaron's mind right now. It would be an emotional run anyway, getting passed from behind is one of the most demoralizing things that can happen to a team. When you add in the fatigue, hunger and the cold, emotions become much stronger.
At it's core, the Iditarod is not a dog race. It's a human race. There are a lot of excellent dog teams, many could win, and every year, it becomes more clear that it's the musher who makes the difference. So what does that mean if you're the one who loses? Only one team can win. The other 20 (those that are actually trying to win) all have to lose. They have to live with that for another year.

You can read the entire article HERE.

Image from Seavey's IdidaRide Sled Dog Tours

Friday, April 3, 2015

When It's Just Right

The spot of green is Cole's collar
just before he busted out with the rabbit.
That's why we do this. Because when it's just right, it can't get any better. Your heart pounds like it is going to jump out of your chest. The sound from the pack just gets into your soul. The feeling is just not something you can explain to someone that hasn't done it. When it's just right, it's just so amazing.

You might go a few races without this feeling. You might go a few trips without this feeling. When you get it though, it makes you forget all the bad. It makes you smile in a way that goes all the way to your soul. It's why we all run dogs.

Guys will give a lot of reasons why they run dogs. Let's see:

1.  I like my dogs.
2.  I like being outside in the woods.
3.  I love watching pups progress.
4.  I have a great time with my friends.
5.  I want to compete.
6.  I like the way a chase sounds.
7.  I enjoy training dogs.
8.  My dogs are my hunting partners.
9.  It gets me out of the house.
10. It's my connection to nature.

All of these are true. 

BUT, the real reason is because when it's just right, it is the most righteous thing in our lives. When young Upincomer looks like Mr. Imtherenow; when the pack is running as one; when the checks are short; when the drives are long; when all the dogs look like they belong; when the pack sounds so great it just makes you feel good, that's when we know we could never give up running dogs. When it's just right it's everything and that's why we run dogs.

I ran Dennis, Chip, DK, Silly, Cole, and Jimmy.  Conditions were good and the young dogs ran like I knew they could. It was 53° with a little rain. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My Dogs are Like Teenage Boys

Did you ever spend any time around a 16 year old boy? You know how his brain is a little twisted and he just doesn't quite have the ability to reason? How he stays awake when he should sleep, like Sunday night before school on Monday? How he sleeps when he should be awake, like sitting in American History? How once he gets a girl friend, the house could be on fire and he wouldn't have sense enough to leave unless she told him to. Well that's kind of how my dogs are right now.

I have these young males that are all around two years old. They have unbelievable energy. They can run 400 yards down a road and back and not even be out of breath. When they should slow down, like on a tough track, sometimes they just bust out like a maniac and then look around wondering what went wrong. Other times, when they just need to get gone and go hunt, they kind of look at me, standing around like they aren't sure what to do. 

When scent is high and running is easy, they all seem like naturals. When a rabbit pulls a trick and they have to use their brain, they fumble around like I need to haul them in a short bus just to take them to the field. When it's easy they look like the best dogs I have ever owned. When it's tough, I look around just to make sure no one is watching.

Some of the time they can work together and I think this might be the best pack I have ever owned. Other times though, they act like no one informed them that they are a pack. They are the best young jump dogs I have ever seen. But they get a lot of practice because they can blow up races like fireworks on the fourth of July.

What's a guy to do though? I can't make them older. Experience only comes from running. They have to grow up at their own pace. In the mean time, I guess I will just try to be patient. I know a great future is ahead. I just wish a couple of them would get a degree in Rabbit Hound.

Tonight I ran Dennis, Cole, and Silly. It was 57° and sunny.

A Few Thoughts From Branko's Beagles

Frieda Krpan, "You never make a breeding decision based on paper alone. It's a tool but it's not your main reason. . . . They gotta have hunt, they gotta have desire, they gotta have intelligence. . . . We are very tough on the standards on our dogs.

Branko Krpan, "We never bred for trials of any kind. We breed for hunters. . . . My philosophy on training pups is we run them in the pack because they are pack dogs. . . . Puppies must show me they are worth spending time on. . . .  If you have a good dog, it doesn't matter what you do with him, you can't ruin him.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

Thanks to Benson Kennels for a great interview!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Lost Rabbit

A Great Hocking County Clearcut
That Stretches Out Forever
The dogs were coming around the hill. I was standing in a great spot where three logging roads came together. The dogs were between the top two. They were getting closer and closer. I knew the rabbit had to be busting out any second. I stood perfectly still, waiting and waiting.

The dogs were at 50 yards, then 40, then 30. All four dogs were pounding. Where was the rabbit? Twenty yards, then fifteen, then ten, and they stopped. I still hadn't seen a rabbit. The dogs broke down. They looked up the hill and down. They looked ahead and then worked the line backwards.

There wasn't a single bark. I watched and waited. The dogs spread out, searching hard. They worked out farther and then came back to the checkpoint. I walked along the road looking into the briers. No hole that I could see. Anyway, they were working way too hard for the rabbit to have holed.

On the last chase, soon after it ended, Dennis and Chip walked out to the road so I knew it holed. On the chase after this, all four dogs came out soon after they quit barking, again showing the chase ended in a hole. 

This was a lost rabbit. No excuses and I really couldn't make sense of it. Why after 15 minutes of a good chase did it end like that? How could they have just blown up the chase? They couldn't even find enough of a track for one bark. Three hours later I am still wondering, what happened to that rabbit?

Now for the Wait

Zoom and a Dennis X Dilly Pup
A while back I posted Will This Cross Work? I am a little closer to finding out. Naturally the pups out of Logan Elm Dennis and Logan Elm Dilly came during a record cold setting night in March. I tried to keep plenty of heat in the box. (A new kennel heater I had ordered from Amazon finally made it to my house a week after the pups were born, but that is a whole nother story). Partially due to the stress of the weather, Dilly has managed to raise just three pups. 

With two females and a male pup, this will give me a good idea of how the cross worked. The good news is that neither parent is going anywhere anytime soon so I will be able to get a feel for both as reproducers. Now it's just a matter of waiting for month after month for the pups to get old enough to run. The good news is that they should be just the right age for Carter to play with in the yard this summer.

Next up with be a litter from Chip and Gypsy. This is a repeat cross. The Old Man and I liked it enough that we decided to make it again. This is the litter that Dilly, Silly, and Jimmy came from. Hopefully in about 61 days I will have a few more pups and maybe this time it won't be minus 7°.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Starting Pups

I recently read an interesting article by Sam Butler, a successful beagler that runs in the United Beagle Gundog Federation. Although the style of dogs that he runs is much more conservative than mine, he has some interesting ideas.

This part sounds a lot like how we start pups.

We don’t go into the pen unless we hear pups running. They have to hunt, jump and start on their own. Like people, they will adapt easily to hand outs. Jump their first three or four rabbits, and that might be your job for the rest of their lives. We are often asked how long it takes for a pup to start. We have litters start in minutes, and some take six weeks. We see no difference after they start.
When we take pups out of the one-acre pen, we put them in our 32-acre running pen. You want to get them running as soon as possible. If you lay them up, you might have to restart them. Once they are running, we take them out in packs of three or four. We want them to learn to run with other dogs before they run solo. 
Once we run the pups a few times, we try to match them with pups of about the same ability. We want every pup to get a chance to run the front, middle and back and to get checks.

Here is the entire article, The Mechanics of Training Pups.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Minutes Per Chase

Dennis, DK, and Cole
As usual, I was keeping track of jumps last night as I ran. For the last couple of years, this is one trait that I have really tried to focus on when breeding and sorting pups. It seems like if a young dog will hunt independently, as it matures it will be a better than average jump dog. This same trait also seems to be a factor in check power. A dog that will hunt by itself, seems to search on the check the same way.

Last night I ran a little over 4 and 1/2 hours. During that time, Dennis had four jumps, Cole had three jumps and Chip had two jumps. The dogs ran pretty well without much down time. Admittedly though, with the conditions, dogs should have been able to run well. With the rain and good conditions, the time between chases was fairly short.

As I was driving home, I started replaying the night. I was happy about the jumps, and that the running was good. As I thought more about it though, it seemed like a lot of jumps for the time I ran. I had 9 jumps in 270 minutes. Every half hour the dogs jumped a rabbit. That means chases averaged around 25 minutes.

I haven't kept track of this before. It would be interesting to know the average length of chases, each week, each month, and each year. Days with short chases, especially those less than a circle are aggravating. Especially aggravating are days when it is hard to find rabbits. Days with long races are always fun. That is one thing that makes running hare so great. Long, hard chases are expected and usual.

Last night was a good night of running. The next time the running is not so good, I will have to check on the average time for each chase. I'd bet it won't be as long.

I ran Dennis, Cole, Chip, DK, Silly, and Jimmy. It was 40° with a little rain.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

In a Little Bit . . .

I'm sitting here trying to not look out the window. There's a little rain today. I know running conditions would be great. I am sure rabbits would be out. Scent would be high and dogs would be smoking the rabbits.

For a minute, I start to think about the guys that aren't working. I imagine Vigar is once again enjoying his retirement out with his dogs. Sunday at the OHBC Hunt, I was talking to Klaiber about how he has more time to run now and that came to mind. I started making a list of all the retired guys I know that run dogs, The Old Man, Klaiber, Vigar, Dennis Kennedy, John Sexton . . .

Then my mind wondered down to the clearcut that I am going to run tonight. Where to start? I think I will just turn them loose on top of the hill at the waterhole. Although, up on the next hill I saw a lot of rabbit sign when the snow was still on. I haven't cut them loose there for a while. Maybe I should . . .

I wonder how the dogs will run after while. Dennis jumped four rabbits the last time out. He sure was rough at the hunt Sunday. He thought he was still in Wisconson running hare. He started to settle down some though. Cole has sounded good lately. I'll bet he will be cranking tonight. I wonder how DK . . .

I just got Jimmy back. I wonder if I should take him tonight. Silly has been running pretty well, so throwing his brother in the pack should be good. Plus, he hunts like crazy and I always want another jump dog. Jimmy will probably . . .

OK, it's time to get back to work. I have wasted enough time on dogs for today. In just a few hours . . .

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Yellow Dog Guy or Not

One of the benefits of making a road trip is that you get to meet new people and see different dogs. Lately the Patch dogs have been victim to a lot of abuse by many online beaglers. At the 2015 Hunted Hare, I got to spend a good amount of time watching a couple of Patch hounds run and got an even bigger surprise.

Most of the Patch guys that I have met are fanatics. They see blonde and nothing else. You can say whatever you want and they have an answer. Usually though, their answer is get some Patch hounds. This is funny because there is such a variety in Patch hounds.

At the Hunted Hare I met a Patch guy, Rowdy Holstien and then I found out he wasn't a Patch guy. He was a houndsman. He brought a couple of blonde dogs, but that was because they were his best hunting dogs. I was more than a little shocked when I stood by him as he booked some nonblonde pups.

Naturally I had to grill Rowdy and it went something like this:

Me:  You want nonblonde pups?
Rowdy:  They have good dogs and I think it will be a good cross.
Me:  Yeah but they won't be blondes.
Rowdy:  I don't care about color, I just want good dogs.
Me:  Even if they aren't blondes?
Rowdy: They have some good dogs and I want some of their stuff.
Me:  It won't be Patch.
Rowdy:  I don't care about that. I just want the best dogs possible.
Me:  Well.

And so I discovered a guy a little like me. He just wants some good dogs that will make rabbit hounds. He is a little different because he really like Patch Hounds. But if he finds young dogs that aren't Patch hounds, that is OK. He just wants good rabbit hounds.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hunted Hare Slide Show

The guys at the Hunted Hare are gracious enough to open invitations to all their board members to their annual event. If you are not a member of the Hunted Hare Forum you are missing a chance to hear the thoughts and opinions of some of the most knowledgeable beaglers anywhere (and they let me chime in too).

Take a minute and watch the slide show below and you will see why attending the annual Hunted Hare means so much. They make it a great time for all. Thanks to B-Man for the awesome job putting the slide show together.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Excitement of Running a Pup

The dogs struck as a group and fired down the hill. I listened close and heard Chip, then Dennis, and Silly so I knew it was a rabbit. A quick glance at the Garmin told me all the dogs were together. That in itself was a relief. Normally that isn't a problem but DK was making his first trip with the big dogs last night.

DK is a nine month old male out of Hot Head and a Big Meadows female. He has been running in the pen for a couple of months so I thought he would do OK. I had planned to wait until after the World Hunt to start running him, but I just got impatient and decided to throw him out there.

Taking a pup in the wild for the first time seems to always hold a few surprises. DK was not exception to that rule. He had some good surprises and of course had to run one off game track.

So the first chase headed down the hill. The dogs were running pretty well and I was tuned in making sure DK was there. Then I heard Hot Head. Well, it wasn't him but it sure sounded like it. And that was the best surprise of all. DK was in the blaring out and sounded exactly like his sire. I love the excitement and anticipation when running a new pup.

I ran Dennis, Cole, Chip, DK, and Silly. It was 42° with falling temperatures. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Humble Pie at the Hunted Hare

Through all of February and the first part of March the weather in our area has been lousy. We have been covered up in snow, chilled by cold temperatures, and numbed by wind chills. Despite this, I have run more this winter than probably any winter in my life. Part of the reason for this was having so many days off, which made it easy to run.

For the most part the dogs did fairly well all winter. There were times with the snow and cold that good chases were almost impossible, but the dogs all had some shining moments. Overall, the dogs showed good progress and accounted for most rabbits they jumped.

Naturally when Jeff and I headed north to the 2015 Hunted Hare I was excited to get my dogs out and chase a few big white rabbits. The running was great with countless hare and many really good chases. The best part is always the camaraderie and a long weekend filled with dog talk. Jeff and I had a blast running dogs and visiting with the best bunch of guys you could ever meet.

I have to admit though, the dogs didn't perform up to expectations. With all the hours they had already spent running in tough conditions, I expected more. Maybe the long ride in the truck affected them. Maybe spending a weekend in the box was a problem. Maybe ten inches of slushy ice crystals bothered them. Whatever the reason though, they didn't meet my expectations.

What does that mean? Well, some dogs will get a long look. One may get a new address. At the same time though, I am not going to overreact and get overly disappointed. We had a great time. A couple of dogs looked good, especially considering their age. A little humble pie is OK every so often. It makes a guy just a little more cautious about what he does. And, there is always the next time. 

2015 Hunted Hare

Once again, Jeff Allen and I went on a weekend road trip to the 2015 Hunted Hare. The video below by Harehound is a small snapshot of the great time had by all. You can read more about it at The Hunted Hare Forum.

It was nice of Marty to have a movie star in an Ohio State Hoody modeling for his video.

Monday, March 16, 2015


I spent the weekend in this old hunting shack and lots of hound stories were told. Even more amazing was some of the running and great times.

There is a lot more to come in upcoming posts.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sixteen Screaming in the Springtime

Spring was in the air today. WE HIT 40°! Everybody everywhere is sick of winter. The cold and snow and snow and cold just will not go away. For the last six weeks it seems like winter had a death grip on running dogs. Oh we have had some running, but it just wasn't the pounding that makes your heart race. Today though, we got a breath of spring.

The Old Man, Gregg, Jeff Allen, and I turned 16 dogs loose. It wasn't really planned out, but that's the way it worked out. By the time we quit, everybody was glad it did. Rabbits seemed to be sensing spring and they were out in bunches. There were some splits and little time between races. 

The dogs were bouncing and feeling great. The running was fast and furious at times. It wasn't always pretty, but it sounded great. After a forever winter of working out tough tracks, it was super just to have dogs slamming and slamming they were. All the dogs wanted some of it and a lot of them got it. Several dogs had jumps, checks were spread around, and a lot of dogs got some of the front.

Today was one of those days that just makes you glad you have beagles. There was some sun, a lot of laughs, and dogs screaming in pursuit, hot on a chase. Today would have made any beagler anxious to get them out tomorrow. In fact, the dogs ran so well that I am pretty sure the other three guys tied for second place.  :)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Neal Lives On

Logan Elm Neal
Anyone that knows me, knows that Logan Elm Neal was one of, if not my all time favorite dog. He gave it all, every time out. For many years, time after time, he let me enjoy what I like to do most, running dogs. I have no idea how many rabbits he jumped in his life, but it was a bunch. Plus, his big mouth could be heard in any pack.

This weekend's ARHA Hunts at Chillicothe made me think about Neal. He was a decent competition dog, but what he really liked to do was go run. And he would run and run and run for as long as you wanted to run. When you headed north to run hare, he would really step up his game. He helped me have a bunch of great trips to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where time after time he was the anchor.

The first time Neal was bred, he produced ARHA GR CH Logan Elm Gypsy. A few years later, she won the ARHA World Hunt and was Reserve Champion another year. The last time he was bred he produced Logan Elm Dennis, who won the hunt Saturday. Throughout his life, Neal was bred a few times each year. One thing that was consistent was that he always produced rabbit dogs. The hunt at Chillicothe showed though that he produced some decent competition dogs too.

Two of the four classes were won by dogs out of Neal. On Saturday, dogs out of him placed 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 6th. On Sunday, a female out of him won and a grandson was third. The conditions at these hunts were terrible and a lot of the places were determined by hunt. To me, that just shows that Neal passed this trait on to his pups.

When Neal died a lot of people told me that it was such a shame. I said at the time that it was OK. If he wasn't a reproducer, then he had been bred enough. If he was a reproducer, then there would be dogs down the road out of him to keep the line going. I think last weekend showed that there are some dogs out of Neal that are going to be worthy representatives to carry on what he and his sire, Hobo contributed to Logan Elm Beagles.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Is It A Matter of Degrees?

I shot some video a couple of week ago and Butcher looked horrible. It was probably the worst I have ever seen him run, and it was all captured on tape. Then, to make matters worse, I published the video and posted it on HERE and on the Hunted Hare Forum. So not only did I have video of one of my best dogs looking bad, but then I posted it in public for anyone and everyone to see.

Last night the conditions were just a little different than when I shot the video. We still had 6 inches of snow. This time though, it was raining and temperatures were close to 40°. The snow was sloppy wet and tough for rabbits to run through. Plus, for much of the time I was running, it rained steadily. For a while we had a pounding down-pore.

There was no video last night, but oh how I wish there was. Butcher put on a show. He jumped at least four rabbits and grabbed check after check. He ran most of the front and never looked back.  His loud, rough chop rang over the pack.

Now I know Butcher isn't as good as he ran tonight and he is not as bad as he looked on the video. It just showed the impact that temperature and conditions have on the running. On the day of the video, running in the toughest of conditions, the patience of Chip, Tony, and Gypsy made the day. Being a little older and a little wiser also helped.

Last night, with the temperature just a few degrees warmer, Butcher dominated. I would rather Butcher have the patience of an old dog now, but I understand that a lot of the time that comes with age. I will bet when he is five years old, he will be the dog that is settled on the track, keeping the young dogs in a race. Until then, I know his success is determined by degrees.

I ran Butcher, Chip, Dennis, and Cole.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Weekend at Field Trials

I had a great weekend at Chillicothe's ARHA Little Pack hunts. The dogs didn't do as well as they could have, but they did OK considering the conditions. I got to see some friends, some that I hadn't seen in a while and had a good time on every cast. The judging was fair, especially considering the impossible task laid out by the weather.

I knew it was going to be horrible conditions for running cottontails and a field trial, but I went anyway. When it's all said and done though, you could question what was really proven. Some casts didn't have rabbits. Other casts just had jumps to a hole. In two days of trials, none of the casts or dogs ran great. 

When Saturday's first casts went to the field, temperatures were near zero with 10 inches of snow on the ground. It snowed some Saturday night, then rained, then freezing rain, then snowed, then rained. After all of that there was about a foot of sloppy, wet snow that rabbits couldn't even run through.

There were a few things about the dogs that I noticed.

Dennis hunted by himself in both of his casts and this helped him win the hunt. This independence and a jump 150 yards from the judge and the other dogs made my day.

Kurly was picked on hunting and handling because he hunted by himself. This helped him get third place in the hunt and qualified him for the ARHA World Hunt.

Dixie was second in her cast and fourth in the hunt because she had the good sense to keep her mouth shut when others in her cast barked a lot and minused out.

Cole was third today at his first hunt. Like most young dogs he was a little unsure of what was happening the first few minutes. He quickly got in the grove and had one really nice check that I saw, and he started a chase that went straight to a hole. 

Butcher and Bailey both hunted hard on Saturday, and Butcher again today, but they didn't jump a rabbit. On a weekend where almost every dog that won had a jump, they needed that 40 points. Both dogs hunted hard though.

This was a good weekend. Four open dogs qualified for the World. The dogs hunted hard, handled well, and had a shot at winning their casts. On a weekend of impossible running, I was pleased with them. Now we just need the weather to break and get some time on the ground under a little better conditions. The World Hunt is just around the corner.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Conversation with Dennis After His Second Hunt

Six weeks ago I took Logan Elm Dennis to his first ARHA Little Pack hunt. It didn't go too well, so afterwards I had a conversation with him. He was more than a little confused and bothered by all the barking. Thankfully he didn't join in, and I hoped if I explained about hunts it would help him out. You can read about that conversation HERE.

Today I took Dennis to Chillicothe to his second hunt and he won! I was so proud. Honestly though, he didn't do much. Really, he did a little bit, just a little bit better than the other dogs. It wasn't something to brag about, but it made me happy. There's just something special about getting a win out of a dog that you raised and trained from a pup, out of a dog that you raised and trained from a pup, out of a dog .  .  .

Anyway, when I got home, I put Dennis in his kennel and fed him. Standing there looking at him, I though maybe it was time for anther conversation.

Dennis: Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch (Dennis was eating).

Me: Great job today!

Dennis: Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch

Me: You won! It made me soooo happy!

Dennis: Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch

Me: I told you going to hunts was fun.

Dennis: Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch

Me: That jump was killer. As soon as I heard you bark, I knew you jumped a rabbit. Maybe the next time you could actually run it a little farther.

Dennis: Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch

Me: Aren't you proud? Aren't you glad you won?

Dennis: Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch

Me: You don't act like you even care.

Dennis: Crunch, crunch, crunch. PPPssssssssss

Me: Hey, pay attention and quit peeing on that tree when I'm talking to you.

Anyhow, win or lose, I'm not so sure that Dennis is all that impressed with field trials. I'm going back to Chillicothe tomorrow but I'm not taking Dennis. Maybe if I take Cole he will have more to say.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Five Jumps by Five Dogs

Crossing the Lane Right After the Rabbit
We drove about an hour east of us hoping to have a little running today. Depending on the area there was somewhere between 8 - 12 inches of snow. The first place I tried to stop had so much snow on the side of the road that I couldn't find a place to pull off. This wasn't a great start to the day. We went on down the road a ways to another spot. I made a left turn up the hill before I noticed this road hadn't been plowed. There were a ruts about a foot deep in the road, so I stayed in them, continuing on to another spot. 

When we got to the next spot it looked so snowy and desolate that I knew there was no chance of running there. I traveled on, hoping to find a spot where we could at least get the dogs out for a bit. We passed a couple of spots I had run before but none of them seemed worth the effort,

Finally, I figured if we were ever going to run it was time to stop and give it a try. The Old Man and I collared up the dogs and headed down over the hill. Their hunt wasn't the best at the start as their bellies were dragging in the snow. If nothing else they were going to get some exercise.

After a few minutes, Chip busted out with the first rabbit of the day. They ran him a couple of circles. When the bunny crossed the lane just before the dogs in the picture above, he was struggling just to get through the snow. It was easy to tell that chases wouldn't last too long today. Luckily though, every rabbit gave us at least a couple of circles.

By the time we quit, we ran five rabbits. These rabbits were jumped by five different dogs. As much as I like to listen to great running, nothing beats having dogs jump rabbits. Today the running was OK, but the dogs really hunted. It was no surprise that five of the six dogs jumped a rabbit. And on a day like today, what more could you ask for?

I ran Chip, Dennis, and Butcher. The Old Man ran Gypsy, Tony, and Village Girl. It was 23° when we started with a lot of sun and even more snow.

A Good Snowy Day Running Spot

Saturday, February 21, 2015

When Just OK is Really Good

Tony and Butcher Driving in the Snow
Everyone with beagles has done it. It's a nasty day with rain, snow, wind, cold, heat, or some type of weather that you know is not fit for running dogs. Still, you are headed out to run and you think, why am I doing this? But you go anyway and usually you head home thinking, why did I do this? Then the next time comes and you do it all over. This is one of the things that pretty much proves to your wife and friends that you are crazy.

So when the Old Man called yesterday and said, do you wanna go run a couple of hours? Naturally I told him I would pick him up in 10 minutes. The fact that it was 12° with four inches of powdery snow didn't matter. The fact that it got down to 17 below zero last night didn't matter. The fact that every cottontail in the entire United States was nice and cozy in their hole didn't matter. I just piled on the clothes and headed out.

Surprising to me, it seemed like the rabbits were a little like us. I think they were a little stir crazy and wanted to get out. Maybe they heard the forecast and knew that another 8 inches of snow was on the way so they had to get out why they could. Anyway, the dogs jumped several rabbits and they stayed up and ran.

It wasn't a great day of running. There were a few more checks than usual. Even though we were in a great spot where the dogs can usually drive a rabbit, the chases weren't quite as fast as usual. On a good note though, the dogs ran almost the entire time and all six dogs contributed. The work was a lot more even than the other day when I videoed the dogs. Really, the running was just OK, but for the day that was really good.

I ran Chip, Butcher, and Dennis. The Old Man ran Tony, Gypsy, and Village Girl.

Watching for the Rabbit to Cross

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Logan Elm Beagles February 2015 Video

The temperature when we turned loosed today was 8° with a couple of inches of snow. These was a little breeze, which you can hear at times in the video.

Monday, February 16, 2015

How Fast are Your Dogs?

Today, the dogs were slow. In fact, they were only a little faster than a walk. I bet I could have kept up with them some of the time, and that's not saying much. They kept the chase going though and it was pretty steady. Just not too fast.

When the Old Man and I cut loose it was 5° with a wind chill of minus 14. Plus it was snowing. The rabbits in our area really don't like days like today. What's a guy to do though--running dogs beats sitting around the house any day. While the dogs were hunting, which was more than they were running, I started thinking about the question, how fast are your dogs?

Any time two guys start talking dogs that almost always comes up. Everybody wants to know all about speed. Well, on a scale of 1 - 10 . . . How many times have you heard or read that? When the dogs cross the lane everybody wants to be on the front--bragging rights for sure. And nobody wants to be dragging up the rear.

The dogs weren't great today. In fact, they were just OK. It may be the slowest I have ever seen our dogs run. I liked the way they ran though because all the dogs got some work done. All the dogs had good stretches. All the dogs got some checks. And they ran the rabbits until they holed. They weren't too fast, but they were fast enough for the day.

I ran Dennis, Chip, and Butcher. The Old Man ran Tony, Village Girl, and Gypsy.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I Wish This Video was in My Neighborhood

This video from Ontario, Canada was shared by Keith on the Hunted Hare Board. It would be great to be able to dump in there for a chase or two. Then I think I would be happy to be back at home.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Great Job AKC Midwest Judges!

FC Hopkins Wolf Creek Abby
The Anticipation was over and Chris Hopkins, Jeff Allen, the Old Man, and I cut them loose this morning. The first rabbit took a few minutes to jump but then the chase was on. The dogs were running hard with big circles in far from good conditions. The wind was howling with falling temperatures throughout the day. It started in the 20's but was 18° by the time we quit.

Weather conditions didn't seem to matter today though. We ran 5 rabbits in the first clearcut with pretty good chases and not a whole lot of time between. After a lull, we moved about a mile to another spot. This clearcut is different from most because you can see the dogs a lot. For the last couple of hours, Jeff was on one side of a ditch which divided the hollow and Chris and I were up on the hill on the other side. We saw the dogs a lot.

A lot of dogs contributed to a good day. There were 2 ARHA Grand Champions, 2 ARHA Champions, a World Hunt winner,  2 dogs that had won their last hunt, and Dennis had his best day ever.  BUT, I was really pleased watching Abby run. She had 4 or 5 times where she really shined. One time was a turn behind the dogs. Another time was two tough checks in a row. Abby had a really good day.

I ran Abby for Chris for a few months when she was 14 months old. I really liked her tenacity on the line and how she would stick to the track no matter what. That has only improved with age. It makes me feel good to know that a dog with her good qualities finished as an AKC Field Champion. Great job to judges in the Midwest Federation. To all the judges that Abby won and placed under, I totally agree with your decision.

Today wasn't arena beagling like in a field trial. This was tough conditions in a hilly clearcut filled with briers in the worst weather conditions. What it showed though is that field trials can and do promote a dog that can get it done. Great job judges!

Chris Hopkins