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 . . .

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

Friday, February 13, 2015


OK, I could only stand to watch a minute and three seconds of this video. I have nothing against Carly Simon, but I am not a fan. I have to admit though, her song describes so much of what makes running rabbit hounds so addicting. It's not so much today, but knowing tomorrow is coming and it is going to be great.

In the morning, the Old Man and I are meeting Chris Hopkins and Jeff Allen for breakfast and then we are going to run. I don't know how it will go. It may be great running or it may not. The dogs may scream up and down the hills of the clearcut, or they may hack around and aggravate all of us. For tonight though, all is good. Anticipation is high. Running will be great and I can't wait.

Just a tip--don't torture yourself through the whole video. Once you hear one anticipation that is about enough.  :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Will This Cross Work?

Every beagler knows the feeling. You think and worry and hope and dream and it's all about pups, a lot of times even before the cross is made. I raise one or two litters a year. A lot of the future of the kennel rides on those crosses producing the kind of dogs that I like. 

Last year I had plenty of young dogs so I didn't raise any pups at all. That makes it even more important this year to get it right. I am not doing this to sell pups. This is all about raising pups to reload the kennel. To make it even more challenging, I decided to raise pups out of two young dogs that are just coming into their ability. Neither is proven but both have traits that I really like. Each has their own strengths that led to this decision.

Dennis' Strengths
  • Very Independent
  • Hunts and Jumps Rabbits Without Help
  • Powerful Out of the Check
  • Good Strong Squall Mouth
  • Great Speed on the Line
  • Good Conformation
  • Son of Logan Elm Neal X Big Meadows Breezy

Dilly's Strengths
  • Huge Mouth
  • Hunts and Jumps Rabbits Without Help
  • Independent in Check Area
  • Can Walk Out a Tough Check
  • Excellent Conformation
  • Granddaughter of Branko's Freejack & Logan Elm Neal
The strengths look great. BUT, both are unproven. On both sides you have young dogs that may or may not make the cut. In a year or two both dogs could be gone. In this case though, I chose to use young dogs with great strengths in areas that matter most to me, rather than use an older dog that my not be so great in those areas.

Another advantage is line-breeding and I have owned back three generations on the top side and four on the bottom.  Having a double cross of Logan Elm Neal in the pups makes me hopeful. This also has its question marks as I haven't doubled up like this too much. Who knows what it will produce. The pups are due in March, so in a year or two or three, I will probably know something about how the cross worked.  :)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Let's Get One More Rabbit

Anyone who has run with me very many times has heard me say this before, let's get one more rabbit. The Old Man never wants me to say these magic words. He seems a little gun shy about this particular phrase. I have shown him some of my finest training moments after saying these words, but he never seems too impressed.

After saying let's get one more rabbit, the following things may have happened at one time or another:
  • A young dog started a deer and ran out of the country;
  • The shock collar didn't work when a young dog started a deer;
  • A dog disappeared into thin air, only to magically reappear the next day;
  • We spent an hour hunting and after the jump had a 14 second chase;
  • A dog got caught in a trap;
  • The dogs wouldn't hunt and I decided to try a few stupid methods of training which made them hunt even less until I finally just gave up;
  • Three young dogs visited a neighbor's house;
  • The pack jumped a rabbit, ran him out 150 yards and back 140 yards.
  • The dogs jumped a rabbit which holed up quickly and a dog stayed at the hole (and of course the shock collar didn't work);
  • The dogs hit a big, buck hare that decided he wanted to go to another swamp over a mile away;
  • A young dog got lost at the end of the chase and had to be picked up on the next road over;
  • A young dog got lost at the end of the chase and when toned decided to go the opposite direction forever.
  • After the last chase a dog didn't want caught and I chased him for 1 1/2 miles through the woods while the Old Man followed me with the tracker in his truck;
  • After I chased a dog through the woods the Old Man had to ride home in the truck with me and I may have been hot, stinky, sweaty, and so mad I didn't talk the whole way home;
  • The dogs ran a squirrel;
  • The dogs ran a fox;
  • The dogs ran a cat;
  • The dogs ran a coon;
  • The dogs ran a skunk and might have gotten a little odorized;
So today when I said, let's go up to the front and run one more rabbit, the Old Man just shook his head and agreed. He obviously has given up. We stood around for a while watching dogs fake hunt. I could feel the aggravation building. When I was just ready to call it quits, Chip jumped a rabbit out 303 yards away in the clearcut. And, maybe, just maybe the spell was broken. IT WAS THE BEST CHASE OF THE DAY!

I ran Chip, Dennis, and Cole. The Old Man ran Tony, Poppy, and Diamond. The sunny day started at 27° but warmed up to 40 by the time we quit. 

Want a Quick Vacation?

You Can't Help but Follow to See Where it Goes

Every couple of days, I take off for a little bit. I head over to the site of River Bottom Beagles and just look at the pictures. Tom shares his view of Minnesota, the outdoors, his family, and his beagles. I always leave feeling like he has shared a part of himself and his life. And every time I visit his site I appreciate him sharing.

His pictures of the outdoors and nature make me sure I have been there and make me feel like I am visiting again. I have never seen an outdoor photographer that can so capture the peace of a spot.

Thanks for sharing!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Take a Break Butcher

When does a dog need a break? How do you decide when enough is enough? The Old Man and I were running yesterday and Butcher just wasn't at the top of his game. He still hunted hard and got more than his share of checks, but he just seemed to be missing something. If I hadn't raised him and didn't know him so well, I probably wouldn't have noticed, but I do and I did.

My buddy from North Carolina, Lewis Smith gave me Butcher when he was 8 weeks old. He is a grandson of Neal out of Butch, Lewis's good male. Butcher started early and always seemed older than his age. At two years old he already seemed like an old dog.This winter he has been doing really well. 

Yesterday though when Butcher got a check, he wasn't driving quite as far as usual. When he was hunting, he was checking in more often than usual. Plus, he just didn't look quite like himself when he moved. I actually put him in the truck before we jumped the last rabbit. I have never done that before.

Then last night I started thinking about how much I have run Butcher. As near as I can figure, I have run 69 out of the last 75 days. Butcher has gone almost every time. I did give him two days off before I took him to an ARHA hunt, but then I ran him the next 12 days in a row. He has pretty much ran nonstop since before Thanksgiving.

In 10, 15, or 20 years I am not sure how I will remember Butcher. He won't be 3 years old for another two weeks. I am not sure if he will compare with the great ones when he is gone. He is young and still has a lot ahead of him. One thing I am sure of though is that he will be remembered for being tough.

Today when I went out to the pen to load dogs Butcher was standing at the gate waiting. He started out the gate like usual. When I bumped him on the nose and told him no he just stood and looked at me. When he realized I was loading other dogs and he wasn't going he seemed shocked. Twice he tried to sneak by me. As I led the dogs away, he stood there and just watched. I almost went back and got him, but I thought better of it and told him, sorry boy, you need a couple days off.

Thank You!

Thank you for stopping and taking a minute or two out of your day to read about Logan Elm Beagles. I started this blog mostly for myself and to keep a written record of things that happen running my dogs. It has turned in to a whole lot more. I actually got the idea when I visited Tim Hackworth's Woodpont Beagles site.

Each day a couple hundred people stop by for a bit. I know people are busy. I know everybody has a lot going on in their life. So the fact that people take the time to follow along means a lot. 

If you ever want to agree, disagree, argue, share your thoughts, or share your opinion, just click at the bottom of each post where it says, No Comments. I welcome your comments.

To everyone that reads this blog, I sincerely thank you!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Building a Pack

I have been doing some reading lately on The Hunted Hare Forum. On a recent post on building a pack were these two ideas shared by two extremely knowledgeable houndsmen, Marty and Tom.

Although Logan Elm Beagles is totally built around having a family of dogs with similar characteristics (the first post) I can totally understand the second opinion of how having dogs from different bloodlines can really help a pack. I wonder if instead of having two lines of dogs, that is where outcrosses might work.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Storm Before the Storm

The storm was coming. The snow was coming. The cold was coming. The wind was coming. It was winter and it was about to prove it. Today was just trickery. Forty degrees was a tease of what was coming way down the road. Tomorrow would be real with snow and wind and temperatures in the teens.

An hour to the northwest the storm was approaching. Snow plows couldn't keep up. Visibility was a joke. Big flakes covered everything in sight. Schools were going to be closed. Cars were going to be wrecked. Ditches were about to be parking lots. Insurance rates were rising.

Here though, there was a different kind of storm. Four dogs were screaming out in joy at perfect conditions. The air was damp. Scenting was the best. Rabbits sensed what was coming and all were out this evening. And they ran and ran. It was just one of those nights when you can't help but celebrate that you have rabbit hounds.

For four hours the dogs pounded. They ran way above their ability. Checks were a joke as dogs quickly grabbed the line and ran circle after circle with hardly a bobble. I knew they weren't this good. But they ran like the most powerful storm ever. They raged and blasted and flashed and screamed and roared almost nonstop.

Tonight I ran Dennis, Chip, Cole, and Butcher. It was 32° with snow coming down.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

When Less = More

I always run a pack. When I am by myself it is usually 5 or 6 dogs. When I run with someone else it can be anywhere from 6 to 20. Most of the time though, when running with others there are between 6 - 10 dogs. This seems to work and everyone gets to run some of their dogs.

Tonight I ran by myself and only ran four dogs. On top of that, three of them have run together a lot this winter. Chip, Butcher, and Dennis have only had a handful of days off since Thanksgiving, 70 days ago. It was no surprise that this pack made it easy for all of them. The dogs knew each other and quickly settled into a smooth, driving pack.

Obviously, tonight less dogs equaled good running. This brings to light the big question, should I run less dogs all the time? Running four dogs max all the time would make it easier. It would make it easier to handle the pack. It would make it easier for the dogs to run. It would make it easier for the dogs to learn to depend on each other.

What about the excitement? There is absolutely no doubt that 6 or 7 dogs pounding up and down hills, all over a clearcut is way more exciting than just 4 dogs that know each other. So what's a guy to do? This guy is going for the excitement of a big pounding pack making rabbits run for their life. Why run four when you can run five, or six, or seven . . .

Tonight I ran Dennis, Chip, Butcher, and Cole. It was a beautiful winter night with a temperature of 25°. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Video from February 2015

It warmed up a little, the snow melted off and the dogs were slamming. Scenting conditions were good and the dogs were a little rough, but full of desire. This is just a little bit of a lot of action over two days.

Dogs in the video were Butcher, Chip, Dennis, Gypsy, Tony, and Village Girl. David and Cole were in the first clip.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

When to Shock

Chip and Butcher Coming Through on the Rabbit
"Should I shock them?" I wondered. Cole opened way down over the hill in the clearcut. In a little bit, David barked a couple of times.  They weren't really running, just hacking around slowly moving along. I kept wondering, "what the heck are they doing?" Chip and Butcher were on the other side of the ridge hunting so the two young dogs were all alone.

Cole would run a piece and then David would run a bit. None of it sounded too good. I pulled out my controls. My thumb was getting the itch to give them a little reminder of what not to do. Then a conversation I had with Ray Smalley recently came to mind.

I was talking about the difficulty training a young male like Dennis. He has a lot of ability to do the tough work, especially considering he is less than two years old. Ray has a young male out of his Field Champion Rockstar Ricky and Chris Hopkin's Molly female that gives him the same challenge. When an above average young dog is growing into a good dog (especially one that has the potential to be THE DOG of your kennel) some times you have to give them a little more rope room. 

Anyone who has ever trained beagles has been faced with the question of shock or not many times. Raising and training pups forces us to make this decision over and over. Even older dogs, if not shocked when they need it can turn to crap. So much of the quality of a kennel is based on this one factor which comes up over and over every time we run.

I hate barking dogs and I had heard just about enough. As I was walking up the road thinking about all of this, I heard Chip bark a few times. Then Butcher chimed in with his growly chop. The next thing I knew, the dogs were running right up the hill towards me. They crossed the road right on some fresh tracks in the snow and hammered down the other side. For today, I got lucky and made the right decision. Tomorrow, who knows?

I ran Chip, Butcher, Cole, and David. Later the Old Man showed up with Village Girl, Tony, and Gypsy. It was 19° when I started but warmed up to 31 by the time I quit five hours later.