Welcome

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, 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

Paradise

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.