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 . . .

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

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