Saturday, February 16, 2013

Beagle Music

Last Saturday, I once again had the opportunity to go rabbit hunting with some good friends and good beagles. We started our day hunting a cut over that was a few years old, and was thick with head high briars and small trees. It was excellent rabbit habitat, and the beagles jumped several rabbits, but it presented a challenge to us hunters, both in visibility and mobility. I did see a woodcock flush out of a swampy little creek, and one of the hunters did manage a rabbit, but overall it was difficult to see any of the rabbits the dogs were running.
The cut over where we started
After spending an hour or two hunting this thicket, we moved to another spot across the road that was a little less thick and we were able to have a successful day hunting. This area was more open woods with a couple fields that were full of broom sage, but not the head high briars that we had encountered earlier. There were several smaller thickets in these fields, and it just had the look of good rabbit habitat. In the distance, there was snow on the Blue Ridge mountains, and it made a scenic backdrop for the day's hunt.

Snow on the Blue Ridge (background) with the South Mountains in the foreground
 The dogs jumped several rabbits, and to my surprise, about half of the rabbits we jumped were hiding in the high broom sage in the fields, rather than in the briar thickets that were scattered throughout the field. We did jump several rabbits in the thickets, but I had never seen so many rabbits hiding in the middle of fields. I guess the broom sage was high and thick enough to provide them with adequate cover.
Some of the hunting party in the woods
All in all, it was a great day to be outdoors, and I never get tired of seeing and hearing the beagles make their own special music as they trail a rabbit. I've often thought that there's a lesson to be learned from these wonderful little dogs. They approach their "job" with an excitement and enthusiasm that is hard to match anywhere else. 
Beagles working out a track
Rabbit season is quickly coming to a close here in North Carolina, with February 28 marking the last day of most of our small game seasons, including rabbit, squirrel, and quail. I'm going to miss the Saturday morning fellowship and the walks following the dogs, but I know that it won't be too long until it will be time for us to get together to hear that wonderful beagle music once again. 

Thanks for stopping by!

- Joseph


  1. I've always liked beagles even though I've never owned one. I too like to hear their music ranging over the fields even though I no longer hunt. Interesting to hear about the woodcock there. I await their return every March 1st or so. For me it marks the start of "spring."

    1. I forgot to mention when I was writing this post we actually flushed two woodcock, and also saw several deer. That's what I get for waiting a week to write about it! I've seen a few woodcock over the years in winter, but I imagine they will soon be headed back your way.

  2. Rabbit habitat- how about "Rabbitat"?
    It is something special to hunt over beagles- I agree, I think we have a lot to learn from our best friend the dog.

    1. Rabbitat.... I like that description! I'm very fortunate to be able to have friends that don't mind me tagging along with them and their beagles.


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