I have no doubt told the story of my experience with Beagle hounds to enough folks that they are tired of it an have encouraged me to post a synopsis of it to get it out of my system. Smart folks.
O'boy, a Beagle thread. When I was 12 in 1960 my hunting Grandfather gave me a pair of 15" field trial beagles, Deacon's Dynamite and Upson Sport. He also gave me a Marlin lever action .410 shotgun he'd had since the great depression when he got it as a bonus for buying four shares of Marlin stock. The dogs are long gone but I still have the Marlin.
The dogs were my entre' to hunting with an older crowd of young Air Force enlisted men from our local AFB one of whom rented a garage apartment we had. They had transportation and I had dogs.
Our favorite hunting venue was the track of the Southern Railway system. In the '60s our area was still largely agricultural and those tracks ran through corn, soybean and other crop fields and Pecan orchards. The right of way provided the only cover and the rabbits and Bobwhite Quail loved the habitat. I can still see some of the chases we had where the cottontail or swamp rabbit (canecutter) broke cover and circled out through those fields in plain sight with the beagles in hot pursuit and full bay.
We'd park and hunt one side of the right of way up and the other side back down to the car. As we'd shoot something, we'd field dress it and hang it in a tree on the other side. Then hunting back down we'd pick up the rabbits. I remember arriving at the car sometimes with so many rabbits in my game vest it was full and I had to hand carry some of them.
We'd keep as many rabbits as we needed to eat and then give the rest to local po'folks who accepted them graciously and with genuine appreciation. One thing I learned about business then was never to try to sell or even give a skinned rabbit away. The concern was that we might slip in a housecat or something along with the rabbits.
One of my dogs, Sport would point a bird by stopping and wagging his tail. I shot many a covey rise over that little dog's points.
The dogs were grown and trained when I got them and I hunted them every weekend through high school and less so when home from college. Both died before I graduated law school and got back from the army.
I became enthralled with pointer birds dogs then and even when the quail population crashed in the '80s, never got back to my youthful love of the beagle and rabbit chasing. I always figured I would one day get some more beagles but remembering the rough walking required to jump the rabbit I just don't think I could do it anymore. One thing this subject has brought to mind though is I know a guy in town who has a Beagle pack. I need to make it a point to wangle a rabbit hunting invitation from him next season. Who knows what could result.
But that was my first love in the upland world and I'll never forget the experience...Geo