The Chief and the Marathoner
By Bruce Rood
Most people that know me understand I have hidden a passion for introducing the youth to the adventures of the great outdoors. Every year it seems I’ve gotten many chance to take a friend and his son, daughter or grandchild hunting. This year has been especially enjoyable hunting with my own twelve year old son, Luke. We have spent many days in the field and he was introduced to some new things including duck hunting and coon hunting for the first time. In the coming days we even have plans to attempt to call in a coyote or fox. He has even got to learn some basic trapping techniques. This year has been very special to me and I hope to him as well.
I also got to spend some time with a local hero of mine in the field chasing some rabbits. He is someone I consider a legend in his own right. I’ve been in law enforcement now for over twenty years. I’ve had a very rewarding and enjoyable career. I never wanted to owe anyone a favor for helping me out in my career. I wanted to earn everything I got and I did, except for this man. He is a man who took a chance on a poor kid with no political pull and gave him a job on the department. Chief Charles (Charlie) Hackett did not owe me anything and all he ever asked of me was to do my best.
Chief Hackett was a pioneer in local law enforcement and prior to being the chief served as the assistant chief to Chief Lynn Rudolph. Those two men completely changed the way we as a department conducted business. They are true leaders of men and would lead from the front line with you. He was instrumental in creating community based efforts that are used across the country today. Over the years, I got the chance to rabbit hunt with Charlie and his pack of beagles. Sadly, over time his pack began to dwindle with age until they were all gone. This year I got the chance to return the favor and supply the hounds and we’ve had a few enjoyable hunts. So far all of the hunts have taken place at one of his favorite places that he and another colleague from work have hunted for years. It’s a place called “Holly’s Thicket”.
The first trip into the thicket this year I brought along my son Luke along with a good friend and his son, Jack. Charlie brought his “adopted” grandson Levi. Levi is the son of a friend of Charlie’s and he treats him as his own. We jumped one right out of the gate and within seconds Charlie had two in the bag. He may be a little older now but his aim has not changed. The next one we jumped the dogs ran for well over an hour before it finally holed up. We saw this rabbit on several occasions and it was very large for an eastern cottontail. It sure could run. We ended the day with Levi and Jack bagging their first ever rabbits and had some great dog work. A total of six rabbits were taken in all but I remember that look on Charlie’s face after the big rabbit finally hit the hole. “I sure enjoyed listening to that run” he said with a big grin.
A few weeks later I got the invite to return to Holly’s Thicket with another colleague from work. Guy Trobaugh, and his two boys along with my son. Larry joined us along with David Foster. As soon as we stepped into the thicket the hounds were off again. Again, it was a bigger than normal rabbit and man did it run. I wondered the entire time if this could be the same one I ran a few days earlier with Charlie. We had six hounds down that day and they never let up. They circled that 20 acre thicket several times and even went way off to the adjoining pasture ground almost out of hearing range. He was shot at a few times but always seemed to outsmart us. Finally after almost two and a half hours later he hit a hole. It was the same hole as the previous one I ran with Charlie a few days earlier. The hounds were smoked. That rabbit ran so well and hard we decided to give him a name, the Marathoner. He had all the tools of a marathoner with a lot of stamina to handle the pressure of six hounds non-stop for that long. The only thing he was missing was a bib number and a pair of Saucony tennis shoes.
For the remainder of this article, be sure to check out page 16 of our March issue.