May Sneak Peek

Benfits of a Running Pen

By Stephen Wiggins

Longtime beagler Dean Biscamp says, “There is one thing better than owning a running pen—and that is, to have a friend who owns one. That way you can run your dogs anytime you want while your buddy does all the work keeping it up!” He told me that one time, with tongue-in-cheek, since I often run my dogs in his pens. His statement reminds me of another fellow who said, “I would rather have friends than money, if my friends have money!” Anyhow, recently I was fortunate enough to construct my own enclosure for the benefit of running my hounds. It caused me to reflect on some advantages of having access to such a set up. Following is a list of some of those advantages.

1. No Lost Dogs. Believe it or not, there are exceptions to this. I have heard more than one story from beaglers of how a hound went missing when running in an enclosure. Dogs are adept at going under and over fences. Or, left unattended a dog can be stolen. But, generally speaking, the idea of losing a hound is greatly diminished when running in a secure pen. At least it is not like running on the outside of an enclosure when your dogs go out of hearing and then loses the rabbit. Most everyone who has run dogs on the outside has spent a fair amount of time looking for lost hounds. Electronic collars have served to eliminate a lot of this frustration. But one’s mind is more at ease when running in a pen since your dogs are not as likely to become lost.

2. Provides Safe Running Environment. It is impossible to eliminate all the dangers a dog may encounter when running game, even in an enclosure. Hounds can still get snake bit or attacked by a rabid varmint. They can still end up with injuries from cuts or become choked from a twisted collar hung up on underbrush. Another hazard that comes with running on the outside is automobile traffic. Anyone who has run dogs on the outside has had to catch dogs before they made it into the danger zone of a highway. I recently lost a promising pup when it was hit by a truck. But even in a pen this can happen. I recently heard of one beagler who had a dog run over with a buggy inside his pen. It is still true, however, that at least most dangers are diminished when running in an enclosure.

Don’t miss the remainder of this article starting on page 22 of our May issue!

April Sneak Peek

New to Beagles: An Article About Kennel Design

By Clark Hammaker

This article is intended to assist a novice dog owner on kennel designs and is a source for materials. I am not associated with any of the suppliers I mention in the article. I include the prices I paid at the writing of this article. You will need to verify pricing and availability.

My father had beagles until my brothers and I left home. He no longer had anyone to hunt with so he sold them and quit rabbit hunting. We continued to hunt turkey and deer, as a family, but slowly drifted apart due to family responsibilities.

I tried to get my son and daughter interested in hunting but the slow nature of deer and turkey hunting did not appeal to their generations’ need for immediate results. At 53, I found myself hunting alone and losing interest in hunting and finally understood why my father sold his dogs.
One day while I was searching a local Internet site I came across a four year old female tricolor beagle for sale. My father was in town so we went and watched her run. She ran a rabbit two full circles before we called her off the rabbit, this dog handled like a dream. I dug the money out of my wallet and loaded her into the car.

So here I was, on my way home with my first beagle wondering what my wife will think and without a kennel. My father offered his wisdom, “You have a degree in Engineering from Penn State so building a kennel is a piece of cake, right? With respect to your wife, you are on your own!” Thanks dad.

I wanted an elevated kennel attached to my garage with the box and an area to feed her in the garage. To elevate the kennel I would need some type of flooring. But what flooring and where to buy it? I would also need a box but what is the best design? How big should it be for a beagle? How big is the opening? Searching the Internet did not produce any designs. There were several designs for sale but nothing seemed tailored to beagles.

I had to build something for my new dog so off to the local home improvement store for supplies. Some pressure treated lumber, plywood, wire and four hours later I had a kennel. It was elevated and had a box inside my garage. I could feed my dog without being in the weather. My father was not impressed.

Six months later I had the opportunity to buy a puppy. I knew if I could get the puppy home my wife would not argue. Well this little female turned out to be an escape artist. Two weeks later, my puppy was running around my garage and my wife reminded me that I have an engineering degree.

I made it through the first year and after joining a local beagle club, I had the itch for another dog. My kennel could not hold three dogs therefore I was back at the design stage.

You can view the remainder of this article along with some pictures on page 26 of our April issue.

Southeastern Indiana Cancelation

Because of the weather, Southeastern Indiana is canceling their MAB trial that was scheduled for Feb 28th. Please pass the message on to anyone you know who may have been planning to attend.. They still have 4-6” of snow on the ground, and it is going to be at 1° both Thursday and Friday night. Sorry for canceling but it would be very hard on all, dogs, judges, handlers.

March Sneak Peek

Boondoggle or Bona Fide? A Question on the Appalachian Cottontail

By John Gibble

Those of us born in the 1960s and 70s were the children that were going to save the planet. In school, we were versed in conservation of resources, promoting clean water, preserving forests, and reducing air pollution. We remember the pesticide, DDT and the effects it had on eagles and ospreys. Forty years later we are now celebrating the de-listing of the bald eagle from the Endangered Species list. We have a Clean Water Act, a Clean Air Act, recycling, and numerous environmental programs that promote conservation of the land, water, and air. Some of these programs have been unqualified successes; other programs might cause a thinking person some questions.

The Endangered Species Act is one of those programs that is often questioned, as well as state programs that mirror the Act on a smaller scale. Here in the eastern U.S., from New York’s Hudson Valley, south through the Appalachians into Alabama, state wildlife agencies, prompted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and several international watch groups are asking questions and making assumptions about the range and abundance of the Appalachian cottontail, Sylvilagus obscurus. Unlike the plentiful Eastern cottontail, Sylvilagus floridanus, the Appalachian cottontail is limited to high elevations with coniferous and heath (laurel, rhododendron, blueberry) habitats. It is found in forest openings and clear-cuts and old growth forest with sufficient ground cover.

Pennsylvania’s State Wildlife Action Plan assigns the Appalachian cottontail a priority status, “high level of concern”. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources lists it as “near threatened”. Most states within the range of the Appalachian cottontail are now investigating the populations and requirements for the species within their boundaries and developing action plans to save the species. Major threats to the Appalachian cottontail are reported to be habitat fragmentation and maturation of forests, proliferation of invasive plant species, and encroachment by the larger Eastern cottontail. A Species Survival Commission stated one threat could be indiscriminate hunting resulting from lack of knowledge by sportsmen. The South Carolina Wildlife Conservation Service suggested that “Hunting is not known to adversely affect the species in South Carolina; however pregnant and lactating rabbits have been captured in February before the end of hunting season.” Several sources added that the release of Eastern cottontails into the habitat of Appalachian cottontails remains a threat of undetermined proportion. It is likely in coming years we will see states list the Appalachian cottontail as threatened or endangered. Depending on the results of current population surveys, we may even see the species listed as threatened or endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The remainder of this article can be read starting on page 24 of our March issue.