By Sharon Jean Cale
The full moon of April and the winds of spring brought us to camp. With ice breaking free from the fresh water lake shore the two beagles wagged their tails at the chance of a “run.” A day trip had been planned so with mixed feelings I let the mother and daughter beagles out the door. It is always a gamble letting your dogs run free especially in wilderness areas, but they had been off their runs before always finding their way back. I kept up with them over the beach and through some trails, but soon they outdistanced me, and besides, I had camp chores to do. I heard them baying and yipping as they explored their special haunts.
It was a moist afternoon, full of scents and wind. Rosie, the mother, had a real nose. She was three and was part of a pack even in her youngest days. Her first and only batch of beagle pups netted 4 puppies. Annie, her daughter, was number 3 and dark faced. I was the only one around when she was being born, in a ball, with one eye stretched wide open as if looking at me. I think she picked me in that moment.
After an hour had passed with the sun low in the sky, I took the leashes to find what I was then calling my “devil dogs.” Walking the dirt roads I heard no sign of them. I was confident that I would find them, but the wind took my calls and whistles away.
My friend Frank (a beagle man himself) had called neighbors asking if they’d call if they caught sight of the rascals, and many calls came in with sightings from 2-4 miles away. We did follow-up by taking road trips to boat landings, a boy’s and girl’s camp, the warden’s house, and many other non-descript barren roads, all with no luck.
My irritation gave way to worry. People who had called had tried to lure them into reach by tempting them with hotdogs. No way could people get near them. The beagles would not touch this bait, and we are told that they would always run away. It amazed me to think that people were out in the night looking for them. Calls way into the night were not uncommon or early in the morning. In this wilderness area perhaps six families lived full time, and now we had met them all.
Be sure to check out page 56 of our December issue to view the remainder of this article!