March Sneak Peek

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.

Judges for SPO National 2016


Wayne Thompson (UBGF)
Jeff Sherman (NEGF)

Billy Foster (DSGF)
Tim Kasmarzik (UBGF)
Joe Hodges (DSGF)
Mike Johnson (PBGF)
. . .
Mike Wright (UBGF)
Gary Blevins (DSGF)
The Field Staff of the American Kennel Club has selected the above Judges to Judge the AKC-SPO Championship April 15th &16th 2016 @ Morgen Town KY.

December Sneak Peek

Annie Lost

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!

November Sneak Peek

Observations From A Rabbit Hunter

By Gary Blevins

When I started running dogs back in 1988, the beagling world was at a crossroads. The Hounds and Hunting magazine I received was 99% brace dogs and there were a couple of pages in the back for gundogs. I was born into a family that hunted deer, quail, coons, squirrels, etc. So, the first beagle I got was gun hunted and that is what I assumed the dogs were meant to be. My mentor, Arlon Culpepper, taught me the ins and outs of what made a good rabbit dog. He told me stories about how the brace beagles had become too slow to hunt and the damage that field trialing had done to the beagle as a hunting hound. My goal was to build a pack of gun dogs that would hunt, circle the rabbit time after time, and do it in a timely manner. Mr. Arlon had told me that if he was going to Michigan, he wanted to get there as fast as possible without being in danger.
My dad and I mostly hunted cut-over pines. It was tough hunting with plenty of briars and cover. If we were to get a shot at a rabbit, it would have to be circled more than once and sometimes multiple times. With years and years of having this ingrained into me, I knew what it took to have a rabbit dog and what qualities they should possess. Those qualities are still necessary today. Those are, first, the desire to hunt for the rabbit. Then, it takes the ability to circle the rabbit continuously in a timely manner. At the other end of the spectrum are negative faults. They are tendencies that will cause the loss of the rabbit. Faults that were, and are, at the top of the list for me are: babbling, quitting and not hunting. Notice that I never mentioned style. I have stood on countless rabbit stands in the freezing cold waiting on the rabbit to come back and style never played into it. I am not going to say that style is not important, because it is. I am saying it is not the most important.

For the remainder of this article, check out page 14 of our November issue!