A marvelous holiday break hunting with a young beagle

1 3 Steffe Hunting

About a year and half back, I wrote about a close hunting companion who had a wonderful little female beagle, one that circled rabbits with ease and provided excellent opportunity for those who hunted with the dog to bag fleeing bunnies.

Unfortunately, part of that blog was related to the little dog’s end of life.

At this moment, that same hunting companion has a new beagle he purchased as a puppy a few months after the death of Molly. Her name is Katie, and she’s a cute little marvel of full-time youthful energy, with a unique early-life eagerness when afield.

At seven months of age, the first rabbit was harvested on one of her early trailing treks during late December of 2020. And she is now well on her way to becoming a fabulous “bunny chaser.”

So, the Sunday after this past Christmas, Katie, two hunting companions and I met up with a nephew of one of companions at his camp in the wilds of northcentral Pennsylvania for a couple days of rabbit hunting.

Monday morning greeted us with heavy falling snow. Luckily, it had ended by the time we walked into the first muddle of cover, leaving a perfect 2 inches of fresh, white moisture covering the ground.

Soon after we entered the thicket, a rabbit was pushed from cover, but chose to run into a spot of deep seclusion, leaving no hope for a chase. But within a couple of minutes another rabbit was moved from hiding, and luckily with this one, the chase was on.

Through dark gray skies and occasional flakes of snow, the little dogs loud bark — more like a strong and quick paced cry —moved through surrounding brush and overhanging pine limbs. The scene was close to perfection, at least to the minds of anyone who has hunted rabbits in fresh snow.

The chase moved along in a rough circle. It wasn’t exceptionally lengthy, and certainly not slow, as this female beagle is fast when trailing hot scent. But it did take a few minutes. Eventually, the chase ended where it began, with the crack of the young nephew’s shotgun.

Hunting at a leisurely pace, we covered lots of ground through mid-morning into the late afternoon  Eight rabbits were either flushed by a hunter, or started by the dog coming across fresh scent. We harvested three total. The fact that we didn’t harvest more was the fault of the hunters, not the disappointed little beagle. She was simply superb with her trailing.

Tuesday brought six more rabbits up and chased, with two more in the bag. Once again, the dog performed in a manner that showed she will be an amazing trailing hound as her life progresses. She will provide excellent chances for the hunters who will accompany her.

In my youth, the week between Christmas and New Year’s was always about an extra week of rabbit hunting with the family beagle. A couple of days with Katie took me back to those most marvelous times.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Pennsylvania – Ron Steffe

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