West Virginia WILD – Stories by WVDNR Director Frank Jezioro.
January – The Month for “The Dogs”
Saturday finally arrived. The day promised to be about perfect for the little hounds. Sunshine, spotty snow to see tracks, and damp ground to provide good scenting conditions for the beagles to run the rabbits. The two little hounds were eager to go and dancing around in their boxes. Soon we had a few shells stuffed in our vests and the dogs were let out and started around the hill. We were hunting grown up pasture land in Gilmer County.
The land had long ago been abandoned as far as its use for grazing cattle. The pasture land was basically being taken over by briers, multiflora rose bushes and little islands of brush. We could see the marks on the small saplings where rabbits had chewed when the snow was too deep for them to reach the grass. We were walking along on ancient cattle trails, now being used by deer, while the dogs were busily investigating every nook and cranny, every old log and every thick patch of grass.
All of a sudden the dog opened with a series of short chops and bawls and even a squeal or two as the excitement of running right into a rabbit struck its nose. We saw the rabbit squirt out of the cover and dash across the open ground, headed for the next hollow with the dogs in hot pursuit. We then separated about 50-60 yards and took up a position where we had some visibility of the hillside. Rick was up the hill and I was lower where I could see the edge of the hollow where the dogs disappeared. We could hear them as their voices came from deeper in the hollow. Now it sounded like they were heading up the other side of the hollow.
The next time we heard them it was obvious they were coming back in our direction.
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