Photo: Can you spot the rabbit? By the way, this is a very slightly traveled road – only 1 car in 3 hours (2 guys in a nice Corvette). I still try to be on the road when they cross, however.
Note the rabbit’s tail is down, indicating he is not alarmed and has not seen me.
In England, huntsman prized hounds known as “no change” hounds, meaning they stick with their hunted hare no matter what. This allowed the pack to account for (kill) their hare instead of switching constantly onto fresh hares. Packs were known for how many “brace” (two) of hares they killed in a season. Keep in mind these were the large, stout European Hares who could put up quite a run, maybe a couple of hours, even with the beagles running full speed most of the time.
This morning’s hunt reminded me why I so seldom have long runs on the same rabbit. Mine are not “no change” hounds! They will run any rabbit they find, and with a good population of rabbits this year, my hounds are getting in a lot of running, but also a lot of switching! I just go with the flow….
Here’s an example, with some photos. I was walking the hounds down a country road near here. There was cover near the road, and hounds kept running out baby rabbits and I would nudge them off, until finally they broke out with a crash of music indicating they had started an adult. They left the roadside and went down into the edge of a pine plantation, ran a ways, then I saw the rabbit cross the road and run up into a scrub hillside. Hounds came up right behind, and after a short check in the road, old Brawler found the line up the hill. Hounds went screaming straight up, then eventually swung to the left into a mature forest. After a big loop way back in there, they started back toward me.
I saw grass moving in the ditch next to the road and realized the rabbit was nearby, so I took three photos of it as it came out and went along the road.
Hounds soon came out on the line. I took them down to where the rabbit had turned off, but they had trouble picking it up. After a couple of mintues, Birdbaby gave a scream in the pines, and then Champ and others opened up closer to me. They packed together and started driving, going clear through the pines to a stream. I could hear the hounds splashing through the water before they crossed and started up through the woods on the other side. Hounds swung to my right, so I followed along the road as they drove along the wooded hillside. The symphony was terrific. I could hear every hound shouting threats at Molly Cottontail. Now keep in mind, I was hunting in remote country, so there was no distant road noise, no house dogs in earshot, or anything except the usual sounds of nature and those of 16 hard running hounds, that you could probably have heard for miles around. Eventually they broke out of the big woods into a more brushy area near the road.
I saw the rabbit cross the road again way up ahead of the hounds. He was really moving this time, so no photos!