A Story from the Past: Madcap's Rabbit
Here's an old Blog post in case anyone reading might like a little hunting story to get us through summertime!
Madcap's Rabbit (1-23-10)
Woodpont Hounds had several nice runs on January 23, 2010. One chase in particular stood out. The rabbit was started by Brawler, who found it under a small pile of brush near the edge of a field where pine trees had been cut last summer. I was working the hounds down a small hollow where a tiny stream had cut a deep ditch through the woods. I had crossed the ditch into the woods, and the hounds were working around me on each side of the stream. Brawler stuck his head into the brush pile and the rabbit shot out behind me. I heard Cheerful scream when she saw the rabbit shoot out and I turned just in time to see it streaking away up the wooded hollow with all 16 hounds on its tail.
Hounds ran way upstream to the top of the hollow where the wooded hills are very steep, and then started swinging around to my left toward a ridgeline that ran parallel to the stream. I heard Tapster giving tongue off by himself, but a slight touch of the button made his neck tingle enough that he quickly went back to running with the others. In this big country, with so many hounds out and so much of that tempting deer smell everywhere, I don’t take any chances with young hounds who haven’t figured everything out yet.
The ridgeline where they were running drops down steadily to a point where the hollow intersects with a larger valley. At the point of intersection, someone had built a deer hunting cabin, and there was an ATV trail going to the cabin and then on up the valley. Hounds were running hard down toward the trail, so I moved along it watching for the rabbit. As they grew closer, I saw the rabbit come down past the cabin and continue downstream into the big valley.
Madcap somehow was well ahead of the others when they approached the cabin. She was pounding along, giving her tremendous big chop voice at every breath. “Come on boys, I’ve got it” was what she was saying as she went by me. I yelled to the others to get their heads up and harked them on to Madcap, who was heading down valley by now and out of my sight through the trees. The other hounds listened for a second and then charged off to join her.
Photo: Madcap driving on
As the hounds got back together, a short check occurred, but it wasn’t long before Brawler and Charmer started up again, coming back up the valley toward me, but on the opposite side. Suddenly, the pack turned left-handed away from me and went up a steep hillside through the woods and all the way to the top of the hill and OVER the top! I listened from the ATV trail as the hounds went out of hearing over the top. Now, imagine being out alone in a remote country with 16 of your hounds and hearing them all go out of hearing. It can make you a little uneasy...
After a couple of minutes, I started across the valley and up the steep hillside to see where they had gone. As I huffed and puffed up the hill, I faintly could hear them running in some pines I could see at the top of the hill. I mostly was hearing my heart pounding in my ears, but the hounds were coming back toward me, and eventually they broke over the hilltop out of the pines and back into the hardwoods. I watched them come down the hillside just across a little ravine from me. I must have passed the rabbit going down as I was going up.
As the black and tan wave swung down into the valley, I was looking hard for Gloria, just to be 100 percent sure they were on rabbit and had not switched to fox or something else, since rabbits don’t normally take the hounds out of hearing range. I spotted the 10 year old little lady near the rear of the pack and giving tongue with the others, so I was certain of what they were running. I scrambled down to the valley, hit the ATV trail, and followed them as they ROARED along. Hound music filled the valley, bouncing off the hills and trees, as the pack drove in a bunch to where the cabin was located. Here they abruptly turned left back up the smaller hollow and on up past where the rabbit had been jumped.
A check occurred midway up the hollow, but soon I heard Smoke open up as if he had seen the rabbit. I scrambled up onto the low ridge above the cabin where I could watch the hollow and eventually saw Mr. Rabbit sneaking along toward me through the briars and trees. The hounds were a little scattered, but as they came closer, they started to bunch up and drive again.
The music stopped when they reached the cabin. I made my way down the little ridge to the cabin where I found hounds digging under one corner of the foundation. That is where we left a nice rabbit who certainly knew a large territory and showed us most of it that day. The run lasted about 40 minutes altogether. Madcap was slow to leave the hole, but eventually she came on. We had several other good runs after that, including one of over an hour.
Photo: Madcap digging at hole under cabin foundation.
Hounds out were: Manager, Brawler, Smoke, Tackler, Proctor, Tapster, Clever, Birthday, Charmer, Madcap, Cheerful, Gloria, Mascot, Covergirl, Tardy, Tally.