FOX HOUND VERSUS BEAGLES
(From January 1916)
Last fall my brother came over and asked me to go with him on a hunting trip to Clearfield County, so the next morning I took my gun and left on the six o’clock train and went about 16 miles to a place called Bellwood. There I changed cars and my brother and two of his friends got on. They each had a dog and a gun. My brother had a young beagle, one of the other fellows had a foxhound and the other had a little bitch which he said was a beagle. He called her Nellie. She was ten inches high and three times as long and I judge from her conformation she was part dachshund, and right here I want to say that the beagle has to carry the blame for all the faults and failings of every nondescript little hound of whatever breeding.
We got off at a water plug about miles up branch railroad and engaged boarding at a farm house and started in to hunt rabbits about nine o’clock and as soon as the lead was off of Nellie she began to tongue on old tracks and she would puddle around on an old track all day and never jump a rabbit.
The foxhound proved to be a thoroughly broken rabbit hound and the young beagle stayed right with him. We got seven rabbits that day. The foxhound seemed to be too fast for about half the rabbits would not circle but would duck into a ground-hog hole. All the dogs would hark in but were easy to call off.
The second day we were out at daylight and at nine o’clock the foxhound started a rabbit and ran it down into a hollow and suddenly quit barking. His owners called and whistled for him but he did not come, so we all went down to hunt for him. After hunting for some time we found him curled up beside a stump, his owner gave him a kick and when he got up he was so stiff he could not run so we paid a boy to take him back to the pumping station and tie him in a warm place, and we went on hunting with the two small dogs and got a fine bunch of rabbits including one white hare. The third day we took all the dogs along and at 2 p.m. the old foxhound was all in and had to be led to keep him from curling up in the leaves and as the last train left at 4 o’clock, we started for home with 36 cottontails, one white hare and three pheasants.
Now don’t some one holler game hog because we were still under the limit and didn’t violate the law at that.
Before this trip I always favored large dogs for rabbits but was converted to the beagle faith on this trip. I saw one chase in which the fox hound was leading, driving a rabbit straight towards me and when it came in reach I shot and wounded the rabbit which turned off of the course and ran a couple of rods and lay still. The fox hound was coming on the trail with his head high and I wondered how he could follow the trail with his nose a foot off of the ground, but when he came to where the rabbit turned off he ran past it and ran on for a hundred yards before he seemed to know he was off the trail. The beagle was close behind him and as soon as he came to where the rabbit was shot he turned off and followed and found it, which showed that he was tracking the rabbit and not following the trail of the other dog.
This young beagle was out all three days and while he was scratched and bleeding from the briers he was game. This was his first season of hunting and all three dogs showed good trailing, only ran one rabbit which was not accounted for and would likely have found that one if we had not hurried them along.
Now while I don’t think a conclusion should be drawn from a single experiment, I had a chance to see in these three days hunting that the beagle was far superior for rabbit hunting to the foxhound and both were good representatives of the breed.
A beagle will live on one-third the feed it takes for a large hound and looks better at that and they are a more companionable dog too.