HOW I BECAME A BEAGLER
(From January 1916)
Not many years ago I kept a pack of foxhounds with which I hunted successfully the coyote or prairie wolf. I used to read sportsman’s journals that would sometimes have a small department devoted to hunting with hounds, but not near as much as I thought they should have, as I happen to take notice that a large percent of the advertisements were of hounds. I was impressed with the unfairness of the thing and wished that somebody would start a journal giving more space to hounds. Not long after this I noticed an ad in a journal of a magazine devoted entirely to hounds. I subscribed for the paper and enjoyed it and my hounds immensely.
This paper soon started a beagle department, but as I thought I had outgrown the toy age I was not interested in beagles- didn’t like to hunt rabbits anyhow and was much disgusted if my wolf dogs should chance to run a rabbit. However, after reading everything else in the paper I would glance at the beagle department and suffered myself to read part of it. I did not get seriously interested though in the beagles, when I could take a man’s size hound and go after coyotes. But the time came when it was not suitable for me to hunt wolves and I sold but kept taking the papers, as well as keeping the back numbers. I missed but my hounds, but kept taking the papers as well as keeping the back numbers. I missed my hounds very much but knew only too well that I could not enjoy them where it was not favorable for me to hunt and keep them right.
I had kept the best hounds I could get and had taken good care of them and hunted them where game plenty and conditions very favorable. But I moved my abode many hundred and the summer of 1910 found me entirely houndless. I tried fishing with father, a sport enioyed very much as a small boy, but that did not near fill the void. My father in look ing over some of my papers, noticed the beagle dope and made the remark that he believed one could have good sport with beagles. I fairly jumped at his suggestion. I dug up the back numbers of my papers and read the beagle dope this time, not merely to while away the time but to see what was in it. I was surprised at the interest and pleasure some of the fellows seemed to have in beagling. Of course I didn’t expect any little rabbit dog would be the object of my admiration and affections such as I had lavished on those noble brave wolf hounds. But I made up my mind to get some beagles just the same, if father might get any pleasure from them. Father had been a lover of the chase as well as an enthusiastic bird hunter, but was now too old to indulge in anything very strenuous. The beagles would be the thing for him and I would take pleasure from that. I at once started writing in answer to ads. I soon decided on a pair owned by a member of a well known beagle club. In a short time I got a phone call from the express office that a pair of hound pups had arrived for me. I told them where to deliver them but was not much enthused as I had been previously upon the arrival of fox hounds. Not enthused “until I opened the crate.” Talk about playing a glad game–their faces looked like Christmas morning multiplied by ten. I was half converted and didn’t know it before they were out of their crate. If J. Fuller Gloom had been in my place he would have had to change his name on the spot.
I took them for a chase that evening. Thev showed such keen interest and delight in chasing rabbits that the feeling became contagious and I caught the feeling. I had not before imagined what difference the dog behind the rabbit could make with a rabbit chase with beagles or with big dogs might be imagined if one could just think of the difference in the pleasure of a Christmas tree with merrv children or a bunch of big men in their place.
The beagle is as necessary to the pleasure of a rabbit chase as the children are to the Christmas tree.
After I got my first beagles I read the beagle department of my paper first. Not long ago I was thinking that we should have a paper devoted entirely to beagles. As if in answer to my wish a sample copy of The American Beagle Exchange came in my mail and I am now writing my first contribution, but hope it may not be my last one for I believe in beagles and beagling.
I keep a pack on my farm where they have free access to the woods. We have plenty of rabbits and no closed season. I have many good races and if this misses the waste basket I expect to come again with some of my races and to tell of the pleasure, economy and convenience of keeping and hunting the grand little hound.
Long live the beagle and our paper.
- S. Ferrell