WATCHER CALL’EM SAYS
(From January 1916) By D. E. B. O’Nair
That the Louisville, KY, Bench Show held in connection with the poultry show of The Ohio Falls Fanciers’ Association, and The Louisville Pigeon Club, was quite some dog show. According to their catalogue there was 217 dogs entered. There was no fox hounds benched as the fox hound owners were all attending the big fox hunt meet. Not a large entry of beagles; some real good ones shown by Mr. Louis Lee Haggin of Lexington, KY. A recent recruit to the ranks of beagle owners, and one of the right sort. A gentleman who is too wise in the science of live stock breeding to start with any but the very best specimens as a foundation and thus place himself to the front at once instead of trailing the leaders and when in competition to lose by a neck. He has the foundation now in his hands for breeding youngsters as good as any kennel in America and better than nine out of ten of them providing he has the knowledge of judicious mating, as he has some of the best bitches in existence, and, with good dams, that are bred right, type and hunting qualities can easily be controlled. Well bred, typical mothers from hens to horses is the controlling influence, and the correct road to better offspring. Good sires are valuable, more valuable, if from good dams, but good dams that are out of a line of dams that are, or were good, are of double value.
That, for a certainty the beagle is “on the boom,” and many new and substantial men are taking interest in the little hounds, several setter pointer owners are disposing of their bird dogs, except perhaps one or two old favorites, on account of scarcity of birds and the short season, and are investing in from one to a “cry of four” beagles.
That men who have owner, bred, bought or sold well bred and trained Setters or Pointers, are the men who are helping put prices on beagles up where they should be, and should have been long ago, in order to induce good men to start a breeding kennel of beagles and to cause the best men already in the business of breeding beagles to exert themselves to still farther improve the breed.
That the reason we give the men who once were Setter and Pointer men credit for the this, they are and have been accustomed to paying from $100 to $500 for a well bred and well trained Setter and Pointer. They now want a well bred and quite often a thorough hunter in beagles; in other words, one of the best, and they do not “throw a fit” or act paralyzed and tongue-tied when a beagle breeder, with a reputation and “the goods” asks them $100 to $200 for a beagle as accomplished in his line as their $200 Setter was.
That the big storm of early December with its 16 to 30 inches of snow, and a week later a rain storm with weather cold enough to freeze and make a crust as thin and sharp as a pane of glass, has put a stop to hunting Bunny with dogs for some, as the crust will not bear their weight and in breaking through they cut themselves to ribbons. There are a few of are well pleased with these conditions as the rabbits will be left for breeding purposes, and a live rabbit to a man who has beagles to work and train is worth an armful of dead ones.
That about twenty out of twenty five men who profess to be sportsmen are nevertheless pot hunters and in some cases the game hog streak is plainly visible. Just you listen and let the others talk and keep tab. One says “I heard you were up to Lake Ketchem last week, did you have a good time?” “We had nice weather all right, but trailing conditions were bad, lots of game signs, but we only got 22 rabbits in three days.” This man estimates his “good time” by the amount of game he slaughters. Never was a sportsman, and I have of him ever being one—twenty-two rabbits is more than a 500 pound hog would ask for, or want. Another sort is the man who after being out for a day or two and who for any cause whatever shot but four or five rabbits, tells all who asks “How many did you get?” says 18 or 20, as it best pleases him, only so you get the impression he is a great hunter and shot. Sportsman? No; but a liar.
Most beagle breeders, in fact all of those worthy the name, have their matings for at least early spring, all listed and tabulated. They have studied each mating with care. First the individuals, to make sure they are suitable in the different essentials that should produce as good or better type than either sire or dam, and then the pedigrees of each, back the fifth generation or farther has been studied and compared, the individual dogs, many of which are now dead, has been reviewed in memories eyes and when satisfied, the name of the dog to be bred to the different matrons is written down opposite. Matings that are made without taking all these matters into consideration seldom produces offspring that create any particular notice for bench or field prospects. The thoughtful breeders, the students of blood lines, of type, and of dogs that were real hunters, who has had an acquaintance with the owners and the dogs, or their performances, for past 10, 20 or thirty years, can and do combine to a marked degree in one hide, all these desirable traits. There is absolutely no sense in the idea that a beagle to be a hunter must be built on the lines of a terrier or whippet, or that those dogs nearest Standard type or show form cannot hunt or are not possessed with as many brains and as much stamina. The Standard was drawn up and adopted by men who knew how a hunting hound should be made to possess all these desirable traits. It was not made for bench show purposes, on the contrary, it was made to fit dogs best suited to stand, and do the work the breed was intended for, viz: hunting hare and rabbit, on all sorts of ground, and the men who are real judges simply put this type of dogs to the front, at bench shows because they are the best formed and equipped to stand the work the breed is called on to do and this sort can “deliver the goods” afield, where put in hunting condition.
That the proposed Brotherhood of American Sportsmen caused us to think of the unheralded Brotherhood of Beagle Lovers, and as we sat and recalled those we have known in the years that are gone, those we have met and visited with, as well as many we have never met, but who were well known to us through correspondence, we could not refrain from comparing them and their friendship with the general run of those we meet and call friends who are not beagle lovers, or hunters, who love the great out-of- doors and Mother Nature. We are very proud to say of all the beagle men of any importance, in fact all those that were true dog lovers we have met or had dealings with, not to exceed five that showed by acts or words any of the competitive, sordid, jealous selfish spirit one sees in everyday life among the majority of men. The large majority of them from Maine to Texas are generous, willing to help one another in every way possible by giving needed advice, by sharing in any choice blood at a reduced price, by the reduction in fees of their best dogs, and often by donating the service. A sort of brotherhood exists. We have rubbed elbows with millionaires in the show ring, have had them at our table at home, every one of them a gentleman and a brother for they were beagle lovers, the same as we.
We recall a trifling incident, but it showed the spirit of the man in the case. It was at the Orange, N. J. show years ago–120 beagles benched, Charley Hopton, Supt., Dr. E. Lester Jones, judge; 17 dogs in the Open Class over 13 inches–the best known at that time in America; several imported dogs in the ring, and nearly every one a winner at previous shows. All of us on our nerve. After a long time of inspection the judge ordered four dogs on the platform. Three of the dogs belonged to millionaires; one of the four dogs was an imported dog, and while we were posing our dogs and trying not to interfere with one another, in stepping aside, one of the exhibitors (and one of the wealthy ones) chanced to back against me. He released his hold on his dog and quick as a flash raised up and turned to me saying, “Excuse me, sir. Show your dog.” Here is your proof that he was a gentleman–an unselfish, fair minded man, a brother, an advocate of justice and good-fellowship. I have never forgotten this act of courtesy, particularly from one of his rank. Many a millionaire (not a dog lover) would not hesitate to have stepped on my head in any other sort of competition and considered it a joke, but not so the beagle lover.
We have a cozy corner in our heart” for all true lovers of the beagle, and there are only a very few who have proved to us by word, act, or by contributions to the press that they carry a knife for me, and if they would stop and meditate or consult a physician, or look over some medical work and take a remedy for their spleen, they would have no grievance over anything I ever did to them.
That among the new breeding kennels of beagles gotten together this present season are those of Mr. Louis Lee Haggin, Lexington, KY, and too much cannot be said in praise of his foundation as he has some of the best bitches in America, and being the grandson of one of the greatest horse breeders Kentucky ever knew, Mr. Haggan knows the value of good dams, and let me add here once again – give me a line of good dams that come from good dams for generations and I will hold on to type and quality, or make advances, be the stock anything from hens to horses. As Mr. Haggan is a man of means and leisure, his beagles will undoubtedly be heard from both at bench shows and field trials.
That another man of the right sort to start with a kennel of four good beagles is Mr. Geo. T. Ordway, a busy business man of New York City, with offices on Broadway, but who owns a playground in the form of a rugged farm up in Maine, where the big northern hare are plentiful, as well as the elusive trout, and where he goes when tired, and forgets Broadway and its rush and racket, and hunts with the beagles. He started by buying one in November and then another one at a time until now he owns four, all purchased from one kennel. Chances are this pack will only be known to a few of his wealthy friends unless we can interest him later in field trials and shows. Among his four he has a very promising Derby candidate for the 1916 trials, and if his farmer, who is also a Maine guide, will give this pup work, he will be a hard one to beat more particularly at hare trials.
That we have three letters requesting our opinion of the difference between a good dog for cottontail hunting and a good northern hare hunter. To start with, allow me to say a beagle for either sort is the best dog. The only difference is in the training or more properly speaking, the handling of the dog for different work, and the difference in dogs for hunting the two species of game may be favorably compared with the difference in handling setters for hunting in the east where cover is dense, and your dog must be trained to work close around the gun as he cannot be seen for any considerable distance, and should he range too wide and locate and stand a bird would be lost to his handler, or the setter trained for western hunting on the prairies. The sportsmen of the west want a fast hunter, a wide ranger, only so he is staunch. Such a setter in the east would be worthless, hunting grouse or woodcock in our dense covers, and setters that would please us of the east would be considered of no account in the west, as they would not range enough or be fast enough. Yet they are the same breed, but handled differently on account of different conditions, different grounds to hunt over. The same changed conditions in hare hunting and cottontail hunting prevails and there is a vast difference to men who have hunted much between a good or well trained cottontail dog and a good hare dog. The beagle experienced in hunting hare, more particularly when the game is rather scarce, and no start has been made could be compared to the western setter. He must be a dog that ranges far and wide and hunts all likely hiding places of the hare. A good hare dog knows likely grounds and hunts them. If in late fall or winter, he hunts low evergreen thickets, fern and brake patches, fallen timber, tree tops etc. He also knows by some means the general direction his handler is going, or if he is stationed in some old logging road that runs through the woods waiting for his dog to cover the ground and make a start, and his dog is hustling and covering the ground far and wide, if necessary, to find fresh trails and make the start. In hunting hare it makes absolutely no difference if your dog jumps his hare a quarter or half mile away, as you will hear him or them and there is no especial hurry about getting there as he (the hare) is not going to earth. You may take your own time to get there and choose the easiest way, the best walking, for if the dogs do not lose the trail, that very identical hare will still be ahead of them a dark.
MARCHAND’S BRIER DEMON FRITZ
Winner 15-inch Derby, Buckeye Beagle Club Trials,
October 13, 1915
Owned by Dr. Marchand, 116 Urich Street, Ulrichsville, Ohio
The well trained cottontail dog can be more properly compared to the well trained setter for eastern shooting. He must not range so far or wide for should he jump a cottontail a quarter of a mile away if cottontail covers averaged as large as that, the chances are before you were half way to him the rabbit was under ground, or in a stone pile, or wood pile or under some out building on a farm. A good cottontail dog must to a considerable extent, be under control and the handler must take to the brush if the cover is of any considerable size, in order to be reasonably near his dogs and have them cover the ground, and must be in the immediate neighborhood of the start, if he expects to get a shot, as Molly is mighty uncertain. She may stay up an hour or go in inside of five minutes. Therefore you see there may or may not be any difference in the dogs, but to be considered good at either sort of game as hunters, they must be trained or handled differently. That there are hundreds of dogs used for hunting cottontails that have the nose, the stamina or endurance (the latter is as much dependent conditions as on the breeding) as there are dogs used to hunt hare, but unless they are trained on hare they are as not good hare hunters. Certainly they perhaps can handle or run a fresh hare trail as well as the veteran hare dog but unless their handler expects to tramp all over the territory where hare inhabit, who is to start the hare? Certainly not the dogs that work a few rods to the right or left of you and if they do not jump a hare or find very fresh trails come back to the handler and sit down on their rump and seem to say, “Come on, let’s move, there are none here,” or who at a bad loss on the far side of the hill, stay a time and hunt for a trail and then come straggling in with the same look on their faces that they have after a cottontail has gone to earth. The hare dog in this case would cast far and wide for the loss until he had decided it was sure a dead loss and then start hunting for another start. He might swing near enough to get scent of his handler or near enough to hear him talk but seldom come close or stop hunting, yet you could move in any direction you might care to and the your hare dog would be hunting the grounds in your locality, yet you had not caught a glimpse of him.
PINE RIDGE SHOT
1st in all age; 1st in 15 inch bitch class
Owned by Isaac Ferrel,
Buckeye Beagle Club Trials at Uhrichville, OH
Turn a dog that is an experienced hare hunter in a cottontail cover and if the cover is a large one and game not very plentiful and you never know where he is until he makes a jump. He is out of his element. He makes too wide casts; but once a start is made he can run Molly in a fashion and used on this game a few times he adjusts himself to the short jumps, and dodging tactics.
1st in 13 inch bitch st class; 1st in winner’s class
Buckeye Beagle Club Trials at Uhrichsville, OH, 1915
Isaac Feuch, owner
Turn a man or his dog that have hunted cottontails exclusively loose in the mountains in real hare territory and any of the old mountaineers or old hare hunters can “spot” them at once. Of course the man could perhaps shoot a hare if he saw one. His dog could run one after it had been kicked out or if in the immediate vicinity, or after some good hare dog had jumped one out of his form, but the man would not know where to go in order to get a shot, after hearing the dogs open in “full cry” and invariably starts after the dogs. His dog after working as far each side as he has been trained to do and no start is made, comes reports “nuthin’ doin’” here, and if his owner does not move on, sits down to wait, at a bad loss he does the same. However, should they be in company with a party who has dogs that are hare hunters, and these dogs make two or three starts some distance away, and you will watch the cottontail trained dog you will note after he comes in to report he is on the alert, ears raised as far as he can raise them, listening for the hare dogs to jump another, so he can rush in and help drive him, and the chances are he can drive a hare just as good as any of the hare dogs, but is he a good hare hunter? Not today. He don’t hunt for them, not according to the ideas of men who a real hare hunter, but he can drive them after the other dogs have hunted them and started them and presented him a red hot trail. Yet this very same dog would have been and, if young, could yet be made a hare hunter by training. Hare hunting is fox hunting as practiced in the mountainous sections of the east, where fox are shot ahead of hounds, only hare hunting is in a curtailed form. A good hare dog is a fox dog only in lesser degree. Same tactics. He casts and covers lots of territory to make a start but not nearly as much as a good fox dog after fox. This is my definition of the two sorts.
1st in 13 inch all age; 2nd in 13 inch dog class in Bench Show
Buckeye Beagle Club trials at Uhrichsville, OH, October, 1915
Owned by Barr Bros
That we can agree with your correspondent and our friend (?) “Birch Brae,” in that as a rule “a good big beagle can defeat a good little one” and still farther, when he says “But you can take “a good little one and defeat half a dozen ordinary big ones.” We recall this very same thing being on more than one occasion. Times when we have observed such results among our own dogs and instances of the same sort at trials, besides the race he mentioned at the Northern Hare Trials when his “little one,” Whipporwill, won out ahead of larger dogs. I recall another competition at the 1913 National Beagle Club’s Field Trials, when a “little one,” Dungannon McDuff, 13 1/4 (which, by the way, is the size of Whipporwill, a lucky size I take it) won 4th in All Age Dogs (18 starters). Among those defeated were winners at other field trials and several dogs were well up toward the 15 inch limit. Dogs that there cannot possibly be a doubt their owners thinking were above “the ordinary,” or they would hardly have taken them all the way to Virginia to show the other fellow “How,” and incurred the necessary expenses of the trips and the loss of valuable time, etc. This same “little one,” Dungannon McDuff, entered in the “packs of four” (14 packs competing, any size) with three of his own daughters, all three under 13 inches, won First. Therefore like all other rules there are exceptions.
PROMPTER II—owned by J.J. Waldron, Jr.
That, somebody has blundered again. Don’t know who to charge the blunder to, but humans are prone to, and I might say, born to blunder, and the fact that some of us were born, appears at times something of a blunder, or mistake. The mistake now in question that we wish to call attention to appears on the front cover page of the December number of Fox and Hound, where it was claimed the illustration of a beagle was “Debonair Rogue,” property of Bumo Kennels. Now it happens that we have the good bitch Debonair Rogue, and this illustration does not even resemble her in shape or markings more than any one beagle resembles another of the same breed. What dog this picture was made from, I do not know. Who made the mistake, I do not know, but we would wager a new hat (a straw one, of course) that the genial master of the Bumo pack did not do it. How about it, Boss O’Flyng?
That, if you intend sending a bitch away to be bred, unless you know, or have seen the dog you think you would like her mated to and know his breeding, better ask for information and investigate a bit. If you are sending her to a man who has several dogs at stud, a man who has a reputation as a successful breeder, and a man with a reputation for honesty, our advice would be that when you send your bitch you send a copy of her breeding and request that the breeder or owner of the dogs use his best judgment after look over your bitch and her breeding or blood lines, as to which of his dogs was best suited to be bred to her to produce the most promising litter. The man would certainly be the crookedest kind of a crook that in such a case would betray your confidence, besides if he takes any pride in his ability or cares for future business or the welfare of his business it would be the rankest foolishness on his part to do anything but the best possible in making the union. If you name the dog you want your bitch bred to, the owner of the dog has no choice in the matter and must use that dog if suitable in the majority of qualities or otherwise, and don’t neglect to write and tell him the name of your bitch, the name she goes by at home, or write it on her crate, as she will feel at home almost immediately if when she arrives at her destination she hears her name spoken in a friendly tone. She has confidence at once. In cold weather don’t ship in an open crate. Of course such a crate is warm enough while in the express car, but how about it when standing on a truck beside the tracks waiting at the junction for the other train, with the icy north or northwest wind blowing through it. Save the open crate for summer.