Experienced hare hunters to speak this sport is all around the excitement of city hall those beagles run - and lately more and much more folks in south Carolina space joining in top top the fun!

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I don"t mental the an initial time i went hare hunting, however I perform remember vividly the day it became a passion. Getting off the rememberingsomer.comhool bus, ns ran come the backyard to see what all the ruckus was about and dirememberingsomer.comovered 2 frolicking beagle puppies - the perfect thirteenth-birthday gift from mine Dad.

You are watching: The hounds followed the sc of the rabbit

Jack, the tri-colored pup, and Joe, the tan and white one, to be my consistent companions for the next few years. I trained lock myself the winter. We collection a couple of hare "gums" (wooden boxes v a trap door in one end) in ~ the edge of the cotton ar next come the woods behind ours house. Every morning prior to rememberingsomer.comhool, through Jack and also Joe following, I"d inspect the boxes. If one hosted a cottontail, I"d turn it loose and shout, "There that goes! get him, boys!" exhorting the beagles to chase after it. In the afternoon, if Jack and Joe were not waiting ~ above the earlier steps, I"d usually discover them down in the woods, browsing for an additional rabbit come chase.

Although fried rabbit v birememberingsomer.comuits and gravy is just one of my favourite meals, for me, rabbit hunting has actually never been around killing rabbits. It has always been around the chase - about hearing a pack of tiny hounds in full cry bounding off after a cottontail.

Many hunters agree. Avid rabbit hunter and beagle field-trialer rememberingsomer.comott Wilson of Pendleton writes about the experience and also its ar in background on his website, www.facebook.com/huntingbeagles/.

"It has small to carry out with shooting rabbits and a lot to do with the follow of the hounds," claims Wilson. "Men adhering to hounds is one old heritage that has been a source of entertainment and also pageantry because that centuries. Background records the beagle together its own breed at least back to the time of the crusades. In those days most estates had actually a pack of beagles for complying with on foot. The quarry was the europe hare."

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For S.C. Room of herbal Resources law enforcement officer and rabbit hunter Todd Campbell the Sharon, rabbit hunting is all around dogs, family and also friends. "It"s a sports you deserve to do year-round," claims Campbell, who is frequently accompanied by daughters Kayla, eleven, and also Ashley, fifteen, on rabbit hunts and also off-season dog-training sessions.

"To watch them the town hall the dog is practically as exceptional to me as watching the dog perform; the girl just dropped in love through it," states Campbell. "Rabbit hunting is something you don"t have to obtain up before daylight to do. Friend don"t have to be quiet. You don"t need to do the for very long and you don"t need to kill anything to reap it."

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Wilson has a two-year-old son, Mason, that "wants come go through me every step" when he"s functioning his beagles and also competing with them in ar trials. His two daughters, Ashlyn, ten, and also Anna, three, favor it as well. "They space not fairly at the period where lock can bring a shotgun and do any kind of shooting, but as far as dog hunting and running the dogs, they are really right into it," says Wilson. "They space all pretty great dog handlers."

His find led him come the kennels that the late Rudy Evatt of Easley, a long time member the the Iodine State Beagle Club, which to be then situated near Simpsonville. Evatt take it Wilson come the club and also the two men operated some beagles top top the follow of a cottontail.

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"The remainder is history," states Wilson. "I was hooked the an initial time ns heard the dog bark and also saw his tail wiggle. I have actually been rabbit hunting and competing in and also judging field trials due to the fact that my so late teens. Tiny did I understand then the this sports would become my passion."

Although his dad took him rabbit hunting once or double a year once he was farming up, by the moment Campbell was a teenager, interest in little game hunting had actually waned, for this reason he mostly hunted deer. "About 15 years back I acquired into rabbit searching from deer hunting," the says. "We to be bowhunters, and also we trained beagles to track wounded deer. I just fell in love with the beagle breed."

When his deer-tracking beagle acquired old, Campbell contacted a girlfriend who elevated beagles around getting a younger dog to train. "He had actually probably 30 dogs, and I thought that was pretty neat," states Campbell. "Then us went rabbit hunting a few times. I gained a pair of pups and trained them and there was no spring back." Campbell got into the game just together there was a rebirth of rabbit hunting in the Upstate, due, he believes, to timber cutting methods that left countless cutovers that provide an excellent rabbit habitat.

"The beagles and rabbit hunting have actually really taken off in this area," says Campbell. "I don"t know if it is due to the fact that of a renewal of hare or if it"s just civilization getting ago into hunting, but you go any kind of Saturday in hare season and the woods are complete of world hunting, and also that was not the means it to be before."

Wilson, that agrees that cutover pine plantations "make the perfect ar to hunt rabbits,"also reports seeing rise in beagles and also rabbit hunting in his part of the Upstate. "Rabbit hunting has picked up," says Wilson. "I think the AKC"s involvement v gun dog beagles has brought a lot of people ago into the sport."

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While the rememberingsomer.com"s annual little game survey has actually not reflected rise in the variety of people hunting rabbits in south Carolina, tiny Game task Supervisor Billy Dukes says the rabbit searching tradition remains strong in the state, and the yearly survey has documented boost in the success rate appreciated by rabbit hunters over the last 2 seasons. The number of rabbits taken enhanced from 1.27 come 1.35 rabbits every hour throughout the 2007-08 season and also that was adhered to by an additional slight rise to 1.37 jumped per hour during the 2008-09 season. Rabbit and also quail hunters participate in the annual little Game inspection by recording searching data and also field observations.

"Some people may it is in slipping away from big game and also redirememberingsomer.comovering the joy in hunting small game, such together rabbits," states Dukes. "We"d love come have much more rabbit hunters participate in the survey." come participate, write to: rememberingsomer.com little Game Project, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, S.C. 29202, or call (803) 734-3609.

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Whatever the reason, attention in the sport appears to be increasing, and hunters prefer Wilson and Campbell room making certain their kids don"t miss out on out on the chance to gain watching the beagles work.

For the last numerous years Campbell and also other wildlife officers have actually invited rabbit hunters to get involved in a youth hunt in ~ Rocky Creek Sporting Clays in Chester County.

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"We usually have actually a crowd, and a lot of the children don"t lug guns. That"s no the factor we want them there, since killing rabbits is a very small component of hare hunting. The complete experience is what is funny to them," states Campbell. "We have uncovered this is the best method to introduce children to the outdoors, particularly hunting. They have actually their friends there, and also we have actually these pretty tiny tri-colored dogs to run around. It"s a kid"s dream."

Find A Beagle ar Trial Club close to You

There room ten beagle field trial clubs in southern Carolina that organize trials licensed or sanctioned by the American Kennel Club, and also four rather sanctioned by the American hare Hound Association.

The four AKC clubs that run trials whereby beagles complete in braces or bag include: Savannah river Valley Beagle society at Edgefield; Iodine State Beagle society at Ware Place; black color Jack Beagle Club in between Camden and Bishopville; and Spartanburg Beagle Club close to Pacolet. For information, contact Pat Robertson in ~ (803) 309-3271 or via e-mail in ~ patrob