A great day for beaglers!

Lynnville, IN - It was a great day to be alive in southern Indiana as we made PKC and beagling history wit

h the first PKC "small pack" beagle hunt. Springtime is a always a great time to be in the outdoors and this part of the country is indeed beautiful at this time of year.

When we selected the site for the kickoff hunt for PKC's "small pack" program, I'll have to admit the central location of Lynnville, just east of Evansville on Interstate 64 was the prime motivator. The payoff was that we soon learned that this part of the country boasts some of the finest running country in the nation. Reclaimed strip mine property is everywhere and the reclamation efforts have produced some of the best rabbit cover imaginable. The ARHA organization has held its world hunt here commonly entering hundreds of hounds as hunters flock to the area for the great running and abundance of rabbits.

The Eric Canal Beagle Club, with Keith Buse at the helm as president did a great job of making us feel welcome and that means a lot when one ventures into uncharted waters. We know coon hunting, and my personal experience with the "hunting beagle" format of one beagle, one handler in a four-dog cast is long standing. Larry Meeks and I will readily confess neither of us had ever attended a beagle trial where the judges run with the hounds and we were anxious to see the plan in action.

Altogether we watched three casts run on Saturday, one in the morning, one semifinal cast, and the winner's cast. We saw excellent dog work each time and the judging was obviously well-seasoned and literally on top of things from the first click of the one-hour clock to the last.

These hounds run rabbits! What an understatement! The winner's cast went to an area where the sponsors knew there was an abundance of rabbits and so three judges were assigned to manage the five-dog cast. They were needed. On several occasions the pack would split in three directions and time would be called. We had a great time recording video tape of the runs and "shooting" several Hoosier cottontails on film.

We finished the day having a good feeling about the future of this sport. We met lots of great folks from several states who came to the hunt. In the rules session before the casts went out and in the clubhouse bull sessions throughout the day, we think we have a pretty good handle on what the beaglers want in terms of rules and programs. We also learned, especially from the wide grins and comments of the members of the winner's cast that beaglers want to hunt for money!

We will take several requests for hunt dates back to the office and begin scheduling beagle hunts, both of the small pack and of the hunting beagle variety for the clubs that want them.

It's been awhile since I had a "beetle hound" in the back yard but the hunt at Lynnville has the old juices flowing once again. Some fine hounds were registered with PKC at the hunt and I think that's where I'll start my personal search. Guys like overall winner Earl Bruner with a breeding program that been going and growing for 30 years may be a good place to start.

If you are a beagler or are a member of a beagle club that would like to know more about the PKC rabbit program or would like to schedule a "try one" hunt, give me a call at 616-321-1814. We'll talk beagles and get you started right away. Now is a great time to schedule your dates for the fall season.

Thanks once again to the Erie Canal club and to the owners of the 50 hounds that ran at Lynnville. And also thanks to our sponsors, Nestle-Purina and Tri-tronics for their contributions to the hunt as well.

PKC - If briar busting beagles is your cup of tea, PKC is where YOU need to be!