THE RABBIT HUNTER – Recently, we decided to go to the Ridenour farm to hunt. Those in attendance were Alex Ridenour, Mike Queener, Mike Wilson, Tony Ridenour and myself. What a crew! This was going to be a good day! We was going to hunt the top part of the farm. We turned seven dogs loose to hunt the briar and honeysuckles.
Just to hunt in there you had to back through some of those thorny bushes which felt as if they had switch blades on them. Talk about cutting you up, I thought Mike Queener needed a blood transfusion by the time he got out of there.
It wasn’t long until the hounds had that white knob wound up on that rabbit. This rabbit was going to show the dogs how tough he was. Mr. Rabbit took the dogs by every thorny bush he could find. This rabbit wasn’t only tough but smart. He ran through briars and honeysuckles far enough so the hunters couldn’t get a shot at him. As he made one more circle, he came out in front of Tony to run on the outside of the field and Tony never saw him. When he started on another big circle, Mike Queener moved to the other side of the field. The dogs were pushing him hard. Finally, Mr. Rabbit came out and headed to an abandoned house. All hunters could see the race as Mike was waiting for him. Mike raised his gun and “boom.” We could see the rabbit roll. This rabbit race lasted an hour and a half. The dogs were glad to see this rabbit in the bag. We checked our dogs to see how badly they where cut up. Their tails and bodies were bloody but seemed to be okay.
We walked the dogs to another field which had briars and honeysuckles like the first field. The dogs got another rabbit up out of a draw. There seems to always be one or two rabbits that stay in this draw every year. These dogs were hitting on all cylinders. The rabbit went up and back down the draw and around the ridge completely out of hearing. We walked around to the top of the ridge as the dogs were pushing the rabbit. We sent Alex halfway to the bottom and Mike Wilson let him use his gun. Just as he got there, the rabbit came across the path and “boom” Alex came back with a big smile and a rabbit in hand.
We gathered at the top of the ridge to look at Alex’s rabbit. Mike told Alex he needed to learn how to field dress his rabbit. Alex said he watched me field dress but he would try. I started under the ribs and began to squeeze. Guess what? Mike switched rabbits and handed him the rabbit that he had taken and already field dressed. Mike had fooled us all. We tried our best to coach Alex but to no avail. Mike started to laugh as he pulled Alex’s rabbit out and asked him to try this one. We all had a big laugh at this joke.
We got the dogs back in the field and it wasn’t long until we had another rabbit up. We had good dog work up and down the ridge. They was running for 30 minutes and the sky opened up and the rain started coming down. Mike’s gun came to life and we had another rabbit for the pot. This was a good way to end a hunt; good friends and good dogs. What a blessing from the Lord.
By Kenny Bean, Sr., 315 New Clear Branch Road, Lake City, TN 37769