A Great Early Season Hunt

Rabbit Hunter, Dec 2011Once again the time was upon us here in Indiana: Our early rabbit season.

It starts on October 1 here in Indiana and that’s when we start hunting those bunnies. It is usually pretty thick, hot and dry here this time of year and this year was no exception even though it had cooled off some.

It was Saturday, October 8, and we wereat Glendale FWA in Daviess County, IN. My oldest son, Devon, met Jim Cook and I at the sign-in station and we got our cards and proceeded to our first
spot for the day. Along with us were the real stars, our hounds: Blazer, Bull, Rose, and Chloe.

Joe and Don Miller would meet up with us in a little bit. They had Sarah, a seven year old female, and Rose, a young female from my Miracle Molly, which had passed away earlier in the year. Molly is sorely missed as she was a legend. We picked a spot that had some thick cover and some
plowed paths where we could walk. There was a big cornfield to the left of us but far enough away as not to worry. There were two bean fields with beans still in them 200 yards straight ahead. I was hoping the seven dogs we had would put enough pressure on a rabbit to bring it out. I was not disappointed!

Devon, Jim and I got our gear on, guns loaded and started our hunt. Joe and Don were not there yet but showed shortly. We didn’t go 20 yards when the dogs hit a track and worked 10 feet and busted one out. Blazer got this one up and, boy, he came out flying, headed down the hill towards a woodline and creek. The dogs lined him out and the sound was amazing.

They ran this rabbit down the hill, through two strips, a woodline and into a old creek bed. I walked out by the road to make sure he didn’t cross and the dogs didn’t get hit.

Devon walked to the creek and set himself up where he could see both ways. Jim stayed where the rabbit was jumped.

While they where running this rabbit, the pack split. Our dogs took another rabbit and were running it. Jim’s dog, Chloe, stayed on the original rabbit and it ran out of the creek up into the strip and hopped out where Devon took it with one shot.

Chloe ran up to it and Devon showed it to her. She then took off for the other dogs. They packed up and ran this other bunny but eventually lost it in the creek bed. We called them in and showed them the bunny and praised them and talked about the run.

It was a great start to what was going to be a super morning. We got the dogs together and walked back up to the original strip we started in. By then, Joe and his dad, Don, showed up with Sarah and Rose. Sarah is a super dog and has a huge nose and can drive a rabbit; this would help in the bean fields today. We got them together in the strip and worked on down where they hit a track and worked it.

Sarah took it across a path down into the woodline and jumped him. This rabbit didn’t waste any time as he headed for the beans. With all these dogs on him, he made one circle and came out. He crossed a path with one leap and headed over the hill. The dogs never let up. Bull ran him back towards the beans again but didn’t go in them. He stayed in a small woodline.  Joe was on the other side of the woodline and Jim and I were on the service road. Devon and Don were by the old creek bed. This rabbit came out on Joe’s side but he didn’t see him. Jim and I did but it was too far away for a shot and he was running away from us. He cut right into a thicket and headed towards the old creek bed. The music the dogs were making was awesome!

The rabbit hit the creek bed, ran up then doubled back and came out on Don’s side and he made a great shot with his single .410. Wow! What a run! This was a big rabbit and the dogs put the hammer to him.

We let them sniff their prize and praised them and put them on the leads. We talked about the run and the shot and walked up to the service road to see where we wanted to put the dogs in. We decided to put them in a thicket at the end of another bean field.

The dogs started hunting and we all spread out with Devon staying on the road which ran alongside the bean field. I went to the other side of the field where they had plowed some ground and Don moved into the field with Joe and Jim.

Sarah hit a track and started working it and the other dogs went to her and Bull jumped it. The race was on! This bunny stayed in the beans for two big circles.

They had one big check that Sarah got and they kept pushing him. He finally had enough and came out beside Devon and he rolled him for his second and our third rabbit for the day.

They put enough pressure on him to get him out and it worked great. I was proud of the dogs, especially Bull because he isn’t even two yet and is jumping and getting checks on older dogs. I was also proud of Don’s female, Sarah. She has a big nose and can drive a rabbit and it helped.

By now, it was getting warm to the point of shedding clothes so we decided to head to the trucks and take a break and hit another spot. We gave the dogs some water, drank some pop, talked about the morning runs and then headed up the road to another spot.

We pulled into our second spot and there was a bird hunter there working his bird dog and he was just leaving. This time Don left Sarah and Rose in the truck and we worked my dogs along with Jim’s Chloe.

We walked 50 yards to a thicket right by a big pond. It was a perfect looking spot for a rabbit. It was mowed so we could see from all sides in case a rabbit ran out. I put my dogs in and they started hunting. They hunted 20 yards when Bull jumped his second of the day. This rabbit made a half circle, came out on my side and I let him run a short distance and rolled him with one shot from my new Mossberg Bantam 20 gauge pump. He was headed for a huge cornfield to the right of us. The dogs ran up to him and we praised them.

We put them back in the same strip and moved down with no jumps. We moved up to another strip that was real thick with some briars in it. To the left of me was a big pond and to the right was a huge cornfield.

I told Joe and Devon who were on the side of the corn to watch because it would head there if jumped. They went right in and started hunting. Bull and Rose started wagging their tails quickly and I told Joe and Devon to watch out when Rose opened up. Blam! A big cottontail came out heading away from Joe. He raised his .410 and shot but missed. This bunny cut left and headed towards the corn.

Devon was standing a row above Joe right next to the corn. This rabbit had one thing in mind — hit the corn. Joe hollered at Devon, “Here he comes!” Devon raised his gun and made a great shot on this big rabbit.

This made six jumps and five kills. We praised the dogs a lot and decided to call it a day. What a day it was. We had great dog work, great friends and nice weather even though it was a little warm. I thank God for the time afield with my sons and friends and hope your runs are long. Until next
time, tally-ho!

By Jon Cornett, jwcbunnyrun@yahoo.com