• Jess

Hunt Report - Windy Meadow - 12/20/20

It was a damp, cold, miserable day with an abundance of humidity in the air, cloudy skies, and completely saturated, wet ground. Awful as that may sound, it turned out to be awesome weather for hunting rabbits. I once read somewhere that when the weather is bad, God compensates us with excellent sport. Apparently, we can all believe, because somebody up above seemed to have dropped more rabbits into our coverts than we have ever seen before at Windy Meadow Farm. If you were there today and you didn’t enjoy a view, you either had your eyes closed or you might need your glasses checked... because it was rabbits, rabbits, rabbits, all day long! The last time we were at this fixture, we unfortunately got away onto the wrong quarry, so, to avoid calamity, the whippers-in and I strategized ahead of time with some tactics we hoped would ensure a good day. We hand-selected our most careful hounds and focused on the coverts that we felt had the best habitat for cottontails. By luck or by grace, the plan worked! We usually blow through the first covert, just north of the little pond, but today we took our time. I asked the beagles to try back again after the first pass and sure enough, they jumped a crouching rabbit who ran south. All the commotion also flushed a great horned owl, which gave all of us quite a thrill to see this elusive bird of prey during the day. We later learned from our landowners, that our southbound rabbit ran out of bounds and had taken shelter in the barn, which explains why the pack lost her at the edge of the thicket. Trying our luck in the second covert, however, proved to be just as exciting. We had southbound rabbits and westbound rabbits and rabbits at the northern edge! We ran at least two rabbits, but honestly, there could have been more. The field and the staff all got multiple views, and the beagles tried so hard to stay with the lines. They were packed up nicely and I had no complaints about any hound’s work ethic. Frankly, the ground was so saturated, I was impressed that they could smell anything at all! It was also so very cold, and both beagles and humans were soaked through to the bone, so I pulled them after about 90 minutes when they checked. It was definitely time to dry off and warm up. The beagles enjoyed the shelter of their transport box and lots of hi-cal biscuits therein while the rest of us bipeds gathered around the landowner’s blazing fire ring and recounted the day’s adventures. We learned whose boots were waterproof and whose were not while we admired each other’s ugly Christmas sweaters. It was one of those days where, upon waking, you might look out the window and think you ought to go back to bed… But it turns out it was a fantastic gift to be out there enjoying it. Many thanks to everyone in the field who braved the cold and damp. A special thank you to our landowners for hosting us and taking great care of us. And, as always, thanks to our master and staff for keeping a sharp and loving eye on our four-legged hunting friends. It was a jolly and invigorating way to end the weekend!

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