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Hunt Report - Andrews Osborne Academy - 3/21/21

The last time the beagles hunted Andrews, the temptation to run deer was just too much for the pack and we came home muddied and exhausted, but thankfully, all on. So while we’ve been doing lots of training to prevent such episodes, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about this Hunt. To further build the suspense, just as the staff and field descended the tremendous staircase into the floodplain area of the north Chagrin River, we had to pause on a landing because we noticed a herd (a HERD!) of about 20 whitetails go bounding south along the riverside... the deer just kept coming out of the covert for what seemed like minutes on end. With the deer running south, I started the draw to the northwest. But here the footing was tough and tangled, and we were rapidly running out of country, so we were forced to continue towards the river bank, where we traveled upstream/south. All the fly fishermen stopped and stared at us for a bit... they were probably not used to seeing anyone on these banks, let alone a pack of beagles with staff and field in tow. Not wanting to spoil their sporting day, I turned east and cast the beagles through the rows of arborvitaes (I believe this flood plane used to be a tree nursery). It wasn’t long before the beagles started speaking… I was still a little tense… Did we kick up more deer…? But Rob Mock caught a view, and the beagles were right on the line! We traversed back-and-forth between the stands of trees and the open fields in between. With a light wind, brilliant sun, and rapidly rising temperatures, the open fields made scent work tough, but we had some great honest noses in Smolder, Jenkins, and Gulliver, and we were able to get a couple of nice runs and three views of the rabbit. Technically, there were four views, but the rabbit further to the west never got scented and chased, lucky bun! All the while, reports kept coming in over the staff radio of more deer sightings in the fixture. The herd did not want to cross the busy road at the far end of the fixture, so they were coming back towards us on the river side, but (gulp!!) our rabbit may have circled towards the river, too. It was a conundrum, but since we had tried to strategically place the staff, I rolled the dice and just let the beagles do their work. We headed towards the river and… Circled back through the rows of arborvitaes again towards the gas well road. The pack stayed on the rabbit the whole time! The beagles checked again in an open sunny field, and now the temps were high enough that tongues were lolling. We led the pack to a little feeder creek where everyone had a big drink and got nice and cool for making the ascent up the big staircase again to the hunt truck. Our staff always does an outstanding job of trying to keep the beagles safe, and today was no exception… But I think a special nod must go out to our little hounds who have proved how hard they try and how much they have learned in their training this season. Most of our field caravanned a few blocks over to my house where we had a nice fried chicken, corn bread, and salad picnic outdoors in the spring sunshine. Delicious contributions to the lunch were made by L. Mock, E. Dennis, T. DeChant, and J. Dickinson. Thank you everyone! It was a wonderful day.

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