Whenever we are out and about with our three beagles, we are inevitably asked one question:
Those dogs hunt rabbits?
To which we always respond with a small smile, a shake of our head and say, “No, no, they don’t hunt rabbits. They hunt the couch and their cookie, and the occassional mole. But rabbits? No, they don’t hunt rabbits.”
Our dogs love to walk and hike. I’ve never seen dogs that love walking as much as ours do. Matter-of-fact, we can’t even say the word ‘walk’ in front of them, we have to spell it. And when they see me reach for my hiking boots, they go absolutely wild with joy. When they are walking, they will have their noses to the ground, tails wagging, obviously on the scent of something, but I’m fairly certain it’s not rabbits. They’ve been within ten yards of a rabbit and never even batted an eyelash. No interest whatsoever.
There have often been times when we were walking when they would go crazy over something they smelled. They would yip and pull, their noses going like a snuffalupagus. That’s when we would say we wished they could talk, so we could know what they smell that’s so darned fascinating. Recently I discovered the answer.
Our beagles think they are bird dogs.
Specifically, wild turkey. (Although I was once nearly dragged right out of my hiking boots thanks to a robin that was hopping down the trail.)
Up until a few years ago, we didn’t have wild turkey in our corner of south-eastern Michigan. They were an up-north phenomena. But a few years ago we started seeing them in the farm fields and woods around our home. One day I was walking the dogs along a train track that runs through a nearby field. All of a sudden they were on the scent; noses to the ground, going crazy, nearly pulling my arms out of the sockets. Then a turkey dashed out of the snake grass along the tracks. Hmmmm…
Just a few weeks ago my husband and I were walking them through a woods out back. We had gotten into some thick brush and brambles so he let Daisy go so she could make her own way through the tangle. Without warning she dove into some heavy brush, yipped and out flew two turkeys. Again today, as I walked them in the meadow behind my neighbor’s home, they were suddenly pulling and yipping. I heard a familiar rustle and here comes a turkey from the woods bordering the meadow, dashing across to the woods on the other side. The chase was on! Thankfully I have fairly good upper body strength! Crazy dogs.
So, maybe next time I’m asked if our beagles hunt rabbits, I’ll respond, “No, not rabbits. But they are wild about turkeys!”
But still, I’m pretty sure they prefer the couch.