by James R. Aist
This true story happened when I was a young boy growing up in central Arkansas. We lived in a rural area and had two beagle dogs that we used for rabbit hunting. One fall day a large, red-bone hound dog showed up at our doorstep, and we sort of adopted him. Now mind you, these larger hounds are not particularly good for rabbit hunting, because they tend to try and outrun a freshly “jumped” rabbit instead of slowing down and tracking its scent (trail) with their nose, like beagles do. Consequently, after a very brief burst of speed, they usually will lose track of thebounding bunny and that will be the end of that.
Well anyway, we decided to go rabbit hunting one morning, and we let the red-bone hound tag along with us and the two beagles. Right away we got to a small brush pile at the edge of a small wood, next to some open fields. Well, the fields weren’t entirely open, as there was a woven wire fence down the middle. This was one of those wire fences with open rectangles about 4 inches by 6 inches, you know the kind. Suddenly, the beagles began to act excited and nervous, like they do when they can smell the scent of a rabbit in the air (the scent was in the air, not the rabbit, silly!). Anyway, with a rustle and a ruckus, a cottontail rabbit suddenly burst forth from the brush pile and raced lickety-split across the field. All three dogs lit out after him, the beagles with their noses to the ground tracking the scent, and the red-bone hound with his head held high racing 90 miles an hour to try and catch him on the run. Now the rabbit was just small enough to dive through the fence without losing stride, while the red-bone hound was not. He was so intent on catching up with the rabbit that he didn’t notice the fence, so he just kept on going at full speed. And here we are watching this whole scene unfold before our eyes, knowing full well what was about to happen. We were already about to crack up laughing when the rabbit cleared the fence cleanly. Then came the red-bone hound, seeing only the terrified rabbit ahead of him. He promptly plowed into the fence, rolled up into a ball from the counterforce of the now-sagging fence, paused for a moment as the fence reached its maximum extension and prepared to fling him back in the opposite direction, and then went shooting backwards about 15-20 feet.
By this time we were howling and bent over with laughter, as the scene had unfolded exactly as we had anticipated. Not to worry, though, as the red-bone hound regained his composure after finally coming to a stop, picked himself up off the ground, shook himself off and carried on as though nothing unusual had just happened. It took a little longer than that for us to regain our composure!
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