Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 46

Dog Days of Winter
"So you're looking for a puppy?" the man asked, walking toward me, his arms cradling
a very cuddly and sleepy-eyed little girl with ears as long as her legs.
While she was white at her tail tip and from the belly down, and the amber brown on
her face matched thin strips trimming her ears, her coat was much blacker than I expected.
Pointing out rusty-colored hairs trying in places to poke through that darker lining,
the man predicted she'd look quite different in a couple months. He was right, as he
knew he would be, because that's how her mother was.
As we stood there talking, the puppy now on the ground, he pointed out other similarities that seemed to carry through the beagle's bloodlines.
"Her nose is always to the ground," he said, as she sniffed around the flower bed and
front-porch steps, "just like her mother's."
And as I wondered aloud how my first attempt at training a hunting dog would go,
he boldly guaranteed she would follow a track. I haven't been back to claim a refund,
though, there for a while, I wasn't sure any of it would come together.
When we arrived home with Rosie, she promptly went exploring too close to the
creek bank, needing to be fished out and dried off, then fell asleep on top of the towel,
only to rouse minutes later and ferociously attack the towel, dragging it in spurts as far
as she could across the yard.
It was clear she had spunk. But she expressed no interest in rabbits. Even as the weeks
and months passed, and I began letting her roam more and more along field edges and
tried - usually failingly - to coax her into pockets of cover, she really only wanted to
survey the smorgasbord of scat set before her. And she never made a sound, no matter
what she sniffed.
That changed one winter evening - in the living room, of all places. A comfortable
couch and cozy fire had soothed me to sleep, when I was awakened by howling like
I'd never heard from that dog. Perched on a staircase landing, she was looking out the
window at a rabbit sitting in the driveway.
Somehow she knew rabbits were to be hunted.
Soon she was making all sorts of sounds. We tracked a rabbit out a fencerow far enough
to flush it and give chase. She lost it quickly, but things were moving in the right direction.
Honestly, I was stunned by just how fast she picked it all up. I was amazed, too, by
her abilities, as I witnessed things like her running wide open to a small opening in a
honeysuckle bush, then burrowing through it to pop out not one, but two rabbits.
She chased with regularity and often would stick to the tracks long enough to produce
multiple sightings. And although there were good days and bad days, she gave me more
memories than I can count. Like the time in spring she poked her head into cover and,
to her surprise and mine, ended up nose-to-beak with an adult great-horned owl; or the
times she earned breathless scoldings at the end of mile-long deer chases that left her
handler in no shape to keep up.
By comparison, the account of the first rabbit she stopped on its tracks by bringing
it in front of a shotgun seems rather plain.
But my days are better with Rosie around.
And my winters are the best they've ever been.

Travis Lau

46

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - Intro
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 48
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 49
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 51
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 52
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 68
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - 69
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2015 - Cover4
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