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A day behind some Hounds


Eric Braselton with one of his beagles after a great hunt.

Eric Braselton with one of his beagles after a great hunt.


The morning air was not as crisp as most February mornings. An unusually warm winter has things kind of in disarray. The hounds however were anxious to be let out of their box and begin the day.

The sun was just cracking over the tops of the trees in the distance. The shadows were long, and the anticipation just as long. A box full of beagles were howling with excitement. I was tagging along on this day with a young man that is as dedicated to his hounds and the sport of rabbit hunting as any I have seen.

His love for dogs and how they work is something he was born with. Eric Braselton of Greer, SC (who now attends college at University of Tennessee at Martin) began only a few years ago when the opportunity to purchase an entire pack of beagles was available. He jumped at the chance and several puppies later has eight wonderful dogs, led by a small male than answers to the name “Dozer”. I never asked why he was named Dozer, I just figured it was because of his attitude to dive right into the thickest nastiest stuff to find a rabbit.

This morning started like most. Sniffing, scuttling around getting ready for the race to begin. The dogs followed Braselton into the brambles as he hollered to them “COME HEA – LOOK FOR HIM” Braselton’s voice echoed through the morning air as the dogs began their search. Within a few minutes one of the dogs stuck the trail of a fresh rabbit and the race was on. From all directions the dogs came a running to join into the foray.

There are a few sounds in nature that will captivate the heart of sportsmen and women. The gobble of a turkey, the honking of geese and the barking of beagles all raise the blood of sportsmen and women who love the outdoors. Barely fifteen minutes into the race, Braselton’s twelve gauge side by side double rang out and a cottontail was in the bag.

Throughout the morning, one race after another was enjoyed as the ‘great eight’ did what they were bred and trained to do – run rabbits and place smiles on men’s faces.

Sadly, the rabbit season is short and the echo fades. But for a few weeks from Thanksgiving till the beginning of March the joy of following some hounds through the briar and brambles of the midlands is some of the finest times we can spend with friends. No doubt for the few that still find the time. A few days in the presence of hounds is some of the finest of times we can spend in the out of doors.