Georgia Hunting Land For Sale South Carolina Hunting Land For Sale North Carolina Hunting Land For Sale Hunting Land and Recreational Property For Sale

(Almost) Everything’s In

With the passing of the American traditional Thanksgiving holiday hunting season is in full swing. Everything is in season well, almost. With the exception of the woodcock, mountain bear, alligator and turkey, everything is in season. For small game hunters this is their opening day(s). Rabbit season opened and the beagles were in full swing.

A decade or so ago, was my first initiation into the sport of rabbit hunting behind well trained beagles. I quickly learned why this is so addictive and so appealing. Unlike many types of hunting, running rabbits is a social affair. It was Thanksgiving Day 1997 when a dear friend, now chasing rabbits in the fields and glades of his eternal home, invited me to hunt with him and Henry, his 15” beagle. I arrived at the designated spot, J.W. Longshore was already there, frost glistening across the broom sage that lined the field. His coffee Pot brewing on the tailgate of his old truck filled with a box of six well trained dogs.

“Want a cup of coffee?” came the booming voice from behind the overalls. A hand that carried forearms that would make Popeye cringe lifted a black stained pot from the cooker and poured a cup that flowed like 90 weight motor oil on a cold day. “Here you go, have a bite of coffee – some say this here would float a horseshoe, but it’s how I like it.” Taking the cup, I choked down a swallow and smiled.

“Let me introduce you to Henry” Mr. Longshore said, as he pulled an almost white beagle from the box. Looking as if we woke him from a slumber, Henry looked at me and seemed to say through his dark eyes – “another rookie”. Mr. Longshore continued his introduction by saying; “if you hear Henry bark, there is a rabbit in front of him – Henry has never told me a lie about a rabbit, and he ain’t about to start now.”

I rubbed Henry’s head and choked down more coffee. “What you shooting today?” came the question, “I have a .20 gauge with #6 high brass shells.” I said.

“Well that should do it, just won’t leave much to eat – better shoot them in the head.” Mr. Longshore said. “I’ve been shooting this ole’ Remington 1100 in .28 gauge loaded with #9 shot. I like to eat rabbit, not just kill them.” A small smile coming to his face.

J.W. Longshore was in his 80’s at this time, his legs were gone, and an old wooden folding chair kept from a long ago funeral was his throne. He would sit beside the truck, and listen to the dogs. “No one will say anything until Henry finds him.” J.W. said. He’ll run him by here, I’ll look at him – if he fat enough when he comes back, I’ll shoot him.”

I just stood there – and asked “where do I stand?”

“You go stand where ever Henry barks, he will jump the rabbit, run it by me, and bring it back to you, when you miss, I’ll kill it when it comes back by me.” He said robustly.

The day ended with five rabbits on the tail gate of J.W. Longshore’s pickup. All killed by him, but I was hooked. Rabbit season would take a hold of me, and barely a season goes by that I don’t find myself standing in some briar patch thinking about Henry and wishing he was there.

For hunters in South Carolina, Thanksgiving doesn’t only mark the opening of rabbit season, but also quail and grouse season are now open. Soon I will be trudging up the hills of Greenville, Pickens and Oconee counties looking for grouse, the noblest of game birds.

Hunters typically like to hunt. Some are hardcore single species hunters, but most are hunters. They enjoy it all. Big game and small, birds, waterfowl, pigs, bears, squirrels and the list goes on and on. We love to hunt. As I have often said, “if it runs, hops, crawls, flies or swims, I am not far behind.” As we enter into the waning month of deer season, for many, it just began. If you have a chance to hunt small game now in the cold months ahead, by all mean’s go. Getting into the outdoors, walking through fields, woods, and swamps and mountains is always a great experience. So now that (almost) everything’s in, get out there and enjoy the great outdoors we have at our disposal.