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The dogs and I have eked out a few rabbits here and there. The shooter has been having an exceptionally bad year which doesn't help. LOL In any case, Otis has had a chance to be part of a successful rabbit hunt a time or two with Lucky along to help the cause. But I was still working on getting Otis a solo rabbit.

Dog Carnivore Dog breed Collar Grass


On one solo outing he did bring a rabbit in one full circle. But the shooter failed her job and the rabbit had enough. Otis learned all about how rabbits go down in holes.

Plant Twig Grass Tree Tail


The weekend before last, I had Otis out solo again and he brought the rabbit all the way around. He lost it and was struggling to pick up the track again when a rabbit came hopping into the open toward the shooter. The shooter made a very bad decision and for only the second time ever in her career, shot up a rabbit so badly that it was unusable. I'm not 100% sure if it was the rabbit Otis was tracking or what I call an "auxiliary" rabbit. He never did pick up the track and I eventually had to call him over to where I was. But because he didn't finish the track and I don't know if it was the rabbit he was tracking, I'm not counting this as his first solo rabbit.

But ah yesterday. Otis and I went down to a friend's farm. I was down there with Lucky and Otis several weeks ago. They ran two rabbits and I was able to shoot one of the rabbits they ran. It was worth another trip down there with Otis going solo and we headed down there yesterday.. It took a bit for us to get one running. He took it on a big loop and brought it most the way back but then lost it. He does try to find the track when he loses it. He'll mess around for 5-10 minutes at least. Many times he finds the track and continues on but if he can't figure it out then he comes back to find me. After the first rabbit I took him on a walk to where he lost the track and along the way he opened up on a track and off he went. I'm pretty sure it was a different rabbit by where it ran. The GPS showed he was 0.12 miles away at the furthest point. He brought it all the way around to within 50 yards of me and lost the track. He never did pick it back up and I couldn't find a hole so I'm not sure what happened.

We had been out 3 hours and it was time to head back to the truck. Of course on the way I was kicking brush piles and managed to kick out another rabbit. I got Otis on the track and off he went. The rabbit made a full circle but was in some thick brush when I saw it with no opening in sight. I thought I could see it well enough at one point and took the shot. The rabbit took off through the brush and curved around to my left. I could barely see it moving in some thick briars about 30-40 yards away. I actually was not 100% sure if it was the rabbit or if I just saw a bird flitting about but I was pretty sure it was the rabbit. I moved up closer but stopped short thinking that if it was the rabbit, it would be better for Otis to move it out from under the brush.

Otis kept following the track and as usual he got to the shot site and became very confused by all the odor from the shot. This is definitely a work in progress with him. I just stood very still, mostly fixated on the clump of brush where I thought the rabbit was hiding. Otis started making wider circles searching for the track. He ended up crossing between me and the clump of brush and then approached the brush from the side opposite where the rabbit entered. When he got close the rabbit took off and a sight chase ensued. I had been suspecting that I had hit and wounded the rabbit by how it acted and was hoping Otis could have caught it. But the rabbit was on a mad dash and Otis lost sight of it but was still pushing it hard. The rabbit appeared to my left and was on a mad tear right in front of me. I raised my gun, told myself to focus and pulled the trigger. Have you ever forgotten to click the safety off your gun? Yep that happened. I started chuckling because what else could I do? The rabbit ran lickity-split out of sight.

Otis got up to where the rabbit crossed through where its previous track and the previous gunshot site all merged together. Once again he struggled at this point. I'd much rather the dog try to work things out on their own but we were all getting tired and I wanted him to get back on the track while it was still fresh as can be. So I called him over to where the rabbit ran in front of me and got him started again. Off he went the little speed demon that he is. His voice was filling up the air as he passed a big dirt mound and went out of view. Then all was quiet. Then almost immediately he came trotting back to me. Now that was totally odd. The few times he has tracked one to a hole, he started digging in the hole and did not want to leave. I was struggling to understand why the sudden stop and return. I started walking the direction the rabbit ran and when I got around the mound and then another 30 or so yards further, there laid the dead rabbit. Otis did not catch it I'm sure. I don't think he even mouthed it. It just died. When I dressed it out later, I found one pellet wound in the back of the chest and the chest was completely full of blood. What a crazy ending to the chase. But he brought it around one full circle to start and he got to track it to the end with just a little bit of help from me. So I'm calling this Otis' first solo rabbit. I'll have some video up on my YouTube channel when I get some time and I'll update this post then.

Dog Snow Carnivore Dog breed Fawn
 

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Thanks for sharing Blue. Great story! The first rabbit I ever killed was similar, ran out of sight, thought I missed, found him on the other side of the brush pile dead, Not a mark on him till I skinned him and found one lone pellet in the chest. Brought back a great memory of a hunt of mine from over 50 years ago.
 

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Thanks for sharing Blue. Great story! The first rabbit I ever killed was similar, ran out of sight, thought I missed, found him on the other side of the brush pile dead, Not a mark on him till I skinned him and found one lone pellet in the chest. Brought back a great memory of a hunt of mine from over 50 years ago.
That is the great thing about this "campfire" that we are gathered on to tell stories. I love when I read a story about someone else's hunt and it triggers a memory of one of my own hunts. Thanks for sharing that Uncle Mike.
 
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