Timís Hound Blog
An effort at sharing random news, thoughts, and hunting stories from Tim and the Woodpont Beagles.......
Woodpont Marshall (10-28-13)
I wanted to show off a 5 month old puppy that I am rather proud of. This is Woodpont Marshall, who is very close to the type of hound I am trying to breed. He is very athletic, bouncing around the kennels as if on springs, and has a great temperament and intelligence. He has many of the show traits, but without the (useless) heavy show type. This hound should be a hard wearing all day hunter when properly conditioned. He already has a coonhound voice, passed down from his grandmother Madcap, so I look forward to hearing him in the pack on toward springtime. Sire: Woodpont Mayor, Dam: Woodpont Birdcall. The beagle world could use a few more hounds of this type!
Fall Hunting (9-29-13)
Rabbit populations appear to be up this year. The hounds are having no problem finding something to run, but the chases are generally shorter than normal. A 30 minute run this time of year is a good one for me. But there is always another rabbit nearby, and I expect there will be enough left over for good runs throughout the winter and next spring. The rabbit population here on our farm is very good this year.
Suggestions to a Young Beagler (9-22-13)
In no particular order, here is some advice, particularly to a young person interested in being a breeder:
1. Decide what you want and persist until you get it.
2. Donít discard hound after hound. None of them are perfect, but start with the best you can buy and try to improve. Frank Reese said ďyou have to work with the hounds you haveĒ, and I think that is true within reason.
3. Get out and visit some kennels and watch them hunt on their home turf with their kennel mates. Spare no time or expense as you build your line.
4. Breed for more than just a trial dog. Keep in mind the beagle is to be a hunting dog first.
5. Read everything you can, including reading about other types of hounds and dogs, since you can learn anywhere from anyone.
6. Study your pedigrees and try to find out about the hounds in them.
7. Watch the people you deal with. Deal with those you can trust regarding pedigrees, etc.
8. Stay in school and get an education in a field that will allow you to live in an area good for hunting, such as a rural area. Itís harder to hunt if you must live in a large city to find work. Healthcare is a good choice.
9. Donít force yourself to run hounds every day. So many do this, and I think you can get too much of a good thing and become burned out. Itís better to run them a few times each week so you are always looking forward to the next outing. Itís fun, not work.
10. Get your first hounds from someone who has raised a family of hounds, and then stick with that family at least for the first few crosses. If you jump about in your breeding choices, it will be harder to have consistent results.
11. When making your start in beagles, concentrate mostly on females. Later, after you build your line, you can add males. You need the females at first to continue on. Males are a dead end, so to speak.
12. Join an organization or two that is protecting our hunting rights. I would suggest the NRA and the U.S. Sportsmenís Alliance.
13. If you can afford it, consider buying property where you can run hounds on your own land.
14. Watch your hounds closely so you can evaluate them. Hunt in the daytime, and get off the tailgate to follow them.
15. If you breed, do it with the intention of making the next generation of your line better than what you currently have. If it does not get better, take a hard look at the cross and decide if you want to breed on or start over by re-breeding the original female.
Photo: Woodpont running at Crown City, Sept 2013.
Outcrosses I Have Made (7-4-13)
Looking at my records from 35 years of breeding beagles, it is interesting to note the outcrosses made to produce this strain of hounds. For these purposes, let's agree that an outcross is breeding two unrelated individuals, or at least unrelated for 6-10 generations, since all hunting beagles in America are related if you trace the pedigrees back as far as about the 1940s or so. Most outcrosses worked but some did not. It has been several years since the last outcross, that being to a dog from Stan Hepler's Misty Mountain Kennels in Pennsylvania. Some of the hounds from this litter were a little too conservative for me, although one female, Covergirl, is very good in my pack today. She was sold to a nice gentleman in Kentucky as a puppy and then repurchased when he started to have health problems and could not hunt with her. (In photo at right, Covergirl is leading the pack).
The first real outcross I made as a breeder was to Glenbarr Wolver Hazzard in 1987. I was trying to add some of the famous Nantucket-Treweryn formal pack bloodlines to my lines, but nothing was used to carry on from this cross. I still wish I had been able to keep some N-T bloodlines, as they were perhaps the best running pack of beagles I ever saw.
Another big outcross from about that same time was the addition of Woodpont Joker to my kennels. His contributions to the gene pool were drive, size, chop voice, and some of the black and tan coloring. He took the Little Ireland hounds I started with and added "grit" to them. Joker was from Larry Carter's kennel, but was mostly Showfield bloodline, which was an old show kennel from near Dayton, OH.
Five generations into my breeding program, I had a female named Woodpont Beauty, who was a combination of the Joker x Little Ireland lines, but sired herself by Indian Hills Rowdy. Beauty was one of those hounds who could look tremendous when things were just right for her, and make you scratch your head at other times. She had a high-pitched screaming voice and other hounds would fly to her when she spoke. She was very fast, and like many good ones, she sometimes could be a little too much so. She placed many times at SPO trials in Ohio and West Virginia, and I will never forget her performance at the NBC Triple Challenge at Aldie, Virginia in 1997 when she dominated the Stake Class and won best 13 inch. She drove a rabbit at full speed clear across the enclosure right through the gallery never missing a turn on the paths while all but a couple of the other 30 hounds were trying to climb the fence to go after a deer.
I mention Beauty because the three current Woodpont female lines go back to her, and all of them started with an outcross of Beauty onto a different field champion. This gave me enough genetic diversity in the kennel to be able to cross these lines back and forth in the future, something I am still doing today. I had been judging a lot of field trials up to that time, and saw some lines I wanted to add to what I had. Some of these lines were becoming rare, as the popularity among field trialers in the Branko hounds was really taking off.
Her first cross was to a Mississippi dog named FC. Boggy Holler Buddie, who actually had some Little Ireland lines, so he technically was not a real outcross as defined above. From this litter I got a nice female named Banner, whose line is represented by Tally and young Beeswax in the kennels today.
Beauty's second litter was by Field Champion Burton's Dan (see photo on Past Hounds page). I had judged FC. Andy's Clover Patches, Dan's sire, and wanted some of that bloodline. Big black and tan Andy was one of the best hounds I ever saw at a trial. He finished in 3 trials with 3 wins in big classes in 3 different states. From this litter I got Woodpont Blessing, who is represented by Chimer, Cheerful, Charmer, Madcap, and Magical in the kennel today, as well as several of the males.
Litter and outcross number three for Beauty was to FC. Northway Ninja, during the time Bruce and John New brought this dog down to Kentucky from his home kennel in New York. From this cross I got Woodpont Birdsong, who is represented in the kennel today by Birdbaby and Birdcall, as well as most of the males. Birdsong's son, Woodpont Bruiser, has been written about several times in these blogs and is the dog we linebreed back to the most today.
The 1999 cross of Woodpont Music (see photo - from the Blessing line) to Show Champion Shaw's Spirit of the Chase produced Woodpont Chimer, who is still living and in many of our pedigrees today. Chase was the top producing show dog of his day, and most America show beagles today have him in their pedigrees. Chase's dam was Echo Run breeding, so I expected some hunting ability was there. There was also a dog in that litter named Woodpont Charger, who did a lot of winning in the UKC trials for other owners.
A cross with Woodpont Breezy (from the Banner line) in 2006 to an Echo Run show beagle owned by Hal Davis in Lima, Ohio, produced Woodpont Tackler, Tassel and Tawny. Tackler in particular has made an impact on the pack, particularly through his 2011 litter with Woodpont Madcap. From Madcap's litter, we have Mailman, Mayor, Magical and Mayfly hunting in the pack today. You will be hearing more about these hounds in coming years. Tackler was tragically killed by an auto last December, putting an end to a fine hound in the prime of his life.
Other outcrosses did not work so well, such as the crosses I made to Bramlett's Bear and to Pee Wee's Grizz. Both of these dogs were from the Bramlett line, which I have always thought was very similar in hunting style to my hounds, but the conformation I got from them was such a step backward that I did not carry on with hounds from either cross. I still think the Bramlett hounds might cross well with mine, but they do not have the high class conformation I require, which is true of most any straight field bred line out there today. To get top conformation, you just have to have a little show blood in the pedigree somewhere.
Looking back, I find that the great majority of the crosses I have made have been to hounds related to my own, which is "sticking to the family" they say. I did this probably more for conformation than anything else, since hounds bred like mine generally have enough show blood to not destroy the conformation improvements already achieved. This has been my greatest challenge, meaning trying to breed a top hunting hound that is built properly. Straight field or straight show crosses generally leave something lacking in this quest.
Going forward, I expect outcrosses to be rare for me, but there are a couple of lines that interest me, on both the show and field sides. I expect the best results will continue to come from using my own males, however. I have made an effort over the last 10 years or so to keep more males with this in mind.
Ticks are bad in my home running areas this spring. We now have the tiny deer ticks, which have arrived just in the past couple of years. Some are so small as to be nearly invisible, especially to an old fellow like me who no longer has perfect eyesight! (See photo compared to the size of a dime). They climb quickly, and it is nearly impossible for a person to feel them as they move up your body. They are adept at gaining entry into clothes, so I have been making a habit of checking every article of clothing after hunting, and every area of the body. I fear an epidemic of Lyme Disease is coming, particularly for those of us who spend a lot of time in the woods in springtime. Look out turkey hunters!
So far only certain areas have the deer ticks, it seems. I found none in Morgan County (see story below), but on a trip to the Vinton Experimental Forest in southern Vinton County, the small ticks were all over me, and the hounds. Other areas seem to have a mix the new deer ticks, the new lone star ticks, and the regular old dog ticks we have always had.
I would be very interested to hear from others who are dealing with deer ticks, such as how to live with them, their effect on hounds, etc. This is all something new for me, and definitely not something we wanted.
Morgan County! (5-1-13)
Before the Public Hunting Areas closed in Ohio on May 1, I decided to take the hounds to the Wolf Creek Wildlife Area in central Morgan County, Ohio on April 30th. I had not been there in years, but have fond memories of many good gun hunts there back in the 80s and 90s. I loaded up 14 hounds in the pre-dawn fog and made it to Morgan County just as the sun was peaking over the hills. To an old rabbit hunter like me, probably nowhere in Ohio is any more beautiful than Morgan County. It is very rural, depressed economically, but around nearly every curve (and there are lots of curves there) it seems there is a spot where you would love to work the hounds. Any hound person would love to live there.
Woodpont Covergirl started a rabbit before I even had my boots on. The pack piled in with her and they went away in a roar. That rabbit ran uphill, crossed a road, and ran back and forth around a hillside for some time while I watched and listened from the road. I had 7 males and 7 females out, so the blend of voices was everything from deep booming chops to high squeals and everything in between. We certainly filled the sleepy little valley with sound. Rabbits were easy to find, so the pack switched rabbits a few times early in the morning.
Eventually we worked our way to a small section of cover surrounded by open fields. The hounds had a couple of rabbits up, and would run out across the fields and back to the small (maybe 1 acre) bit of cover. After a half hour or so of this, I was getting bored and the hounds were struggling from running over the same area again and again. Across the lower field below where they were running was a small stream. I happened to look over that way during a lull in the action and noticed across the stream was a brushy hillside full of autumn olive and mutiflora rose, with what appeared to be just enough cover to hold a few rabbits, with room to run if they found one. I had never been over there before, but decided to give it a shot.
Let me say I canít stress how important it is for rabbits to have room to run, if you plan to have a really good chase. I think back to the days when I was in college in Cincinnati and all the little bits of cover around the city where I used to take my hounds. Those rabbits had nowhere to go, so they would not give you an exciting chase like you can get in big areas. When I hear people talk about the effects of development or ďprogressĒ on their hunting areas, I think about this. In Morgan County, there is room to run.
I called the hounds to me, and started across the field toward the stream. There was a crossing where the tractors went over, so we waded across and I sent the hounds into an area of blackberry and honeysuckle on the other side. Birdbaby and Chicory immediately started a rabbit. The rabbit went away uphill to the right and I followed up a grassy lane running up the middle of the hillside. For the next 55 minutes, all over that hillside, I have never heard my hounds run better. Some of the running was to my right, and some to the left, so occasionally they would cross the grassy lane. By moving up and down the path, I saw the rabbit numerous times and took a few photos of the hounds crossing. Ben Hardaway once said ďit ainít bragging if you really done itĒ, so I can brag a bit and say those hounds put on a terrific demonstration of the way a pack of hounds should pursue their quarry. Checks were short and few, and the lead hounds switched constantly. Because they are bred so much alike, these hounds think the same way, work checks together and run at the same speed. After nearly an hour, I began to think the rabbit would be caught soon, so after a check in an autumn olive filled ravine, I took the opportunity to call them off and save a great running rabbit.
The temperature had risen about 25 degrees by now and it was getting warm, so I roaded the hounds back to the truck, with just one brief detour for a short chase caused by a young rabbit the hounds started next to the road. I bumped them off the little fellowís track and moved them on at the first opportunity.
Hounds out on this super last day of April 2013 were: Manager, Brawler, Smoker, Birddog, Biker, Mayor, Mailman, Chicory, Birdbaby, Tally, Covergirl, Madcap, Magical, and Mayfly.
Springtime is My Time! (3-26-13)
March 15 to April 15 in Ohio is my favorite time of year. Rabbits are running big this year. Below are some photos from Saturday, March 23, 2013. Hounds rans almost non-stop for nearly 4 hours in a big wild area. We chased numerous rabbits this day. Several female hounds missed the action due to being in season.
This first photo shows Birdbaby leading the 13 hound pack across an open field. This rabbit made a huge fast circle around a hillside and around and across this open field and was eventually caught by the hounds.
This next photo shows the hounds working the line down a trail. In the lead is Woodpont Mailman, and behind him is is brother Mayor (green collar), and behind Mayor is their sister, Magical (red collar). On Mayor's left is their dam, Madcap, with the white blaze between her eyes. We don't hold the bit of white color against her.
Next is a photo showing them driving across the field. Cheerful and Manager are lagging behind the others. They were feeling their age by this point in the day. Manager can still run up with the pack, but old Cheerful is at the end of her hunting time. She is the grandmother of Madcap, and great-grandparent to Madcap's offspring mentioned above. Leading the pack is Woodpont Mayor, who eventually ran down a very tired rabbit near the thicket just ahead of them.
The photo below is a tired Woodpont Mayor (Tackler x Madcap). He and his littermates are the 13th generation of the Woodpont line, dating back over 30 years. This hound represents very close to the ideal we are trying to breed. He is Rule of Five linebred to Woodpont Bruiser, meaning Bruiser is in 2nd generation on one side of the pedigree and 3rd generation on the other, but Mayor's conformation represents an improvement over Bruiser, primarily in size, bone and heavy coat. This dog is built to stand a lot of work for many years. He has the great desire to search for game that Bruiser passed on, along with a heavy chop note for his voice. He works a track with speed and yet reasonable closeness, even under pressure in a large pack. He shows the family color. I have bred to Mayor for a May litter to see what type of puppies he will produce for us.
Saturday's Chase (2/17/13)
I am hoping yesterday's chase was an indication of things to come this spring, because if it is I am going to have a lot of fun. After some fair chases out in some open fields I decided to try something different and walked the 16 hound pack down the road a short distance and over a hill into a more wooded area. The ridgetop I climbed up to was shaped like a huge "L", with the bottom of the L being cutover from a pine tree harvest, and the side of the L being scrubby woods. Inside the L were steep wooded hollows with small areas of cutover from selective tree harvesting, and outside the back of the L was a steep hillside of open grassland. Hope you get some picture from that.
Around 1:30 pm, after searching for some time, maybe 30 minutes, the hounds found a rabbit. I don't even remember which hound got the jump. I was bent over inspecting the bases of some autumn olive bushes that rabbits had chewed when the hounds started to open in a patch of briars behind me. They went away downhill into the woods, going deep into the wooded hollows and off into the distance. The hound music coming up out of those hollows was tremendous and thrilling. I eventually followed them. They ran that rabbit all over that area, from woods, to cutover, to grassy hillside, and back until 2:45, which is a very long chase for my hounds. Some of the time they were driving, but a lot of the time the hounds were forced to get down to a walk and pick away until they could get back to running again. Excellent hound work! I saw the rabbit 3 times, and if I hadn't been so determined to watch the hounds, I could have seen it more. Much of my time was spent up on stumps trying to see what I could of the action. Eventually it went up into a big hollow tree that had been broken off by a storm and stood leaning against some other trees. Chicory was up inside the tree letting me know what happened.
Here is a report on each hound out:
Manager: His big lion roar solved many checks as he always does. At past 9 years, he is still in his prime and can do it all.
Brawler: His ringing chop came out of so many checks during the run, leading the pack through the woods.
Smoker: His high squealing voice put them right several times, particularly in the heavy leaves in the woods. May have to breed from him this year.
Tapster: Heavy chop noticed mostly on the drives and short checks when he would grab a turn. His big voice really stands out.
Birddog (Tackler x Birthday): Heard him get a nice check when the pack had overrun a right turn while coming down a steep drop into a hollow.
Mayor (Tackler x Madcap): Did not get any checks, but his big chop could be heard among the leaders on the drives. I saw him running among the front 3 hounds a couple of times. Not bad for a youngster.
Mailman (Tackler x Madcap): Not as noticeable on the drives as his brother, but several times he helped them pick away with his big nose and big chop voice. I especially noticed him on the grassy hillside where the wind was blowing and the scent was more catchy.
Birdbaby: Got several nice checks and her high screaming voice made sure the others knew it!
Chicory: Saw her leading once as they came out of a cutover in the hollow into a more open area of woods. The others were right with her.
Cheerful: Cannot say I saw much from her, except maybe a little help on the tough spots in the leaves. I did notice she is struggling to keep with the others going uphill. Poor old girl. Will retire this year.
Covergirl: Her super nose helped tremendously when the scent was poor. I could hear her walking them out and throwing her yodeling voice.
Madcap: Big help on the driving and nosing out the short checks. Her booming chop really added to the symphony.
Birdcall (Tackler x Birthday): I was extremely impressed with her. She was perhaps the best at the driving, throwing up her head and giving her short squealing voice and moving on. I was especially happy with her on the tough open grassy hillside, leading them across the spots of bare ground found there. Great nose. Got to get puppies from her this year.
Magical (Tackler x Madcap): Did not see as much from Magic as I have seen at other times lately. She was right in there, but let her brothers outshine her on this day.
Mayfly (Tackler x Madcap): This youngster looked lost on the tough parts, but was right among the leaders when they were up and driving.
Tally: Also looked very good on the driving, putting them right several times. She and Birdcall were the best on the grassy hillside each time the rabbit came around.
All in all, I could not have asked for a better performance on a mid-February day with scenting that was none too good. Wish I hadn't forgotten the camera!
Reno Cole - Hound Breeder (2/12/13)
In 1935, Reno Cole, famous breeder of the Kishwaukee Beagles
was nearing the end of his hound breeding time. He started with beagles in 1898.
Here is what he said in his Dec. 1935 Hounds and Hunting advertisement:
"The Kishwaukee Beagles
It is no trick to breed field trial winners if no attention is paid to conformation, nor to breed show winners without reference to hunting ability, but to breed beagles that are beagles in every way, that is a different story. For many years our hounds have been bred with that object in view.
Reno B. Cole
R.F.D. No. 5
Few breeders of dual purpose hounds were as successful as Reno Cole. If you trace the pedigrees back on any beagle bred today in America, show beagle or field, you will find the Kishwaukee name. During the 1910s and 1920s, his Kishwaukee name was everywhere. Raised is the suburbs of West Chicago, Reno spent most of his life in central Wisconsin. He formed partnerships with other breeders from time to time, but also spent many years breeding on his own. By the time he gave up his beagles in the late 1930s, the breed was well on its way to separating into a show beagle and a field beagle, something that must have troubled him deeply.
For many years, Cole had P.A. Peterson as his partner, until Peterson's death in the early 1930s. Peterson started out using the Afton kennel name, and produced many famous beagles, with Afton's Uncle Sam being the most recognized. Eventually another dog breeder registered the Afton name and Peterson was forced to use another name to register his hounds with the AKC, so he used Papton for awhile and then eventually joined forces with Cole under the Kishwaukee prefix. The name Kishwaukee came from the Kishwaukee River in northern Illinois where Cole lived as a young man.
I will continue to update this post from time to time, so please check back if interested.
Look-alike Hounds! (2/11/13)
Check out this photo taken of the pack running hard on February 10, 2013. I had seen the rabbit go up the path on the other hillside and had the camera ready when the hounds came around. Some will tell you one of the disadvantages of breeding for a certain color is that your hounds get so much alike that you cannot tell them apart at a distance, as this photo clearly illustrates. Being able to hear voices helps, but I will admit I can identify only a couple of the hounds in this photo. Last in the picture is old Woodpont Cheerful, who turned 11 in December and no longer has the ability to run well up in the pack, particularly on an uphill grade such as this one. Her gray coat gives her away.
But they do look like a family of hounds, don't they?
And they DO NOT slot up!! ☺
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