By Rev. Bob Ford When I was a kid, a rainy day could put me into a funk. I would stare out the window in disbelief that the skies had conspired against me. Ideally, I felt, it should rain at night and be nice during the day. It is nice to believe that I have overcome Continue reading →
It is back to school time, and the first way that I can tell is the lurching-yellow-behemoth school buses that have returned to the highways. School districts may deliberate to get the best educators, but it seems that they draw names out of a hat with names of paroled felons to find the people who Continue reading →
By Bob Ford Sometimes, the weddings that I officiate as a pastor are not the most fun. A lot of the time I get a phone call that goes something like this. “Hello,” I answer. “Yes, is this the pastor?” a stranger asks. “Yep, can I help you?” “Yes, can you do a wedding for Continue reading →
I recently attended The Outdoor Writers Association of America’s annual gathering. This year we met in Billings, Montana. I consulted my research department (a friend with high speed internet and a Google browser) and discovered that there is no hunting season for rabbits in Montana. I mean, rabbits are not considered game. So, in other Continue reading →
– by Bob Ford “I am not sure why they call it the ‘dog days’ of summer,” I said to my wife, Renee. “Who cares,” she rolled her eyes, “I hope this doesn’t lead to one of your rambling rants.” “Think about it,” I tapped the kitchen table with my index finger to emphasize my Continue reading →
Talking Dogs – By Bob Ford We are officially into field trial season in the world of AKC beagles. Field trials are a great opportunity to get out and talk about beagles with other people that actually care what I am saying. What I mean by that, is my wife would rather schedule an optional, Continue reading →
In one week’s time I successfully hunted three species of bunnies in three states with my beagles. You could do the same with birds or squirrels, depending on what type of dogs you have. The week in question began with an eastern cottontail shot in my home state of Pennsylvania on Tuesday, October 27th.
I don’t mean to digress into the particulars of calendars, but there are two that have some importance at this time of year. One is the liturgical calendar, and for the Western church this means that advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, or December 25. Many orthodox Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Continue reading →
One of the things about field trials that escape the minds of many folks is that the vast majority of the credit from a win rests squarely on the withers of the dog and not the shoulders of the owner. A wise man owns a good dog and feels blessed for the experience, and a fool owns a great one and thinks, “Everybody will know me now!” I do not mean to imply that there is no training that goes into the formation of a hunting dog. Indeed there is plenty of training. There is also lots of conditioning. This is especially true for beagles. Many times a beagle trial ends in the afternoon heat and the best conditioned dog will rise to the top.
Versatile hunting breeds are all the rage today and I have to tell you that I am more than just a little disappointed that the beagle is not recognized as one of them. No doubt, it has to do with the fact that many of the versatile uses of the beagle come in an accidental fashion. For instance, a beagle goes into the thickets looking for a rabbit and a squirrel runs up a tree. Next thing you know, the squirrel is in the game vest. Beagles are good at flushing birds too—doves, woodcock, grouse, and pheasant have all become part of my beagles’ repertoire. In fact, some of my hounds have circled stocked pheasant while tonguing on the scent trail. I got my limit (two) of stocked pheasant last year and never fired a shot—Duke ran them down in the brush and retrieved what I discovered to be previously wounded birds. Why do I mention the mixed bag approach to hunting with our canine companions? Thanksgiving is the reason, and if you start now you can prepare an alternative Thanksgiving like I do. Start freezing meat, by species, and you will be a big hit at Thanksgiving.