Running Rabbits and Saving Maters

Rick Bramwell

Running rabbits and saving maters

Thoughts From The Forest

Running rabbits and saving maters. Rabbit, quail, and pheasant season opened on November 1. I have not seen a quail in six years and the pheasants I released 20 years ago were seen heading north, single-file in the side ditch, shortly afterward. Rabbits, there have been plenty, until this year.

Dave Schlabaugh was the first to alert me. He went from seeing 10 or more rabbits down his long lane, each night, to seeing none.

Last winter, my dog Tramp had to go no further than the barn to jump a cottontail. Now, we are lucky to hit a hot trail on the entire seven acres.


Monday, I got home at sundown. I honked my horn three times-a signal to my beagle “Let’s go.” I’ve trained every one of my hounds to come to the car horn. This comes in handy if they get lost while chasing a deer. I drive down the road give the three blasts and out they come.

I didn’t carry a gun but wanted to see if we could jump a bunny on opening day. About halfway down my long fencerow, Tramp opened up. What a sweet sound to hear your hound trail a rabbit.

The next day, I hunted another property. The owner was supposed to join me but got busy. The extra growth from a warm and wet October made it all but impossible to get a shot. My beagle did his job, but I needed three additional hunters to bag one of these fables of the briar patch. . After the second rabbit holed in a pile of lumber, I clipped the lease on Tramp and headed for the truck.

While the warm October has been a blessing to my young tomato crop, I planted them from seed in early July, this current cold snap has forced me to be creative to keep the plants alive.

Most are in a raised bed, four on the ground and three in pots. The latter, I can put in the garage each night. I could cover the outdoor plants to protect them from frost, but when the forecast predicted a hard freeze, I needed heat.

I bought a bulk pack of chemical hand warmers and placed them at the base of the plants before covering them. Two more nights and they will be alright for another week.

My big fat red juicy tomato sure went well with a wild turkey breast and baked sweet potato.

The warm month of the Hunter’s Moon kept me in a fishing mode. I only deer hunted once. The evening after our four inches of rain, I scouted a small woods of just two acres. This spot is only good every other year when corn is planted around it. A lot of rain helps too because a nearby ditch is usually dry.

I went for a look-see in late September and found nothing but a doe and fawn track. However, when hunting pressure mounts up the road, deer begin showing up here.

In the past, I made the mistake of putting my stand on the edge of the woods. The deer could hear me climbing. Before daylight, there was a good chance of being busted on the way.

Two years ago, you may remember me killing a big buck on Thanksgiving morning. This is the same place.

This last scouting event had a different outcome. Lots of deer tracks and one very large set. The farmer will call when he begins picking his corn. Like Edward R. Murrel, I’ll be there.

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About Rick Bramwell 38 Articles
Grew up in rural Indiana fishing farm ponds and hunting woodlands. Bramwell has been writing outdoors for 48 years. He harvested the record typical whitetail for his county and hunts rabbits with his beagle Tramp. He fished bass tournaments, including Red Man, until 1989. Bramwell has put together an ultra-ultra light system for catching panfish that mostly involves tight-lining a small jig. He attended college at Indiana State and Anderson University. Bramwell has two sons in their 50s, Brian and Gregory. A daughter Jourdan age 27. His greatest memory: fishing trout, salmon and halibut in Alaska. Bramwell's passion, apart from the outdoors, has been coaching high school age fastpitch softball.