Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rabbit sloggin'

Memphis firefighters Marty Cook and Todd Kania (in orange vest) hold up rabbits after claiming third place and the heaviest rabbit at the 2012 Rabbit Roundup in Richmond.

MAHFS photo by Mac Arnold

By Mac Arnold
MAHFS editor

Marysville Dan, along with his 14-year-old son Andrew, and I slogged through the wintry mix during the third annual Killer B's Rabbit Roundup in Richmond on Saturday, Jan. 28, but the only rabbit we tasted was from the Francis' mystery chili back at the homestead.

I knew 10 minutes into the hunt I wasn't dressed properly but there was no quit in me and I gutted it out well knowing the first-place prize likely wasn't in our future since we got a later start than everyone else.

About an hour into the hunt I jumped a furry bunny, in fact, right under my feet practically, but rushed the first shot from the Browning 12-gauge over/under and missed again as my footing gave way on a slick fallen sapling beneath the snow.

Then a half hour later, I heard a shot ring out from Marysville Dan and his son's direction. I was hoping he at least would break our luckless fortune at that point.

But a text 10 minutes later confirmed my suspicions that our game bags would still be empty.

I had been trailing the rabbit's tracks I shot at and was feeling much like Elmer Fudd, "Shushhhh, be veweey quiet, I'm wabbit hunting," and was having just as much luck.

As usual, Rusty, my mixed Lab, was merely tagging along for morale support and was doing little other than occasionally getting on the trail and heading somewhat in the rabbit's direction.

The blowing snow was turning into blowing sleet and rain after two hours. I knew at that point we had to abort driving to another spot from the Lapeer State Game Area where we were at and just hunt on.

There could have been worst places to be so I remained optimistic while taking a break leaning back on a small maple on top of a giant oak that had dropped next to it. I was trying out some advice from a rabbit hunting pal of mine in West Virginia. Butch told me during our hunt of long ago to try stationing yourself on higher ground and wait to see if the cottontail would creep past your setup.

Of course, Butch had a team of beagles that ran like thoroughbreds through the multiflora rose and brambles.

After there was no sign of "Hoppy," I continued on after the short break to make sure we could get back by the 2 p.m. deadline.

Marysville Dan and his son met me at the truck right on cue. Despite no rabbits bagged, it was a successful hunt: we had fun, we had some action and everybody made it back in good shape, even Rusty.

Congratulations goes out to the first-place team of Kurt Esper and Marv Smith, who took in a cool $110; second place went to Kyle Jaynes and Pete Weirmier, $65; and third place to the famous Memphis firefighter combo of Marty Cook and Todd Kania, $40. Cook and Kania also fattened their purse with the heaviest rabbit and added $110 to their take.

And last but not least, the Killer B's baseball team made $310 in donations for its upcoming 2012 season.


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