ATCO Plantation - RABBIT HUNTING MEMORIES
A PACK OF DOGS
My Dad and Uncle, Frank Sutton, bought some beagles together when I was a child. They put together a decent pack and hunted all the time. I can remember identifying the distinct barking of individual dogs, and could tell if the hunt would be good or not. If the dogs circled it was usually a cotton tail. Sometimes they would get on the trail of a swamp rabbit and away they would go. It is still exciting when the dogs “ jump ” a rabbit.
My Uncle, T. L. Paulk, loaned me a shotgun when I was a boy. It was a single shot 20 gauge that had a broken ejector. Every time it was fired, the shell would stick in the barrel. I can remember breaking off a dog fennel and carrying the stick with me. The stick was shoved into the barrel until it forced the shell out. After my father saw that hunting was in my blood, he bought me a FIE single shot 20 gauge with a full choke. I shot a lot of rabbits with that gun. The ejector was very strong and I would eject the shell into the air and catch it. When I turned 16, my father bought me a Remington 1100 (12 gauge, 28” barrel, and a modified choke). That was over 30 years ago and I still use that shotgun.
The woods were full of thick briars back then, and that made everyone tough. I remember seeing dogs with briar thorns all over their noses and their ears would be bleeding from the scratches. It was just as tough on a boy. My aunt, Peggy Sutton, decided something should be done for me and my cousin, Frank Sutton. She sewed strips of thick vinyl onto jeans and he was able to push right through the briars. My mother did the same thing for me and rabbit hunting took on a new perspective. We could push through briars, and the rabbits were in big trouble.