Show Dog
Field & Stream|December 2019 - January 2020
Never mind her beer belly—when this beagle gets on a rabbit track, she’s a sight to behold
T. Edward Nickens

FOR ONCE, I CAN SEE THE dog. I hadn’t yet gotten a good look at my pal Scott Wood’s almost- famous beagle, Bailey. I’ve heard about her for a couple of years now, how she lives high on steak and bacon—to steal a Jimmy Buffet line—and camps on the sofa for nine months a year. Then, at the strike of the rabbit opener, she transforms from a chubby city pumpkin into a bunny-hunting machine. And for the last hour, Bailey has been exactly that.

She has run two rabbits in great, looping arcs through thick woods. Now I spot her, 5 feet away, nosing gingerly through a wall of greenbrier. She is literally suspended in air, having clawed into a wad of briers so thick, it holds her aloft. I watch, mesmerized, as Bailey turns herself almost upside down inside the vines and stickers, swimming a beagly backstroke with not a single foot on the ground. She doesn’t utter a peep. She fights for every inch. When she gets perhaps two claws’ worth of purchase on terra firma, she extricates herself from the black hole of thorns, takes a single deep breath, and buries her nose in the dirt. And then she’s off again, bolting down the scent trail.

BAILEY’S PACK

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