Carcassonne. Beagle breed dogs, a hell of a talent for tracking rabbits

the requirement
From Thursday to Saturday, the rabbit hunting patent takes place for beagle dogs in the Aude. 72 dogs, belonging to owners from all over France, participated in this event and will qualify for the national final of Lunel in February 2023.

For the 20th consecutive year, the Aude delegation of the French Beagle Club, led by Fabrice Farneda, organized their rabbit hunting certificate. In collaboration with the hunters of Limoux, led by Philippe Satgé.

From Thursday October 27 to Saturday October 29, in Minervois, around Villemoustaussou and in Limoux, three stages took place where 72 beagle dogs were examined, measured, tested and noted. Dog owners come from all over France to participate in this event (Brittany, Alsace, Bordeaux, Var, Pyrénées-Orientales, Hérault).

Choosing the Best Hunting Dogs

“The goal is to select the best hunting dogs and the most beautiful”explained Jean-François Villenave, vice-president of the French beagle club and judge during these three days. “This then makes breeding possible. These dogs are recognized by the canine central in charge of pedigrees and the French club.” The beagle, an elegant and sporty dog, with short legs, comes from the English (see box). “He has a great ability to hunt. He is part of the 6th group, that of dogs like the artesian basset hound”continued Jean-François Villenave.

This hunting certificate takes place without a gun, with a pack of four dogs per owner leading them for a limited time in search of rabbits. This Friday morning, near Villemoustaussou, the competitors are in action. “It’s not easy today, the weather conditions are not necessary. In the sea breeze, the routes are not clear as opposed to Cers”Fabrice Farneda reports.

The trail language of the hunter is the set of traces that make it possible to identify the path of an animal. In the warrens of Villemacho, made of bushes, shrubs, bushes, between two plots of vines, the dogs are eagerly sniffing and searching. Under the watchful eye of Jean-François Villenave. “The criterion of making a good hunting dog is that he goes out and looks for a rabbit, which he leads by giving a sound to the hole. Ah, you hear, he growls, he must have found it.”

The passionate Fabrice Farneda practices this hunt with his beagles “exciting”. “I’m not going to take the gun. I’m going to go and enjoy watching my dogs work.”

In the no-kill method (without killing) for trout fishing, it is the tracking, the understanding of the behavior of the wild prey that comes first.

Especially since the rabbit resource has been depleted in recent decades. “It depends on the season. There are places where there are rabbits and then in other years it is over because they fall victim to myxomatosis. or viral hemorrhagic disease.”

An exciting find because “the rabbit is cunning” advocated by Jean-François Villenave. “He will implement strategies to get rid of the dog.” And that’s where the best beagles don’t get caught.

The beagle, a strong and popular dog

According to the references of the canine central, the beagle is an energetic, distinguished dog, of compact construction, lively and moving, whose head should be strong without weight, the square lip, with flat ears with well rounded top. The dark brown eyes have a lively expression, the whip is carried cheerfully. The hair is short and unruly. The beagle belongs to the category of hounds. Because of its ability, it tracks and moves its prey while screaming. The game with the dog on his heels, roams his territory on tracks that he already knows well. You should know that the dog cannot, in principle, catch the game, although sometimes it happens. He tracked her down by smell. During this chase, the game managed to put some distance between him and the dog. Depending on the game and the temperature conditions, a time of about thirty seconds to twenty minutes can pass between the game and the dog in the same area. And the dog can completely lose track of the game. The tricks used by the latter, such as the rabbit being very agile, sometimes frustrate the dog. It is believed that the dog will return the game to its master and the latter will just wait. In fact, it is not the dog that leads the hunt, but the game that decides where it goes. So the hunter must anticipate the game’s path and act to cut off its escape. Each hound is trained to track a particular game.

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