Running Pen Size for Cottontail

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PABeagler
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:16 pm

Running Pen Size for Cottontail

Post by PABeagler » Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:57 am

What would be the minimum size running pen for cottontail if you only run 3 dogs?

HBmudbug
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Re: Running Pen Size for Cottontail

Post by HBmudbug » Fri Dec 30, 2016 10:32 am

20 acres

PABeagler
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Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:16 pm

Re: Running Pen Size for Cottontail

Post by PABeagler » Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:01 am

That's what I was thinking; somewhere between 20-25 acres provided the cover is good.

BCBeagles
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Location: West Virginia

Re: Running Pen Size for Cottontail

Post by BCBeagles » Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:38 pm

We have a pen that is 15....with very heavy cover...tree tops and extreme cover. We run up to 6 in it for 3-4 hours no problem...it has worked for us.

It does have several rabbits in it...that helps.
Jim Hall
BUFFALO CREEK KENNELS

BREEDING HOUNDS FOR FIELD PERFORMANCE
GUN HUNTERS AND TRIALERS WELCOME ANYTIME! I WILL RUN ANY AND ALL HOUNDS IN MY KENNEL UPON REQUEST.

PABeagler
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Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:16 pm

Re: Running Pen Size for Cottontail

Post by PABeagler » Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:14 pm

Thanks BC Beagles. Back in the early 80's I use to run one dog in an area that couldn't have been more than 10 acres, but we could run all day. The cover was very thick with hard hack, blueberry bushes, laurel, etc.

gfedor
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Re: Running Pen Size for Cottontail

Post by gfedor » Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:07 pm

Are you building a running pen, where in pa, that would be awesome

Jonboy
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Location: K.Y.

Re: Running Pen Size for Cottontail

Post by Jonboy » Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:32 pm

You will ruin dogs in small pen if you run them in there alot I have a 30 acre pen why is the rabbit always run the same way. And every were they stick there noise they smell rabbit but they r nice after a hard day's work I would say a good running pen to really condition dogs in should be over 100 Acer in I use mine to start Pups in r solo only .
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rabbitearl
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Re: Running Pen Size for Cottontail

Post by rabbitearl » Fri Dec 30, 2016 8:06 pm

I have seven pens that are ten to eighteen acres and that is plenty big for 3 dogs, the bigger the pen, the more problems you are going to have. More rabbits in a bigger pen, a lot more money, more problems with something hitting the fence.Take 15 rabbits and put in a 12 ac pen and then put 15 in a 100 ac pen. You will see a differ in each one. I would want to walk around a small pen every day than a great big pen every day. So I would say ten to twelve acres is good with rabbits. I am getting ready to build another pen and all ready had someone to say. Don t make it to big.

Shady Grove Beagles
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Location: east,Tn..

Re: Running Pen Size for Cottontail

Post by Shady Grove Beagles » Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:55 pm

I would agree with jonboy that you can create many bad habits in your hounds running them in smaller pens.Pen rabbits run NOTHING like a wild rabbit.
I belonged to a beagle club when i lived in New Hampshire that had three enclosures;125 acres,90 acres and the puppy pen or starting pen that was 25 acres.
Granted these were for hare but i think that many of the same issues are present.The bigger enclosures approximated running on wild rabbits to a much greater degree.The smaller pen was limited to dogs under a year of age and once the dog could put a full circle on their rabbit they were expected to not be run in the 25 acre pen anymore and graduated to the larger enclosures.
As jonboy mentioned the smaller pens tend to be saturated with scent and dogs can get to running around expecting to jump rabbits with out having to really search for them.
I don't agree with rabbitearl about having a lot of rabbits in a pen.I think 15 rabbits in a 12 acre enclosure is too many.15 in a hundred acres will develop your hound into more of a gun dog than those pens with rabbits running everywhere
When guys take dogs to a starting pen they want to get their moneys worth so they like to see rabbits running everywhere and their pups opening right off.That's fine if you only do it for a day or two.Anymore than that you're not doing the pup any favors.
And last but not least it depends on what type/style of beagles you are running in that pen.If you're running 3 UBGF type hounds you might be able to run them in a smaller pen for several hours. I've watched an entire entry at UBGF trials run all the casts entered in the same 15-20 acre field and never leave it all day.
On the other hand you put down 3 hard hitting run to catch type hounds and leave them in a smaller pen you'll either start loosing your rabbits or the dogs will run them down to the point that they will die from being stressed.
For 15 years i lived over in middle Tn. and had a 100 acre fox pen across the bean field in front of my house and a 200 acre fox pen adjoining my land behind the house. At times I'd go and hang out with the fox hunters while the hounds ran.From time to time they'd have several hounds that would drive too hard and they'd hem up the fox/coyote and kill them.They'd get rid of those hounds as soon as they could.I figured those were their best hounds and asked why they got rid of them.They said because the fox/coyotes cost them too much money and they didn't want those fast hounds catching/killing all their game.They wanted the slower type hound that they could sit on the porch and just listen to them run the fox all night.
So a lot of it will depend on the size of the pen and type of beagle you're running.
As always JMHO.
Home of a true hunting beagle that run to catch

PABeagler
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Re: Running Pen Size for Cottontail

Post by PABeagler » Sat Dec 31, 2016 11:17 am

My dogs are run-to-catch.

I am to build a running pen because I am running out of places to run my dogs. If I build a pen, I will still look for more places to run. I wouldn't run them in the pen every day and I would limit the running time to about four or five hours a day. Based on my experience it is imperative to run them in different places to fully develop them. Running them in the same spot over and over again is similar (not exact) to running them in a pen. It restricts them from being exposed to different conditions and situations.

How is running in a small pen any different from running them on a small piece of land? I have a place where I run hare that is about 350 yards wide by 600 yards long. Once you get past that perimeter it is open woods and it is very rare that the hare will go there.

mjd
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Location: indiana

Re: Running Pen Size for Cottontail

Post by mjd » Sat Dec 31, 2016 11:54 am

Around my area your lucky to find a patch to hunt thats much over an acre if that ,roads are a mile apart at the most and usually roads every 1/4 and 1/2 mile in between ,the biggest place i had to run was at beagle club and they were under 15 acres ,i didnt join the club anymore and fenced in about 7 acres at my place
Ive never had any problems with dogs running anywhere we go ,but if it gets to that point ill just listen to them in my 7 acre pen ,but over 40 years of doing it this way i dont see it changing

Hare Chaser
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Re: Running Pen Size for Cottontail

Post by Hare Chaser » Sat Dec 31, 2016 8:11 pm

I belong to a beagle club in central VT. We host a couple Large Pack on Hare trials a year. One AKC Licensed the other is AKC Sanctioned. The difference being no points are applied towards the FC title at the sanctioned trial. AKC is not involved at all except the trial is judged by AKC Rules. We have 150 acres fenced in and have beautiful cover that is the same as the type we hunt/run in on the outside.

Here's what I see happens to hounds that are run the majority of the time in enclosures:

Many don't handle well. They aren't being worked through cover by their owners because there is an abundance of game.
Many aren't broke from off game because we don't have any off game in the pen. Hare in an enclosure stay much closer in front of the dogs. If they run out to far in front they often will run into another dog. Dogs run constantly in enclosures get use to running on much stronger Hare scent because there is a way above average population of hare compared to what there is in most normal settings in the wild. Consequently some hounds will always be looking for stronger scent to open on whereas the dog run primarily in the wild requires less scent to open. There are paths, both from humans and game trails in a pen. Hounds will often skirt on these trails trying to cut off the game. Since there are often other people running their dogs (in a club setting) when you are, your dogs will get to where they hark more easily to other dogs, leaving their own work to join a new race.

Pens are a great place to condition dogs, start pups and get it firmly imbedded in their minds what they are after and in my case gives me a place to run during the way to long deer seasons we now have. In my opinion the best gun dogs are achieved by a steady diet of having to hunt, jump and keep its game on the run in the wild.

I understand many of you are constrained by circumstances I am not, but there is no substitute for developing an all around good gun dog being run the majority of the time in the wild.

Swampman
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Location: Wisconsin

Re: Running Pen Size for Cottontail

Post by Swampman » Sat Dec 31, 2016 10:51 pm

Hare Chaser wrote:I belong to a beagle club in central VT. We host a couple Large Pack on Hare trials a year. One AKC Licensed the other is AKC Sanctioned. The difference being no points are applied towards the FC title at the sanctioned trial. AKC is not involved at all except the trial is judged by AKC Rules. We have 150 acres fenced in and have beautiful cover that is the same as the type we hunt/run in on the outside.

Here's what I see happens to hounds that are run the majority of the time in enclosures:

Many don't handle well. They aren't being worked through cover by their owners because there is an abundance of game.
Many aren't broke from off game because we don't have any off game in the pen. Hare in an enclosure stay much closer in front of the dogs. If they run out to far in front they often will run into another dog. Dogs run constantly in enclosures get use to running on much stronger Hare scent because there is a way above average population of hare compared to what there is in most normal settings in the wild. Consequently some hounds will always be looking for stronger scent to open on whereas the dog run primarily in the wild requires less scent to open. There are paths, both from humans and game trails in a pen. Hounds will often skirt on these trails trying to cut off the game. Since there are often other people running their dogs (in a club setting) when you are, your dogs will get to where they hark more easily to other dogs, leaving their own work to join a new race.

Pens are a great place to condition dogs, start pups and get it firmly imbedded in their minds what they are after and in my case gives me a place to run during the way to long deer seasons we now have. In my opinion the best gun dogs are achieved by a steady diet of having to hunt, jump and keep its game on the run in the wild.

I understand many of you are constrained by circumstances I am not, but there is no substitute for developing an all around good gun dog being run the majority of the time in the wild.
Good post!

Newt
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Re: Running Pen Size for Cottontail

Post by Newt » Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:50 am

Harechaser you make some interesting observations but you were addressing Hare and the OP was asking about Cottontail enclosures.

If you have adequate cover and limit the number of hounds in the enclosure, I don't see a problem with ten to twelve acre enclosures. Cottontails in enclosures that are ran often, change their running habits in order to survive. They learn to use tricks rather than speed. If you have "run to catch hounds" that run hit or miss they are usually exposed by educated cottontails and have a difficult time staying on a line.
If you like hard driving big circles then small enclosures are not the way for you.

Swampman
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Location: Wisconsin

Re: Running Pen Size for Cottontail

Post by Swampman » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:32 am

I beg to differ.
I use to belong to a club (cottontail) that was a 20 enclosure where they ran slow hounds (UBGF).
When I would run my hounds there they would catch rabbits.
My hounds are quick but by no means hookers and swingers, they run the line and snap back and get checks quickly.
It just wasn't a big enough area for quicker hounds.
Yes, I do have hunting spots that are 20 acres, but they don't run long there before they go to refuge.
If you have quick, line running, good check hounds, cottontails don't stay up long.

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