Get a group of rabbit hunters together for a conversation and it soon becomes obvious what they’re really talking about.
Shooting at rabbits isn’t the focus; that’s just incidental to a morning in the field. They’re talking about their dogs. Running those beagles is the reason for the hunt.
“It’s all about the dogs,” says Travis Thompson of Morenci.
Those dogs could run forever.
“Beagles are the most stubborn dog,” he said. “They don’t know you have to go back home and go to work.”
Travis was one of five area hunters who joined a trio from the Michigan Out-of-Doors television show Jan. 24 to go after rabbits. The group spent about six hours at Hickory Hill nursery northwest of Morenci.
Travis’s father, Don, called the Michigan Out-of-Doors office last June to suggest a rabbit hunt and he received a return call a few weeks ago. Kelly Gotch from the show said they were interested in watching the group run their dogs, but that’s not what Don had in mind.
“No, come down to hunt,” he told Gotch.
Nobody invites the trio to hunt, she told Don. That was a very unusual request. She promised to get back with him after discussing the invitation with producers Jimmy Gretzinger and Gabe Van Wormer.
She called back and the date was set.
“None of us slept very well the night before worrying about the weather,” Travis said, but in the end everything worked out just fine.
“You couldn’t have asked for a better day,” said Ed Eyer of Wauseon.
He was at the Thompson home Sunday morning with his brother, Tony, and dog running companion Joe Dillinger of Leipsic, Ohio.
“They were real down-to-earth people,” Don said about the television crew. “It was a good group. And all of them got rabbits.”
Tony said he let a few run by in an effort to make sure everybody, especially Kelly, went home with a rabbit.
“I could have had seven or eight rabbits that day,” he said. “We worked hard that day getting them a rabbit.”
Van Wormer, behind the camera, had his own challenge. It wasn’t easy to capture an image of a dog in close pursuit.
“They should have given me the camera,” Tony said. “You’ve got to move.”