Rabbit Hunting with the Valentines at the Skinner Plantation
We had some great friends, Ed & Eddie Valentine, come in from Brockton, PA to stay with us and enjoy some southern rabbit hunting! We had a great hunt the first and third day but the best day was day 2 at the Skinner Plantation. We arrived at the Skinner Plantation around 9am and met with the landowners, Tom & Billy Skinner. They were excited to get after some rabbits and so were we! No time was wasted. Eddie Valentine collared up the dogs and everyone got their boom sticks in order.
We didn’t have to go far for the first rabbit to get jumped! They jumped and that rabbit checked out. Heading off the reservation and heading to a nearby field. He made a small loop and back he came. As he got back on us he made the mistake of running by me on open ground, BOOM! Big Bunny Down! That started the morning in the right direction, the dogs were fired up now.
The dogs started working their way to the thickest part of the property. Rabbits started shooting out everywhere! Off the dogs went again. They picked out one of the bunch and burned it up. They made a few tight loops and the rabbit shot out of the backside into another field. Big mistake. Dustin was jacked up and waiting to get a shot at his first rabbit ever. He rushed to the edge of the field and cut off the fast moving rabbit, BOOM! Dustin smoked his first rabbit. Billy headed over to Dustin so they could put the rabbit in his vest and just as Dustin was stuffing the rabbit in the back of Billy’s vest, the dogs jumped another rabbit and it shot out in the field right in front of Billy! BOOM! Attention… Attention… there has been a double rabbit homicide on the Skinner Plantation! Things were getting crazy over there.
The dogs made their way back to the thicket that all the rabbits had checked out from and instantly got on another rabbit. The next rabbit was trying to be sneaky and put the slip on us. Too bad Beth was standing there waiting to bust her first bunny as well. We caught him trying to be all ninja like and hug up next to this log that was between two nasty thickets. BOOM, she put the hurt on that Thumper! Beth walked over, picked up the rabbit for a quick picture and off we went again… the dogs jumped another rabbit!
As the rabbit tried to make a quick loop Ed was there to cut him off… BOOM! Ed’s first southern rabbit in his vest. We directed the dogs right back into the large thicket that so many rabbits had shot out of and sure enough, we jumped another one! That rabbit made a couple tight loops inside the thicket and ran by Dustin within 2ft of his feet. He took a hip shot at the rabbit but clean missed him. Dustin was getting good at reloading his single shot 12 gauge that he actually had another shell in the shotgun and cracked another shot at the rabbit as it was stretching out away from him! He got a few pellets in the rearend of that rabbit, Billy got his hands on him and dispatched that bunny before he could get away.
Back into the big thicket we went. There were so many rabbits in this section of thorns and tangled mess that we knew there had to be more. Guess what? Another jumped rabbit! This rabbit wasn’t messing around, he snatched a gear and got out of there quick. He made a large loop and no one could get on him. After making a loop around the property and coming up above the large thicket Dustin took a snap shot at him hoping to end this race but the rabbit kept going. I ran to the backside of the thicket to see if the rabbit was going to shoot out again to make his second loop. Nothing. We waited for a moment for the dogs to get to where we saw the rabbit last. They all hushed up. Did they loose the track? We sat there wondering where the rabbit could of gone when all of a sudden Eddie’s youngest dog comes trotting out of the thicket proud as can be with the rabbit in his mouth! We were all bent over laughing. The rabbit was about as big as the little beagle carrying it! I have never seen a beagle that would fetch a rabbit. I guess this rabbit was moving so fast he didn’t realize he was dead for a few more hops and expired just as he got back into cover.
As the dogs worked they’re way back into a smaller thicket just to the left of the large thicket, 2 rabbits came busting out of the thicket! BOOM! I busted one that wasn’t even being ran by the dogs and they were off again after the other rabbit. Couldn’t have worked out any better! That rabbit made a couple tight loops before zigging when he should have zagged and got tagged! One more rabbit in the vest. Just as we shot the last rabbit Tom Skinner came down and let us know lunch was ready. We started heading towards the house and called it a day in this Bunny Wonderland. You talk about a piece of property that held some rabbits. We never left an acre and a half thicket that put 9 rabbits in our vests. Not counting the ones that were still held up in the thickets. We left the rest alone though. We definitely want this spot to flourish again for next season!