BUTLER TOWNSHIP — The baying of beagles hot on the trail of rabbits will sound through the hills and fields of eastern Butler Township as the Backwoods Beagle Club hosts a United Kennel Club Eliminator event this weekend. Hundreds of dogs and handlers may be there, all hoping to finish among the top 10 and qualify for the UKC World Beagle Championship to be held in Michigan in October.
Club President Brad Hanners of Mount Vernon said there could be anywhere from 125 to 400 dogs competing in the two-day event. The turnout, he said, “depends on the people and the weather” but he expects 200 to 250 dogs.
“We’ll have people from all over — Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, Virginia, Kentucky,” he said.
He explained that in the competition, hunters and their dogs will be divided into groups of four and a guide will take them out to a designated area, where they will hunt for two hours with a judge who will score them on finding and hunting rabbits. The winner will then be paired with three other winners and the process will continue until only one remains, which will happen sometime Sunday afternoon.
Visitors are welcome to the hunt and they can go out with the judge and see all the action. About the only rule is that they not interfere with the hunt.
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