We went from boom to bust with rabbits on the property. Been close to 20 years since there was a targetable population of either Cottontail or snowshoe.
Dont care if they're fast or slower, but a dog that can circle a rabbit all day is a desirable beagle, imo. I've seen too many that can't keep a run going when solo'd.Of all the rabbit dogs I have had only one was a slow runner and she would circle them all day long. My boys loved hunting with her
Yep slow is good for me i only hunt with .22 so having a bunnies stopping looking back make for a perfect shot like the five on my profile !Yep, a dog will run to it's genetics and physical attributes. Unfortunately, you generally will not be able to alter the way a particular dog runs a rabbit. I must add though, that after spending most of my life raising and running beagles, when it comes to cottontails the last kind of dog I wanted was a fast one! Medium, maybe even medium slow speed was perfect. If you pressure a cottontail too hard they will surely hole up and in a hurry. Now for hare that's a different story. The faster the dog the better.
Coyotes or feral/neighbors cats have probably taken over. They do an amazing number on rabbits, esp but other ground nesters also.Snowshoes seem to come and go. When I was a kid we had to drive to find them but we had lots of cotton tails. Then one winter right after deer season on the first good snow there were jack tracks all over in the swamp. About ten years later they were gone. I haven't seen one around here in probably thirty years.
When I belonged to the Beagle Club we used to stock the pen with rabbits. It was always needing restocked in order to maintain good levels of game for trials. Most don't realize it but Owls will really put a hurtin on your rabbit population and quick. Once they clean up a swamp or thicket they move to the next area. Feral and domestic cats will wipe out a nest in the summer really quick as well.There were no coyotes around here when they disappeared and as far as cats we hunted them too. This was before cat lovers got the laws passed to protect feral cats.
My youngest large Munsterlander has a snow shoe and cotton tail to her credit this year. Snow shoe never shot at and the cotton tail kicked out - both while grouse hunting . thought I missed but she recovered with in 30 yards of shot. My older LM had a lot of rabbits shot in front of her.