The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Beagles compete across Range


March 10, 2018

Submitted photo

JOE KUKLENSKI holds his International Field Champion Green Bay Paw King. Kuklenski said only one in 500 dogs can achieve the level of skill of Paw King. On the left is Bob Keene, from Vermont, and at right is Bob King, from lower Michigan. The photo is from 2010 and shows the yellow numbers the dogs are given during their trials and what an international champion beagle looks like. Such dogs are very valuable for breeding purposes.


Ironwood - The Gogebic Range hosts five to six beagle trials per year, according to Joe Kuklenski, who has raised national and international field champion beagles.

The Gogebic Range Beagle Club site is north of the airport off Lake Road and the Borderline Beagle Club is in Iron Belt, Wis.

The clubs maintain 80 acres of fenced-off property for running beagles on snowshoe hares. Fencing off 80 acres keeps coyotes and bobcats from eating the hares and allows the members to improve habitat conditions for the rabbits to thrive, even closing down the pens in the spring so the rabbits can mate and have successful litters.

Kuklenski said during a trial, about 100 dogs will run across four different classes, with each run taking three to five hours, with 20 to 25 dogs per class. The dogs are given yellow numbers and usually never see a rabbit during the trial.

Human judges follow the dogs and judge them based on hunting standards and how they work and move. According to Kuklenski, a good dog should be able to run a trial on Saturday and go hunting on Sunday without missing a beat.

The dogs are judged based on their hunting traits, not confirmation, traits like the Westminster Kennel Club judges. The two types of beagles could not be further from each other.

Kuklenski said maybe one dog in 500 has the ability to be a national champion and they are in high demand for breeding purposes.

Kuklenski works his seven dogs in the Green Bay Kennels two to three times per week. He takes them out in groups of one to three for exercise, or just to clean their pens, and also command or signal work. Kuklenski said with all the training aids available now it is much easier to train a dog than it was when he first started 40 years ago.

When asked how the rabbits take to being kept in the 80-acre area, Kuklenski said the hares are safer than those outside as the fenced-in hares are well fed and taken care of, with excellent cover and only have to worry about airborne predators. The hares are not shot, only hunted for sport. Kuklenski said snowshoe rabbits do not dig like cottontails, so the three- to five-pound hares, compared to the two-to three-pound cottontails, stay within the fence to their advantages.

Butch Saari is contact person for the Borderline club and can be reached at 906-932-5979 and Chuck Bogetto leads the Gogebic club at 906-364-1312.

The next local trial is scheduled for Borderline over the May 12-13 weekend.


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