4th Annual Women's Rabbit Hunt held at Gobbler Ridge
By NOREEN HYSLOP Managing Editor BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- Through combined efforts of the Missouri Department of Conservation and local volunteers, another successful Women's Rabbit Hunt was held on the grounds of the Gobbler Ridge Farms Disabled Veterans Facility located just southwest of Bloomfield. The facility was established in 2012 when landowners, Tom Love and Alan Hedrick, made available a 120-acre tract of land to be utilized as a haven for disabled veterans and other special guests. Women hunting enthusiasts are annually invited to take part in a guided rabbit hunt on the property, assisted by the MDC and made possible through the efforts of several individuals. The recent Valentine's Day hunt marked the fourth year that women picked up their arms and followed the track of several eager Beagles pursuing rabbits through the thickets of Gobbler Ridge. Stoddard County Conservation Agent Mick Plunkett began the task of organizing the Women's Hunt several weeks ago. Agent Alan Lamb from Wayne County transported three women -- two from Cape Girardeau County and one from Scott County -- to take part in the hunt. Dixie Davie and Sara Bradshaw hail from Gordonville, and Krista Keesee from Kelso. For those women who do not have their own guns, the MDC makes their guns and ammo available. Making the hunt an adventure are a handful of well-trained beagles that work under the direction of longtime trainer and hunting enthusiast, Blaine Chappell. Chappell accompanies the women on each hunt, regularly calling out commands to his team of canines. At Chappell's side on the recent hunt was Dr. Joe Baker, DVM. Baker accompanied the women, Chappell, and Lamb as they trekked across a good portion of the 125 acres, constantly on the heels of the tracking beagles. From 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., with a brief break for lunch at the cabin on the grounds, the women hunted, with two of the three meeting with success before day's end. Bradshaw ended the day with two kills, Keesee with one, but Davie came up empty-handed, eager to try again another day. Anyone interested in taking part in the Women's Rabbit Hunt is asked to contact Outdoor Skills Specialist DeeDee Dockins. Missouri Dept. of Conservation's Reginal Center at (573) 290-5730.