There are several different types of beagle field trials, and several very different types of beagles bred to run in a style appropriate for that type of trial. Of course these beagles also hunt.
At one extreme are the brace trial beagles, bred and trained to track cottontails slowly and precisely in a brace of two. A hound that “reaches” more than a foot or two on a check gets picked up at a brace trial.
At the other extreme are the large pack hounds that drive northern hares at great speed. The “large pack” can number up to 40 hounds. To win a large pack trial speed and endurance are more important than staying close to the line and picking checks with precision.
Some might say that the “small pack option” trials are designed for the beagle that is a happy medium. The trial judges are looking for both speed (with control) and clean check work. The size of the “small pack” is usually about seven and the hounds are supposed to work well together.
If you plan to use a beagle for tracking wounded deer, a hound out of an outstanding small pack background is your best bet.
The following video clip shows a winners pack of 13’’ bitches, which ran today at our New Scotland Beagle Club Small Pack Option field trial. At the end of the video you will see the working style and check work that would also be very appropriate for tracking a wounded deer.