Thursday, November 17, 2016

I Love It When The Plan Comes Together!

About six years ago, I turned my hog dog training facility into a blood trail dog training facility because I was getting too old to be rodeoing wild hogs and I wanted to continue breeding and training my Catahoulas to go to working homes. It was an easy transition, but in the beginning I and my dogs were just getting started and we had a lot to learn. 

Now that a lot of people are starting to track, I am watching them go through some of the same experiences that I went through in the begginning with my dogs and tracking experiences. I want to post one such newbie's track that didn't go as well as planned to help others who are struggling at being new to the game, to continue to press forward and have faith that it will get better.

                            Above is Scott Phillips with his blood tracking dog and a recent find.

            If you are in the Kalamazoo Michigan area and need tracking services, here is his card.

I am copying and pasting his post from facebook to encourage new trackers to get out and go for it.

      This is a process and it pays off in the long run, but in the beginning, we do the best we can.

If you are a deer hunter and do not have your own tracking dog, I suggest you find someone that does have one and keep their contact info in your phone so you can call them if need be.

Also to help us be better prepared, we who are just getting started need training tracks to teach our dogs to track even if the deer is not lost. So if you have an opportunity to call us in to get our dogs in on a traing track, we would appreciate you helping us now to be better prepared to help you in the future.

Although this is a little embarrassing and I still feel somewhat defeated, I have to get this off my chest. Zeus and I went on a track yesterday which I felt was a good one for him. Hunter did everything right by waiting and not walking all over. Zeus seemed to be doing good at first but then lost the scent at some point. After resetting him and following him a couple different ways, I realized we weren't going to find this guys deer. Knowing this deer was 100% dead, I advised the hunter that it might be wise to call a veteran tracking team. That team came in and found his deer! The hunter called me afterwards and told me that "Zeus was only 100 yards off". That may not seem like much, but when finding deer, thats huge!! Hence; THE VALUE OF A VETERAN TRACKING DOG.
This is our first year tracking and Zeus has been doing great! He has made a few hunters happy but we are not the best. We may be the closest and cheaper than most but we are certainly not the best. Zeus is going to make mistakes and I'm going to make mistakes. It's part of learning. Just know that we have a lot of time, effort and money invested in training and give it 100% everytime we go out. We want to find the deer as bad if not more than you do.
Dont hesitate to call us this gun season. If we cant do it I can refer you to someone who can.
Good luck. Shoot straight.
Also, we are still looking for training tracks. These are untracked, known kills, preferably 75+ yards. These tracks are FREE of charge.
I am Marcus de la Houssaye and I am in Lafayette, La. and can be reached by cell phone @ 337 298 2630 if you are shopping for a puppy, started dog or finished dog. I will be glad to sell you one of my dogs, and if I don't have what you need, maybe I can refer you to someone who does have what you need.

Above is one of my early sumertime training exercises with fresh liver at the end of a track

It was my goal from the beginning to educate the public about the importance of having tracking dogs for hunting deer and I love it when the plan comes together! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Blood Trail Dog Training Rules Of the Game 2016

I have hunted Whitetail deer for almost 30 years and I have always had tracking dogs.

 But six years ago, I began breeding and training my Louisiana Catahoula dogs specifically to track blood as started and finished tracking dogs for sale to deer hunters and at the same time, I trained some of my dogs exclusively and personally for me to track professionally for hire.

It was then that I researched and discovered that it was estimated by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries that ½ the deer shot in Louisiana were not recovered.

Frankly, I was in shock, because I had never lost many of the deer that I or my friends shot because I always had a dog to help me find the ones that did not drop in their tracks and got away.

I decided I wanted to change those statistics by educating the deer hunting public about the importance of planning ahead to include a blood tracking dog into the overall deer hunting program.

 Many of us spend thousands of dollars preparing for the deer season, invest 100’s of hours of our time, and expend a great deal of energy getting to the point of pulling the trigger on a hundred pounds of venison, or worse the trophy rack of a lifetime, as you can see below,

and then ½ the time we can’t find it because we don’t have a dog to advance the track at the last point of blood? And if you can't find blood, or don't have a dog, you will be lucky to find it?

Something is very wrong with this picture from my perspective, because I have to wonder why anyone is ever hunting deer without a tracking dog to start with… but that is just me apparently…

Now if you are just getting started with training a tracking dog and have never tracked with a dog, so you don’t know where to begin, I want to share a few rules of the game to help you begin teaching your dog to track in the off season so you can have a jump on the game come next year. Or it may be deer hunting season already and you need to begin working with the scraps at the hunting club because you may need this dog tomorrow!

1. Always start a track at the point of first blood if at all possible.

This seems like a no-brainer to me, and there exceptions to the rule, such as land boundaries, hunters in the treestands, or climate changes that cause you to move the dog up to speed up the track. But always start the track as far back as possible to establish the line of scent for the dogs benefit.

2. Always track at night if at all possible,

so you don't disturb other hunters who are still in the stands and more importantly, this is for your personal safety and that of your dog. I suggest you wear hunting clothes and boots even during training, so the dog sees what is happening when you dress that way.

And also...

I wear a full body blaze orange jumpsuit with reflective strips on the arms and legs, if I have to track in the day time, and I like to use an orange leash

and put an orange vest on the dog too.

3. Always be supportive of the dog.

Finding wounded or dead deer isn't about taking your dog to the woods and hoping that it will sniff the deer blood and follow the track. Tracking with dogs is teamwork, and you should always be there to do your part and never get angry or take it out on the dog if things are not going well.

When you run out of blood and are not sure if the dog is still on track, trust the dog. The leaves may have blown over and you can't see the blood, or it has rained, and washed it away and there is absolutely no sign that the deer has gone down that trail, this the time that your dog needs your faith in him and for you not to override his nose and better judgement. If he makes mistakes let him figuire that out and learn from those mistakes, because it is sometimes a guessing game! But if you are tracking for someone else, and the hunter says the deer went left, and the dog is going right, what do you do??? TRUST THE DOG!  

4. Always train them on an empty stomach, or when tracking because a hungry dog hunts better,

AND trains better, and then ALWAYS feed them back at the truck, after the track or training exercise.

The reason you want to feed them when you get back to the truck from tracking or training is that the dog always expects to be feed when they get there and when they are hungry, if they get lost they are motivated to find the truck and you don't have to go looking for them if they are looking for you.

5. Always try to use your human skills to advance the track when the dog struggles.

And you do this to not only advance the track past the point where the dog struggles,

 it gives the dog confidence that you got his or her back and that they are part of a team, and that they are not out there working on finding this thing all alone.

6. A worker is worthy of his wages, so always if at all possible allow the dog to claim the deer as it's own, and chew on, lick blood, and even guard the deer if it is so inclined.

If you gut the deer when you find it, at the very least allow the dog to eat some intestines, and don't forget to grab the liver and heart for the dog to finish off later.

You want the dog to be a part of the transport and at the skinning shed so it can get in on treats like the liver, head and heart of the deer being dressed out.

I hope this post helps you begin on the best part of deer hunting where the excitement and real adventures of tracking begin: Training your own blood tracking dog.

I am Marcus de la Houssaye, I am a breeder, and a trainer of Louisiana Catahoulas. I have puppies, started, and finished dogs for sale.

I am also a wilderness guide and professional tracker in the Lafayette, Louisiana area if you need assistance, and I can be reached at 337 298 2630


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Blood Trail Dogs For Texas Hunting Preserves 2016

I am getting calls from Texas almost every day about dogs that they got from somewhere else that are not working, and so they are now coming to me, because they heard about my dogs from some of my satisfied customers. 

I am sorting through my pictures and it looks like most of my Texas photos are on the other computer.

The photo above is from one of the Texas ranches where my dogs are tracking this year.

Someone just sent this one to me, but it might be from Oklahoma, IDK, but how can you be dropping deer like the ones above and not have a dog to help you locate 'em?

 I have pure bred Catahoulas, and some crossed with beagle like the red dog above, and some crossed with wolf like the ones below.

In the photos below you can see Samuel, my pure bred wolf leading some yearlings on a training exercise below. I use my experienced, finished dogs to train the young 'ones.

I am Marcus de la Houssaye, and I operate a blood trail dog training facility in Lafayette, Louisiana, and I am here to help you find a tracking dog, so you can avoid the frustration and heart ache of losing so many deer, for simply the lack of a good, well behaved, well bred dog.

I can be reached by cell phone @ 337 298 2630. My dogs are all socialized, hauled in trucks, ATVs, and boats, are easy to handle and ready to go. It is the time of the year when everybody wants a dog, and I am here to serve your needs. If you get a started or finished dog from me, I am available for telephone consultations to keep your tracking dog on the go. I am arranging transports, west to Texas and north to the midwest this week, give me a call if you need more info.