Sunday, October 25, 2009
The old timers who have groomed me to be a hog dog trainer claim that a Catahoula is the ultimate hog dog if properly bred and trained. I am beginning to think this applies to blood trail work as well. The qualities that make a Catahoula an excellent hog dog are ability to scent in the wind, speed, grit, intelligence, ease of handling, when unleashed short range looping and checking back in with the hunter, and adaptability, these qualities also apply to trailing wounded deer.
The first time dogs from my bloodline were ever used for blood trail work started in 1998 when deer hunters from Knight Oil Tools here in Lafayette, bought two puppies from Bob and Desire to raise and train on the company's deer hunting ranch in Texas. The man who bought those dogs is Vic Benoit. I ran into Vic at the Blue Moon Saloon a few weeks ago. He told me stories of how those two dogs went on to become great long distance blood trail dogs and would go a mile or more to locate a wounded or downed deer. If the deer was not dead when they got there and tried to get up, the dogs would catch and hold or bay it into a corner and keep it there until the hunter arrived to finish it off.
I wish I could talk to the man who trained those dogs and follow up on where those two pups are today. It was good to get some praise from a satisfied customer and sure encouraged me to continue hoping I run into some of my dogs from the past blood trail sales I have made.
A few potential prospects have called in to inquire about a Catahoula because they have been using Bloodhounds and feel that it is too much dog. Sounds like the dog is too big to handle in thick brush and at about 120 lbs. I can imagine they can be a handful on a leash not to mention the feed bill for a whole year.
When I thought about it, I wondered what they were thinking, using a bloodhound because it seemed like overkill. Kind of like using a 50 millimeter howitzer to hunt rabbits!
Some of the side benefits of a Catahoula as a blood trail dog are that a Catahoula is a very versatile working dog adapting to a wide variety of services such as livestock control, security, and if they are not engaged as a working dog, is gentle with children so they can make a good family pet for the rest of the year when they are not trailing wounded deer.
I haul my pups around on swamp tours from early on to get them accustomed to people and travelling in boats and trucks.
Catahoulas are very intelligent and eager to please if properly raised and trained. A good Catahoula blood trail dog should have other jobs when not being used during the off season. This allows the dog to be integrated into obedience training early on and being accustomed to a variety of situations creating ease of handling for the hunter during the hunting season and whether in a boat, truck, or ATV the dog is comfortable and focused on the job at hand.
I have been breeding Beagle and Chihuahua into my Catahoulas specifically to make a smaller blood trail dog with ease of handling and not lose any of the best qualities of the Catahoula.
Or you can purchase a purebred Catahoula if you want a medium size dog.