Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Hunting Season Is In Full Swing
It is Friday afternoon, and time to drive across the Mississippi River,
and into Baton Rouge to pick up my daughter after school.
Tomorrow will be her first ever deer hunt and she is excited.
Last weekend, while in north Louisiana, I got a shot at a doe.
This weekend, we look forward to doing it again, and maybe even better than opening day last week.
My Indian girl is already at my house to dog sit the animals while Christina and I are out of town. This may turn into an overnighter.
The dogs are exited too, because they know what is about to happen!
After a long and pleasant drive into north Louisiana, we drive through Gibsland,
the home of The authentic Bonnie and Clyde Museum.
We are hunting on a lease in an oil and natural gas field, and what that means is there are great roads and shooting lanes everywhere.
Jesse and I put out the scent wafers and have a look around.
Looking pretty good!
Interesting tracks in the peas, chicory, and rye. My bet is they will be visiting this again soon.
Time for us to get in the box stand.
It is isn't long, and I am talking about 15-20 minutes, and I let two does go by, and then a herd of pigs line up to eat at the corn.
Toward the end of the day this nice yearling buck came out and stood in the rye grass.
Then back to the house, and hang him up and start catching some blood!
Although I didn't need the blood dogs to find this deer because it didn't run far, that is usually not the case, but this one was a knockdown. He died less than 40 yards from the rye grass where I shot him.
As I skin and wash the carcass, I like to place a bucket or tub under the deer and catch the blood and water to lay out a mock trail on the back of the property, and into the woods.
This is a good time to let the new puppies who were born after deer season earlier this year become acquainted with fresh deer blood and hang around and get some treats.
Always allow new puppies or started dogs to explore new things on their own. Never try to force a puppy or started dog to get into blood unless they are motivated by natural curiousity or better yet hunger.
Allow them to have a taste of the innards,
and begin to use some of the bloody water to lay out a mock trail right there near the processing.
You want a young or started dog to get very comfortable and relaxed around the smell of blood. For this reason, never let a puppy explore a processing site unless you are certain there are no dominate dogs that might be guarding the kill, and jump on the new dog. That would cause the new dog to be on guard around blood, rather than going to look for it. Remember: Blood trailing is a process, where by, the dog uses it's nose to end it's hunger. A blood dog is not looking for blood, they are looking for meat, and they are going to use their nose to get there. Puppies are always hungry, so start them young by sharing in the kill and giving them some little treats when it is skinning time.
What you want to instill in a new or started dog is the understanding that blood trails lead to food. And believe me, a blood trail that leads to a belly full of tasty tender venison, leaves a very strong impression, when that young dog gets there and his belly was empty to start with.
Initially, in training and motivating a young blood dog, you can use their hunger to drive them to follow a blood trail. In time, even if your five year old, finished, and well experienced blood dog has a full belly, they will hunt for you because they know the drill, having done it again and again for several years.
If you would like to call me for consultation, my cell phone number is 337 298 2630.
I am a breeder and trainer of The Louisiana Catahoula. If you are interested in learning more about the breeds natural working abilities, visit the link below:
If you think the Catahoula breed is right for you,and are maybe considering buying a puppy or a started dog, you can visit my main sites and get more information about the breed and my dogs at:
Please be aware; a Catahoula is versatile, intelligent and adaptable. They were and still are, being bred to work. If you need a blood dog, you couldn't ask for a better breed, because they are short range and eager to please, but you better be ready to find work for them in the off season, because they will go nuts if you try to lock them up for months on end. Or worse, you give them too much freedom, and they drive you nuts, dragging off your shoes, or the neighbors trash, or just being puppies and tearing up landscaping, fencing, lawn furniture, and your kids new toys!
The "old-timers" have always warned me; the best dogs you will ever have, always will be the ones that gave you the most trouble as puppies.
Haul them around early on to the camp, fishing, trail rides, camping, etc. Get them as acclamated to every facet of deer hunting as possible, including bringing them into the box stand as a puppy.
And haul them to aged blood trails, seasoned kill sites, gut piles, and if your nieghbor or family is skinning a deer, ask if you can bring your puppy or started dog in for a taste of the blood, even days after the blood was left there, and evaluate your dogs interest. The smell of blood lingers for days even after a good rain washes away all visible evidence of blood, a strong scent should linger. So to get your dog accustomed to distinquishing between old blood and new blood, visit places where blood may have been left a few days or even a week later and observe your dogs reaction to this area where you know there was blood recently. This not only reinforces your dogs understanding of what you want her to do, ie; find blood, it allows you to evaluate where your dogs progress is at, if you are in training.
Bear in mind that it is very important that your dog know the difference between a seasoned trail and a fresh blood trail, because you may kill several deer from the same stand in the same week. That means there may be several places where a fresh blood trail crosses a seasoned trail, and unless a dog is well experienced and a seasoned or as we say "finished" blood dog, they may get confused, and lose the fresh trail, by jumping on to the blood trail left there a few days before.
No matter how much money you spend on a finished, well experienced dog, you will need to invest some time too. A "finished dog" is never finished learning and is in my opinion, always getting better over time. However, like the hog dog business, it appears most people think they can just up and spend money on a dog and invest no time what so ever and the dog better hunt or "it" is no good. What is no good for serious breeders and trainers is dealing with customers who have unrealistic expectations such as expecting a dog to work for them that does not have a relationship with that person. Dogs are not a machine that you can turn off, or a tool you can hang on the wall until you need it. They are living, breathing, creatures who get their feeling hurt if they are neglected for too long of a period of time.
Perhaps it requires too much patience or even too much planning on your part, but you can't get around spending time, with a puppy. And you may never be able to buy the bond that comes from raising a puppy from weaning.
Do you want to have a good blood dog by next season and don't have a lot of money to spend, buy a puppy now. Don't have a blood dog now? And can't afford to spend thousands of dollars on a finished dog? Well let me ask you this; do you plan to hunt next year? My puppies start at $150. The ultimate performance of a blood dog is not so much the result of your training abilities as much as genetics and being well raised as a puppy. A dog who is bred to hunt, does not need to be trained to hunt. They are natural hunters, and usually start young at about 3-4 months. The blood trail dog experience starts with the right genetics. And if there is anything more important than teaching your dog to hunt,it is teaching your dog it can trust you and always count on you to back him up, even if you think he is wrong sometimes.
Spending time with you in the off season as a pet, watch dog, or your childs best friend, is what relationship, loyalty, devotion, and service are built upon. You want your blood dog to help you find more deer than you lose? Then I advise you to invest some time into being his best friend, and come hunting season he will do the same for you.