Monday, December 6, 2010

Are Blood Dogs Becoming Deer Hunters New Best Friend?

As a hog hunter, I am painfully aware that dogs will serve us no matter what we ask of them, even to the point of putting themselves in harms way and risking their life. But that kind of service comes only after we have developed a good relationship with them. Hog hunting the way we do it is not a chase and shoot scenario, but a catch and tie, and that requires teamwork with a man and his dog.

I hunted federal lands this past weekend where dogs are not allowed during deer hunting. I needed to go there to hunt with a friend of mine who lives nearby and I wanted to speak to the enforcement agents about the use of blood dogs on management areas.

Turns out this year, the state of Louisiana has passed a new rule about dogs being allowed on state areas, but that didn't apply to this federal owned property we were on this past weekend.

So the blood dog stayed in the kennel, in the truck, while I walked in with my climbing tree stand on my back.

I found a real nice spot which was flooded this time last year, but was now a dry slough. You can see the dark high water mark on the base of the trees.

Didn't need to look very far and found fresh sign.

Buck and doe tracks, and real fresh droppings,

so I set out some scent wafers and started looking for a tree to climb.

Turns out I didn't need to pack in my climbing tree stand, because I found a large Live Oak tree that had fallen over the slough and I was able to easily climb into it and have a natural stand up in the branches with a great view of the slough on both sides and be very safe and comfortable.

I have done this type of hunt many times in the past and always enjoyed the solitude and oneness with nature. But I must admit that I am getting spoiled and really do enjoy hunting in a box stand a lot more with a dog in the stand with me. Not just for the benefit of his nose being there when I need it, he is companionship, during those long hours we sometimes spend in the course of still hunting, it is nice to be there with a friend.

Now, to be in a box stand with a dog and be effective in bringing home the venison, this is not just any dog, but one that is very cooperative and calm while waiting.

It can't be a dog that is begging for your attention or is moving around and making noise. It has to be a dog that is accustomed to being in your presence on a regular basis, and is well behaved.

Jesse was with me on opening day, in a box stand when I had a shot at a doe and missed. At about 125 yards, I had a pretty good idea where the deer had passed between two points and when I got down with my dog to look for blood, I knew exactly where the trail was, because the dog went on up in front of me and made a 90 degree turn on a game trail and was real excited when he hit the fresh deer scent. So I examined the area along this trail for about 50 yards and no blood. I didn't have to waste time looking for blood, and wondering if I was on the right trail. I knew by the dogs behavior that I was on the hot trail, and I had missed the shot.

So we went back to the stand and settled in to wait for another opportunity.

To be in a stand with a blood dog is a whole new way of hunting for me and a lot of people are immediately resistant to the very idea, as was I when my friends told me they were doing it, but it is a great way to really get your dog tuned in to what his job is as a blood dog.

It is also right where he wants to be, sleeping at my feet, ready to serve me. That time spent in the blind, builds relationship. I suggest you spend some time there in the off season with the dog to evaluate if he is ready to be a part of your full time hunting team.

Work with him in the off season to acclimate him to the program of being quiet and still while on the hunt, so he doesn't disrupt your success during hunting season.

You may believe that you can find a finished, ready to go blood dog and be ready to use him to find deer without investing time in him, but you cannot buy a relationship and the service that follows, you must earn it.

No matter what breed, how well raised as a puppy, and even more important than the training and past experience, the success you have with your blood dog will be in relation to the bond you share as best friends.

The quote below says it all.


The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog.

A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness.

He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side.

He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince.

When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the Heavens. ~ George Best, 1870

If you need a good blood dog,

I suggest you consider the wisdom of buying a puppy now, and by this time next year, if you are worthy of your investment in the dog, he will work for you.

There is no excuse for us to lose so many dead and wounded deer during hunting season as we have in the past. New laws are allowing the use of blood dogs in about a dozen states just this year, which until now forced us to accept that we would lose more deer than we found. We can now save time, and be much more conservative with our wildlife resources, because the law allows it.

All we need is man's best friend.

If you want a telephone consultation to talk about it,

I can be reached at 337 298 2630.

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