Tuesday, December 27, 2011

More Important Than Genetics

Below is a post from Facebook

If you need tracking services in Michigan you can call Rob at 810 240 4891


This my tracking dog Scout. He is a 4 year old mini dachshund and does not come from hunting stock or show lines. His breeder only breeds for house pets. He is a stellar tracking dog with over 30+ recoveries.

He is a very slow methodical tracker very easy to read and does not leave a cold trail to just chase hot game. He has very little prey drive. He simply loves to track and especially loves to please me.

This buck in the photograph was recovered over a distance of 2 miles. The buck was jumped from his wound bed and we continued to push him because we delt it was a single lung hit. After 1.5 miles the buck crossed a fairly deep river and at this point I called the track off until morning. It was 12.40 a.m.

The following morning at 8 am, I started Scout off on the opposite side of the river bank, his nose was already working while I was carrying him and by the time I set him down he knew exactly what game trail to take. The buck bedded down two more times and we found him stone cold around 9:30 a.m.. The buck was shot with a bow and both lungs had holes through them.

So You Think They Are Just A Dog?


Below is a post a tracker in Michigan made on Facebook.

Notice how this new dog was "unique" in comparison to his other dog.

In this photo is my standard smooth European Dachshund "Sypris". She is 2 years old and she just completed her first official year of tracking.

She went on 17 tracks and made 8-9 recoveries. We struggled in the beginning because I was crating her to and from the tracks and also I was over feeding her and did not change her feeding time for tracking season. So for the most part she was tracking on a semi full to full stomach.

This was new to me because Scout my other tracking dog shows no affect with or without a full stomach. Once I had a feeding routine in place and allowed her to sit freely in my car she was a tracking machine. All her training I used a crate to haul her back and fourth and she showed no problem on my training lines. She has a very high prey drive and very high stamina when it comes to tracking. She is much quicker on a track than Scout, mostly due to her size and her nose is much better.

She for the most part tracks in a zig zag form slightly drifting on and off the scent trail. I have very high hopes with her and for her first year she was amazing and most likely would have made several more recoveries if I would have figured out the feeding routine and the crate issue. She is the type of dog that will punish you for not giving her the respect that she deserves.


So you want a tracking dog? Just my opinion: they should be a family pet and treated
with respect 24/7/365.

But come hunting season...cut back on the food!

Monday, December 26, 2011

How to Train Your Dog to Track Wounded Deer

Hi, I am Marcus de la Houssaye,

owner and operator of de la Houssaye'e Swamp Tours
near Lafayette, Louisiana.

I bred and train Louisiana Catahoula Curs for blood tracking dogs.

Do I do what you see in this Youtube video below? NO!

But I like to keep it simple: Bring a hungry dog who has been fed and raised eating raw meat, to a kill site, and walk them down a blood trail to a dead deer or gut pile and let them eat.

Repeat as often as possible. But that is just me, you can complicate this "training" stuff as much as you like.

Furthermore: this guy in the video makes some very important points that I agree with completely. Such as: A wounded deer gives off a completely different scent than a hot unwounded deer.

And given time, experienced blood tracking dogs learn the difference.

I like the video, but even though I keep deer legs frozen year round, I doubt this is needed as much as putting dogs on wounded or dead deer blood trails during deer hunting season.

But that is me. I am not the man in the video below, I am just sharing for your learning experience.

I am sure you will find this video interesting.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Simon's First Deer

After doing 3 swamp tours yesterday, I was ready for a relaxing evening at home. But instead we were called onto the blood trail of a 10 pt buck and Simon found his first deer.


Pope and Young score of 136 1/8

A very proud, and happy young lady with her first bow kill!

After my older and more experienced dog was unable to focus on the blood due to the fact that he had gorged himself on raw meat and kibble the night before(hungry dogs hunt), I went and dropped him back to the truck and took a 2 year old who had never found a deer in his life.

The 2 year old was hungry, and had found the deer, and was growling in the thicket before we got the big surprise that it was a high scoring trophy. The briars were intense and we were slow moving. The brush was so intense, that after we had found the deer, we had only moved this 10 pt 25 yds in 1 hour!

Everywhere we turned were briar patches, and downed trees. After we found the deer, it was an ordeal for five healthy young people to move this deer the 125 yds to the clearing at the food plot where the going got a lot easier. When we got to the food plot, I asked someone; "What time is it, about 10:30?" And they replied; "12:30!" Ohh well, time flies when you are having fun!

Deer traveled almost 400 yards after the shot according to GPS. Caught liver and possibly 1 lung, no pass through. We found the deer 5 hours later, deer was very stiff. Had been dead a while.

www.bloodtraildogs.com If you need professional tracking services, or you would like to buy or train a blood tracking dog, call me at 337 298 2630

It took several very determined folks on all fours crawling on several occasions to track blood and bring this beautiful deer out of the thicket. The buck first went 200 yards without bleeding a drop! Bullet(a hunters nickname) found the first magic drop of blood, without that, this story could have turned out a lot differently.

Four hours after the shot, there is nothing like the words "There he is".


Blood trail of a 10 pt buck and Simon found his first deer.

Below is Shannon's story, in her own words...

The "OFFICIAL" OTP Sherburne Kill...

Hunting is full of ups and downs; misses, getting busted by deer, buck fever, going several hunts without seeing any deer. One minute you're anxious and pumped up but when one thing goes wrong you question your ability and skill.

I was disappointed in myself for not being able to draw back on a doe I saw while hunting Sherburne WMA. Everything during that hunt was perfect, from going undetected by a doe who I watched for 45 minutes to her standing broadside directly in front of me at 10 yards. The pressure of never killing with my bow made me anxious and doe fever set in. She was granted a free pass back into the woods to live another day and I felt like I was gonna die. Was my hard work and persistence ever going to pay off?

Something about public land hunting fascinates me. It's the thrill of starting from scratch to harvesting a public land deer that keeps my head afloat when I feel like I'm going to give up and drown. Of course, if it would be too easy, it wouldn't be that appealing to me.

3 days after I had that eventful hunt with the doe, I was ready for redemption. I got settled in my stand at 3:30 and sat there waiting for deer thirty. I was praying the doe would come back out. About 5:00 I hear some crashing in a thicket in front of me and heard a grunt. All of a sudden I count 4 deer running around on the treeline followed by another grunt.

One doe decided to walk out and head my way. Excitement was building up because I knew if I had her in range I was going to shoot her this time. As she was down in the slough I stood up and grabbed my bow. I was shaking but mentally talking myself out of getting too nervous.

All of a sudden I hear a grunt and see a beast of a buck walk out the thicket and start hooking a tree. At this point I was elated! This is the kind of stuff I watch on tv!!! The buck started following the doe's path, went down the slough then I saw his majestic head and horns rise about 35 yards from me.

At this point I was thinking if this was real or not and if I should just shoot the doe who was 15 yards in front of me to my right, or see if this buck was going to chance giving me a shot. As soon as he stepped up and turned, he put his head down and walked a few steps, grazing. I drew back with ease this time, surprisingly.

I had turned my limbs down half a turn but I don't think I had needed it. Thought for a second on how to compensate for the draw weight decrease, aimed my 30 yard pin a little high and released my arrow. Words cannot describe the relief and the excitement, when I could see my green fletching sticking out where I had shot him.

It was a little high and a little further back than expected, but I was confident it was a vital kill. I immediately sat down and watched him run off and tried to see where he went to, back into the woods. Then I grabbed my phone to call Ceth and told him to stop his hunt and get over here now with Bullet.... I had shot a monster!!! Ceth told me to get down and find if there was blood where I shot him, and mark it, since dusk was quickly approaching.

I got down and had no flashlight. I couldnt find any blood with just my cell phone light which was about to go dead! Great!

While Ceth and Bullet were coming from their hunting spots I was talking to myself downplaying everything. My 10 point buck shrank to a 6, maybe 8 point. I didnt want these guys let down when they found the deer, just in case I had imagined shooting a buck this large. The three of us were on a good blood trail for about 75 yards into the woods. We came to a stand still and decided to back out. It would give him extra time to lay and we could call for more help.

The woods were thick with briars and there were down trees everywhere. We met up with LSUSlick who offered his services. He wanted to try out some new spray stuff that makes hemoglobin glow in case we lose a blood trail. We also called Catahoula1 who was on his way with some blood trailing dogs. I was begging these guys to please find my deer. I knew it would be worth it, when I found him.

The five of us ventured back down the blood trail. Bullet and LSUSlick were trying out the spray and following a glowing trail when there was no blood we could see. Catahoula1 was letting the dogs work and Ceth was on another path looking for blood. I stayed at last blood. At one point I was thinking I knew this was all too good to be true. The rain was supposed to come, and I didnt think there would be a chance at finding him after that.

Just when I'm feeling disappointed, Catahoula1 hollered, "We got blood!!" Everyone migrated through briars and limbs to see a very good blood trail. We would follow a little while then lose the blood again. One dog veered away from everyone else to my left and I kept looking down the path and wondering. The dog came back after he was called, and I didnt think much of it.

After not finding blood on any paths elsewhere I told them about the dog going that way. Sure enough, there was a very good blood trail and then a pile of blood. We knew we were getting close.... The dogs went ahead and I heard one growl.

LSUSlick and Ceth were on their hands and knees with a flashlight. The relief I felt when I heard Ceth shout, "Oh My God Shannon, you killed a monster!!!!" When I layed eyes on him, his body was a lot bigger than I thought. His horns were even bigger too!! I counted ten points... A first bowkill doesn't get any better than that.

I literally thought he looked like a horse lying there! Now came the hard part of dragging the beast out through all the thick woods. He had ran almost 400 yards and was expired a little while before we found him. It was determined I made a liver shot and maybe caught a lung.

I extend my gratitude to everyone who helped track and get the deer out.

Every one was worn out, cut up from briars, and had fallen down, but everyone was ecstatic to help and had encouraged me that the deer would be found. Catahoula1 and LSUSlick were smashing briars and brush, making a path at one point so we could drag the deer. It was after midnight when we made it to a clear area out of the woods.

This hunt was unforgettable. It's amazing how so many people came together to help find a deer. From the beginning to the end, it was an adventure that I'll relive again and again.

December 21, 2011
Weapon: Bowtech Soldier Bow
Ammo: Trophy Ridge Expandable Broadhead
Huntress: Shannon Beard
Harvest: Ten Point Buck
Sherburne Wildlife Management Area
Atchafalaya Basin Swamp,
South Central Louisiana.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Guilty dog

If it is a good dog, you will have problems with them.

Guilty dog

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Union Hill 10 Point Buck

Got a call on Wednesday November 23, 2011 for a blood track.

I had done four Lake Martin swamp tours, and was feeling strong so I agreed to drive 100 miles one way to look for their deer.

I dropped off the tour boat and loaded 4 dogs, then headed north on I-49.

Of course, I brought Jessie, who is sporting his new blaze orange neoprene vest below.

The plan was to bring a camera, but it got left on the dashboard of the truck, so I don't have any actual pictures of this track to share here.

I arrived there about 8:30PM and found a long line of blood, well dried, and flagged.

At the end of the flagging is a few more sightings of dried blood, and judging by the dogs circling, there must have been false trails everywhere.

Just as we were starting to head back to a point of last blood and refocus the dogs, Jessie started baying. He had found the buck, and with the other 3 dogs walking away, Jessie was left alone and couldn't stop this deer in the dark.

From this point we found fresh rich red blood, a piece of deer meat and watery blood suggesting this was not a vital organ and this deer was on the move 12 hours after being shot. At a certain point you have to consider if it is in our best interest to continue pushing on after this deer. Also considering the deer is wounded, but not dead after 12 hours, the most ethical thing we can do is to stop pushing it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A New Season Is In Full Swing

It is not even Thanksgiving yet and already we are getting reports on Bayoubucks.com of record book bucks being killed by Bayou Bucks members.

The three images below were posted on the website this week.

The deer above and below were both killed in the area of Lake Bisteneaux.

The deer below was killed on the weekend of 11/12,13 2011,

by a hunter from Charenton, La. who went to Kentucky for an out of state hunt.

I am getting calls from all over the country for blood tracking dogs, 3 came in last week from Wisconsin, and a couple from Texas,

I do have some started dogs and these pups were born in mid October out of Beauty and Jesse.

I also have another litter out of Rivers and Cutty Dark that were born on November 5, 2011. I will post the pictures in here ASAP.

This is the look I get when I ask Josephine;"Where is the deer?"

Well we are well into gun season in mOST areas, and bow season is in full swing statewide. So it is starting to get busy.

You can call me at 337 298 2630 if you need to hire me for tracking services or to buy a puppy or started dog.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Why All Enemies, Foreign And Domestic, Want To See Us Disarmed

Here in the deep south, we are a special, and peculiar kind of people.

We like to live off the land, and on our own terms...

Another thing is, we presently have over 1.6 million Iraq War vets nationwide, and many of the active and veteran military's finest, reside here in the states along the Gulf coast.

But there is something we here in all of the fifty states, need to remember

The world's largest army is......

America's hunters!

And with the help of our dogs and guns we are a force to be reckoned with.

But, it ain't the guns, but the people who carry them, that are the real threat to an invading force or any enemy, foreign or domestic.

I had never thought about this, it is not just us here in the deep south....

A blogger added up the deer license sales in just a handful of states and arrived at a striking conclusion:
There were over 600,000 hunters this season in the state of Wisconsin.
Allow me to restate that number.

Over the last several months,
Wisconsin's hunters became the eighth largest army in the world.
More men under arms than in Iran.
More than in France and Germany combined.
These men deployed to the woods of a single American state to hunt with firearms, and no one was killed.

That number pales in comparison to the 750,000 who hunted the woods of Pennsylvania and Michigan's 700,000 hunters,
All of whom have now returned home.

Toss in a quarter million hunters in West Virginia and it literally establishes the fact that the hunters of those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world.

The point?

America will forever be safe from foreign invasion,
with that kind of home-grown firepower.

Hunting -- it's not just a way to fill the freezer.

It's a matter of personal and national security, and here in the south, we start them early.

That's why all enemies, foreign and domestic, want to see us disarmed.

And, many of those enemies of the US Constitution,
are in our own federal government!

At this point:
if the federal corporate government is not an enemy of the constitution,
I want to know who is?

Now don't get me wrong, I am 100% behind our troops who are deployed world wide, but I am at a point where we all need to demand of the federal government, that these wars in the Middle East come to an end, and our troops come home. Homeland security should be in home!

A lot of things have happened since 9/11 that are designed to change America.

And I am not blaming the Muslims for that!

I live in Louisiana, and we from the Cajun Country, went to New Orleans after Katrina with our boats to help rescue OUR people, who were trapped in the flood waters, and FEMA wouldn't let us in!

And if we sneeked in the back way, the way some did, we were labeled as renegade rescuers. What does that mean? Outlaws?

Now I realize many of you are not from here, or have never been to the convention center in New Orleans, where people were told to go and wait to be rescued after Katrina.

So please consider this:

The New Orleans Convention Center is on the Mississippi River, and there is a wharf the runs along the entire length of the convention center, and we were not allowed in as rescuers to serve our fellow Americans in their time of need?

Worse than that: the federal government waited 5 days before rolling in large trucks and buses to transport these desperate people who were trapped there not by the flood waters, but by the government who wouldn't let them leave, or let us in to take them out! The proof of what I am saying is in these You Tube videos.

Think about this: American armed forces were used to illegally search homes and then illegally seize weapons.

Not only that, but the whole city was turned into a giant concentration camp, where no one was allowed to leave OR enter!

Bear in mind, this is the same federal government, that promised to provide and protect us from foreign terrorists, that could not protect us from standing water in August 2005 at Katrina New Orleans.

But the worst part was: we who live in Louisiana, who were trying to do the right thing, during a natural disaster, and rescue our fellow Americans, were treated as an enemy combatant and disarmed?

And I don't mean just us Cajuns who went to help, the sheriffs and his employees were subject to the feds too!

If you think Muslim terrorists are the greatest threat to OUR homeland security, then you don't know the corrupt, incompetent, covert federal government that is trying to take our guns away. And as far as I am concerned this not my government, because my government is respectful of people and constitutional rights.

So, if the politicians do not represent the people, nor respect our constitutional rights, who do they represent, and what are we gonna do about it?

Please be aware that the large financial corporations(banks), are often owned by foreign investors who hide behind the corporate veil, and also own the corporate media(news and entertainment), the agriculture, timber, oil and natural gas, chemical, pharmaceutical, and the industrial military complex, not to mention they buy and own the politicians who are put into office to lead us to believe we have power in the voting booth. These same bankers are illegally foreclosing on our homes, and paying lobbyists to influence politicians to create laws to take away our rights.

Now if you think the Patriot Act is here to protect you, guess again.

Napolitano was born in Newark, New Jersey. He is a graduate of Princeton University (where he was a founding member of the Concerned Alumni of Princeton) and Notre Dame Law School. Napolitano sat on the New Jersey bench from 1987 to 1995, becoming the state's youngest then-sitting Superior Court judge. He also served as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University School of Law for 11 years. Napolitano resigned his judgeship in 1995 to pursue his writing and television career.

In 2004, Napolitano wrote the book, Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks its Own Laws, a criticism of the American justice system. In the National Review, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy noted that Napolitano had been a mid-level state judge and questioned Napolitano's knowledge of the federal Constitution, citing what McCarthy asserted were numerous errors in Napolitano's writing on the subject.(One must consider if "the federal constitution for corporations" is now different than the one our founding fathers gave us!)

In 2006, his second book, The Constitution in Exile: How the Federal Government Has Seized Power by Rewriting the Supreme Law of the Land was published.

A third book, A Nation of Sheep, was released in October 2007.
In April 2009, Napolitano's fourth book, Dred Scott's Revenge: A Legal History of Race and Freedom in America, was released.

In March, 2010, Napolitano's fifth book was released: Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History.

According to Napolitano's radio show, he is currently working on a sixth book which will be about President Barack Obama and the current state of America.


1. We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.

2. We will NOT obey orders to conduct warrantless searches of the American people.

3. We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to military tribunal.

4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state.

5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.

6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.

7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.

8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control."

9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.

10.We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

What if the Constitution were written not to limit government, but to expand it?

What if the Constitution didn’t fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence, but betrayed it?

What if the Constitution actually permitted the government to limit and constrict freedom?

What if the Bill of Rights was just a paper promise, that the government could avoid whenever it claimed the need to do so?

What if the merchants and bankers who financed the American Revolution bought their way into the new government and got it to enact laws that stifled their competition?

What if the civil war that was fought in the name of freedom actually advanced the cause of tyranny?

What if the federal government were the product of 150 years of stealing power and liberty and property from the people and the states? What if our political elites spent the 20th century importing the socialist ideas of big government statism from Europe? What if our political class was adopting the European political culture from which our founding fathers fought so hard to break free?

What if our political leaders no longer acknowledged that our rights come from our humanity, but insisted instead that they come from the government?

What if you couldn’t board a plane, a train, or a long-distance bus without providing documentation telling the government who you are and where you’re going, without paying the government, and without risking sexual assault?

What if your local police department could shoot down a plane?

What if government agents could write their own search warrants, declare their own enemies, and seize whatever property they want? What if the feds could detain you indefinitely, with no visitors, no lawyer, no judge, and no jury? What if they could make you just disappear?

What if the government broke its own laws in order to enforce them? What if the government broke down your front door in the middle of the night and shot your dog, and claimed it was a mistake?

What if you were required to purchase a product that you didn’t need, didn’t want, and couldn’t afford, from a company you never heard of, just as a condition of living in the United States? What if the government told you what not to put in your body as well as what to put into it; and how much? What if the government claimed that since it will be paying your medical bills, it can tell you what to eat, when to sleep, and how to live?

What if the government tried to cajole and coax and compel you into behaviors and attitudes it considered socially acceptable? What if the government spent your tax money to advertise to you how great the services are that it provides? What if the government kept promising to make you safe while it kept stripping you of your liberties and committing crimes in your name that made you a target of more violence?

What if you didn’t have a right to every dollar you earned? What if the government decided how much of your earnings it will keep and how much it will permit you to have? What if the government took money from you and gave it away to its rich banking and corporate friends whose businesses were proposed to be failing?(Yet, it's CEO's still get enormous bonuses at the end of the same year WE bailed them out?)

What if this is already happening, and we are not aware, OR being told of such by a government that promised transparency?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What Trophy Should Really Mean

My father taught me that killing an animal should never be taken lightly. When I take a life I must be reflective, or I may become callous and develop into a killer rather than a hunter. I risk forgetting the life I took was a gift of the land, and when receiving a gift it is distasteful and rude to criticize or refuse it

What Trophy Should Really Mean

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

de la Houssaye's Swamp Tours April 17, 2011

OK, I know you are gonna ask why; so here: Jesse is a professional blood tracking dog during hunting season when he is not baying alligators! Enjoy...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"I Love Hog Meat" Official Video - Killin' N' Grillin'

In spite of numerous tick bites, I am having a world of fun getting out and running the dogs on hogs.


In about 90 days the deer season opens for most of us.

Get your food plots, camo, ammo, weapons, stands, ATV's etc in order and....

This is a good time to be looking at purchasing a puppy for blood trailing come deer season. Get 'em now and haul 'em to the camp and the woods so they are comfortable traveling and following you around.

I will be publishing my book in a week or two on another site, so be looking for it.

In the meantime let's celebrate our national heritage of freedom and independence and BBQ all that deer meat and hog meat that is still in the freezer from last season.

As the meat thaws, catch the blood and make a blood trail in your yard, or at the park, and work the dog on it. Then when they get to the end of the trail, reward them with a treat and some affection.

The main thing about training a dog to trail blood is get them to put their nose on the ground, and follow a trail.

I am sure you will enjoy this music video.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Molly's First Deer

Molly at 12 months old, with her first deer was never "trained" to be a blood tracking dog. She is as we say "a natural".

She was imprinted on blood, eating raw beef livers at my house starting at 3 1/2 weeks old for about a month or two before I gave her to Scott and his family to be their family ranch pet.

Below are a couple of pictures of Molly at about six months old, last summer.

Notice the loyalty and devotion in the photo below.

She just found her first deer this past weekend, and I will post those pictures in here along with some of her mother Scarlet which I shot in good light on a track about 2 weeks ago.

But, Molly found her deer after dark, and I was not there to photo, so Molly's owner, Scott, sent the hunt photos to me in an email and I pulled some more off the www.bayoubucks.com site.

The photo below and the other daylight shots are of Molly's mother on a track a few weeks ago in the same terrain. I am inserting those shots in the email for illustration and education purposes.

Scott just sent me an email of Molly's first deer with pictures.

I want to use this email to explain how a Catahoula works a blood trail.

The (enclosed inserts) are mine, to help explain what is happening.

Here is the email Scott sent me this morning:

Molly’s First Find.

It was a short track, but we lost the blood the last 20 yards(before the deer),

which does not sound very far, but(in the dark), the palmettos were so thick that you couldn't see five yards in front of you.

I tried to let her work on leash, but it was too thick, so I turned her loose.

She does really well. While on track, she does not leave you behind, she will stop and actually let you catch up(check back), then continues back on track.

We are both new at this, but I think with a little time and practical experience, she will be a good asset(blood tracker).

Jeremy was so happy, he was generous enough to give us a third of his deer meat.(better than giving the cayotes a chance)

I have to be careful because, I guess she thinks that since she found it, the deer belongs to her, and she gets very possessive(protective, guarding the kill).

Molly guarding the meat!

I had to put her leash back on, so they could drag the deer out.(She will relax in time, we hope!)

Jeremy Lemieux posted his story on the Bayou Bucks.com forum.

The link in the last line above will take you to the hunters post on bayoubucks.com(BTW, my forum handle there, is "catahoula1".

Now let's learn something about the Catahoula breed;

What Is A "Check Back"?

For those of you new to the Catahoula breed, you need to understand that a Catahoula Cur, especially a young one, will not go very far without you. If they know you are following them and you are close behind, they will keep moving forward. If you don't keep up, they will turn around on track and "check back".

Meaning, they will come back to you and make sure you are following their lead. When following a blood tracking dog, always trust the dog. If they do check back, do not give up, get anxious or get mad, you should reward them with a pat on the head, and praise them verbally; saying good dog, now go find the deer, blood trail, blood trail, find me some blood, come on dead deer!(get excited, be happy, and start moving forward again), and they usually turn around and continue tracking in front of you. (If they do not check back, they are most likely guarding the kill)

Catahoulas are naturally curious about new scents, and every blood trail is a new and unique scent to be explored and followed. This is natural instinct as a result of breeding, not training. Another natural instinct is protectivity.

Catahoulas Are Natural Protectors

And what that means is, they are by natural instinct, loyal and protective, and are not aggresive unless they feel that what they are bonded to and guarding(such as your family, property, or your deer!) is threatened, by an intruder. I suggest you spoil them rotten as a puppy and provide for and protect them when they are young and they will grow up to want to do the same for you for the rest of their life.

An 8 week old puppy bonding to her "new" momma!

You do not need to teach a well bred Catahoula to be protective or aggresive. It is bred into them and it will surface in a flash when needed. You need to protect your dog from getting himself and you in trouble as a puppy in the first year or two by working him on leash so you have control of him. The first and most important things to teach a Catahoula is obedience and ease of handling on leash, and hope he learns to socialize and warm up to people along the way, so he can be worked off leash, and not be a threat to people.

Now, when they find the deer, Catahoulas are often very protective of the kill. They will growl at anyone(excet their master and family), who gets too close to the deer.

A 10 week old puppy and "her" first deer!(same puppy of the previous photo)

They found it, and it is their deer until the master gets there. DO NOT try to over-ride the dogs position if you are not the owner of the dog. He or she is growling to give you fair warning. Back off, or you will get bit!

And, do not fuss at them for being protective. You(if you are the owner of the dog), should leash them and tie them back away from the deer, before the hunter gets there. If you are using your dog to track for someone else's deer, while tracking, I suggest you stay about 20-30 yards behind the dog, and the hunter about 10-30 yards behind you.

If you(or anyone), beat the dog for eating on or protecting the kill(that's her job), you may cause the dog to be afraid of tracking deer again. You can ruin a good blood dog in one night. Also be careful not to let anyone be too harsh on the dog(verbally or physically), for anything wrong(especially for puppies), anywhere around the deer, at the kill site, during transport, or in the skinning shed.

I advise you to let the dog be present at all of the above if possible. Best to tie them up with a cable lead(they can't chew through it), and let them be there in the skinning shed so they can watch and get treats, without the freedom to get in trouble. If you can't control the dog verbally or by tying nearby with a cable lead, and they continue to get in trouble anyway, and be fussed at anywhere around the deer, remove the dog to a secure area away from the deer. What you want the dog to experience is a totally feel good, positive re-enforcement, team work association, any time it is around a dead deer and receive some meat treats at the skinning and Bar-be-que if possible. Reward and praise them constantly in pursuit of and after the recovery of lost deer. A tracker should always be as close as possible to the dog in pursuit of a fresh track, so the dog does not have to check back too often. Then, in case the deer is jumped and charges the dog with his antlers down, be prepared to defend your dog and yourself with a pistol or shotgun when tracking big bucks.(if legally allowed)

If the deer is gutted at the kill site, give the dog some liver on site and save liver, kidneys, heart, sleen and lungs for later. I always let my dogs eat all they want of any innards at the kill site,

A 12 and 16 week old Catahoula puppy in the skinning shed.

and later, they can have everything including head, feet, skin, deboned carcuss, etc. after the deer is processed.

If your dog eats some choic meat when you are not looking, don't fuss too much, because it is not his fault, it is your fault that you left the meat there, where he could get to it, if he wasn't tied. It is very important that the dog be there in the skinning shed, but be secured by lead or in a crate, so they can't get in trouble.

Being too harsh and punishing the dog around a dead deer, could ruin your dogs motivation to find deer in the future. I have seen dogs be turned off to deer permanently, by someone who did not even own the dog, but was pissed to find the dog's head in their ice chest of meat, or being mad at the dog for protecting and growling at them for getting too close to the kill before the dog owner got there.

Dogs often associate rewards and punishment in a much larger picture than we are aware of. This may not apply to other breeds, but it is an important asset in the Catahoula when properly understood, valued, and handled. Please consider that your Catahoula will guard your kill should the cayotes show up and try to muscle in on the kill before you can get there, and Catahoulas are known for tackling and catching a deer by the throat and killing it, if it tries to get up and run should you jump it while tracking blood.

All of these natural abilities to protect and control the final destination of the meat to the leader of the pack(his master), are due to a Catahoulas' loyalty and grit. This may be a dog breed which is way too "high performance" and "aggressive" for most people, but if you think you can handle them, and you like the idea of having a natural protector around as your family pet, they are in my opinion, the ultimate short range, blood tracking dog.