For many hunters, no trip is complete if their four legged friend isn’t by their side, and hunting with dogs is a well-loved tradition for many. Provided you are doing it within legal limits and take the absolute utmost care to be an ethical hunter, this can add a level of fun and companionship to every hunting trip you take.
Not every dog is a born hunter, though, so you need to be careful with the types of breeds you choose to take along, and all this takes is a little research into dogs. Most commonly, hounds, terriers, dachshunds, gun dogs, and cur type dogs make the most popular breeds to bring along on a hunt, although there might be some out there that are just as useful.
Hunting dogs can either hunt with or for humans, with most hunters preferring to use them as a trusty sidekick with a keen nose. However you choose to incorporate your dog into a hunting trip is fine, providing you are giving a fair chase to the game, treating your dog and all other animals with respect, and following ethical hunting guidelines every step of the way.
Although dog hunting can be a touchy subject these days, it helps to understand how it works in order to make your own mind up about how you feel on the subject. There are many different types of dog hunting now outlawed in various states and countries, so this will focus only on the dog hunting style that’s more commonly accepted.
The main aim of a dog while hunting is twofold. Firstly, the dog should act as a second and more in tune nose, giving you a sense of smell that just isn’t possible for humans. The dog can help you track and sniff out where the animal has gone so that you’re better equipped to follow it.
Secondly, a hunting dog can run a lot faster than a person, so if a chase ensues with your game then the dog can help to round them up and possibly trap them into a corner. Although this isn’t as fair as hunting on your own, it is less barbaric than having a dog which simply chases the animal and then kills or injures it upon attack.
There are a few benefits to bringing a dog along on a hunt with you, provided your dog has been trained in these kinds of settings. These are just a few advantages the hunter has to bring man’s best friend on their hunting trips.
For the hunter who likes to go alone, it can be great to take your dog with you for some company still. They won’t talk and interrupt your focus, but they’re always there by your side.
When you’re unable to get up rocky hills or into bushes, a hunting dog can do so with ease. This means you’re covering more ground than before and improving your chances of a successful hunt.
Dogs have an unbelievable sense of smell, and especially when it comes to sniffing tracks. You’ll never lose an animal again when you have your dog by your side, thanks to their trusty noses.
If your dog has been adequately trained to point and retrieve this can be a huge benefit for the hunter. This frees up more of your time to hunt game so you’re spending less of it tracking down your successful kills.
There are so many types of hunting dogs to choose from, with some being more equipped than others to accompany you on your outing. The game you hunt and the areas you do it in will determine which breed is more suitable, so here are some of the more popular options.
The key thing you need in a bear hunting dog is the ability to track an old scent, and that’s precisely what makes the Plott Hound a top choice. These dogs can get down and dirty with the best of them, and show no fear when tracking a black bear.
In regards to duck hunting, there’s no doubt that the Labrador is the clear winner. They’re great for swimming and retrieving and thanks to their thick coats they don’t mind the weather. For pheasants, the best choice is an English Springer Spaniel. These dogs can cover a lot of ground fast and are apt at retrieving.
As tradition goes, beagles are still the top choice for hunting rabbits. This breed shows vigor and character and can match the speeds of the rabbit extremely well. Their noses are some of the best too, and they’re regularly used for airport screening as a testament to just how strong their sense of smell can be.
Although this tradition is one that has recently come under speculation, there are still ways you can ethically and respectfully hunt with dogs. Provided you are still giving the game the chance at a fair chase, and ensuring they aren’t left hurt or injured, there’s no need to give up your hunting dog so long as laws allow it.
You’ll need to be prepared to learn how to train a hunting dog, as it can take many years and lots of patience. Once you do, however, you’ll be rewarded with companionship and a more successful hunting trip every time you take them along with you. A good hunting dog can not only be helpful in the field but give you years of love and loyalty at the end of the day.