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Hunting Dogs

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<SPAN name="C02"></SPAN> <h3>CHAPTER II.<br> THE NIGHT HUNTING DOG &mdash; HIS ANCESTRY.</h3> <p>Dogs of almost any breed, from the nondescript mongrel to the bred and developed hound may be taught to hunt in the woods at night. However, their success is, in a general way, in proportion to their adaptability for the work and the plentifulness of game. For instance, take a country raised dog of hound parentage, and he is as apt to make as good a night dog as a pedigreed, handsome hound which has grown up in the city, without opportunity to verify by experience his instinctive notion of things. Everything else being equal, the well bred hound should prove by far the better raw material for a good night hunter.</p> <p>The ideal coon dogs of most experienced night hunters are the half bred fox hounds. Thus is enlisted the training of centuries to match the wits of the 'coon which was born wily, and develops stratagem from experience and necessity, affording as exciting and pretty a contest (dog vs. coon) as sport provides.</p> <p>The more one knows of the hound he follows, the greater will be his enjoyment and success. He will avoid blaming the dog with his own mistakes, and wisely refrain from trying to exact from the dog what by physique and breeding he was not intended by nature to do.</p> <p>How the modern fox hound descended from the blood hound and the coon hound from the fox hound is an interesting study of more or less importance in striking an estimate of the coon dog's prowess and abilities. It is not such a far cry from the exciting man hunt of other days to the coon hunt of the present.</p> <p>What we call the native American fox-hounds are descended from dogs brought over from England, Ireland and France. The settlers at Jamestown imported the hounds that spread out over the southern frontier, originating the superb packs to be found throughout the South to-day.</p> <p>The imported dog has never proven a good performer in the chase, owing to very widely different conditions encountered. His value has been in cross breeding to give bone and substance to native breeds.</p> <p>Says one authority: By selection and a different character of work, we have produced a lighter, faster hound than the ancestral type. Our hounds are required to go and search for a fox. That quality has become instinctive in them and it is an extremely necessary natural quality.</p> <p>What we have really done in this country with the fox-hound is, we have created a new type. Our native hounds which are without any near English or Irish hound crosses are not only faster than their ancestors, but they get about in rough country, quicker and with greater ease. The American bred dog, long accustomed to hunting, may be readily developed to night hunting.</p> <p>There are some strains of native hounds that train easier than others. Hounds that have come down through an ancestry which have long been in large packs have certain fixed notions or instincts about hunting that are more difficult to change than are hounds which have grown up singly or in couples.</p> <p>Whatever manner of hound the trainer may undertake to develop it is well for him to consider the dog's ancestry and the way in which they have been hunted. He will find if his hound is well bred that the ancestral influence will tend to assert itself. Knowing what is in his hound, the trainer will know better how to handle him to bring him up to the highest possible degree of efficiency.</p> <p>There were many different breeds of the hound family existing in England, when the fox hound, the great grandfather of the typical night hunter under consideration, began to assume a fixed type and receive recognition.</p> <p>"A popular error" writes another authority, "into which many writers have fallen is to associate the fox hound with any one or two breeds of hounds for his common ancestry, for the fact is that both the English and American fox hound is a composite animal, descended from many different varieties of hounds which have existed in the past."</p> <p>There are a number of breeds of hounds in France to-day that cannot be intelligently traced to any peculiar origin and there have been a greater variety of hounds in the past, which have found the way into the kingdom by different roads.</p> <p>It will never be known exactly what hunting qualities the hounds of our crude forefathers possessed or with what melody of tongue, accuracy of scent, or fleetness of foot they pursued game, which consisted, with now and then an exception, of the stag, wild boar and wolf, until the gradual advance of civilization drove the larger animals from denuded forest and left the cunning fox as the logical object of especial attention to huntsmen, who have spared neither time nor expense to accomplish his death legitimately for nearly two centuries.</p> <p>Summing up we are impressed with the fact that the perfect fox or coon hound is a superb physical being of most versatile and capable properties, subject to our beck and call, if we learn the language of the chase, before we attempt to tell him what is wanted.</p> <p>Let us go to the next important topic. Training the Night Hunter, with due respect and humility. Success in training a fine performer is a credit to a man; failure is a discredit. Heed well the advice of experienced men, and profit by their mistakes.</p> <SPAN name="pic038"></SPAN> <h5><ANTIMG src="images/038.jpg" alt="A Lover of Good Dogs."><br>A Lover of Good Dogs.</h5> <hr>
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