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Hunting Dogs

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<SPAN name="C08"></SPAN> <h3>CHAPTER VIII.<br> TRAINING THE DEER HOUND.</h3> <p>On all things there is a main point, also certain rules which should never be forgotten in training hounds, especially the age and the way to train them. My experience has taught me that it is a big mistake to allow a young deer hound to go in the woods before he is 12 to 15 months old, says a Canadian hunter.</p> <p>At a year old a hound should know how to lead well, that is not to pull on the chain for all he is worth ahead of his master but to follow behind him through every place he passes, if between, under or over logs as well as fences, to follow exactly the same trail as his master. A dog or a pair coupled together, so trained, can be easily led in any bush without any bother whatever. It is not at all necessary that a dog should lead in front of his master to find a trail. A dog with a keen nose can pick a trail from the air several yards before reaching it. He will then pull you in the direction of the same and if the scent is fresh, he will be anxious to follow it, then if the hunter is a man who understands his business, he will examine the track by following it 100 yards or so and if suitable and going (if it is a deer) in the right direction and if the wind is also right, will then allow his hound to go.</p> <p>A dog which knows his business will not open the minute he gets the scent but will cover the ground fast and save his steam until he has jumped the deer or fox, then open his value and if he is a flyer he will water more deer in five hours than another which gives tongue as soon as he takes the scent in five days for the reason that a dog which opens the very instant he finds a trail will have to cover 20 times more ground to bring his deer to water, than the one which does not.</p> <SPAN name="pic081"></SPAN> <h5><ANTIMG src="images/081.jpg" alt="The Deer Seeks Refuge in Deep Water."><br>The Deer Seeks Refuge in Deep Water.</h5> <p>A hound should not be gun or water shy but should be shy of strangers, traps and of poisoned baits. He should know how to swim across a river or lake and where to land. He should have but one master and obey him to the word and this without the use of the whip. He should know how to ride in a canoe. All this can be taught to him in about 3 months and he should know all these things before he is broken to hunt.</p> <p>The next thing is to accustom your dog to the gun. This is easily done. All you have to do is to take your gun and dog into a field and once there to tie your dog say five or six feet from you, then to shoot the gun and after every shot to speak kindly to your dog and make him smell the gun. In a day or so repeat as before and the moment you see that your dog is not afraid let him loose and shoot again and always pet him. He will then know what a gun is. So when your young hound knows the gun, the canoe and water, he may be taught to be shy of strangers, traps and of poisoned baits.</p> <p>To break a dog to hunt, you must not allow him to go in the bush whenever he likes. A dog that hunts without being in the company of his master will never be a well trained dog. Therefore, you must lead him in the bush and if you have a well trained dog, you may couple him with the young one and walk until you find a good trail then follow it with the dogs till you see that the young one has caught scent right, then let go the young hound first and the "old timer" last. If the hound comes from hunting stock, he will hang to the trail with the other dog and he will only turn up with him but for some reason or another, should the young hound come back to you, "don't get mad and kick or beat him." No, this is a great error and many are the dogs which have been spoiled that way. Instead of beating, speak kindly to him and pet him a few seconds and keep moving towards where the chase is going.</p> <p>Don't excite your dog, pay no attention to him. If he wants to follow you at your heels, let him do so and once you reach a place where likely the other dog is going to pass, stay there and when the old dog comes along, the young one will again join and may stay this time with him, as the scent will be hot and the chances are ten to one that the young hound will take a hand in the music. But if after ten, or twenty minutes, he should again return, treat him as before. Be always kind to him. If you have no old dog to train your young one, go with your dog and show him the game you want him to hunt, lead him until you kill one, then blood him. The blooding is the "A, B, C" of training. Allow him to smell the game all he likes, speak kindly to him even if he bites the game, don't kick him off or use a stick on him, as I have often seen done by some fellows who pretend that to teach a hound you must abuse him. If you want a foolish dog, that is the way to use him but if you desire an intelligent one, you must encourage him.</p> <p>After a dog has been well blooded (the blooding is done by rubbing the hot blood of the game on the front legs, as well as on the sides of the dog), you may turn him loose or you may lead him until you find another trail. He will at once be anxious to follow. Let him lead for a hundred yards and once you are sure that he has the scent in the right direction, let him go and if that hound comes from trained stock, he will run that scent immediately and should he only be away for five, ten or more minutes and come back to you, speak kindly to him and tell him to hunt. Always mention his name and keep moving in the direction where you suppose the game is.</p> <p>It is a good thing that a young dog backs his own tracks at first, as it teaches him that he can find you when he likes and a hound that does this after each chase will never get lost no matter where you may go. In deer hunting, it has many advantages in so far, that when you are several miles from camp, after your dog has a start you keep moving and if you find where a deer has just passed, you can just sit there and wait for the return of the dog and as soon as he returns, you just tie him and allow him to rest for fifteen or twenty minutes and then you start him again. I have often had two and sometimes four chases in one forenoon and this without bother. Hounds thus trained, will always return to camp every night for their feed and will be ready for the next day.</p> <SPAN name="pic085"></SPAN> <h5><ANTIMG src="images/085.jpg" alt="Well Trained Hounds."><br>Well Trained Hounds.</h5> <p>Some hunters say that their dogs are so good that when they turn them loose, they always stay away for three or four days and they even go so far as to say, that they hunt night and day during the whole time they are away. Well, this is not the case at all. The reason is that they will chase a deer or fox for three or four hours or more and when they have watered the deer or holed their fox, will then start to ramble around and start after another and after watering their second deer, they will be so far away that they are unable to find their way back, and they will walk until they can go no more. They will then lie down for a long time and walk around and howl until they find somebody's trail, which they will follow to the end or until they land at a settler's house or at some shanty and will remain there.</p> <p>Now how many dogs like these will a party of ten or twelve men require to hunt, during ten or fifteen days in a strange country? When a hound has been away three or four days, is he in condition to run the next day after his return? No, it will take him as many days to recover and often he will be of no use for the remainder of the hunt.</p> <p>Dogs like these may suit men living in the country where there is game. Their dogs after having been lost several times will, through time, know the lay of the country and be fairly good dogs at home, but take these hounds in a strange country, of what use and how many will a hunting party require to hunt every day of their outing? Well, they will require a car-load and besides several men to hunt the dogs. Such dogs as these don't stay with me, as I consider them a nuisance, especially for city sportsmen, who are so busy during the whole year that they can only take a few weeks holiday every year, they require a strain of hounds on which they can depend every day of their hunt. I want a dog to be a flyer and to back track after every chase and to find me in the bush and not make for camp after his chase or wait at the shore until some "Johnny Sneakum" comes along with his canoe and says, "Get in Jack," and that Jack is only too glad to jump in and the next thing is that you don't see Jack for the balance of the season, but you will learn later on that Jack has been half starved that it will cost you $5.00 to $10.00 for the board if you desire to get Jack.</p> <p>I will say here that I owe my life to two of my hounds. I was lost once in the woods in a blinding snow storm. This was in Western Ontario amongst a range of sappy pine hills. I was about five miles from camp. In the morning when I left the weather was very fine but it soon started to snow and the storm lasted until about 9 P. M. I was soaking wet and I had left my compass at camp, my matches were all wet and I slept in the bush. At 10 A. M. I had started my two hounds and about 11 A. M. they came back to me. It was just commencing to snow heavily but thinking it would not last long, I made for another hill where I was aware, if any deer started from there it was a sure run for our men, so I arrived there in due time and got a start. It was still snowing very heavily. I then pointed for home. I had about five miles more to reach our camp when I came to a place where a deer had just left his nest, so I thought that I could get a shot at him but after having followed him for about an hour, I gave him up and I tried to make for camp.</p> <p>Well, instead of making for camp, I made a circle and came back to the same place where I had left the deer's track. It was 4 P. M., when my dogs came back to me. I knew then that I was completely turned so I decided to spend the night right there. I looked for a sheltered place and after removing all the snow I could I lay down with my back against a big flat stone and with my two dogs lying near me. We were quite comfortable and early in the morning, I pointed for camp. Now if these dogs had not returned to me, I really believe that I would not be able to write this, as their heat preserved me from freezing to death.</p> <hr>
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