Trained dogs are used to detect scent, sight, or track game. Dogs used for hunting are typically divided into the hound, gun dog, or the terrier category. Terriers were bred and trained to hunt vermin or to locate wounded game. In the current day, hunters more often use hounds and gun dogs.
Hounds are most often used for tracking. The dogs demonstrate endurance by tracking game over long distances. They might be used to chase an animal up into a tree and signal their success by repeatedly barking. The tree hounds are often used when hunting bears, bobcat, mountain lions, raccoons, or squirrels. The animals might be sought for food. However, some hunters track predatory animals in an attempt to chase them out of human habitats. Hounds might also be used to locate and chase smaller animals that include coyotes, deer, foxes, rabbits, or wild boar.
The breeds used as gun dogs are particularly useful for hunting in wetlands or uplands for birds or rabbits. The dogs used for this purpose are often pointers and retrievers. The canine companions might be used to actively flush animals out of the brush or to point in the direction of a game animal’s scent. Once shot, retrievers are useful for grabbing the animal and returning it to the hunter.
Choice of Breed
The breed of dog desired largely depends on the type of game the hunter seeks and the action they desire the canine to perform. While a variety of dogs may be capably trained, individual dog species have long been bred for specific purposes. After generations, the canines instinctively perform the task. Although specific breed categories may perform the same desired task, the dogs often differ within the category concerning their energy level, willingness to please, or adaptability. When in search of a hunting dog, individuals must do the research and consult with breeders and investigate bloodlines. Hunters must also decide whether to acquire a puppy or an adult dog.
Obedience and Training
In addition to learning the basics of obedience, young dogs must undergo extensive training in the field during their first two years of life. They must be taken into the wild and experience the different types of terrain where they will be expected to perform. The training often requires spending an absolute minimum of one hour outdoors for two or three days weekly.
“The lazy do not roast any game, but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt.” Proverbs 12:27