What defines a hunting dog and how are they used to pursue various types of game?
We are back with season two of the Hunting Dog Confidential podcast. In the first season, we answered the question of “what dogs are used as hunting dogs?” We looked at various breeds and types of dogs that are hunted all over the world, both in the modern day as well as throughout history.
Now, we turn our attention to the “how.” How are dogs used and what are the various methods of hunting with dogs?
Since the beginning of the human-dog partnership, dogs assisted humans in finding game, pursuing game, catching game, and bringing that game back to the hunter. We still see these behaviors today, whether it’s pointing dogs, flushing dogs, sight hounds, scent hounds, spitz dogs, terriers, or retrievers. Dogs use their superior senses to enhance the human hunter’s ability to locate and ultimately kill prey.
We will introduce a slight change in format for this season by welcoming guests onto the podcast. These experts will share their firsthand knowledge in a variety of hunting methods. For this episode, we introduce these various methods as a bit of a teaser for what’s to come.
For bird dog owners, the most common method of hunting is with a bird dog and a shotgun. But hunting with a bird dog might look a little different in North America as compared to continental Europe or the United Kingdom. Special training techniques reflect the normal behavior of the native birds, which partly explains why Pointers are bred to be unerringly steady upon finding and pointing a bird.
Falconry introduces another element: the care and training of a bird of prey. The dogs must be trained to work cooperatively with the bird in a way that’s effective for the hunt and safe for the bird.
Big game hunting is often done with hunting dogs, whether that’s versatile hunting dogs being used on driven deer hunts in Europe or packs of hounds being used on bear or mountain lion in North America.
Small game hunting takes many forms, whether that’s squirrel hunting with a feist, raccoon hunting with coonhounds, or chasing rabbits with beagles. In the UK, ferreting rabbits is frequently done with a dog that can catch the rabbits once they are chased out of their warren by the ferret.
The bottom line is that dogs solved the question of “how,” both for the ancient human nomadic hunter as well as the modern dog enthusiast who is looking for recreation and purpose. Our dogs can take us on a pretty incredible journey if we are smart enough to follow them.
As always, we thank you for listening and invite you to submit feedback or questions to us at HDC@northwoodscollective.com . We would love to feature your questions in an upcoming episode! Record a voice memo and email it to us to be featured on the show and to have your question answered.
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Jennifer Wapenski is the managing editor of Hunting Dog Confidential Magazine and co-host of the Hunting Dog Confidential podcast. She has a lifelong passion for the outdoors, dogs, and wildlife; as an adult, she discovered that upland bird and waterfowl hunting were natural extensions of these pursuits. Jennifer lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their two Deutsch Langhaars.