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Archive for the ‘working dogs’ Category

Deutsch Drahthaars are most common gundog breed in the German-speaking world, and they are used on a wide variety of game.

But this one is a gentle soul, who dotes on all sorts of animals that his kind normally hunt.

 

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One looks like a jaemthund, and the other looks like a Norwegian gray:

The Norwegian gray elkhound is commonly used in West Virginia as a general squirrel and varmint dog.

One of the oldest ways to hunt game with dogs– perhaps the oldest— is to have the dogs harass large quarry, providing just enough distraction to allow a person to shoot it from a distance with a gun, arrow, or spear.

These are the dogs that most commonly fall victim to wolf attacks in Scandinavia. It makes some sense. In most areas where these dogs are used, the dogs travel quite a distance from their handlers, and when they catch up to the moose they start barking. Barking is an attractant to any wolves in the area, and wolves don’t tolerate other “wolves” on their turf.

I will always love Norwegian elkhounds. I spent a lot of my childhood around one that was quite good-natured but also quite stubborn and mischievous. I remember he would let me put kibble in his ears, which he would flick out as a game. And he adopted a Muscovy duckling, which unfortunately met its demise when he tried to discipline it as if it were a puppy.

But he was a serious hunter who took out his fair share of raccoons. One of his ears was permanently flopped over from a battle he had with a raccoon under an outbuilding.

He was my grandfather’s last elkhound, and he was the only one I got to know really well. My grandpa loved this breed because it requires almost no training to hunt squirrels and varmints. Most are fine natural treeing dogs, and they can balance their instincts with a desire to please man.

I wonder what Frito would have done if he had been used moose. He used to chase my grandpa’s horse every evening. It was one of their rituals. My grandpa would go out to feed the horse, and Frito would bay up and circle the horse, who though it was fun enough game to allow himself to be herded in this fashion.

So he may not have ever seen a moose, but he knew what to do with a horse.

So maybe he would have known what to do had he encountered a giant deer-horse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hound and Hunter, 1892

Winslow Homer Hound, Hunter and Buck

My favorite Winslow Homer painting is of this Adirondack hunting scene. The hound has driven the shot buck into a body of water, where it has expired, and the hunter (a young man) has come out to collect his quarry.

But he hopes that damned dog doesn’t swamp his canoe!

Hunting deer with dogs is now illegal in most of the US, except for some parts of the South, where “dog hunting” is still a tradition. Northerners gave up on the practice long ago.

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My dad is holding Huddles (dachshund), my uncle is holding Willy (beagle), and Fonzi (Norwegian elkhound) is barking at the gray fox they are holding on the table.

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The dog’s name is Tanne (German for fir tree):

Source.

This is illegal in West Virginia. Dogs cannot be used to hunt deer in any way, but the laws are not well-enforced.

The reason why it’s illegal is that deer were nearly wiped out with market hunters using hounds.

I think this something that should be revised. The dogs are not being used to hunt the deer. They are being used to recover wounded game, which is a very ethical thing to do.

We do it with game birds and migratory waterfowl. Why not with deer?

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Warning: Pretty graphic footage.

Source.

Klara, the Swedish elkhound/Jämthund, managed to survive the attack, but she was pretty severely injured.

The way moose (“elk” in every other part of the world but North America) are hunting parts of Scandinavia is that a barking elkhound encounters the quarry and then it spends as much time yapping at the moose to keep it from running off. This give hunters an opportunity to locate the moose and then kill it.

There are often brags about these dogs barking at moose for days on end, but with the growing population of wolves in Sweden, all this barking does arouse their territorial instincts. The fact that these barking elkhounds are often some distance from human hunters furthers the risk.

This is precisely the problem that bear hunters are encountering in the Great Lakes States, where there is long tradition of letting hounds run black blears. Baying hounds arouse territorial wolves and even the stoutest bear hounds have been massacred in these encounters.

So with wolves expanding their range, it’s very likely that conflicts with owners of hunting dogs are going to increase.

Which makes conservation issues that much more complicated.

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Russian gun dogs 1907

These hunters must have been borrowing heavily from the British traditions. Two setters or a setter and pointer in the cart and black retriever in the front. These men may have even been British who brought their dogs in the Russian wild for a some “primitive” rough shooting in the Irkutsk region of Siberia.

I cannot make out the birds they were hunting. Maybe snipe?

 

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