i just got the call - keb flushed out that groundhog who has torn up the yard between the garage and the house. this groundhog is a PITA - his holes are a wide as a basketball, and you sink in his tunnels when trying to turn on the outside faucet. he's been living under an old dog coop for over a year now. we could never catch him because he was too smart for the trap we had set.
dh heard keb barking up a storm, and he had the groundhog cornered near our front door.
lucky for us, it's open season on ground hogs - dh got his shotgun and no more ground hog.
i asked how keb reacted to the shot -
dh said he backed up a little, but not much. i kinda thought he would, we when target shoot, we keep him by us so he would get used to it and he does the same thing if no one has a hand on him.
now, a question - does anyone use their lab for deer or rabbit hunting?
I use my older dog to blood track deer (the only legal way to use a dog in deer hunting around here). I have also used her to flush rabbits from the brush piles. She is very persistent and LOVES to "get the bun buns!"
Labs as a hunting breed have a great nose and could probably be used for a lot of different game. I would think that it really depends what you want to use your lab for.
For example if you are an upland bird hunter I would think that it would be problematic for the dog to get off on a rabbit or deer trail. I'm not sure the dog would be able to tell when it was or wasn't ok to hunt up other game. I think that it could also be problematic at hunt tests or field trials
I do know what you mean though by the lab loving bunnies. We had a rabbit that actually had a brood or whatever you call it in my dogs pen which is about 1/2 of the back yard. Benelli never noticed them for a long time as they were very small and I don't let him chase rabbits or squirrels.
But as the bunnies got a little older and started crawling out of their nest, Benelli noticed them and it all happened so quick that I couldn't hardly stop him He had a mouth full of baby bunnies at least 3 or 4 bunnies were dropping everywhere and making that squeal and he was as proud as he could be prancing around with the baby bunnies hanging out of his mouth, 3 of the babies didn't make it.
It was almost as though benelli had some bunny hor' deirves (sp) that day.
I am primarily a duck hunter and would also consider Pheasants, so I really don't want to take benelli somewhere in a new field and have him start chasing squirrel, rabbits or anything other than the game that I am hunting.
Just my two sense worth.
I am loving these stories! Keep em coming
Belle never seemed to have a problem distinguishing between the venues. Her deer tracking was ALWAYS done on a harness (have to by law), and boy when she sees that harness come out she is as geeked about life as when duck hunting. It is the blood tht she keys off when tracking a deer. If the blood runs out, then by that tme she has learned the hoof scent of that individual deer. While she used to give chase to deer in general when we were just out for a walk, it was only for 20-30 yards and then she'd come back.
Hunt tests are a sight and scent all in of themselves, same as with 'real' hunting. The whoel set up is different than anything else.
As far as bunny hunting, just say the words "BUN-BUN!!" and she'd take off sproinging like an antelope! If I motioned to a brush pile and said "Get the BUN BUN", she'd dive into it like it was the best thing in the world!
I let mine chase rabbits all the time when we are out for exercise. She knows not to do it when training or bird hunting, somehow.
I used to have a buddy with an old yellow lab named "Mooch" who was the best cold trailing deer dog I ever saw. People would show up at his door at o-dark thirty and say "We got one down we cain't find, you got ole Mooch?" And off they would go to the middle of nowhere in the pitch black dark, Mooch grinning so hard you thought his teeth would crack. My wife would have KILLED me as many times as that happened, but Mooch just freaking loved it, bounding around cutovers in the dark trailing a deer.
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Seems Keb was a little spooked all evening. It was funny watching him sniff the area where the ground hog was shot. He was all jumpy, going from sniffing the ground to taking a defensive stance for a quick second to check his surroundings.
From what dh said, it took him a little while to get Keb to back off to he could shoot him. When he finally got the shot, Keb did more than a little jump back (I usually get the less exaggerated version the second time around ) he took a few quick steps back and then stepped up to get a closer look. dh prevented him from getting more than a sniff after the shot.
thanks for the stories and information - as far as using a harness is concerned, i need to see what laws apply to hunting/tracking deer on you own property . I prefer him on a lead or harness if they are going out there - Keb is still pretty young and doesn't listen very well once he's picked up a scent, so I'm going to pick one up this weekend. The weather is finally changing here and dh is getting ants in his pants about getting out there. I don't know who was more excited the rest of the evening - the dog or him LOL
oh and the bark was very distinctive - dh said he never heard that bark before - it was a really angry "get the hell out of my yard" bark. I wish I could have been there!
I have found a harness necessary (aside form it being the law), because Belle would out distance me too quickly. Some people have tried to teach the dog to bark when the deer is found and then the hunter/tracker would follow the bark. While this might have worked in some of the tracks I have done, others the der has traveled a mile or more...that I am partially deaf (from shooting too much) and would not locate the dog so well.
The down side is that I get dragged through the most gawd awful stuff as the dog follows the track. Through brambles and briars, under rose bushes, through streams and welll, places that a small lab can fit, but not a 5'9" woman!
do you have any particular type/brand of harness you use? What should I look for - he has never worn one before so I hope he'll do fine with it on. How should it fit? snug? a little loose? I'm totally new to harnesses!
This is the one I want to get him - he has the fleece lined hemp collar.http://www.planetdog.com/ProductInfo...MP%20HARNESSES
I use a regular old nylon harness. In deer tracking, the harness can get quite muddy and full of briars and thorns. I have it fit fairly snug (not really tight) so that sticks, branches etc. do not get easily caught. Once the dog knows blood tracking they are hard to hold back!
I f I ever do people tracking, I'll use a nice leather harness