Training your dog to help you hunt for deer can be a long and stressful process but once completed you have a hunting aid that can make every hunting excursion a successful one. The key to training dogs to hunt for deer is to start them as early as possible as there are plenty of hurdles that they must step over in order to become a successful hunting dog. Just like any type of training you have to put in the hard work and you have to stick with it.
Luckily for hunters patience is something that comes with the territory anyway but we are going to help you train your dog quickly and effectively using a few key tips and tricks:
A Dog is a Man’s Best Friend
They have always said a dog is a man’s best friend and in the hunting world he is exactly that.
However the best dog trackers are trained from puppies, as they don’t need to adapt to a new life as a hunting dog. Hounds are usually the best type of dog for deer hunting and it’s important to get them acquainted to the hunting life as quickly as possible.
If you are yet to buy a dog then it is important to buy one from reputable breeders in the area or out of the area if you have to look further afield. Ask other hunters about which breeders are best for a hunting hound as they will be able to offer you the best advice for this, as reputation is everything at this early stage.
The first thing that they are going to need to get used to is loud gun shots. The last thing you want is your dog running off from you at the first sound of gun fire, or breaking your cover and spooking deer before the shot it fired.
Some techniques that hunters tend to use with pups is to create loud noises in order to get them used to gun fire, so the thunderous clap of a pair of hands is good place to start, but just make sure that any loud noises you do make aren’t confused by something bad. Once your hound pup is used to hand claps and doesn’t get frightened then it’s time to take things to the next level.
Take Them Out on The Hunt
The first step is to make sure your dog has undergone basic training, there is nothing special about this at all it’s the same training that you would use on a home reared puppy so the commands of sit, stay, lie down etc.
You will need these regardless so it’s important to educate them with these commands.
The first step as a pup is to take them on a hunt and get them used to the terrain, location and the whole hunting experience. Usually hunters will start by getting the hound to track a wounded deer for them, and ignore all other deer.
The best way to do this is to have some deer blood with you, this can be from a previous kill in which you have specially saved the blood in a container. You will want to mix this with water and then pour it down a trail for a good 30 feet, and place a reward for your hound at the end of the trail.
Slowly but surely your hound will start to get this perfected and then it is up to you to start making changes to the trail, by using different areas, adding turns in the trail, changing directions and so forth.
These will be the first steps in getting your dog to track a wounded deer, and from this tip alone you will save plenty of time while you are out hunting.
Your Dogs Health
Just like your own health your dog needs to be in pretty good shape if it is going to be used as a hunting dog. Optimal health means that your dog will be able to run and walk for hours, climb up rugged terrain and constantly be eager and alert. Therefore you should check or consult literature online or head to the vets to see what you need to be feeding your dog and what quantity of food each mealtime your dog needs.
Get this right and you will have a fighting fit dog ready to accompany you on your hunts.
Some hunters will also use a collar on their hunting dogs, and usually it’s an electric collar as they are quieter than traditional collars. These are used if your hunting dog veers of course or ignores your commands; the collar will shock them and is also a good way of keeping the training going even whilst you are on the hunt.
Using Another Dog to Train Your Dog
The final point in helping to train your dog to hunt is by using another experienced hunting dog as a mentor. It may sound far-fetched at first but an older and more experienced hunting dog is actually very good training for younger dogs and they will quickly pick up processes and methods from the older hunting dogs. Usually this way of teaching and training a dog is quicker than a human hunter teaching them.
Firstly you will want to take both dogs to an area where deer were present not that long ago, and then let them both lose in that area. Instantly the older dog will pick up the scent and begin the tracking process, at the same time the younger dog will now start to take an interest in what the older dog is doing and begin following him and copying his methods.
Don’t expect this to work overnight you may need to stick with it but eventually the younger dog will realise that he is being trained and soon enough he will learn the tracking process from the older dog with little intervention from you.