Sunday, May 16, 2010

It Is A Family Tradition

This is a post about some young dogs who are starting to get out and get lost, so I need to hunt them exclusively with tracking collars from here on.

If you are just getting into hog hunting and you think all you need is a good dog and you are hunting hogs, well yes, genetics is important. But here is a word of advise: Invest in a tracking system first. I know you are anxious to get out into the woods and experience nature and the satisfaction of being with your buddies, telling fishing and hunting stories, and carrying on the time honored tradition of putting meat on the family table.

The PRIMARY OBJECTIVE of hog hunting should be to get out and enjoy nature and feed people. Secondary to that, should be to protect the environment from wild hogs, and it is an environment that all species depend upon, including us. Tertiary to that, should be bragging rights.

Investing in a tracking system, increases the efficiency of the time, money, and energy you spend hunting hogs, and allows you greater success in accomplishing all three objectives. Ignore my advise and you may spend more time hunting for your dog than hunting hogs. And worse than that, is losing a dog for lack of a tracking system. That tracking system transmitter collar should also have a brass plate attached to it with your last name, city, state, and cell phone number.

If you have good dogs and you are hunting hogs, you need a tracking system to simplify things. If you can't afford a new GPS system, get an old radio system and a couple of collars with spare magnets.

Another handy location devise is a horn, which you blow in your yard before you ever go hunting, so your dogs associate that sound with you, and they can come when you call. A good time to blow it is at feeding time every so often. If you hunt out of a truck, use your truck horn.

Yesterday based upon reasonable estimates, we covered about twenty miles in the saddle. And oh, I better get into shape because it looks like we are going to saddle up every weekend possible and run these dogs. For where I am hunting now, horseback appears to be the best means of keeping up with the dogs. And when they are silent, like mine, it is hard to know when they are on something and follow. In the end, a lady called me miles away from where we were looking and thought Whiteboy was at. She had caught him in her yard, got my cell phone number off the collar, and called me.

When my friends first started reporting back to me about their new GPS systems telling them the dogs had covered 40 miles in one day, they couldn't believe it. And I said, "Now do you think those dogs should have at least 3 or 4 days rest before the next hunt?"

The first weekend I hunted with club, we had pictures of hogs visiting the feeders in the daytime from 8AM to 3PM, but nobody told me that until we hunted the woods in the hunting club at night and found nothing hot. Jesse got lost a few times and we had to wonder if it was a running hog or old scent. After I was informed of the daytime pattern I assumed the hogs were in the wheatfield at night, when it was safe, and in the woods of the hunting club duing the day, because it was safe and cool.

Another thing we were not privelidged of knowing before hand was that just a few hours before we went into the woods to hunt starting at sunset, someone had drove through the hunting club with a pickup and a utility trailer picking up deer hunting box stands. Meaning they drove the hogs out of the woods right before we got there.

And if you are new at hog hunting consider this: putting dog pressure on deer in these thich, dense cutover areas, and they go round and round on about a one square mile area, but hogs will often make a beeline straight out of the area and go for miles to get away from the dogs.

Last weekend, Whiteboy's brother Jesse, was the one who got on something and got lost. This weekend, it was Whiteboys turn.

We had covered about 12-15 miles on horseback, and several watering holes before we found the hogs. As we approached the last watering hole I was noticing my dogs were played out. It was getting hot and several of the more active dogs who were really rangeing out were starting to slow down and were dragging behind the younger dogs and needed a rest big time. I would have stopped before we got to the water if there were shade, but all the big trees had been logged out and I figuired I would let them rest when we got to the water, so they could lay down and cool off in the water. Well as we approached the bayou, we came straight up on the hogs, and literally jumped them in sight. Thats when Whiteboy disappeared and was never seen again until I got a call and directions and drove over in the truck to a lady's house miles away from where we jumped the hogs.

These two boys and Spider are carrying on a family tradition, generation after generation.

Just a few days before Bobalou passed away in January 2007, Angel gave birth to a litter sired by Bob. I knew it was the end for Bob and I wanted to get some pups from him mixed over the Blair bloodline, before he was gone. From that litter came Jesse, Spider, and Whiteboy.

When his father Frank was two years old, I pulled Bob out of the litter before anyone saw him because I felt it was time to raise another puppy, and he had chosen me. This was 1995, and back then, I was getting $400 per pup, and they were all gone in day, because I had a waiting list.

When I went out to feed the litter of pups that Bob was born in, there was a rush to surround the food bowl and a competition amoung the siblings for the food in the bowl. But unlike his siblings, Bob would come over and put his paw on my foot as the other pups ate, communicating to me that I was more important to him than food. I have never had a more devoted and loyal servant than Bobalou. He was a hunter and he loved to run the woods. If cows needed to be penned, he was there in tight and fierce, as was typical of my dogs and obedient to the verbal commands. When we were hunting or penning and he checked back, I could sent him east or west merely by pointing in that direction. Bob grew up running the woods and was taught to hunt by the legend known as Maurice.

I miss my old dogs that are gone now, but I can see the new generations carrying on the family traditions of getting out and getting lost in pursuit of meat.

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