Sunday, November 2, 2008

Who I Am and What I Am Going to Do

I am Marcus de la Houssaye the owner of de la Houssaye's Catahoulas. When I first started hunting hogs 20 years ago, I learned to hunt with people who ran a large pack of dogs at one time and I thought that was the only way it was done. I have since been taught by some old time masters who hunt one dog at a time.

In the last year that I have been marketing my dogs on the internet, the majority of people who call me also run a large pack of dogs and consequently, I don't sell dogs to these people because my breeding program creates mostly one dog situations and I don't want to sell someone a dog that won't work in their large pack way of hunting.

The problem with hunting Blair-bred Catahoulas in a pack is that the strong pack instinct causes the dogs to be too gritty or catchy, which leads to way too much mortality and injuries. Another problem is that putting too many dogs on a hog at one time causes the hog to bust or run. Considering that the most dangerous part of hog hunting for the dog is stopping a running hog, if the hog is not going to stand at bay because of too much pressure and is constantly busting the bay, the dogs are at a much higher risk of getting killed or seriously injured and you are in for a long chase.

I was recently on a hunt with a pack of fine Plott hounds. One of the unexperienced "new" hunters questioned why my dogs weren't running with the pack. I advised him that my dogs were short range and didn't run with Plotts. My answer seemed to cause him even more confusion. His lack of understanding caused him to comment that my dogs must not be any good. I didn't argue with the damn fool.

I let him and about 10 other hunters leave on ATV's with the Plotts and run the hog on a 10 mile round trip chase. They never got close to the hog because the dogs were open mouthed. I am not critizing these fine dogs they were doing their job. But...When the hog circled back to where I and my fast, well rested dogs were waiting, we caught the hog.

The result of not understanding the pack instinct and running too many dogs at one time has created a large demand for finished catahoula hog dogs. So much so that many people are selling poor quality breeding to the buying public and the buyers based upon previous disappointments, are very suspicious of high priced, well bred started dogs.

Another problem I have with people wanting to buy a finished dog, is that the buyer only wants to invest money and no time in the dog. I have seen people buy a dog on a 30 day trail and bring him back the next day, claiming that they knew the dog was no good!

Well for hound dogs I can understand that, but for a cur dog with a strong pack instinct like a Catahoula, there is a warm up period that may be only a week or two for some dogs or as much as 6 months or more for others. Many people don't understand that a catahoula will not hunt for just anyone, and more specifically they will not hunt for someone they don't like. I have learned that Catahoulas can read people like a book. They may not like you from the moment they see you and that may never change.

And on that note, the best catahoula hog dog you will ever own is one you raised up from a pup, ideally a pup that played with children everyday after school.

I am creating this blog with the intent of finding people who hunt only one dog at a time or hopefully finding hog hunters who want to learn the proper way to hunt a Catahoula.

Marcus de la Houssaye


auntartika said...

Okay, then, I'll be the first to show my ignorance - :) - when it comes to hunting, what are the differences, pros & cons wise, between catahoulas, black mouth curs, & plott hounds? Let's just add in anything, not just that a broad enough question for you? :)

Marcus de la Houssaye said...

The point of this blog is to open a discusion regarding running one dog at a time versus a pack of dogs. So regarding the three breeds you mentioned, there are differences as some plotts are open on track and some are silent.And then some catahoula hunters don't like YBMC's because they are to gritty or plotts because they are to long range. Then some YBMC hunters don't like catahoulas because they are not gritty enough. The biggest diference in the breeds would be that a plott is usually open on track and long range, where as a catahoula is silent on track and more short range by comparison. Bear in mind that every dog is a unique individual no matter what the breed, and so some catahoulas may get out for hours before checking back in and some plotts might not even have a nose or the grit to stop a hog if they could find it. Personally, I don't have anything negative to say about any of the three breeds mentioned. But there is no difference between the breeds regarding the pack instinct. If you run too many dogs at a time no matter what the breed you get the same result. Chosing a breed is a matter of personal preference and experience. As to what breed is best suited to what hunter is really more a matter of trail and error.

joejoe said...

hey catahoula just wanted to tell you i looked on the web page today the solid color pup and the red spotted pup looks like some potental pups. this is joe by the way we talked on the phone the other day about some started pups. i will try to call you tommorrow since i didnt get a chance to call you back today

animal lover said...

Hello to all. I may be in the wrong blog, however.... it sounds like I found a group who loves this breed. I'm writing to you from Colorado in search of my 3rd Catahoula. We will be in the New Orleans area the end of May and are looking for a pup to journey home with us. We won't be running any hogs (in groups or otherwise) here in the high country, so temperament is more important to us then hunting/herding skills. We love the spirited personality and heart of this breed and can attest to their abilities as sturdy, sporty dogs for outdoor activities in general. You might not know this in Louisiana, but both of my Catahoulas absolutely love the snow! The one I have now loves nothing better than sledding down a snowy hill on her spotted belly!! Anyway, can you recommend some reputable breeders who could help us provide an excellent home for a sweet cur? We would prefer a female that will be moderately-sized, but are flexible on that. Many thanks...

Marcus de la Houssaye said...

Regarding breeders in Colorado, I don't know any personally. I do have a reference for you in Colorado, in that I sent 2 started dogs and 4 pups with a cowboy friend of mine who lives near Grand Junction in NW Colorado. A couple of those dogs might be available for you, if we have a match. These pups are from Patch and Ruby and, Angel and Handsome.

If you are serious, call me as I would like to talk to you. I am at 337 298 2630.

Look Fur'em said...

Just up the road from ya. I live in Zachary,La. I've had catahoulas since I was a kid my Daddy use to use them for deer dogs. I'm now 37 and have been using them to hunt hogs since 97. Your right on the money about the one dog and too many dogs putting pressure on the hog. The only problem I have with the one dog is the hog usually either see's or hears the catchdog coming. I've had better luck with one catahoula and one running catchdog on the ground.If you get a good'en give me a call I'm a taxidermist. If you wanna talk dogs give me a call sometime Thre' at 225 301-7090

Hog hunter said...

I like what you say about the one dog wonder I am yet to find him I run 2 some times 3 dogs a BMC a Plott x Cat and carry a pit to catch my Plott x Cat cross is my main strike dog he isnt big enough to stop a hog but from what I have learned hunting with him here in Arkansas the hogs arent intimidated by him he dont bay tight and by the time the calvery arrives its too late that pit is a hog monster. I didnt plan on hunting this way I just adapted and adjusted to what I have got avaliable I didnt learn to hog hunt from anyone I have learned on my own through trial and error.I remember the stories grandpa told about his catahoula bull cross dogs and how he caught his hogs back before there were stock laws and he sewed them up with hair from the mules tail man I wanted to do it too but he was to old to go and me to young nobody else I knew hunted this way with dogs so I had to wait until 2 yrs ago at the age of 31 I bought my first dog and got rooked on him sold him for a loss finally I bought 1 that was dececnt and am working with the other seems like the only dogs most folks sell are culls but they will stand there and say their finnished I will get where I want to be at some point I hope for now I get one here and there and at least im out there doing what I love and what I always wanted to do hunt with my own dogs.These days folks are asking big prices for a dog that will bark at a hog I understand what it cost to raise a dog and I dont mind paying for a good animal .Like I said im interested in what you got to say ,like your blog and will follow funny I had a good freind of mine from Mississippi ask me about you the other day you had some discussion about dogs and pistols I believe I said tell him you want the one dog wonder .