Saturday, January 2, 2010

Many New People are Becoming Hog Hunters

The popularity of hog hunting is growing raspidly, so much so, some say it is considered to be the fastest growing sport in the nation.

With the rise in popularity comes many new people who are anxious to get out there and expand their bragging rights.

Because they are new and possibly because they grew up with machines they bought which served their recreational needs many newbies think they can invest money in a dog and they are hunting hogs.

many fail to understand the importance of building a relationship with the new dog.

A prospective dog buyer called me this week wanting to buy a couple of started dogs because he went hunting with a few friends and he is hooked on hog hunting.

He has been a bird dog quail hunter and there are not many quail around anymore so he is focusing on hogs, because there are a lot of hogs in his area north of Dallas Texas.

My advise to anyone just starting out hunting hogs is to learn as much as you can about wild hogs, and an excellent source of info on that is this documentary about the wild hog problem in North America, titled "Pig Bomb".

Personally, I don't like the title but the point is there is an explosion of wild hogs in the United States at the moment. The history of wild hogs dating back to Columbus, the politics, the problems environmentally, agriculturally, and the solutions of controlling this epidemic of wild pigs are addressed in great detail in this TV program.

And here is the bottom line for us hog hunters: the program clearly states that the best way to control the population is to hunt them with dogs.

The program also states that wild hogs are becoming harder to control and hunt because only the strong, smart, fast, fighting hogs survive to reproduce.

The more evolved and "modern" these hogs become, the more evolved the dogs must be to get the job done right. That is where I come in with the old blood lines that are getting hard to find these days. But, so many people who call me are new at this and assume they can find a good well trained "finished" dog that is ready to go. Meaning all they need to invest is money and we are hunting hogs.

Problem is that there is such a great demand for finished dogs and so few good dogs are being sold, that many people who come to me who have been doing this for years tell me that they have to go through about 40 or 50 dogs to get a good one.

People who are just getting into hog hunting don't know this and are often frustrated and disappointed with the dogs they get because they can't keep up with these modern hogs we have today.


Weaseldog said...

I'm not a hog hunt, but i have become a big fan of the Catahoula breed.

i came by my first Catahoula by accident. After 2001, my career was on precarious footing and between job interviews I had a lot of free time. I started doing more gardening in my suburban backyard. I decided to add chickens and thought a small herding dog would be a good addition to the family (my dogs at the time were old and passing away). My wife picked up a 'Blue Heeler' at a local shelter. This dog had come from Louisiana as a Katrina rescue. Her moths had been rescued while pregnant and our new dog Ella had lived the first three months of her life in the shelter.

When I got home to see the dog, I was dubious about the 'Blue Heeler' designation. The dog was a spotted blue, but lanky like a hound. Her personality didn't fit 'Blue Heelers' at all. I searched the internet to discover what kind of hound I had, and found she matched the Catahoula breed to a tee.

Not long after we got her, she began destroying furniture and playing with our chickens until they were dead. She took some work, but with mostly positive reinforcement, I got her to see the chickens as part of the pack. When I scolded her, she acted as if her world was coming to an end.

I realized quickly that she needed a lot stimulation and play time. I found a Border Collie / Rottweiler mix puppy for her, and that solved the problems with he eating furniture. The new dog taught her to herd and manage the chickens, rather than just to chase and spook them.

Alas, those dogs were stolen. They got out when my wife was bringing in groceries, and ran off with a small dog we had that was prone to escaping and wandering. In spite of all dogs having collars and tags, we never saw them again. We have a problem with pit bull groups and folks stealing dogs for animal research in our area. I try not to think much along those lines.

I now have an Catahoula named Thor that has most of the same personality traits as Ella did. his compansion is a Shar Pai / Golden Lab mix that is turning into a good chicken dog. Surprisingly, she has a natural instinct to herd them. Though for a while she was catching them and playing with them to pieces...

When reading your accounts, I'm reminded of some of the behavior I've seen in Thor. We have a neighbor with a pit bull that is often running loose. That dog is aggressive and known for biting other dogs. Thor on more than one occasion has put that dog to bay and run her home. When he bays though, it's a graceful thing to see. I've watched a few videos on Catahoulas baying hogs, and they look sloppy after seeing Thor do it a few times.

Though I've never hunted with Thor, he is adept at catching squirrels. It's an amazing sight see him happily trotting in to give my wife a freshly caught prize.

I agree with you that this dog is not for everyone. They demand time and attention and they are highly intelligent dogs. They obey and behave out of love, not because they must. Thor has been spotted walking on the top rail of our chain link fence. And yet, he never leaves the yard without permission.

For those keeping these dogs in the suburbs, I think that a companion dog of a breed with a different temperament is a necessity. For working folks that are gone ten hours a day, this can provide the stimulation and play that they require. I don't know it for a fact, but I think that if I had gotten two Catahoulas instead of adding a breed that is known for staying close to home, that the pack instincts would be reinforced and dogs would be more inclined to get loose and wander.

Thank you for posting your articles on this wonderful breed. I look forward to reading more on your rants, raves and adventures.

Unknown said...

Hello Cat. Man,
Rookie here. Just purchased my first catahoula, and I must amount of reading materials can prepare you for this breed. Her name is catalina she is blue merle and we are adjusting to/ learning from each other nicely. Her parents are hunters, but there is no supernatural lineage there. We are still working on basic obedience, but she learns fast. I'm impressed. I bought her seeking that "one dog wonder"....keeping my fingers crossed and doing everything I can as far as training goes. Time will tell. Anyway, good site...good info...I will b back, Thanks, Nick