Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lets Hunt Smarter, Not Harder

If you are new at hog hunting and are shopping for your first dog, you might consider investing in a tracking system first. It can help you to know if the dog is hunting, and how far she is ranging out, and if she is going farther each time you go. And should she be a good dog who gets out, finds a hog and stays on a running hog, she could go miles before she stops the hog, and then you can find her when she gets bayed up. If... you have a tracking system.

This is Captain Jack Sparrow, a son of Angel and Handsome

I want to share a situation where the hunter was putting the cart before the horse. And in this case the hunter should have gotten a tracking system before the dog. It is important to get things in order if you are going to hunt hogs. Scout the area, set up wildlife cameras if you have them. And a good idea is to get to know the neighbors beforehand if possible. Most people don't like wild hogs and are happy if they know you are coming into the area to hunt. Happy if they know beforehand, not so happy if you come walking into the back of their property looking for your dog and looking like a trespasser, or worse your dog comes walking in and looks like a stray.

One way to avoid a lot of trouble is to have a GPS tracking system on your dog. Most people I hunt with have them now. Ten years ago everybody had the radio tracking system.

Here is Smoke, a littermate brother of Jack

About this time last year, I had a young man names Aaron Cravy calling me because he was looking to buy a hog dog. He told me he was new at hog hunting and was shopping around to find him a dog. I told him I would help him.

About a month later, out of the blue on a Saturday morning I get a call from Aaron that he and his family are on their way over from Silsby, Texas to buy a dog. Now I had not picked out a dog for him, nor set up an appointment and I thought it was funny how these people were driving two hours to come and meet with me, without an appointment or even prior discussion of such a trip being planned. Like in Cool Hand Luke, "What we have here is, failure to communicate".

I had already made plans with people who had called and set up an appointment that morning to do a de la Houssaye's Swamp Tour right about the same time I estimated that the Cravy family would arrive, so I advised Aaron that they could meet me at Lake Martin Landing and join the tour.

We met there, did a swamp tour

and then went out to eat crawfish ettouffe with fried shrimp in it, at The Chicken on the Bayou in Henderson,

and then went to my house to see some dogs.

While on the tour of my yard, David, Aaron's father, asked what dogs were for sale that were ready to go, as in finished and ready to hunt. I advised him, that the only finished dogs I had were not for sale, because they were my breeding stock. I sell only puppies and started dogs for the most part.

One such dog is named Blue, who I purchased for $300 at the Uncle Earls for breeding purposes.

I pulled Blue off his chain and brought him to the bay pen, and he hammered down on the hog. Blue had never found a hog in the woods on his own, but I had bought him for breeding purposes based on his papers, because I planned to breed him to Ruby. He was not for sale.

But I liked these folks and I figuired their son could not afford a really good, ready to go, started dog so I advised them that these dogs were not for sale, and I would allow them to have Blue on some conditions. So I picked Blue, a grandson of Camp-A-While's Tomcat and thus a great grandson of Two Diamonds Cutter, and Camp a While's Absenthe on the top, and C.W. Crews bloodline on the bottom. Blue is an N.A.L.C. registered top line pedigree, of old foundation bloodlines top and bottom, through and through. And if I had to put a price on the dog:$1,500 for the bloodline alone. And at two years old he was ready to hunt. You see, unlike most people, I don't like to start my dogs until they are two years old. Why so late? Because if they are bred to hunt you don't need to train them to hunt, you need to train them to survive, and I can do some of that in a bay pen with the right hog. These foundation bred dogs are fast, gritty, smart, and if you wait till they are two years old, they have a much higher survival rate just starting out when you do bring them to the woods and put them in harms way.

I bought Blue at the Uncle Earls a couple of years ago, and put almost two years into him so I figuired he would most likely be firing off right about now if they hunted him regularly.

Here is a couple of photos of Toulouse, another littermate brother of Jack, showing the young ones on the other side of the fence how to do it.

I thought everything was going well until they were ready to leave and I stated my conditions for them using my dogs.

So here we are on my driveway, and my conditions are being stated to Mr David Cravy, Aarons father. I said, #1. I wanted them to report back to me, as to the dogs progress, #2. send me some business, meaning when you are hunting and catching hogs, refer people to me to buy hog dogs, #3. put a tracking system on these dogs.

To which David Cravy replied: Oh we don't need a tracking system because we are only going to hunt behind our house, and the dogs can find their way home if they get lost. I didn't say anything, but I thought: He isn't listening. And another case of failure to communicate.

Now along with Blue I also allowed them to take Jack Sparrow, a son of Angel and Handsome, who was almost one year old. And in a few months I was getting positive reports from these people, who were hunting hogs with my two dogs. I thought they valued my dogs and were taking good care of them.

What they told me was that Blue was getting out and finding hogs and Jack was being a puppy and not ranging out, so they were thinking about sending him back. I said I was fine with that, because Jack had just barely past a year old. This is typical of many people expecting too much too soon from a puppy. They also mentioned that they were talking about coming to get some more dogs.

And I thought to myself you left with two dogs, no charge, and you want to come get some more? Meaning what? No charge again?

Hmmm...considering that they didn't have to spend money on BUYING the dogs, you would think, they have money to buy a tracking system.

Well soon after that, I was travelling to Village Mills, Texas to attend a hog dog field trail, and visit with Charlie Fontenot in Beaumont. That brought me very near to where Aaron and David Cravy lived in Silsby, so on the way, I called them to advise them that I was in their neck of the woods. I figuired I might pick up Jack Sparrow, and save them a two hour trip.

They came and met me in Village Mills, but I never saw Jack, because they failed to return him to me as they said they would. Soon after that excellent opportunity to return my dog to me, they travelled over to a hunt near Toledo Bend, and turned the dogs loose, Blue came back, but they never saw Jack again.

Ohh... they looked and looked, and went back and looked some more, but without a tracking system, slim chance of finding a lost dog.

Now this is hog hunting, and dogs get on hogs and can go for miles. If we don't have a tracking system to know where they are going and when they are stopped. We are very likely to lose our dogs. And in the case of Jack Sparrow, they lost my dog. They didn't put a tracking system on him as I stated I wanted, and they did not hunt him only behind their house as they said. Nor did they return him as they said they would. They didn't do what I said, then they didn't do what they said. And I wish they would have returned him to me as they said they would, but they didn't do that either, even when I was just a few miles from their house. Jack would be almost two, and ready to go. If he is still alive someone has a fine dog by now.

Here is a photo of Jack taken just before he left.

Just like Angel and all her pups, he will smile at you.

Now the hardest thing for me to believe is I get a text message on my phone recently, stating they want to come get more dogs to hunt with Blue!

So I called Aaron, and asked him if he thought he could come and get dogs no charge, and turn them loose with no tracking system and lose my dogs, and then come again and I would cooperate with this. He didn't know what to say. So I asked him if he has a tracking system, and he tells me he is working on it. At this point I think he is catching on that I am not happy with the way this is going.

I have even called his father and left a voice mail because they are not answering my calls. I advised him that I would write up my experiences with them taking my dogs no charge and losing them. I guess at this point, they think it is their dog and I gave it to them, no charge, and they are not accountable to me! I also have to guess that I really did not HELP these really nice folks if they think they can take my dogs, lose them and come get some more! Am I being too nice to people? Or do I have four letters written across my forehead? Let me go look in the mirror... Yep! It says: FOOL ...right there where everyone can read it. Good thing I am not in this for the money, because I would have to declare bankruptcy if it kept going like this. Now if you want to give them a call and check up on my dogs, here is David's phone number: 409 651 3336, and the home phone is:409 385 1417and Aaron could be reached at: 409 651 7508.

I sure would like to know how my dog is doing. And should you have the good fortune of finding that dog named Jack, take good care of him, most likely he should be firing off right about now and could make someone a jammed up hog dog. But one word of advise: Buy a tracking system, because you are gonna need it.

So if you are planning to hunt hogs and get good dogs that are going to get out, you should invest in a tracking system first, because apparently it is hard to find your dogs without one.

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