Monday, July 26, 2010

The Philosophy Of Hunting And Fishing

`This post will be philosophical beause;

I believe there are a lot of people who need to be reminded that they are on the right track. Reminded, because there are a lot of newbies who have made hog hunting a competitive sport. And worse a lot of people are lately calling hunting and fishing a bloodsport.

What is important is being in the woods with your dogs communing with nature. And if you luck out and find fresh sign, and your dogs luck out and can stop these running s.o.b.'s, you might get something tied and put meat on the table. Or it may be the great pleasure of catch and release. Why catch and release? Because you can, last I looked it was a free country.

More importantly if you hunt hogs, you have the opportunity to get some young ones out of the house, away from the computer and the virtual world, and into some real all American adventure.

You can do fishing, tubing or jetskiing too. The point is; spend some time with your kids, or any ones kids and use hog hunting or fishing to do it.

I want to share an email with you:



Hello Marcus. I live in Irving, Tx, a suburb of Dallas.

I made a recent post on your blog under the name of Weaseldog2001.

I've enjoyed reading what you have written.

Until coming across your blog, I believed that hunting in the USA had simply turned into a point and shoot sport, where you wait for your game to come eat at a designated place and you simply shoot it. Then you get to go back to the lodge and brag about what a great hunter you are.

That's not how I used to hunt with my grandpa in East Texas, many, many years ago. Of course, with a kid in tow, my grandfather didn't get much game.

These email is leading up to a point... :)

Do you know of any outfits in my area that support hunting as you prefer to do it, with a dog and a bit of hiking?

Could you refer me to someone in your neck of the woods that can be my guide on such a hunt?

I'm not interested in a guaranteed kill so much as getting out and spending some out in the wilderness again. As an adult it's been twenty years since I've done multi-day wilderness hikes with a dog and I miss it.

Further, I have a two year old Catahoula that is my faithful sidekick. I've taken him hiking in some of the wildlife preserves in my area. He's not prone to running off. Would it be a bad idea to take him on a hunt with his (and my) relative inexperience?

Your swamp tours sound interesting.

Thank you for your time in reading this.
I appreciate any time you can take in answering.


What is interesting about his email is that he remembers how his Grandpa took him hunting and comments that they didn't get much game because a kid was factored in to the hunt. I have to wonder if that really mattered to grandpa. Because what may have really mattered was grandpa spending time with a young one. And not just for grandpa's sake, but for the pleasure of grandpa to share with a young one the experience of what seems to be a way of life many of us today have lost.

Being in the woods with your family and your animals. And for me animals is plural because I want to hunt from a saddle on a mule or horse. At 55 years old, I can't keep up with these dogs like I used to.

Too many of us have grown up using machines to do everything for us. Cooking and storing our food, washing our clothes, cutting grass, transportation, and communication. Hell, I love my cell phone, but I am getting to a point of hating email, because too many of those is a waste of my time. And I am getting sensitive about cell phone time too. Especially when my daughter, complains that I am spending too much time on the phone, and not with her.

Folks, I am talking about relationship, with nature, our dogs, and more importantly our family and neighbors.

Here is a photo of a couple of kids, I took on a fishing trip recently.

What is the point I am trying to make here? Well several; because not only is this about our dogs and our children, it is about a way of life presently threatened that needs to be preserved. Simply put; use it or lose it.

Many vitual reality minded city slicker people today claim that hunting and fishing is not a necessity as in the old days, but a luxury, and we are being cruel to animals purely for our pleasure.

Hey, I understand their logic, because there is a Winn Dixie right up the road with meat and seafood. But being a commercial fisherman and a recreational hunter, not to mention growing up am a farm with chickens, cows, hogs and a garden, I hate the overpriced, radiated, chemically altered, over-priced junk being sold up the road.

Call me crazy, I don't care, but there may be a time and sooner than you might think, when gardening, hunting and fishing is once again a way of life, and not purely recreational.

If you are womdering why your dog is not motivated to hunt, may be he knows that it is not a life support system, but just something you want to use him to brag about how great of a hunter YOU are. Why don't you try hog hunting without your dog and see how great of a hunter you are.

Let us not forget the time honored traditions of hunting and fishing, and share that with the younger generations purely for their benefit, because the time may come when thsy need to hunt and fish for survival.

And what a shame it would be if they didn't know how.

I don't have time at the moment, cuz my truck is going in the shop this morning, but there is a whole lot more I want to say about our relationship between us our dogs and our children and the natural environment out there.

Those who say it can't or shouldn't be done,
need to get out of the way of those doing it!

And hey be careful out there, here is a 15 foot eastern diamondback rattler which was caught in a suburb of Jacksonville, Texas.

Not to mention this big boy couldn't catch a dog so he is having pork for breakfast.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Right Genetics

One of the most frustating parts of being a breeder is investing decades into a breeding program, and then years into a puppy and then have to deal with someone who comes along, who thinks they are going to find, buy and hunt a dog, that they have nothing invested in but money, and luck out and catch hogs.

I wish more people understood the importance of genetics, knew who to go to, to get the right genetics, and then was willing to invest years into a puppy and then the dog, so us breeders could get some appreciation and respect.

And for all the people who have been calling me and telling me I am the only person they have spoken to who sounds like they know what they are talking about, and can trust, THANK YOU!

Below is an email letter I recently recieved from Scott Zeringue, thanking me for selling him a puppy a few months ago.

The one thing I want to point out in this letter is how sensitive Scott is to the dogs sensitivity.

Bear in mind that this letter comes to me and the dog is barely 5 months old.

I hope if you are shopping for a hog dog, you consider your best investment may be with a puppy from the right genetic background.

Here is Scott's letter:

Marcus these are some pictures of Molly.

I can't thank you enough for selling
me this dog.

The first few weeks she depended on us, now, we depend on her.
At such a young age she has figured out what her duties are around the farm.

She can go from a playful puppy with the kids one minute to a protective
guardian the next if a stranger comes around. She sleeps at the back door
all night and waits for that morning greeting like to say "I watched the
place all night with pride".

She walks us to the car when we leave for work
then goes back by the back door and waits for us in the afternoon. I can't
explain how smart she is.

Everytime she comes across something new, you can almost watch her think about how will this fit into my job around here.

One morning before work she heard me fuss at my 3 boys,
and that afternoon she came met me at the truck with her tail between her legs until I talked to her gently.

It puzzled me at first, but I realized she thought she had did
something wrong. I felt really bad because at barely three months old that
little puppy thought about that all day long.

As a puppy I would put her in my lap to go ride the ATV, now when she wants to ride she climbs on the back rack and barks until someone takes her for a spin. She truly is a wonderful dog.

Thanks again

Monday, July 19, 2010

Long-range versus Short-Range

Today I received a call from a customer shopping a short-range dog. I have gotten a lot of calls recently from people who, having read my blog articles, were realizing long-range dogs did not fit the way they preferred to hunt. This guy up in Coffeeville, Alabama, was interested in a short range dog because he has already got a great long-range Plott hound that will get on a hog and he will stay on that hog all day if that is what it takes to stop him.

In the meantime, he has on several occasions, come behind the long-range dog and caught hogs with younger, short range dogs. This caused him to realize that he could be more effective with both short range and long range dogs simultanously.

As much as I agree with him, I hope he has a lot of help when he hunts, because that can get complicated in a hurry.

Apparently, his long-range dog can move through numerous hogs when his focus is on one hog and it becomes 'his hog' and he will pass through anything and everything to get that hog. My customer realized that he could hunt a long-range dog with a tracking collar and if he got on a running hog that turned into a chase that went on for hours, he could then turn out a short range dog at the same time and be much more effective in the time and the 'space' that he has to work with.

For me, I have always caught more hogs with short-range dogs, but that is how I hunt for the most part and I like to hunt with other people who often have long range dogs. Because I work closely with new dogs and older dogs teaching the young, thats what I have, for the most part, always done when hunting.

And what is really interesting is how my friends get longer range out of the same bloodline because that is what they want from the dogs they have purchased from me.

Although genetically the dogs are predisposed to a certain style or range, there is also an adaptability to the team factor in that dogs will try to figuire out what you want and don't want.

I prefer to be slower and more thorough because I have, from experience, learned it is very easy to move too fast in the woods and leave hogs behind. For instance, the first time I realized that some hogs run and some don't, was after the long range dogs were on a big boar and we set up with the tracking unit to see where this chase was going.

About fifteen minutes into it, we realized this boar was coving a lot of ground, and we would need a boat to follow the dogs and so we sent someone back home to get one. As we waited for the man with the boat, we tracked the progress of the chase with the tracking unit and Maurice began to make circles around the area where we were set up on the tailgate of the truck. It was at least 1/2 hour after we jumped the boar, and Maurice started baying about 50 yards away. The land owner claimed that it must be trash because he couldn't believe a hog would lay down and not move with several men in such close procsimity.

Wasn't long after that, I advised him that I thought the barking sounded like a hog. The land owner refused to follow me in and when I got close enough the hog broke and Maurice caught. Hard to believe, but we caught a 150 pounder there and a couple more broke out and ran out from nearby as we were tying the sow.

These were hogs that balled up in a briar patch, or thick reeds, and would not move until we got almost close enough to step on them. They knew that movement would give away their position a lot more than the scent, so even with us so close they could hear our every word they held position. Well without moving, nonetheless given time Maurice did his thing and we were tying a hog before the man with the boat arrived.

A lot of people today who are just getting into hog hunting, may have hunted with other hunters using only long-range dogs. Because they observed and 'learned' how to hunt using long-range dogs, they assume or believe that is the only way to do it. Truth be told, there are many ways and many styles and even many different hogs, dogs, and environments, which makes it very interesting to hunt wild hogs, because no two hog hunts are ever the same. It's different in different seasons, different climates, and different hunters have their own style. And every dog is different and unique in his own right.

A really good dog with years of experience who has been hauled across many states will be very adaptable. But if a dog has only hunted in one place and it knows that place really, really well, it will range out further than when it just gets into a new place. So when buying a well started or finished dog, the effect is, it is a much bigger adjustment for the dog to go into a new place and learn the terrain and even more difficult for that dog to hunt for someone else.

It may take months for you to get the same level of performance out of a well started or finished dog that the man who raised him, and trained him got.

Dogs are neuvophobic and what that means is they are scared of anything or anyone new. So someone strange takes the dog to someplace he has never been to and it is a double whammy. He isn't at all interested in hunting because he is not comfortable to loosen up and do his thing.

Hence, the importance between the relationship of you and your dog. That is one big difference between long range and short range dogs. A short range dog usually will not hunt for someone they don't know very well. And a long range dog, will quite often hunt for anybody most of the time.

Different breeds maybe more or less sensitive in this way.

Now, most of us want the dog to hunt the way we want them to hunt. But what if the dog has his own style of hunting, and it's better than what you think he should be doing. Would you consider adjusting and adapting your method of hunting, to the dog's own special style? What I am getting at here is, that hunting hogs with dogs is a partnership that requires cooperation betwenn man and dog. Although we may want the dog to hunt the way we want, we may have a very special dog that hunts different than the way we have always hunted. And if we're willing to give the dog a chance, we may learn there is a better way than what we are thinking.

I, personally, have come to realize the importance of always trying to analyze what the dog is thinking based upon what they are doing. I do this quite a bit because I know the dog understands English, but cannot speak to me in any other languages except his body language. If you are tuned into a two way communication with your dog you know that 95% of what they "say" is through your and their body language.

When a short-range dog makes a loop and comes back and hangs around your feet, what he is saying is it is time for you to move up because there is nothing there. Most people seem to think the dog should be out hunting no matter what.

If he is hanging around our feet, there is a reason, and you may assume it's because he is "no good". Actually, he's waiting for us to make the move. Because he hunts short-range and he has very much covered the entire area in close proximity to us it is our job to move the dog up even if we are only moving up fifty to one hundred yards at a time. But when we move up, we should stop and let the dog make a loop or two and always encourage them to get up or get out when they loop back.

If you work with your dogs enough, and you speak to them in English, you also need to communicate through body language. I learned this with Bob; I could point to the left, and he went there; when he looped back, I could point to the right and he went in that direction. I could also tell him to go all around, and I'd make a circle with my hand over my head, often speaking in English and with my body language at the same time. Bob came to be a very effective hunter because he trusted that if I told him to go somewhere, maybe I had already seen the hog move in that direction, and he needed to go there. Me being higher off the ground than him, he trusted my direction.

How you move through the woods to keep up with your dog might determine whether you use a long-range or short-range dog. By working with a short-range dog, one of the benefits is generally a short range dog is quick, or should I say, quicker to stop a running hog than is a long-range dog. Another drawback of the long range versus short range, is long range dogs are often very mouthy and in effect, drive the hog a lot further and faster than a silent short-range dog.

There is no set formula for hunting hogs, but using a long-range dog and turning them out first and then coming behind them with a short-range dog can make your time in the woods much more effective. You might also learn you will catch more hogs with short-range dogs than long-range. Both, however, I believe, are equally important in the big picture of teamwork and being open minded to their being no set formula.

One of the most significatnt, critical aspects of hunting with a short-range dog is the development of relationship; you must, by the sheer nature of the dog checking back periodically, interact a great deal more with a short-range than you will with a long-range dog. Short range dogs are, for most people, harder to handle, but if you know how to handle them, and you're open to learning new ways to hunt, a short-range dog may be much more effective at the end of the day in tallying up more hogs caught. A short-range dog can often, by themself, be what we call a one dog wonder. Find 'em, stop 'em, bay 'em, and when you get there with or without the bulldog, help to catch.

Because they do not expend as much energy as a long-range dog, a short-range dog can be much more thorough and effective when it comes to catching hogs because they are a lot fresher, having preserved their energy in short range activity.

I've been wanting to write a post with this title for some time. The customer who called me today and shared his story about finding hogs, several hogs that were balled up and hiding after the long range dog had already run through the area in pursuit of a running hog, inspired me to write this post.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summertime Hog Hunts

This will be a very short post as I want to get to the point: between the poisonous snakes, alligators, and heat stroke, I am not getting out to hunt much, and if you are hunting I advise you to be very careful about running your dogs in this heat.

Several people called me looking for dogs who "hunted last night" and then got up in the morning and their dog was dead out in the yard. I am not a vet, but it looks like heat stroke to me.

My plans for this summer is to hunt the grain fields at night, and the corn is about to head and the hogs will soon be coming out to feast. Here is a nice boar caught in an infared camera, feeding in a hollow tree stump filled with corn;

Good luck and be safe, I have a number of topics I want to get into, just don't have time to write a whole lot at the moment.