Dogs are used by some deer hunters to track deer. Sometimes the purpose of the tracking is to have the dogs chase the deer toward the hunter, while other times the objective is to have the dogs track a deer that has been wounded and has run away into the woods. For either purpose, it is important to lead dogs through an effective training program that will prepare them to track deer successfully.
Choose a young dog that comes from either purebred hounds or hound mixes. Walkers, Setters, Beagles and Bluetick hounds often make good deer dogs. It is also best to start training the dog from the time it is three to six months old.
Feed your dog a nutritional diet so that it will be in optimal health for hunting. Consult the resources section for guidelines on what to feed your dog, as well as the quantity of food your dog needs.
Expose the dog to a deer's scent. Scatter some drops of blood across the ground if you plan on your dog tracking wounded deer. If you want your dog to track running deer (not wounded), use a piece of deer hide (preferably from the leg section near the tarsal gland) to expose them to a deer's scent.
Drag the hide or scatter the blood across a field away from the dog's sight. Then place the dog at the beginning of the trail in order to let them smell out where you went.
Ride your dog around with you as you look for deer in areas that are heavily populated with deer. Once you see a deer, immediately take the dog out and put it where the deer was in hopes that it will pick up the scent and begin to track.
Use another more experienced dog to help train the new dog. An older, slightly slower dog is good for training younger dogs. Release both dogs where you recently sighted a deer and let the younger dog learn more about tracking from the older dog.
Check with the Department of Natural Resources in your state to find out about your local laws relating to using dogs to track deer.
Consistency and time play major roles in training dogs to track deer. Most dogs take a period of weeks or months to catch on. Keep trying if your dog shows even the slightest interest.
An Item You Will Need
- Deer dogs
- Filed and Stream: Training Your Dog to Track Wounded Deer
- Robert Hartzog; Dog trainer and deer hunter; St. George, South Carolina
- puppy image by marca coffey from Fotolia.com