ORIGINAL: Woods Walker
[size="3"]I have never hunted deer with deer hounds. But I have hunted over beagles for rabbits.[/size]
[size="3"]With rabbit hunting, you DO NOT want the dogs to be able to catch up with the rabbit. You want them to be just able to scent the rabbit and run....no....MOVE it along so the rabbit presents you with a shot, many times in which the rabbit is slowly moving ahead of the dogs, or maybe even standing still listening for them.[/size]
[size="3"]From what I've read and heard about deer hounds (not feral cur packs), that's pretty much the same thing you want them to do, as whitetails do act a lot like rabbits in their escape habits.[/size]
[size="3"]The big difference with deer and deer hounds, is the size of the area this happens in as opposed to beagles and rabbits.[/size]
[size="3"]Any of you doggers please correct me if I'm wrong about this.[/size]
Yep ---you are pretty much spot on....the biggest difference is indeed the size of the area and occasionally a deer will line out and just leave the area before you can get in front of him. Most of the time this will be with a buck as does are more apt to make large circles. Several times over the years I have gone in and tried to run the same buck from a certain area and lost out because he literally crosses out of the drive area before anybody is ready. I've only ever been involved in killing one buck that just left the country like that upon being jumped. On Saturday morning we jumped a good buck and the pack lined out headed north, he was seen crossing a road about 1/2 mile out of the drive area and we caught the dogs at that spot 5 minutes later. The following morning I tried it again and the deer was laying downwind of a group of does instead of where he was the morning before. The dogs still passed by him close enough for him to want to slip out of there ...unfortunately for him he used the same route and the person that had seen him the previous day was waiting for him right where he went the day before. This is the exception rather than the rule...even with trucks you cant keep up with that type of run.
You've got to have a quarry that will, as you say move along in front of the dogs starting, stopping, circling, squatting, doubling back. The minute the deer or whatever feels like there is no chance of him staying in the same area and avoiding the pursuit he will fall back on speed and that is not conducive to a successful hunt. What all that means is that you have to have a pack that thinks it can catch up but in reality probably never will. In the old days people did this from horseback and on foot as standers and the dogs were bred and trained to run much as rabbit beagles or fox hounds...In fact I know of a lot of clubs that use beagles for running deer and I heard last year of a lot of people out in Virginia and West Virginia switching from the more traditional hound variety dog over to bird dog breeds. (I don't remember the reasons why) We use a conglomeration of breeds that are all treeing hound stock...(I just can't bring myself to go Beagle...they look like somebody stole their legs!)
The subject of dogs catching deer keeps coming up and/or of dogs running deer down. So while I don't breed for that and have never hunted or heard of a dog hunter who wants a catch dog ....here's how I would build one. If I really wanted a pure catch style dog on an animal like a deer you would probably have to use a sprinkling of original fox hound blood for the nose, some sort of greyhound blood for speed and a big bodied individual like a Rhodiesian Ridgeback or something like that to round out the breed. Even then I think it would take a pack of 4 or more to get it done on a grown deer. Also that dog would be trained different as catching is a totally different game than pusuit. As an example: My brothers bloodhounds are trained in pusuit of men, the parish K-9 units have shepard style dogs that are trained to catch em'. As it is I don't want a dog pack that will catch or run a deer down. I don't really want to run with anybody that does. The whole point of the pack is to use them so I can catch up to the prey. Kinda like I feed them Alpo, they feed me backstrap.
As to Feral cur's, they are a different deal in my opinion----they are already trying to breed for this amongst themselves as a matter of natural selection. Something like this: If you can smell the prey, chase the prey and take the prey down you can eat, other wise, you can get eaten.