Cold nose ? Fact or fiction

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Cold nose ? Fact or fiction

Postby Bear hounder » Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:36 am

The old hounds men I've talked to say they used to have cold nose dogs I'm a new houndsman and have only been treeing bears for about 5 years I've hunted mostly plott digs crossed with black and tan or blotter cross walker dogs and we have had some blue ticks the last 3 years aswell but am not seeing any cold nose dogs like the story's of the old days not in my dogs and not in anybody I've hunted with I've hunted with other people's dogs that are far better than mine but have not seen a dog take a track that could prove was any older than 7 or 8 hrs old I think their is alot of sciences to the ability of any hound and any track and I'm not shure how it all works but I enjoy learning that is why I'm asking were their ever cold nose dogs that would take a bear track on dry ground 24 hrs old or was it just story's I will give some examples in the next post of things I've seen and did not understand in the next post thanks

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Re: Cold nose ? Fact or fiction

Postby Mike Leonard » Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:11 pm

There were and are dogs out there that under the right conditions can take a bear track that old, but who wants that? Can you imagine what a pain in the tush that would be, or how far a bear can travel in 24 hours?

Bear scent is light and does not hold up well but it can happen, lion scent is much heavier and longer lasting as it lies low and for that reason dogs that have the ability to work a day old track on the dirt are desirable for the person who hunts in those condition. But bear hunting and lion hunting on bare ground are very different games.

I don't think dogs have really changed that much but the way people hunt for the most part has changed. Not many people want to spend all week trailing up a bear. And if you have ever hunted with a rig dog that is super, super cold and sensitive it can be a real pain. Every canyon you come thru or over where morning thermals are rising he lights up like a Vegas slot machine, and all the other dogs look at him like, WHAT? Sure dump him in that canyon and he may go half a mile and maybe pick up a track or he may just run up on a fairly fresh pile of bear ding. I prefer medium to warmer nosed rig dogs that you know when they fire you are going to have a race.
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Re: Cold nose ? Fact or fiction

Postby dwalton » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:11 pm

I agree with Mike the conditions and the way people hunt, train there dogs or what they breed for is what makes a cold trailing dog. Twice I have trailed bobcats that were over 24 hours old once in the snow and once on frost. How do I know this because I caught the cat the day before and started a track the next day on the other side of the mountain and trailed it to where I started it the previous day. Being able to see tracks in those condition and seeing any other track. In the snow we walked the track over the mountain with the dogs staying on the same track all the way. I have caught several bobcats that were made in the evening before wet snow froze that were over 12 hours old. In my days of guiding bear hunters I had a dog that would start tracks that no other dog would take and trail them up that took hours to jump them. I trailed a lion in Colorado up to where I had trailed it 8 days before up a dry wash with sand and tracks to see. Dogs can be bred for and taught to cold trail far older tracks that can be believable. I seen it many times and believe dogs smell far more scent than most will trail, it is just a matter of want to and confidence in themselves that they can catch that animal. Dewey
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Re: Cold nose ? Fact or fiction

Postby Bear hounder » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:34 pm

Thanks Mike Lenard for your replie I agree with what u are saying about the strike dogs I love runin a track that the hounds struck out of the box because it is in my case with my hounds not more than 20 min old and is almost guaranteed an excellent place to train some young dogs as their is only ushly one track for them to sort out and follow the old er hounds on as long as they get pointed in the right direction. Like I said before their is some science to this tracking stuff that I see even if I don't understand it all I doe see it and would be glad to hear from others what they have experienced for example one time I saw a bear cross the rd in front of the truck the dogs in the truck had their heads out of the box butt when we passed over that spot were the bear had crossed the dogs did not strike I could not believe it so I backed up nothing .so I thought wow they can't smell it whent home got a coffee loaded some bait on top the dog box headed back into Re bait some baits in doing so I passed by the spot were that bear had crossed 20 min maybe 30 min before the dogs strike and they are shaking the hole truck again I was baffled and dad to myself . Self their's more to this tracking sent stuff then we understand another time I had a nice bear on camera 11 min. Prior to myself showing up on the bait camera I turned my normal 2 starnt dogs in one was a blue tick named Zack a good starnt dog he would usually take a 6hr old track on dry ground hear in ontario and the other was a young dog also that was plott on the mother's side and the father was a crossed up mutual with lab and German Shepard or rotriler or perhaps a little poodle or somthing a true heinz 57 any how she was a good starnt dog and those 2 dogs could not starnt that ll min old track so one or 2 at a time I put down all the dogs in the box and not one could starnt that track I know most bear hunters don't tell the story's about there dogs not taking hot tracks butt I'll tell u I've seen it happen 5 or ten times in five years and I've learned to trust my dogs when they say boss we can't smell it I don't complain or throw baby fits I've learned to say ok guys I don't know why u can't find that track but let's go get another and usually their are plenty of other baits to go get another track and we do go up the trail and check a camera that might have an older track 2 hrs older and the dogs go out of their like it is 10 min old track the trail cam has done alott toward reking some good cold nosed dogs and their story's but it is the go to tool for the truth of how old or how cold my dogs nose is or is not and we are more than happy with our dogs that on average will tack a 6 hr old track on dry ground we kill around 20 bears a year and are more than happy to see the hounds go screaming out of site on a hot bear track butt their are a few times a year when you see your starnt dogs take a track of a bait t 10.30. Am in the morning and it's the last bait you got and you need this bear today and it's 7 or 8 hrs old and they trail out not barking for the fist mile then they jump that bear out of his bead and then it's game on that is sweet victory and it feels good to see a dog do that then next day the same dog can't take a track u watched cross the rd I am intrested in the story's of real bear hunters what has been your experience with your hounds please share the things you have seen and that made you go huh well lest go get another one

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Re: Cold nose ? Fact or fiction

Postby Bear hounder » Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:10 pm

The other question I have is do you think that the dog breeding around pure breed dogs has caused the disappearance of the cold nose dogs I meat altt of older guys who say they had cold nose dogs at one time but can't seem to get back into them now and I've meat guys in all different types of breeds that have the same stores we used to have good cold noses 30 years ago but not any more walker guys bluetick guys plott guys is it possible that back before we started to registering dogs for pure breeding the old boys would have had a blood hound cross every so often or something like that but when they started these pure breeds the nose was no loge putt into the breeding or what the other question is is the 24 hr dry ground bear track dog still alive and well today ? And how doe u produce more of them

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Re: Cold nose ? Fact or fiction

Postby Mike Leonard » Wed Jun 21, 2017 5:15 pm

I don't think pure breeding really had anything to do with it. In reality there is no such thing as pure breeding. I mean sure they might have nothing but UKC PR treeing walker blood in them for 7 generation but they are not pure breds. Most if you look back thru the more successful hound strains you will find line breeding and even in-breeding at times. This can improve a strain or it can destroy fine characteristics if not handled and culled properly.


The biggest thing that has helped diminish the overall all cold trailing ability of our modern tree hound breeds is the organized competitive coon hunts. Yes it is true almost all of our breeds excluding the plotts in the beginning were dogs that were used primarily on coon. Now days the plott also fills the ranks and shows up from time to time in the winner's circle at the big coon hunt.

Times have changed and not many people have access to lots of square miles of hunting territory they can cast their hound in. This includes coon hunters. Where years before they had a ton of woods to hunt many of those places have been bought up and leased up by deer hunters, and they don't want any hound running around on them. So the coonhunter is pushed into smaller and smaller areas. He doesn't want a dog that ranges out real wide and strikes and old track and works it up from cold to running which may take him way out of his hunting area before he trees. So breed up hotter nosed dogs that are most likely to pass right over older coon tracks but if they are in thick coon they will pop up and tree a bunch of them. This is also the reason for the boom in the cur dog recently. Back 40 years ago you might see a cur or two in the Cooner or Full Cry now they cover the magazine.

On the Judge's score card hotter nosed hounds that will rack up more first strike and first tree points win when you are really in the coons.. the old time meat hound that was out there to show you fur even under the most adverse conditions is not wanted for this game. So you have the guys that win the big hunts dominating the breeding game and the bulk of the hounds end up pretty much alike just have a different paint job.


Out in the country that I live in which is the southwest not many coonhunters exist, but take it from a guy who has caught a boxcar full of coon in my past, most competition bred hounds won't catch many coon out in this old dried out country. So we generally end up breeding up our own line of dogs with nothing but performance based metrics.I can't claim any glory for the dogs I run because I have had the help of some master dog breeders, and they don't breed for coon hunting but these dogs will catch coon anywhere. They will also strike trail and tree a lion that passed several days before in the right conditions and no I don't mean snow, because there is more to conditions than snow or dirt, but I have seen them do it when you would have thought it was impossible.

I quit bear hunting many years ago when they started closing areas off to hounds and even stopping the running of hounds for bear, but I think the dogs I have now would if I let them start a pretty old bear track but I don't think the most of them would make real bear hound. Too chicken livered they can stop a lion or a cat but a lot of bear would just give them the middle finger and walk off! LOL!
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Re: Cold nose ? Fact or fiction

Postby colobbcat » Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:42 pm

All good points. I too agree with Mike and dwalton on how we hunt trains our dogs and in-turn determines their ability to be cold nosed. I believe there is a lot to do with a dogs ability to cold trail that goes back to the environment it learned to hunt in.

Take a line bred natural cold trailing dog that was raised in the SW catching lion in the toughest conditions imaginable to snow country and dump it in 5 hour old tracks for a year....now take it back to the SW and see what happens. Not much. Take one of these hotter nosed type dogs we have mentioned and raise it with cold nosed dirt dogs and if it has any ability or brains it will learn to trail in adverse conditions granted it may not excel but it will get colder. I feel the environment we have learned to hunt in with technology and boundaries as Mike mentioned has created these hotter nosed dogs and we have done ourselves a great injustice.

It is a fact there are cold nosed dogs out there in all breeds. That said if they aren't challenged on a regular basis to be cold nosed they become lazy and will run over cold tracks because they have been conditioned to hot tracks.

Example, I have been fortunate to be set up with some outstanding dogs from Mr. Leonard. One of which is an outstanding Walker that is probably the craftiest catch dog Iv'e been around. I would not call him cold nosed by any means but he will jump out ahead once a track is warmed up and put the breaks on even the toughest feline. Now take him away from his pack...show him a old track and he will smell it and look up at you as if to say "are you kidding me!? This is Milo's job or Daisy's job...i just catch them!" Now walk him down the track and encourage him and guess what? He will give tail and walk off with that track on his own...put him back in the pack on the same track and he will skirt around waiting for the layup... I feel nose power is very trainable its just up to us to challenge our dogs instead of cutting ahead to freshen it up or waiting for perfect conditions to hunt...
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Re: Cold nose ? Fact or fiction

Postby Mike Leonard » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:25 am

Ha! Ha! Old Hondo is just too smart to work hard if he doesn't have to do the grunt work! And that crazy Milo is more than happy to take any trail no matter where or when, and sometimes what. LOL!

Last night I was setting on the deck out back and he is trotting around out there next to the arena. Next thing he strikes and that tails is going nine O. Well it's a fenced yard so what do you think the famous lion catcher was trailing? Well he popped along there and then bayed and sure enough he had a big old bull toad bayed up behind Bobbie's lavender plants.

Now that's a huntin dog!!!!LOL!
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Re: Cold nose ? Fact or fiction

Postby Redwood Coonhounds » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:42 pm

Good thread. A lot of wisdom. I do believe there are plenty of cold nosed dogs left. I think there are just not as many people that hunt enough to really know what they have and make a those types of dogs. I do also think that cold trailing is as much learned and conditioning as it is genetics. I have personally seen this in the dogs I breed. I breed older lined purebred walkers for bear hunting. I have some very very cold nosed dogs. I have caught tracks near that 24 hour mark many a time. I have also dumped on something I seen crossing the road and had the dogs stand there. And plenty of times the idiots go backwards on something I just seen. I don't know if anyone can ever really explain that and be certain of more than just speculation. I have a very cold nosed old Clover bred walker male. I bred him to one of my families old line females, who in my opinion was a strong medium nosed dog at best, her entire life. Growing up we never had too many cold trailing dogs. It was right at that point where most of the dogs considered to be cold nosed, were also considered too slow to catch bears. And that the faster dogs were hotter nosed. there was definitely a time period out here in the west where this was pretty much rule. So anyways this old female of mine was always just a warmer nosed, head up, track dog. She wouldn't run anything but a bear. Couldn't beg her to tree a coon or run a cat. The pairing of that old female with my Clover male produced a litter, in which I have a male. At 2 years old, I would tell you he was his mother's clone in track style and nose. Head up, slash and wind a track, straight to the point and catch type of dog. Only difference is he has always been a nice coondog also, not strictly beardog. Now at 5 years old, this dog will cold trail with the best of them. He has been hunted with his father his whole life, and he is a very competitive spirited dog (not to be confused with jealous) and he has pushed himself to be able to trail with his father. Now that his dad is older, he has become one of my lead dogs, and now his ability in even the last year has seemed to double. He will work out some pretty rough tracks. He learned that to catch, which is his number one desire in life, that sometimes he had to work hard, and if he wants to be leader, he had to work even harder. He is not the only one in my pack that I have seen learn to really trail. But most my dogs I pegged as colder nosed from pups and the crosses they were out of they were genetically more predisposed to be cold nosed. They just needed time to hone their skills. I hunt more than most people. I work 3 days a week and hunt 5 days or nights. 11 months a year, on coon, grey fox, bear or lions. Out my back door or out of state. I will always breed for the traits I feel make better beardogs, as I hope to move out of this state soon enough and continue my line of dogs doing what I like to do best. I am fortunate to be able to really test a dog and give them opportunity to make full potential. Hunting a dog a couple weekends a month isn't enough. Can you make really good dogs hunting that way? Yes. Will you ever truly see those dogs full genetic potential? Nope. So I think this is where we are starting to see a decline in nose. Because dogs are not given enough opportunity to really hone that skill. Dogs are being missed and not bred to, some are being bred to because someone "thinks" they have a colder nose. And yes, the competition dogs are just no where in the same ball park as our big game dogs. Totally different game. Though my dogs have competition blood in them. You can still find a diamond in the rough if you look hard enough.
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Re: Cold nose ? Fact or fiction

Postby Bear hounder » Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:00 pm

I shure like this information thanks alot it sheads a Lott of light on the situation of cold nose dogs and their disappearance from most places I say most because u guys are telling me u have seen these cold dogs in your on pack and that is great .as I read threw this thread today I could see in my own hunting habits why my dogs are hot nosed dogs I normally putt 2 dogs down on a bait to start a tract and if those dogs are not barking on a track in 10 min I call them back to the truck and say let's go to the next bait and when I listen to what you guys are saying it makes sense I've trained these dogs to be hot nosed dogs they know what I want so they do their 5 min to 10 min check then they say to them self well we better get ready to go soon the boss will be calling any minute now their's a few really old tracks hear but not the ones we have been taught to look for let's go back to the truck and tell the boss no easy tracks hear and he will take us over to a good hot track and we will have some easy fun I see my mistake of why it's my fault why my dogs are hot nosed dogs I've seen my dogs trail bears in the pouring rain cross many beaver ponds swim lakes and I often thought if they can find the trail then why not all the time

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Re: Cold nose ? Fact or fiction

Postby Bear hounder » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:12 pm

Thanks very much for the In sight their is so much to learn and I like learning how to be a better houndsman and I now my dogs are already good at being hounds I've got to learn to be more like them if I'm going to fit into their pack and any thing I can do or change to give them achance to reach full potential is well worth the doing and I shure do appreciate the help full in site and shared wisdom you houndsman have given to me in this thread thanks alott . I thought all these old boys were just exaggerating their old story's I'm not shure that they were all true lol but some of these men were and still are hunting wich bring me back to some ? If it is the training part that explains were these cold nose dogs disapeard to can see that for shure butt if these old timers said they had cold nose dogs back then and they are breeding the same line of dogs hunting the same game in the same place it has to have somthing to do with the genetics or the lack of ?

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Re: Cold nose ? Fact or fiction

Postby david » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:54 pm

What a great thread. Thank you for starting it and keeping it going.

It seems like every discussion like this; some come down hard on "training" and some emphasize "genetics" but it is nearly always BOTH.

It is the age old "NATURE VS NURTURE" argument that just goes on and on and we never get tired of it. But it is vertually always Nature and Nurture.

Yes the dog needs the correct genes, but I have seen them show up eventually in dogs you would not expect in the least, and who gave no indication as pups.

As you pointed out, it takes a LOT more time to make a cold trailing dog. And when you have him made, it takes a lot more time to finish a track if he starts it cold. Make sure that is what you want, because most people don't.

Where I cut my teeth there were two old hunters who talked like cold trailing was everything. And they put in tons of time working their dogs on tracks so cold, chances were good they would not get the cat jumped. I mean hours and hours of letting their dogs try to find a line that was nearly impossible; encouraging them to keep at it. They did this all summer long, catching little if any.

And they had cold trailing dogs that looked exceptional all winter.

I bought a dog once that struck hot and trailed hot. But that was how she was trained. And she would get disciplined for striking cold or trailing cold. And honestly, when game is plentiful, this strategy just plain makes sense. But it turns out with me she became a cold nosed track dog with one of the most beautiful soulful lonesome crying cold trailing voices I have ever heard. I craved it, and now that I think of it, I still do. In the style of hunting she was trained for, I would never have heard it.

I love cold trailing. Usually, it is a waste of time if there is plenty of game around. I would catch more game if I never allowed it. But I love the sound of it, and I love the feel of it, and I love having a dog that can do it. If I tree something without the dog having done a beautiful job of cold trailing, it is just desert without having had dinner. I don't feel very full.

So I guess I am just saying cold trailing takes time. It takes a lot more time to let the dog develop the skill, and once he has it , it takes a lot more time to jump game; when you could have moved on and found a hotter track, caught the game and moved on to the next track while Old Cold is still pounding away.

As Mike pointed out, we are talking about bear hunting so;

Are you sure you want a "cold nosed" dog?
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Re: Cold nose ? Fact or fiction

Postby pegleg » Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:07 am

Most people don't want or need a real great track dog. So the average is what most people are happy with. I don't disagree that most hounds hunt for their handler in the style or range they've been taught. But some hounds are just colder nosed then others. It might be work ethic or ability or both.
I have some opinions on it all ofcourse. One of which is if you really wanted you could be hunting colder nosed dogs today then was likely years ago. My experience is it's difficult to keep up with a hound that's good at moving a track. And the longer that track is the less likely you can stay in contact. The only saving grace is in most cases game will circle or stay in a home range of sorts. With out today's trackers I would have to change some aspect of how I hunt. I have hunted with out tracking systems before and I know I have dogs now that I couldn't stay anywhere near on some occasions.
I don't much care for slow track dogs.
However I have to say after a certain point you would have to slow a dog down on track or find away to keep up in tough country. So while cold trailing ability is great it can have drawbacks even in areas it is about the only way to go.
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Re: Cold nose ? Fact or fiction

Postby Wardog » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:57 am

Great thread.
As already mention, the coon hound competition sport has changed the old hounds way of trailing. The dogs of today hunt faster and harder and drift on track looking for a hot coon track or hot end of track...also coons are way more plentiful today than back then. Even though the woods are getting smaller in the name of progress we still have more coon today...

Less coon back then and a colder nosed dog was favorable back then because he could grind out an old track and put that coon up the tree...

Also how we hunt our dogs can play a roll as to what tracks a dog will take...if the dogs have a little trouble with the track and we load them up they will learn that way of hunting.

If on same track the dogs are having trouble and we get out and help them by following the track for a while then the dogs will learn to not give it up as easily.

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Re: Cold nose ? Fact or fiction

Postby pegleg » Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:47 pm

I believe most hunters would benefit from encouraging their hounds to really trail. I've seen a lot of dogs from popular lines that look great on good tracks. But some of these dogs never cold trail. Others get better but are never great and a large number will just quit if all you have to give them is day after day of bad cold tracks even hunted with hounds that can and will work the track. A lot of these hounds promoted as early starters are better left at home until they're older or just worked on better tracks they just don't have it as pups to really work a track. On the other hand even letting them mature only helps a few. Some become incorrigible on random trash if no hot tracks show up regular and other just sulk behind you until the tracks hot. Maybe the ease of shipping dogs all over the country has contributed to this mixing and watering down traits.
From my perspective someone says they want a cold nosed hound and they will tell you how the dog starts their tracks But then then if their hounds don't roar out on the track they load up and try another and pretty soon either the cold dog stops striking cold tracks or they stop using it as much. Either way it's a wasted nose.

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