Swich Hitting our Hounds

Talk about Big Game Hunting with Dogs
mike martell
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Swich Hitting our Hounds

Postby mike martell » Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:13 pm

I thought about this topic and want others input based on a post in the bobcat section.

I want to start with dhostetler who wrote about his aspirations of owning top all around hounds that excel on bear and bobcat and looking to derail thoughts about how difficult or impossible this is to achieve.

Let me start with my hounds. I'm fortunate to hunt other States and Provinces, I switch hit and rig all my dogs loose on the deck and when they strike, every dog can either step up and get after a track, good or bad all in from the get go. If it climbs a tree it's good by me. Every dog is my next best or I don't keep them around for long. For this reason my feed bill is cheaper than most!

Two types of hounds I refuse to feed, those are lion and coon hounds. Before causing a fire storm? Let me explain, if you ever hunted behind a real deal bare ground lion hound or real deal coon hound you would understand what I'm talking about. When it comes to the snow lion hound running an hour old track on fresh powder is no comparison to the likes of a select few on this board who pound out lions in the dry desert regions with rock piles and bluffs.

I think dogs can do what we ask of them but also experience leads me to understand switch hitting has some definate draws back vs. one department hounds such as a straight pack of bobcat hounds.

I find a more consistent style of dog when started and kept on one species but would never own such a dog and the longer I hunt? The more convinced I am of this! Old time bobcat hunters expressed the down sides of running lions with the same hounds and kept dogs broke off lions.

Examples within my own dogs. Way too much mouth triggered by running bear and lions. More track straddling tendencies by running lions and coons when running bobcats is clear to see. Can I catch bobcats? yes, but not the same style as the straight pack.

What all do I run with my hounds? Coon, lion, Canadian Lynx, Bobcat, Gray Fox, Bear. if a coyote would tree? I'd run em...My dogs know of very few bad tracks and this keeps you on your toes if you hunt on bare ground and off the rig deck. Some States have winter snow to make starting bobcat and lion easier, but not here.

I like a loud mouth hound and will feed one over a closed mouth dog that produces more game. I find our time in the woods is limited and hunting one species has very little appeal.

Lets hear your opinions on this subject!

Thanks Mike
406hound
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Re: Swich Hitting our Hounds

Postby 406hound » Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:30 pm

I personally know dhostetler has a damn fine pack of all around hounds. I keep a similar pack (I like to think). I want all of my dogs to hunt hard bottom line and work each track however the conditions demand. I run (not saying catch) as many day old or even two day old tracks as I do hour old tracks as you say snow lion hunters run. I sold a "snow dog" to a dry ground guy in AZ and he claims the dog jumped right to the top of his pack. My dogs have finished races that were wind scoured to the point I didn't even know what they were running any more. The same dogs will smoke out a hot coon track, stay on a walking bear, or do their best on a squirrely bobcat in the cliffs. I don't care what others do with their dogs but I hunt the ones I can afford to keep as hard as I can on what I can because I owe it to em. Hunting makes good dogs.
mike martell
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Re: Swich Hitting our Hounds

Postby mike martell » Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:36 am

406hound wrote: I don't care what others do with their dogs but I hunt the ones I can afford to keep as hard as I can on what I can because I owe it to em. Hunting makes good dogs.


Good analogy. This subject will be limited on participants because many struggle to hunt all species of tree game with the same hound or simply don't live in an area or able to travel to hunt to ever know for sure. I enjoy the challenge and strive to maintain this type hound for myself. Hunting makes the dog and quite possibly the number one reason for those who struggle making dogs is the lack of exposure.

Switch hitting hounds can be done and has been done for decades....I find when you have a pack of hounds is like a professional ball team and if you mix different sports detracts from the one sport you could do extremely well...How much do you lose? I don't feel all that much, just enough to notice a difference but not worth going back to one species....Especially if you can keep the dogs in the woods most year around helps offset any short comings!

I have heard it said, hunt what you like and do as you wish! Words of wisdom!
The main thing is keeping the dogs exposed and time spent in the woods, play hard because life is short!

Mike

Mike
al baldwin
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Re: Swich Hitting our Hounds

Postby al baldwin » Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:06 pm

One of my early mentors hunted bobcat, bear & coyotes with the same hounds, caught numerous numbers with all three. Those hounds caught bobcat as good as any hounds I have ever hunted with. He told me just takes a little work to get them to settle down and work bobcat correct after a steady dose of bear in the summer. It was not unusual for those hounds to tree a couple bear & a bobcat the same day in the summer. I never saw those hounds tree a coon, which amazed me, on ecollar in those days. Will have to save there was very seldom a tree that looked empty on bobcat. Tom Barnett owned some very good hounds in that time frame. Al
mike martell
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Re: Swich Hitting our Hounds

Postby mike martell » Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:58 pm

Al

Good hearing from you!

Tonight my mutts are going to be coon hounds. Me and my granddaughters are entered in the biggest coon hunt with our hound club so that's what we are.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and all others!

Mike Martell
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Re: Swich Hitting our Hounds

Postby john porter » Wed Nov 26, 2014 8:41 pm

This topic here has definitely caught my attention. I use to hunt bear, hogs, and coons with the same dog. But as of recent, I have switched and wont be running hogs. I would like to know, how one trains a dog this way for cats too? Its not a problem getting my dogs to run a stinky bear after doing coons all winter, but a cat is a lot harder...
John
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Re: Swich Hitting our Hounds

Postby merlo_105 » Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:52 am

I don't have any thing to add to this topic but I hope this one continues its going to be a good one to read and follow. And Kudo's to the guys that run multiple game species with the same dogs. I do have questions, Are any of you guys nervous on turning out on a strike not knowing what it is I understand you have a idea giving the time of year. But on species that get out of the country I would be nervous turning loose in some area's due to the land or roads ect. how do you guy's work around that? There are spots I would turn loose on a coon but not on a cat...
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Re: Swich Hitting our Hounds

Postby Jeff Eberle » Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:26 am

Mike, My closest hunting spot is a hour away, other spots I hunt are a hour and a half and up to 5 hours away. So I can't be picky about what I run as long as it trees. Although these dogs prefer to run bobcat & fox they will run bear or lion and give it their all. I've had years that I've treed quite a few bears and lion. Does that make them bear and lion dogs ?( Not in my book) A dog is always going to shine better on one species then another no matter how many different species you run them on. With that said, don't think one would live here to long if it was only willing to run one thing. I've never gone bear, lion or varmint hunting , I just go hunting and take the dogs with me.
Get JESUS In Your Life & Your Dog's In The Wood's

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Re: Swich Hitting our Hounds

Postby dhostetler » Thu Nov 27, 2014 2:29 am

I am fairly successful with my 7 dogs as a pack. Of those some excel on certain species and are worthless on other species. The key for me is putting the right combination on a track. My goal is to have a pack that excels on anything I put them on. Yes my first cat hunts after a summer of bear hunting are sometimes train wrecks. I have several friends that hunt strictly cats, not hunting there dogs 7 months out of the year. When cat season opens there dogs are toast after several races and have to recover for several days, while I usually don't have that problem. I believe that by keeping my dogs in shape, I am farther ahead even if I have a few wrecks before they settle into the cat hunting mode. Some argue that by roading your dogs before the start of the season you can get them in shape, dogs running a track to catch it will exert a lot more effort and gain a lot more in getting in shape than roading will ever do. I believe successful switching dogs need #1 to be smart and #2 have a lot of drive.
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Re: Swich Hitting our Hounds

Postby fallriverwalker1 » Thu Nov 27, 2014 3:21 am

well mike I have equal opportunity dogs the will run anything that runs crawls or flys close enough to the ground ,, I quess that a combo dog isn't that jim
mike martell
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Re: Swich Hitting our Hounds

Postby mike martell » Thu Nov 27, 2014 4:42 am

Earl
This time of year I keep my dogs tied on top and can pretty well tell what I'm striking before releasing the hounds...I keep it limited to both coon and bobcat this time of year on National forest...

Jeff, I hear what you are saying and totally agree with your statement...A dog is always going to shine better on one species then another no matter how many different species you run them on

dhostetler
I think like you do and wanted your opinion about switch hitting. You nailed it, some dogs excel more on certain species and this gives a guy all the clues for rigging just by knowing your hounds by the way and sequence they open. Many location like Montana have snow during this time of year to aid in finding lion and bobcat tracks and those other states a guy can rig your bear and coon.

Jim
Equal opportunity trash master blasters is what I have...Between me and my dogs, we need to retire!

Thanks for the replies.

You guys all have a Happy Thanksgiving!
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Re: Swich Hitting our Hounds

Postby kordog » Thu Nov 27, 2014 11:35 am

hounds having ground time to harden ,and become terrain and game savy with a good houndsmans guidance are going to have a better chance of meeting their potential than a hound that has to sit around for lack of seasons or game to run them on etc ...
mike martell
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Re: Swich Hitting our Hounds

Postby mike martell » Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:22 pm

kordog wrote:hounds having ground time to harden ,and become terrain and game savy with a good houndsmans guidance are going to have a better chance of meeting their potential than a hound that has to sit around for lack of seasons or game to run them on etc ...


Kordog

I believe this to be very true and for this reason I would rather see a hound run on coon vs. sitting in a kennel....I've heard it said, hounds are like race horses and need worked as much as possible and to park them is not an option. I think this is the biggest reason many new to the sport houndsmen fail to own the style hounds needed to be at the top of your game is the lack of understanding of the level of commitment required to maintain good hounds.

Another good friend who is now retired from hound hunting down on the coast that hunted them all white colored walkers said it best about making bear dogs. To make a good bear dog you must live in bear country. If you drive cross country to hunt bear, don't expect much in return. For this reason I don't own much for bear dogs....Lol! I'm limited and seasonal on locations to run them and don't and can't run then here on public ground in Oregon.

When I lived in the central part of the State, gray squirrels were abundant so I started my pups on them to get them going. Anything real vs. the use of scents or drags that I find are a waste of time!

Mike
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Re: Swich Hitting our Hounds

Postby dwalton » Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:32 pm

My belief is that it takes a little better dog and a lot better hunter to switch them from one game to the next. It takes a dog that is not specialized on one species that is better all around. It takes a better hunter to know what the dog is running to be able to pick what you want to run that day. As said it is hard to get them thinking bobcats after running bear all summer without snow. I had a old timer 35 years ago tell me[ anytime you bounce back and forth from one game to the next you are giving them permission to run trash]. AS the years go by I thing he was totally right. When you which each fall watch and see if you don;t have more trouble with off game. Have a good Thanks Giving Dewey
mike martell
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Re: Swich Hitting our Hounds

Postby mike martell » Thu Nov 27, 2014 2:08 pm

dwalton wrote: I had a old timer 35 years ago tell me[ anytime you bounce back and forth from one game to the next you are giving them permission to run trash]. AS the years go by I thing he was totally right. When you which each fall watch and see if you don;t have more trouble with off game. Dewey


Dewey.
I suspect that old timer was named Roland Wilson! I was lion hunting out of Oakridge many years ago during this era and locating bobcats my dogs could not open on and sending Roland to those locations with reports of him treeing them.....All of them!

You are spot on with the trash...If you think about a hound you allow to rig all tree game, you are giving that hound a free pass to rig what it darn well pleases and my issue is rigging coyotes from time to time...I rig them and the dogs hit the ground before it registers as trash...Never have any issues with ungulates doing it this way..... I rig faster than most at about 15-20 miles per hour, at night I clip along around 25 mph and when a hound is competing against the rest of the pack for air space...Look out!

Some of us are now becoming "old timers" ourselves and were very fortunate to have lived and hunted with the likes of the greatest bobcat men of all times (imho) or to simply direct them to the location of the type of cat track you could not start yourself was something to experience!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and Dena!

Mike

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