How cold is too cold?

Talk about Big Game Hunting with Dogs
eskinner45
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How cold is too cold?

Postby eskinner45 » Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:19 pm

I’m sure this has been asked before, but I was just curious what most of you guys consider is too cold to run your hounds?
tod watterson
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Re: How cold is too cold?

Postby tod watterson » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:41 am

I've caught a ton of lions and Bobcats at -20 and occasionally a little colder. Left a few over night back in the telemetry system days. Never had any get a frozen foot or anything but was probably lucky, still better than sitting at home or in a kennel.
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Re: How cold is too cold?

Postby david » Wed Feb 27, 2019 1:21 am

I have caught cats at -20 f also. If there is no wind it is not bad at all; and if walking, will still have to take off top layer to keep from sweating too bad. If there is any wind to speak of be very cautious, and probably stay home.

Game really moves at those temps, and I can only figure it is because they have to. I have seen fresh bear tracks at those temps more than once.

If male organs or enlarged nipples are dragging snow at those temps, they will freeze solid. Somehow, they seem to thaw and go back to normal functioning; have babies, and nurse them. It’s unbeleivable really. I feared they would hit something and break off.
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Re: How cold is too cold?

Postby Northrunner » Wed Feb 27, 2019 1:40 am

This morning I waited until 10 am when it warmed up to -14 below actual temp to start letting dogs out of the box.
My rule of thumb, Wind Chill -25 or above I am comftorable outdoors and can see my dogs can handle it along with my collar batteries.
I feel you need to have your handheld in a case in a pocket close to your body. I have had my alphas freeze in just a few minutes hanging around my neck in cold temps.
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Re: How cold is too cold?

Postby Mike Leonard » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:56 pm

Dog are extremely adaptable and can handle very cold temperatures if they are adapted to it. Some of our sled racing dogs have proven they can even handle extreme endurance events in these temperatures.

When it comes to trailing game a few problems do surface when temperatures dip well below freezing. Scent molecules dry and turn to solids and therefore they are much harder to detect even by the canine nose. That why that Northern Pike you caught doesn't smell so bad after you throw him in the freezer. Thaw him out and release those molecules and here comes the smell. Dogs have to work extra hard on anything but a smoking track, and drawing all that super cold air in their lungs causes their bodies to work much harder than usual. No it would be very hard to freeze their lungs, studies have been done on this. by drawing the air thru the nose especially, it warms it up before it hits the lungs. When working hard hand breathing directly thru the mouth the air hits the lungs colder. Allow this to happen for a prolonged time and the air sacks throat and lung tissue dry and the lungs start to trap more of their moisture hence a type of pneumonia can set in and this can crack and damage the lungs with scar tissue.
I try not to run my dogs if it is too much below zero and seldom have to worry about that here. Back where I was raised in Montana I knew guys that did and usually they didn't have any problems at the time but later many times just like exposed cattle and livestock in later spring mysteriously they would develop lung or breathing problems usually associated with infections due to prior damage and usually they just die rather quickly, with symptoms that don't differ too much from advanced heartworm infestation.
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david
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Re: How cold is too cold?

Postby david » Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:22 pm

Mike Leonard wrote:...Scent molecules dry and turn to solids and therefore they are much harder to detect even by the canine nose...


Admittedly, I have never hunted these extreme temperatures without the presence of snow. And I have seen other hunters say exactly as you say here Mike.

But I have seen dogs EASILY catch bobcats in snow in this kind of cold and run him like they are tied to him.

I don’t know if maybe the snow is insulating the scent molecules; or something in the atmosphere of a different region or what?
But it always puzzles me when I hear other hunters from other regions speak this way.

Hunting was usually very productive in this weather if the snow had never been warmed.

It’s one of those scent mysteries.

If the snow had warmed before the cold snap:
Icy crust and Very difficult. Stay home if you are even a little bit smarter than I was.
Mike Leonard
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Re: How cold is too cold?

Postby Mike Leonard » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:37 pm

David,

Yes, snow undoubtedly insulates scent molecules and can trap and hold them for a tremendous amount of time. I have seen hounds open wildly on a lion track that I knew was nearly a month old in the snow , when it warms and allows it to breath again. And then again at times even a night old track can really freeze down and be very hard for a dog to start when it is way below zero. Now I am talking lions here, and bobcats all bets are off. Bobcats and lions are both felids but their scent and the way it works is a totally different thing.

Many times when I hear a hunter say his dogs ran a bobcat like they were tied to it, I truly believe they are almost correct because they are that close to the animal and the scent is up in the air. It is a lighter higher scent. Out here we have hounds rig many more bobcats than lions out of the back of a truck. Yes there may be more bobcats but in this high dry thin air it is present at a level they can grab it. Lions on the other hand especially on bare ground devoid of a lot of vegetation, just lays low and heavy.

I have caught way more bobcat with hot to medium nosed curs and hounds that were super fast and smart. We didn't mess with the cold froze down stuff we moved till we got it up fresh or found one that was better and then got on with the catching.

Of course cold nosed is all relative to what a person relates it too and that is very subjective to conditions and area. I only know what I know from the areas I have hunted and there are a whole lot of areas I haven't yet...
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twist
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Re: How cold is too cold?

Postby twist » Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:27 am

Dogs can catch in about any temps it's the houndsman that gets smarter with age when to go out and when to stay home. Andy
The home of TOPPER AGAIN bred biggame hounds.
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Re: How cold is too cold?

Postby bluedog4 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:54 pm

In cold weather your breath condenses on exhale.
I always thought that hounds that follow these cats in super cold weather like they are on a string are running heads up on stinky condensesed Cat breath!

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