deep snow hunting for cats

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brian j cerelli
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deep snow hunting for cats

Postby brian j cerelli » Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:47 pm

i dont really hunt the snow much, and it "snows out" in the high country quite often, i was curious how deep is to deep for your dogs to still catch cats. i understand you need to use a snowmobile or utv with tracks to get to these areas, but how deep can a dog actually hunt in and still put up cats.
david
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Re: deep snow hunting for cats

Postby david » Sat Sep 01, 2018 12:28 am

Brian, in my experience, if it is deep soft snow but a bobcat can walk in it, the dogs will catch him easily if you are using two good dogs.

It is not so much “how deep is too deep for the dogs”; but “how deep is too deep for the bobcats to want to move”. I am convinced bobcats I have hunted did not like snow, and they avoided it when they could. If snow was too deep for them they would wait for other critters to make trails for them. This can make it extremely difficult to see their tracks. But again, if you can find one in these conditions, you can catch him. Sometimes if you find a track in deep snow conditions, that cat can hear your pickup door slam, because they don’t like to travel in it much and he might not have gone very far.

I am guessing the lynx hunters will have an entirely different story for you.
dhostetler
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Re: deep snow hunting for cats

Postby dhostetler » Sat Sep 01, 2018 5:18 am

The last couple of winters we had the deepest snow that I have ever hunted in lower country in NW Montana. I had a bobcat race that was a split race 2 dogs treed one the other 3 dogs put on over 15 miles pretty much jumped all the way. I got a buddy to help me and we managed to sled to within several yards of the dogs and called them off. This was in snow up to 4 to 5 feet on the road under the trees it wasn't that much but severel feet. Later ran a lion that just wandered around for the longest time till the dogs finally treed it. In 2 feet or less of powder bobcats and lions are screwed in deeper stuff what happens dogs try to push it to hard and end up lunging and having to dig out of hole after a lunge while a smart bobcat/lion just walking may only sink in a foot. I think in deep snow like that a guy needs a dog that is smart enough to run a catch at a fast pace walk.
dhostetler
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Re: deep snow hunting for cats

Postby dhostetler » Sat Sep 01, 2018 5:59 am

dhostetler wrote:The last couple of winters we had the deepest snow that I have ever hunted in lower country in NW Montana. I had a bobcat race that was a split race 2 dogs treed one the other 3 dogs put on over 15 miles pretty much jumped all the way. I got a buddy to help me and we managed to sled to within several hundred yards of the dogs and called them off. This was in snow up to 4 to 5 feet on the road under the trees it wasn't that much but severel feet. Later ran a lion that just wandered around for the longest time till the dogs finally treed it. In 2 feet or less of powder bobcats and lions are screwed in deeper stuff what happens dogs try to push it to hard and end up lunging and having to dig out of hole after a lunge while a smart bobcat/lion just walking may only sink in a foot. I think in deep snow like that a guy needs a dog that is smart enough to run a catch at a fast pace walk.
david
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Re: deep snow hunting for cats

Postby david » Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:12 am

dhostetler wrote:
dhostetler wrote: in deeper stuff what happens dogs try to push it to hard and end up lunging and having to dig out of hole after a lunge while a smart bobcat/lion just walking may only sink in a foot. I think in deep snow like that a guy needs a dog that is smart enough to run a catch at a fast pace walk.


In a situation like that, if I just wanted to catch the bobcat and was not trying to train young dogs, I would put ONE steady reliable dog on the track and be done with it.

In deep soft snow, the bobcat is making a trough. One dog that is not competing with other dogs will go right up that trough. The cat is leaving tons of body scent and breaking the trail for the dog, (And wearing himself out doing it). It is a slam dunk for ONE good dog.

And if you want to give that good started (locating tree dog) prospect his chance to shine, this is it! Send him alone. He might mess up, but he also might tree his first solo bobcat and store up confidence in his own ability for the rest of his life.

If the snow has crusted and the cat is walking on top while the dogs are breaking through; pack up your dogs and go home.
ridgerunners
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Re: deep snow hunting for cats

Postby ridgerunners » Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:10 pm

The bobcats that I find in the high country early here in Colorado seem to move to the lower elevations once the snow starts getting to deep. I too belive that bobcats don’t enjoy a lot of snow . A couple times running them in deep snow and big blow downs and you will be looking for them in alittle easyer place to run them ... it can physically drain you! My pack and I got to have a least a little snow to catch bobbies here.My perfect snow day would be 8 inches of fresh snow no rocks and no blow downs but it rarely happens!! Timothy Morgan
brian j cerelli
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Re: deep snow hunting for cats

Postby brian j cerelli » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:47 pm

Thanks for the info guys
merlo_105
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Re: deep snow hunting for cats

Postby merlo_105 » Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:43 pm

Gosh I hate snow. But if you can get around in it a dog can catch in it. 1 dog on a snow track haha dump the box. David, You still got that Sonny dog? If so how's he doing?
david
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Re: deep snow hunting for cats

Postby david » Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:35 pm

merlo_105 wrote:Gosh I hate snow. But if you can get around in it a dog can catch in it. 1 dog on a snow track haha dump the box. David, You still got that Sonny dog? If so how's he doing?


Merlo, how often do you dump the box in 3’ of soft snow? I am the same way, because catching the cat is never as important to me as giving young dogs experience. But When I was guiding and needed to get someone their cat, I absolutely DID NOT dump the box in deep snow conditions. I needed to eliminate the added risk of embarrassment.

Sonny is alive and well and on loan right now. He is a gifted rig dog.

Missing Butch at times.
Last edited by david on Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
merlo_105
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Re: deep snow hunting for cats

Postby merlo_105 » Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:58 pm

Three feet of snow haha I'm looking for bare ground lol... My truck couldn't get around in 3 feet of snow so no dumping on tracks in 3 feet but 2 feet and a touch more, every year. Usually it takes them more time to get lined out but it's worth it for me. I try to stay out of the snow but once in awhile if I want to get the dogs out I am stuck hunting it. I'm glad to hear sonny is still around seen that dog do some impressive locate jobs.
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Re: deep snow hunting for cats

Postby david » Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:56 am

With a few more years of experience as a hunter, you will know that anything over two feet is three feet.
david
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Re: deep snow hunting for cats

Postby david » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:33 am

merlo_105 wrote:Usually it takes them more time to get lined out...


In the great north woods where cats Often will not climb, but like to squat when things get tense, I have WATCHED a bobcat disappear into the powder just before it got rolled. And then watched three dogs chasing each other thinking one of them had to know where the cat was. These were three good dogs that were a few feet from the cat.

I wish I had not called them back, just so I could know how far they would have gone chasing nothing.

And in deep snow, I feel that is pretty much what the following dogs are often chasing: nothing. And that is why none of them knew the difference.

Yes, eventually they stopped the cat under a very angry farmers shed a mile away; a major ordeal that involved extra hours, extra human stamina and strength in snow no one wants to wade through, and it was about to involve the law. It should have been quick, clean and simple.

These are the things we usually don’t get to observe. But they explain things we hear that leave us scratching our heads.

These kinds of mistakes, resulting in losing the cat or having a long drawn out ordeal, do not happen very easily in deep snow with one good dog.

It just depends how certainly and how quickly we want the cat.

But in the north is the difficulty of one dog holding a bobcat that won’t tree. I solved that with two dogs of different speed. (And staggering the release). They both could stay in the cat trough, and when the cat was stopped by the first dog, the 2nd dog would arrive quickly.

In areas where bobcats tree, the second dog is meaningless.

Like a saying out of snowy Maine regarding the best number of dogs for bobcat (in snow):
“More than one, but less than two”

A careful handler can make good dogs look a lot better.

This doesn’t matter when you hunt alone (like a lot of bobcat hunters do). But it’s something to think about when you have witnesses or customers.

It is not a lot different than making the right moves on a chess board or calling the right plays in a football game.

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