Question for experienced bobcat hunters

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Taylor
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Question for experienced bobcat hunters

Postby Taylor » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:06 am

ive seen dogs that have started treeing at 5 months and heard of others taking all the way up to 3 years to show interest on a tree. My question is weather or not these dogs that don’t start treeing tell several years old will they generally ever learn to actually locate on there own? I’ve seen these dogs hunting in a packs and treeing well but always wondered what they would do if there was no other dog to locate for them. Also those of you that will cull for lack of tree power how long do u hold onto a dog that hasn’t started treeing?
"If you did not see it in the tree it did not happen" -Herb kennedy
mark
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Re: Question for experienced bobcat hunters

Postby mark » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:37 am

Every dog i have ever hunted had a very distinct locate bark if they were actually locating. Different from their striking,trailing,treeing,and baying bark. If you arent hearing it they probably arent locating on their own but just me too treeing with the others
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Re: Question for experienced bobcat hunters

Postby david » Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:24 pm

Taylor wrote:My question is weather or not these dogs that don’t start treeing tell several years old will they generally ever learn to actually locate on there own?


I have found it very interesting to hunt with people who use pure foxhounds to hunt bobcats; with not even one single tree-bred dog in the pack. They can and do learn to locate up and if they do, they are extremely accurate; as in “never wrong”.

I have never seen them do it in tall timber with the cat completely out of sight. Maybe they can, but I have never seen it.

I also have seen a lot of times when I thought they should have located but did not; at least not that I could tell with certainty.

But the point is at least one of those dogs is locating, and it is a foxhound. I don’t know what age they figure it out. But they are not relying on a tree-bred dog.

Foxhounds that are being bred for cat are being bred for intelligence. Locating up for them, in my opinion, is a product of intelligence. Barking up a tree has a different motivation than barking up a tree for a tree-bred dog. It is learned, so would depend on opportunities to learn, in my opinion. So in theory, if a fox dog had opportunities to actually watch a cat climb a few times, or can see the cat a few feet above his head, he might learn quicker than one who has never seen those things.

From what I have witnessed in the Northwest, most of those cats climb before a dog could ever actually see them climb. In other parts of the country, (like where pure foxhounds are used) they are much more reluctant to climb; so opportunities to learn about it by seeing it might be more frequent.

With tree bred dogs, you are waiting for the instinct to kick in, and it can be like flipping a light switch on. Without that blood; or if that blood is not being expressed because of how the genetics fell together, you are waiting for them to learn about it. But, to your question, at least some of them do learn to locate on their own.
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Re: Question for experienced bobcat hunters

Postby david » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:07 pm

mark wrote:Every dog i have ever hunted had a very distinct locate bark if they were actually locating. Different from their striking,trailing,treeing,and baying bark. If you arent hearing it they probably arent locating on their own but just me too treeing with the others


That’s really a good point, and it is a new thought for me to chew on.

One thing about this is going to be self confidence. Because I have watched young dogs actually locate the cat ahead of the old dogs, and without saying anything, they go back to milling about until another dog says something about it. They didn’t have the confidence to be the first one to say anything even though they located the cat.

Some dogs would be really hard for me to tell a locate bark. I can think of one in particular, that I could not call by sound; maybe by timing and circumstances, but deffinately not by sound. Other dogs a baby could call the locate, and so I might be able to if I’m lucky. (Those types were a blessing and a curse in competition hunting. You could call treed on the first bark; but a slick handler could call his dog treed on your dogs first bark also.)

I can think of dogs that I could tell when they were looking up. I never really thought of it as a locate. But it does sound different when they have their snout pointed toward the sky, so I guess you could call it a locate. But I wouldn’t be able to call it on the first bark unless I could hear them very clearly, because it is a subtle thing.

I’ve noticed that people like Mark who run large packs of dogs definitely have developed a more refined listening ability than what I have.
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Re: Question for experienced bobcat hunters

Postby al baldwin » Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:29 pm

In my experience most dogs that tree late have made dogs that located their own trees. I do believe some dogs learn to depend on others to tree & never make dependable tree dogs. I often thought those dogs would have made dependable tree dogs if they had been hunted alone. One thing I have noticed young dogs that stay at the tree but were not barking have made some of the best tree dogs around three years old. Al
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Re: Question for experienced bobcat hunters

Postby mark » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:56 pm

al baldwin wrote:In my experience most dogs that tree late have made dogs that located their own trees. I do believe some dogs learn to depend on others to tree & never make dependable tree dogs. I often thought those dogs would have made dependable tree dogs if they had been hunted alone. One thing I have noticed young dogs that stay at the tree but were not barking have made some of the best tree dogs around three years old. Al



I agree Al. Hope you are wintering well and gettin after em!
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Re: Question for experienced bobcat hunters

Postby david » Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:46 pm

Taylor wrote:Also those of you that will cull for lack of tree power how long do u hold onto a dog that hasn’t started treeing?


To this part of your question:

I have noticed that some people who run a large pack really never do have a cut off point. If the dog is not causing problems and is always where it should be, they really don’t care that much if it doesn’t tree bark. and especially if the dog adds something else to the pack.

I may have been extreme to the other end of the spectrum. And there is probably everything in between.

I really needed each dog to potentially be a solo dog. I usually had a broke dog that really did not make mistakes. It might have some trait that irritated me, but it wasn’t making mistakes. Then I had a younger dog that had everything it takes to hunt solo, but was still an apprentice; but if I lost the old dog, I would still be in business with this dog. Then I had a pup or two I was starting. And often, that was my entire pack.

If I wasn’t seeing some interest in the tree at least by 12 months I would start to worry. At 18 months I would be thinking seriously about replacing the dog as soon as I could afford to lose whatever he was adding to the hunt.

It kind of depends on your hunting style and what brings you enjoyment in a dog and what produces the success percentages you need to be satisfied with your dogs.
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Re: Question for experienced bobcat hunters

Postby pegleg » Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:08 am

Hound terms. They mean different things to different people sometimes. It also depends on the area game and type of hound. Theres some that will trail great but have no interest in game treed bayed or caught. But that type is rare in my experience anymore. Then there is tree dogs that tree any time it can. But like mark said theres a difference between a locate and treeing. My dogs dont tree early normally. But they all develop it. If a dog is born with some traits it might make life easier. But a excess can ruin things sometimes. Dogs need to want to catch game be able to trail it locate it and alert you to its location. In what manner or style it does these things really doesnt matter. Its only your preference. If you break it down and the dogs doing each function its only your expectation that may not be fullfilled. A dog doesnt have to strike. Open on track. Or be vocal about much really if you are able and willing to read the dog. With technology it is even less important. Really if a dog never barked it could still be successful today. But a hound with a true voice and marked change overs is a wonder to listen to. Strike, trail, loss, pick up, freshening , running, locate, tree/bay. When one is distinct and true it adds a dimension to the hunt a monotone voiced hound doesnt for me atleast. But i dont push my dogs to tree. Most will bay a animal at a early age and this progresses to treeing.
If a 2 1/2 year old cat dog isnt treeing enough to communicate or locate i might then consider how it affected the hunt. That is assuming its doing everything else well enough and has a firm understanding of The hunt. But a dog that rather tree then anything else isnt going to make much of a cat dog most places.
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Re: Question for experienced bobcat hunters

Postby dwalton » Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:40 pm

There is a lot of good information here from experience hunters. For me I don't want a early tree dog here in this big timber or a hard tree dog, to many trees with nothing in them. A lot of me to tree dogs can not locate a bobcat. I think to understand how a do trees you need to think about how he trails a track. A dog with to much track want to will look for a track before they look to where that cat went. Good smart locate dogs know when that track ends and don't have the tendency to rehash a track. A good bunch of dogs that are good track dogs in a loose will not open but cast out to find the track if that track [ jumped] did not leave they will look to locate. As Mark said some dogs have a good locate bark. The best locating tree dogs that I have seen on bobcat will locate bark then make a swing to see if it left then settle down to tree. For me track style is one of the most important parts of a good locating dog. If he knows that track ended he will find the tree. Dewey
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Re: Question for experienced bobcat hunters

Postby twist » Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:27 pm

It truely depends on the dog and and it's genetics on weather they tree early or if they are a little later on the locate and tree but if they can't do this alone in my opinon are not worth keeping. Andy
The home of TOPPER AGAIN bred biggame hounds.
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Re: Question for experienced bobcat hunters

Postby merlo_105 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:18 am

How much game they are on does that make a difference?
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Re: Question for experienced bobcat hunters

Postby Bdouglas » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:44 pm

A few days ago the dogs treed 3 cats. But had a really hard time locating them the weather was 12 degrees they locked on to one but the other 2 stayed around and (within 60 or so yards) and I found the cats and pointed to the exact tree, I don’t normally hunt in that cold of weather do you more experienced guys think it was the temperature. Also my dogs usually lock on to them even in big timber
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Re: Question for experienced bobcat hunters

Postby dwalton » Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:26 pm

When I have hunted bobcat in juniper country most hounds will tree. Locating and treeing with other dogs is a different thing. Have seen a lot of dogs that tree great when in a pack[ mostly registered walkers] but could not locate a bobcat on there own. When I hunted lion and bear with my hounds they had very little trouble learning to locate and tree bobcats. Hunting only bobcats in our big timber with lots of trees it is a different ball game, you will have trouble with dogs locating and treeing. There are dogs that get it all the time but very few of them do. I have seen dogs that are having trouble locating locate and tree if they are the only dog on the track which is a good test to see if your dog is a t locating tree dog. I have a dog now that is 5 years old when she see a cat go up or in the tree she will tree if not she digs a hole under the tree and sleeps until I get there. She will rig a cat, good cold trailer, opens only on scent, will not bark twice in the same spot and leads most of my races catching bobcat on the ground. Some people would cull this dog because of not understanding her. I think she is one of the better dogs that I have ,only with a fault that I can live with. No dog is perfect, if you think so you still have a lot to learn about bobcat hunting. Dewey
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Re: Question for experienced bobcat hunters

Postby oneguy828 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:44 am

I agree with mostly everything said, great information. Merlo, I think you know that a more game rich environment with a good handler lends to a lot of positive experiences and can help over come some physical/genetic limitations.

Something that hasn’t been mentioned that I have experienced though is that the first dog to get to a tree can locate with more confindence. I have dumped experienced locate tree dogs down a track and seen them struggle to locate behind other dogs that already have the cat up. If You hunt a lot of dogs together that locate and tree and it seems you never have an issue, but it’s a long hard road to get there with not many shortcuts!

And to reiterate Dewey a little bit I have seen a fairly distinct link between track styles and locating ability. I would definitely suggest that a very enthusiastic(tree jacking, bark chewing) treeing dog at 5-10 months probably isn’t what I’m going to like as a finished product not a rule but more than likely. Just my opinion but if you own and train dogs out of proven locate treeing bobcat dogs I’m generally more worried about track style then tree, tree seems to come with game and lots of it. That’s with the dogs I have hunted atleast.
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Re: Question for experienced bobcat hunters

Postby oneguy828 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:54 am

And to directly answer your question I think the longer you have hunted the easier to identify the type of dogs you like and want to hunt becomes easier. I have held on to a dog that was a great track dog but didn’t tree till 2 1/2-3 would I do it again? probably not but I’m glad I have her now! I think they become better “tree” dogs if they learn to LOCATE and not to just bark treed.

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