Thread: Deer with Dogs
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Old October 10, 2009, 04:48 AM   #21
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Join Date: May 6, 2005
Location: North Chesterfield, Virginia
Posts: 4,336
I've never killed a deer that wasn't being run by dogs. Well, I take that back. I killed one that a dog driver jumped. I just happened to kill him before the dogs got on him.

Deer hunting with dogs is no different than rabbit hunting with dogs. There are slobs that hunt deer with dogs. There are slobs that still or stand hunt. There are good, hardworking hunters that do all three.

As for the mechanics. Depends on how many people you have. If you have a big crowd, you could surround a big piece of land. If you only have a few, you break "the drive" up into smaller sections.

We had numbered stands and the stand numbers would go in a hat before each drive. You took the stand you drew out. Usually someone experienced would be assigned the last stand on the line to make sure everyone dropped off at the right place.

At a set time, the "drivers" would let the dogs go and "drive" them through the woods. Just like rabbit hunting. When the dogs jumped, they were on their own. The drivers would either go back to the trucks, or just stay where they were.

The dogs would push the deer toward the standers (You'd be amazed how often a deer would be able to slip by unseen.) where hopefully someone would get a shot.

Many hands make for a light drag out and a quick skinning and butchering.

The hunter who killed the deer got his choice (usually a hindquarter) and the head and hide (if wanted). The rest was divided and numbered and lots drawn. If there were more hunters than pieces of meat blanks went in. The idea being that everyone took home something, or at least had the same chance.

Dog owners and volunteers spent long hours rounding up the dogs.

Lazy? I'm sure it could be. If a person was lazy in the first place. However done right a dog hunt is as much work as I ever wanted to do. Dog drivers walk their legs off. So do most of the standers. They're up early and stay late. Dogs have to be taken care of all year. The club had work days every month. Like anything else, a handful of people did most of the work, but those who did were the real backbone of the club. They cut firing lanes, marked stands, filled in mudholes, built dog pens and dog boxes, worked on the clubhouse (we had a rather nice clubhouse) and grounds, and helped the landowners around the farm/property.

Deer hunting with dogs is no better or worse than any other type of hunting. It's different. That's all.

Oh and the dogs don't usually push the deer hard. I've only seen the dogs "nipping at his heels" a couple of times and they were all on the initial jump. A deer can shift gears and leave the fastest hunting dogs behind in short order. Sometimes the deer seem to stop and wait for the dogs to catch up.

You don't want a really fast dog. Fast dogs push the deer out of the woods. Slower ones push them just fast enough to keep them moving. You want the deer to just run around in the piece of woods to offer the most opportunities for a shot. Walkers are probably the most popular dogs, but beagles are/were gaining favor for just this reason. (I never saw a bluetick, or a black and tan I'd have given ten cents for. That'll start an argument. )

But let me tell you something. There is NOTHING more exciting than hearing the tailgate drop and the dogs hit just as soon as they come out of the box. Man that will make the hair on your neck STAND up. You just KNOW they're heading right toward YOU.
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