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Deer hunting with dogs – help or hindrance?

One of the most misunderstood aspects of deer hunting is to do with dogs. Questions about hunting dogs account for more than half the questions I get asked when I’m taking bookings from hunters for one of my sambar deer hunting/training trips.

Live deer stalking – or post-kill tracking?

In this context, let’s be clear that unlike the European deer dogs where the dog is used to track the deer after it has been shot, I’m talking about using the dog to find the deer and point it. In Australia a well trained deer dog works the breeze and air scents a live deer that you would not normally find in a way that also saves you walking extra kilometers. The dog scents, sneaks in and points the deer, clearly showing you where the deer is standing/bedded – without chasing!

What you want from a dog

The behavior you want is for the dog to work at a least 10 meters from you and then give you a clear signal when they’ve scented a deer. If they work too close they can not work the breeze properly!

This requires a few things to be in place.

  • A few simply but essential training steps

  • You to understand how to hunt with your dog

  • Your dog knows that your'e happy when it holds point

  • You can read your dogs subtle signals when it first gets a scent

  • Your dog is not addicted to chasing!

Imagine spending a few hours trying to find a deer. You and your dog are walking through the bush. Your dog scents a deer. The hunt is on! Establishing the direction, and pointing the dog looks to you for confirmation. ‘Is this good?’ it’s asking. ‘Mate, is this good, or what?’

And then, unable to resist, the dog excitedly breaks out of the point and starts chasing the deer. You haven’t had time to take the shot. The deer is away. Your chances of finding it or another on that day are looking pretty grim.

Is breed important?

I’m often asked about the best breed to hunt sambar deer, and the answer’s YES, but it's not always as straightforward as people would like.

Even if you have a dog that’s from an established hunting breed like a German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP), a German Wirehaired Pointer (GWP), or an English Pointer with a natural instinct for stalking and pointing, if they don’t know what they’re doing, you’re in for a seriously frustrating day.

Sometimes the training you’ve given or unknowingly given your dog will override their good breeding. A dog can make or break your hunt and the younger your dog is when you start to teach it good habits, the better.

I’ve seen the frustration that can arise from the wrong hunting dog behavior. The worst thing is that the dog doesn’t know any better. As your dog’s master, I can show you how to train your dog to be a good hunter, to work with you in finding, stalking and getting you a great shot, so you can take home a deer. With a few easy training steps, you your four-legged best mate will be working like clockwork and enjoying successful hunts.

Contact me now and find out how.

Kyle and Arlee - real life success story!

Using our proven deer dog training method, Kyle and his GSP dog Arlee now have their first sambar. It took just 15 minutes at 16:30 today to get this deer in its bed while stalking. See this video and others on Facebook

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