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Successful tracking with deer dogs

Recently I spent a hunting weekend with my deer dogs and found 18 sambar deer. We’re very lucky to be living in North Eastern Victoria, a great place to hunt deer. But luck was not the only reason this hunting weekend was a great success. My approach to training hunting dogs means that my deer dogs know that I’m in charge and they know what to do.

The principles of deer dog training

My approach to deer dog training can be applied to all kinds of hunting dogs, including pointers such as German Wirehaired Pointers, German Shorthaired Pointers, Hungarian Vislas, English Pointers or any other hunting dog breed. The success of my approach lies in three principles that guide the training:

  1. being the master

  2. hunting as a team

  3. building the hunting technique

There’s also a fourth principle: you and your dog need to go out and hunt deer using a correct method and support/guide the dog as it learns how to find deer and puts those first three principles into practice.

The successful application of these principles is how I get the most enjoyment out of hunting with my pointers. I enjoy helping others get the same satisfaction and if you’d like to find out how, I’d be happy to talk to you about my deer dog training and hunting course. Contact me on 0459 466 036 or email

Hunting dog distance training from the video

As we start the hunt on a sambar deer, we’ve only walked 300 metres and my deer dog is 20 to 40 metres ahead of me.

I’m watching her closely as she follows her training. At one point she clearly indicates a deer’s presence. The deer is up ahead and the dog begins to follow up on that first air scent, working the wind and then locking into a full point when she has spotted the exact location of a sambar deer.

At this point, the dog is still 30 to 40 metres from the deer and around 20 metres from me.

From the first scent of a deer, this well-trained deer dog is working the wind to get a better ‘picture’. She also knows how to use the wind to its advantage, sneaking in close to the deer and then once again locking into a point.

So as the dog finds more scent of the deer, the training allows her to move forward and work the wind.

The deer spots my dog but is not sure what’s going on so it moves around with the wind, looking for more information and eventually gets a wind of the sambar like a good deer dog should.

And this sambar deer is still oblivious to my presence, even though I am only eight metres away from the dog. The distance between me and the dog ensures that I have the upper hand.

This is where training your dog to work some distance from you will ensure a better hunting experience – and not just for you. It’s better for your dog as well. If the dog stays too close, for example only a metre or two in front, she will be severely limited in her ability to work the breeze and get the information she needs to successfully lock into a point and at a distance that will give you a good sneak in on the deer.

The deer has figured out that this is a dog it’s sensing. It moves away, but only around 30 metres. If it was me up close, this sambar deer would be spooked and long gone. Meanwhile, my dog remains absolutely still, and I am able to sneak in for a great shot.

Watch this video to see more about how your deer dog can work with you for a great hunt.

Avoiding the chase

The well-trained dog will not chase the deer. This is part of our second principle, of team work. Your dog’s role is to find the deer and do so in such a way as to let you get in close for the best shot.

Chasing would defeat the purpose – just a little!

It may seem impossible to train a dog so that it can work 20-40 metres away from you and stay still, without chasing the deer if it moves away.

I can show you how to work with your dog, using distance and skill as a perfect team. Contact me to find out how.

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