Thursday, June 22, 2017

Silence Is Golden

The folks who tell you that man domesticated wolves for hunting purposes have not hunted too much.

The truth is that most hunting is not done with dogs for a very simple reason: dogs scare away game.

Most hunting is a stealth performance with hunters hidden in blinds or in stands located up trees.

Dogs to point or retrieve shot birds?  A nicety, not a necessity.

Here we see an honest assessment of the needs for dogs when ferreting rabbits. Dogs are emotionally satisfying, and in some locations they can may increase your bag, but nets were invented for a reason.

Here in the U.S., our native rabbits do not go to ground and nest in shallow scrapes in thick grass and brush, so there is no ferreting at all.  When dogs are used on rabbits in this country, they are mostly slow-moving beagles used to drive rabbits out of weed-choked water ditches.

What about long dogs and greyhounds?  They are sometimes used for hunting hunting western hares which we call Jack Rabbits, a very inefficient sport. which not about pest control at all.

That said, when it comes to terrier work, silence is golden. If you have a single dog that knows its business, and it's a multiple-eye sette that is connected like a race track underground, you are likely to get a bolt and save a bit of digging.

In the hedgerows in which I often dig, bolts are not always possible, as many settes have pipes that, while they may branch, often come to stop ends.

That said, it's always best not to talk, smoke, or bang about too much when approaching a hole.

Let the dog do its job, press the creature in the hole, bay it to a new location, and do it again before rushing in to sink a hole. A bolt may very well be possible, and even if it's not, you may save a bit of digging on an animal which has only been pushed to mid-pipe.


PipedreamFarm said...

Hunting techniques used during the time frame when dogs/wolves were domesticated were not the same as most modern hunting techniques.

I believe there are hypotheses that one hunting technique was to drive prey to a common kill area.

PipedreamFarm said...

Hunting technique: drive prey into dead end gully and kill from above

TEC said...

Anthropologist John A. Ross in his magnum opus written over 10 year period, "Spokan Indians" (2011), describes hunting technique in which Indians of Spokan Tribe and their dogs drove deer in ever-tightening semi-circle into rivers and lakes, where another portion of team waited in canoes to dispatch the vulnerable animals.

Use of dogs was a labor multiplier, and increased hunt production. Subsistence living for mouths to be fed and clothing/implements fashioned.

I do not disagree that a range of methods should be in every professional's tool kit. In stock management it is labeled "stockmanship", and dogs can be a part of the mix, but not necessarily. Bud Williams and others have championed low-stress stock handling, which means reading your stock, and letting them tell you how best to move. Position, distance, speed and attitude are everything. Dogs can play a part in varying ways.-- TEC

Jennifer said...

The Clovis people weren't the first/only/main group to domesticate canis ssp. Seems more likely that some wolves liked refuse from human sites (including feces)...wolves gave humans warnings of predators or unfriendly humans, and it grew from there.