Hunting with hounds is my favorite thing to do when it comes to hunting. I cannot remember a time in my life that I didn’t hunt with dogs. Beginning with my father, hunting coyotes and then using his bloodline of running walkers to start cat hunting in 1980. With the invention of social media, I have had the opportunity to share hundred of cat races and pictures with others that hunt with hounds. Many enjoy the videos I create but there are likewise far too many that question my methods and the breed selection.
The most frequent negative comment I get is people making fun of the number of hounds I hunt with. First and foremost, I am of the opinion that if someone wishes to hunt with two hundred dogs or one dog, it is their business and no one else’s. However, I will explain why I use so many dogs when I hunt bobcats. I personally like to use no fewer then 9 and no more then 15. The brush in south Texas is thick and every branch, twig, and leaf will cut you to pieces. To say that the thorns are bad would be the understatement of the century. The larger number of hounds always allows a dog to find a lose much quicker and easier then if there were just a couple hounds on the trail. Also, I hunt hounds because I love to hear a good race. If two or four hounds sound good then nine to fifteen sound even better. It seems to me like 90% of those that give me grief about the number of hounds I run couldn’t handle that many at once. It certainly isn’t going to hurt anything by using that many, so why create a stir about it. I spend more time teaching my hounds to handle rather then to hunt. If you have to attempt to teach your hound to hunt you will end up with nothing at best. The number of hounds I use on any given day is my business and should be left as such.
The second and far too often negative comment I get is that, people think running hounds can’t trail or tree. Both of these assumptions couldn’t be anymore false. It’s true that many of the old running bloodlines have been diluted with junk because of bench shows and pen hunting. But, there are still someone old bloodlines around, like mine, that can and will trail and tree. Another reason that this is my favorite breed is that, I don’t go hunting to follow game for hours; I hunt to catch what I am after. To me, if I go hunting and run a bobcat over an hour the dogs aren’t performing the way they should. Trail hounds have great noses; there is no denying that. Trail hounds also rarely run to catch. In other words, a trail hound smells the scent and starts pecking away at it step for step. Once the animal is jumped they may show some speed but they are still running the game track for track. When a dog has their nose on the ground, it doesn’t matter how fast they go, if their head was up they’d be faster. For example, lets say we have a pack of ten running walkers after a bobcat. In order for the race to go as it should, something will start the cat and begin trailing on it. While two or three of the hounds are trailing the others are out swinging trying to find the track further on. If they find it they start barking and everything else pulls to them. Once all of the dogs get to the one that has the track the entire process starts over again. When things happen like this it is easier and faster to get the animal jumped and caught. The bottom line is that every hound in the pack needs to be running for the front of the race. There needs to be a competition among the pack on who’s going to catch this cat first. When you have the entire pack trying to be the first one to the cat you have a pack of hounds that cannot be denied success. Running hounds also have the ability to go day in and day out where the trailing hounds simply don’t have that kind of bottom end.
Do people catch game with tree/trail hounds?! Of course, they do. Far more people use the trailing hounds then those of us that don’t. I’ll have people in Arizona saying that there is no way that my running hounds can grind a 30 hour old lion track off of rock. Guess what?! They are right and I am glad. I have no desire to follow slow hounds for hours hoping the trail doesn’t evaporate. However, give me a month to acclimate my hounds to the dry climate and I’ll guarantee you they’ll trail, run, and catch a cat. The point of this blog is not to cut down on what people try to use, they are your dogs and I hope you love them. My point is, that I am sick of people knocking my hounds. Finally, I catch more bobcats than arguably most everyone. Why make negative comments!? I like tough, fast hounds that run to catch, I have them.