Posts tagged ‘hunting’

No bells in wolf poop?

The field hunting dog training season has started and Wisconsin DNR is publicizing their online resources on wolf depredation on dogs. Now that more than 300 wolves currently live in Wisconsin and about 3,000 live here in Minnesota it’s become an issue responsible dog owners need to keep in mind.

Nine dogs have been reported as killed by wolves in Wisconsin so far this year. Just five such events occurred during the same time frame last year and only one dog was killed in the first six months of 2008. Events occurred in rural areas scattered across the northern part of the state and a different pack is believed to have been responsible for each incident.

DNR reports that hounds used to hunt coyotes, bear, bobcats, and raccoons run the greatest risk of being attacked because they range far from their owners. Some also believe that the hounds’ baying attracts (or annoys) wolves. Most depredation reportedly occurs in the summer rendezvous period that runs from July through September. The 2008 and 2009 data corroborate this.

Keep your hunting dog safe by avoiding wolf dens and rendezvous sites, staying close to your dogs and belling them, (only one belled dog is known to have been attacked by wolves). You can track depredation activity by subscribing to Wisconsin DNR’s wolf depredation email alerts here.

The DNR’s Guide for Reducing Conflicts Between Wolves and Hunting Dogs is also available on line.  The guide includes helpful information on how to avoid conflicts, identify wolf sign and report incidents.

It’s great that wolf populations are increasing but more wolves means more potential encounters between wolves and civilization. Husband and I spend a lot of time hiking in the woods of the upper Midwest and we’ve had one wolf encounter. We were hiking near the Black River on the south shore of Lake Superior with three off leash dogs when we came across a lone wolf. As soon as they saw the wolf (and they saw it before we did) our Leonbergers quietly and calmly stepped in between the wolf and I. They didn’t bark, run or lunge. They simply stood at alert and blocked the wolf (who was about 75 feet away) until it disappeared.

I took this picture just minutes before we saw the wolf

If wolves live in your area follow these rules to avoid conflicts.

  • Let your pets sleep inside unless they’re protected by a sturdy enclosure .
  • Don’t put out food for deer or other wildlife near your home.
  • Don’t feed your pets outside.
  • Keep garbage, compost and other waste in well secured containers.
  • Keep your dog on a leash on all walks unless he has a solid recall. If your dog has good obedience skills it is still important to keep in him sight.

As I’ve written here before it’s also important to avoid and properly manage gut piles.

July 5, 2010 at 10:58 pm 1 comment

American Pointing Terrier

Last month we posted on dachshunds that retrieve birds.  This month – a pointing terrier!

What a great little dog. I wonder if s/he was raised with a pack of pointers.

March 17, 2010 at 7:02 pm 6 comments

Bird Dachs

Doing a bit of random blog-surfing I came across a post from the Star Tribune Outdoors blog that mentioned a little dog with lots of heart.  My curiosity was piqued so I googled Digby up and found a recent post over at Upland Equations that told me a bit more about him – and included some adorable pictures.

Digby is a seven month old dachshund who lives at a game club in California where he enjoys retrieving and flushing birds. He may only be a pup, but he’s already attracted a fan club.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Digby’s not the only dachshund (or even the first) to enjoy working as a gun dog. From youtube, we bring you Weiner, who “just does what comes natural.”

Are Digby and Weiner a pair of achondroplastic geniuses? Maybe not. According to the folks over at Born-to-Track News, they are just doing what comes natural:

Many dachshund owners are probably not aware that a “water test” plays an important part of dachshund field testing system in many European countries. In Germany a test for the companion dog title includes evaluating the dog’s attitude to water. The handler throws a floating object at least 20 feet into deep water, and the dog is supposed to bring object back to shore. There is also a separate test in which two shots are fired from a shotgun while a duck is thrown 20 to 26 feet out into deep water. The dog is expected to swim out, retrieve the duck and bring it back to the owner. The VJT, a German club for hunting dachshunds, offers an even more challenging test as a dachshund tested does not see when and where a duck is thrown into water. The dog must find the duck by himself in the body of water, and a shot is fired when the dog is swimming towards the duck. The shot actually goes into the water in front of the swimming dog.

The North American Teckel Club (NATC) uses European dachshund Gebrauchshund, or usefulness tests as a basis to develop similar tests to assess how dachshunds on this side of the ocean perform. In the tests, each dog is tested against a performance standard, not another dog’s performance. A dog has to demonstrate gun steadiness before entering hunting tests. Dachshunds are tested in blood tracking, locating and trailing small game, locating, baying and/or bolting underground quarry, and flushing game in a controlled and obedient manner.

While doves and chukars may not be the standard quarry for dachshunds, the adorable, short-legged dogs were prized hunters long before they became one of America’s favorite lap dogs. I’m glad that groups like NATC are around to preserve the working heritage of the breed.

February 28, 2010 at 5:25 pm 5 comments

Running With Scissors

This week local newspapers carried the latest in a string of stories about dogs killed by body-gripping or conibear-type traps.

Body gripping traps are designed to prevent game from escaping and to kill animals quickly.  Bait lures game to the trap and a wire trigger springs it closed.  The trap crushes the neck or body of the animal and kills it quickly by suffocation or fracturing the vertebra.  This is a good thing when your goal is to kill wildlife humanely.  It is a very bad thing when a beloved pet takes the bait.

Because they’re often set on public lands and baited with the kinds of things that dogs find attractive, conibear traps are a potential danger to any dog running at large.

Sixteen years ago one of my dogs lost his life in a conibear trap.  It was a horrible experience.  A beautiful dog died in my arms because I didn’t know how to save him, so I’m going to tell you how to protect your dog:

  • Don’t turn your dog out and let him run loose.  He doesn’t need that kind of freedom and a free-ranging dog that gets caught in a trap is a dead dog.
  • Learn how to open a trap and carry the equipment you need to do it (two light leashes or strong boot strings) with you every time you go into the field with your dog.
  • If your yard isn’t securely fenced and you live in an area where you may have neighbors that trap, talk to them about trapping.  If there is any chance traps are set near your property, walk with your dog any time he’s off leash during trapping season.  Keep your dog in sight and out of ditches, brushy areas and tall grass on adjacent properties.
  • Since (at least in Minnesota) trapping seasons cover about nine months of the year, if you hike or hunt with your dog it is almost impossible to avoid the woods and fields when traps can be set.  So when you’re out with your dog, make sure you know where he is.  Keep him in sight or use bells, a beeper or GPS to keep track of his location.  Then, if he is trapped, you may be able to release him in time to save his life.
  • Don’t decide that your dog has to be on a leash or in a fenced yard for the rest of his life.  Your dog needs a chance to run loose and risk is a natural and important part of life.  Accept it responsibly.

I admit that for a while after Roy died I was terrified to let Roo run loose.  I imagined threats everywhere.  But the feisty red dog Roy left behind wasn’t about to be denied the freedom she loved – so before long, Roo and I were back on the trail.

I take my dogs for an off leash hike almost every day.  There are risks involved, but we’re ready for most of them.  I carry a small first aid kit with boot laces, tweezers and vetwrap (I don’t need much else on a short hike). My dogs are well trained – they come when they’re called, even when big distractions like deer, people and other dogs are around.  They’re all trained to stop and sit at a distance – a potential lifesaver if one of them accidentally ends up on the wrong side of a road or some fast water.  And while they are generally allowed to run where they want, I make them stay in sight.  Even when they’re not wearing them, I carry a leash for each dog, because I never know when I’ll need one.

I can’t eliminate all risks to my dogs and I can’t be prepared for everything — but I’m sure that the dogs agree that the joy we find in the free-ranging, off leash walks we take together are worth every bit of the risk we take.

December 29, 2009 at 4:02 am 9 comments

Hunting For The Spirit of Christmas

The first time I saw this I thought it might be another
ad from those crazy kids over at PeTA.

…then I realized that they never put out anything nearly this well done.

Happy Politically Incorrect Solstice!

December 21, 2009 at 12:38 am 1 comment

They Came for the Bassets

These days the media seems to be filled with stories of dogs seized from puppy mills, dog fighting operations, animal hoarders and abusive homes.  Millions of average pet owners across America read these stories with a mixture of outrage against the animal abusers and pity for the abused animals. Relieved that the unfortunate animals were saved from a terrible fate, they move on to the next story, never considering that there might be more to the story than meets the eye…

I doubt that any of us thinks that we’re an animal abuser.  While ideas on owning and raising dogs are at least as wide-ranging (and deeply emotionally driven) as those on rearing children, most of us feel that our ideas fall well within the mainstream and that we have little to fear from animal rights legislation. But if we remain content to sit back – silent and uninformed – will we find that our dogs are next in line to be seized?

JewishBasset

The idea is not as far-fetched as you may think.  Today, Never Yet Melted (go and read it all!) reports that:

The sort of people who go in for basseting are typically well-educated, upper middle-class animal lovers of a preparatory school sort of background. In other words, absolutely the last sort of people imaginable as dog abusers or law breakers.

But neither gentility nor middle-aged respectability was sufficient to protect the Murder Hollow’s master Wendy Willard from a full scale raid by Philadelphia police, nor did it prevent 13 hounds from being taken from their kennels and turned over to a private animal rights organization hostile to hunting.

At night, and without warning the SPCA of Pennsylvania showed up at raided Wendy Willard’s kennel and seized the dogs under the aegis of a newly passed law that allows no more than twelve animals to be kept on any property in Philadelphia County (note if they had just given her a chance it appears that Willard may have been able to get a waiverthat would allow her to keep her dogs).  Not only were the animals turned over to (i.e. given away to) a private entity – some of the hounds seized were reportedly the property of another person and were only being kept at Murder Hollow temporarily.  Apparently the jack-booted AR fanatics of the PSPCA didn’t give Willard a chance to explain that.

The dog seized have now been spread out among several local shelters and rescue groups (in other kinds of cases – do the police make a habit of giving seized property away?). Neither the dogs’ owners or other area basset pack owners have been able to get any information on the dogs’ location or welfare.

It may be a natural reaction to feel smugly self-rightous when we hear stories about dogs seized from those kinds of  people (i.e. the ones whose practices we don’t happen to agree with) but it’s time to wake up and smell the dog poop.  If a yuppie suburban basset fancier with no criminal record whatsoever isn’t safe from having her beloved dogs seized without notice – none of us is. 

The goal of many of these raids – especially those featured prominently in the media – have nothing to do with animal welfare.  I’m willing to bet dollars to dog toys that the hounds of Murder Hollow were healthier and happier than most over-fed, under-exercised suburban pets.  The goal is the kind of publicity that fills the coffers of ‘humane’ groups who lobby for anti-pet legislation and don’t operate shelters.  And the long term the goal is animal rights – and the end of all pet breeding and ownership.

It’s time. Time to take lobbying power away from the animal rights extremists who want to chip away at pet ownership until it’s gone.  Time to tell our legislators and representative that animal seizures must be conducted in ways that preserve our rights – not as publicity events.  That protecting the animals seized includes considering the possibility that they might be returned to the home they were taken from – and that, as with other seized property, this consideration needs to be given precedence.  (I don’t understand why these kinds of seizures aren’t prohibited under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment – perhaps someone out there can educate me?)

UPDATE: Here’s Walt Hutchens post re this from Pet-Law. (Walt says all his posts can be cross-posted.)

Ms. Willard was raided by the PSPCA and police due to a first time noise complaint, and told that unless she released 11 of her 23 hounds to them they would seize them all, under a new 12-dog-limit city ordinance.

As my friend Shirly posted over at YesBiscuit:

I have no way of knowing the full facts of the case or whether the post making the rounds is accurate. But to my mind, even if we totally discount it as fiction, the scenario is at least plausible which is what concerns me most.

Exactly. I’m a huge fan of respecting the law.  But even if Ms. Willard was not in compliance with zoning regs, didn’t have a kennel license – or even if she had a filty, nasty, disgusting kennel – she did not deserve to have her dogs, in effect, stolen from her.  The right thing to do, if this was indeed a first time complaint – was to cite her and give her a reasonable time period to come into compliance with the law.
 
This is happening more and more and it scares the crap out of me.  There but for the grace of God…

UPDATE AUGUST 10, 2009:

See new blog posts at Terrierman’s Daily Dose; Stephen Bodio’s Querencia; Never Yet Melted, Philly.com and YesBiscuit and the news story published by The Philadelphia Daily News – and make up your own mind.

August 6, 2009 at 1:26 am 31 comments

No Leash Laws for Wolves?

WDIO Duluth reports:

Linda Ziegler says she let her 5-year-old dachshund, Jenny, outside just before noon last Thursday. Ziegler was standing on her front steps when two timber wolves appeared.

“The minute they spotted her, well that was the end,” said Linda. “They went right after her and they killed her. And they were carrying her around the yard and there was no one around anywhere. So I was under the impression that these two were wild.”

Wolves depredation on dogs in Minnesota has become more common in recent years as wolf populations increase and animals come into more frequent contact with hunters and human habitations.  In Wisconsin, wolf depredation on bear hunting dogs is now a serious enough problem that the DNR has published a guide and maps of ‘caution areas’ to help hunters reduce conflicts.

More wolves means more wolf / dog confrontations. Still, Minnesotans don’t expect to have their dogs killed by wolves during a short pee break in the front yard. Especially when the wolves in question are “tame” animals out on a photo shoot…

The wolves belong to the Minnesota Wildlife Connection. Founder Lee Greenly says the business provided the animals for a photo shoot near the Ziegler’s property when the wolves wandered a little too far.

“I deeply regret that this incident happened and we’ll take precautions,” said Greenly. “99% of the time it’s never a problem. It’s just that 1% that happens, and this happened to be a problem.”

Yeah Lee.  I’m guessing this is much like that 1% of stuff that happens when an untrained, unsupervised dog is allowed to run loose. The times when he kills chickens, craps in the neighbor’s yard, is hit by a car or gets shot for running deer.  It’s also the 1% of stuff that responsible animal owners do their best to avoid. But hey, it’s OK  ’cause, you know – these weren’t dogs. They were wolves.

Greenly says he has several licenses to breed and raise the wolves, which have been trained by Greenly and his family. He says the regulations for letting wildlife run free in rural areas are minimal.

Brilliant Lee!  The fact that the state doesn’t specifically require that wolves be kept on leash obviously gives you the right to let tame wolves who, unlike their wild brethren, have lost their fear of people – run at large in the neighborhood. Leash laws are obviously only meant for domestic dogs and the wimps that own them. Real men own wolves.  And hunt bear.

Lee enjoys the manly sport of bear hunting. So does his pal, country western singer Troy Lee Gentry.  Back in 2006 Minneapolis TV station WCCO reported that:

Investigators said Troy Lee Gentry, half of the Montgomery Gentry duo, killed a tame black bear in an enclosed pen in Sandstone, Minn. in October 2004 and videotaped it.

Investigators said Gentry then edited the video to make it appear as though the animal was shot in the wild.

Shooting bears in a barrel! I’ll bet that’s more fun than hunting wiener dogs with wolves! Unfortunately, while we won’t penalize you for letting your wolf run at large, shooting tame bears is a misdemeanor here in Minnesota. In 2007 CBSNews reported:

Gentry pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in November. Under a plea deal, he agreed to forfeit the bear and the bow he used during the hunt near Sandstone. The 600-pound bear has been part of a taxidermy display at Gentry’s home in Tennessee. He was sentenced Friday.

The bear was killed in October 2004 at the 80-acre Minnesota Wildlife Connection. Owner Lee Marvin Greenly sold the bear for $4,650 and orchestrated the hunt, which Gentry videotaped and edited to make it appear the bear had been killed in a fair chase hunt, according to authorities.

In his plea bargain agreement, Gentry admitted he shot a bear named Cubby from a hunting stand that stood in a 3-acre pen surrounded by an electric fence.  And the wildlife-loving Mr. Greenly set the whole thing up for him (for a fee, of course.)  And unfortunately for Mr. Greenly, the penalties for setting up fake bear hunts are somewhat more serious than those for hunting wieners out of season. According to the Chicago Tribune:

Lee Marvin Greenly, 46, Gentry’s local hunting guide, pleaded guilty at the same hearing to two felony charges of helping other hunters shoot bears at illegal baiting stations he maintained inside a national wildlife refuge near Sandstone in east-central Minnesota.

Our hearts go out to the Zieglers. This was a terrible way to lose a beloved friend. Our sympathies are also extended to Cubby the bear, killed back in 2006. We’d like to suggest that the USDA, Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture and Minnesota DNR consider reviewing the Wildlife Connections‘ permits.  It appears that there may be something rotten in the City of Sandstone…

February 20, 2009 at 5:35 am 6 comments

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