Bruce m. Conkey
UKC Forum Member
Registered: May 2016
Location: Palatka, FL
Do we really know what our dogs are doing?
There are several different ways we coon hunt. I really think that those who use to hunt 50 years ago or even those today that only pleasure hunt and still hunt Family farms and local places. Know more about what their dogs are doing than the guys today that call themselves successful competition hunters. Back in the late 60's or early 70's we generally went to the same two or three spots to hunt. They were big spots but we started out at the same two or three places. We had several dogs, generally from 2 to 6 depending on how many went. They were more of your pack type hounds and we generally knew which dogs would strike first and which dog would tree first. If they made a loose we enjoyed listening for which dog picked it back up and straightened the track out. The enjoyment was listening to the entire scene as it played out. The dogs were music to our ears. At the end of the night we discussed some of the things that went on during the hunt and what dogs seemed to do what better. All and all we seemed to agree in what happened. Actually we cared about what happened and how the dogs operated, because we were looking to see improvement in those not carrying their weight. On top of knowing the dogs, since we hunted the same areas year long, we tend to know about how the coons would run and where they would go. The varying water levels in the everglades also changed how the coon operated.
Now in todays world, I think most have migrated over to the competition world. If that is what you enjoy. There is pleasure in it for you. But the biggest difference is the handler plays a big part in the outcome of a competition hunt. When we just pleasure hunted. The handler of the dog turned it loose, corrected it if necessary, went to the tree and got the dog. The owner/handler enjoyed all the aspects of the hunt. He enjoyed what the hunt was about. The dogs voice, the dog picking up a loose, the dogs locate and tree mouth.
At the end of the night in a competition hunt, I think the hunt and how it went down is viewed differently by most of the people in the cast. Mainly because it might be the first time they hunted together and in a strange location to them. I am sure the Pleasure Hunter knows more about what actually happened during a hunt than the Competition hunter. The competition hunter is focused on the end result. The highest score at the end of the night on the score card. Sometimes the dog doesn't deserve the score as the handler worked his magic to get it there. Or worked his magic to get some points taken away from another dog. The pleasure is achieved by the handler managing what the dog is doing. While the Pleasure Hunter gets his pleasure just enjoying the time his dog is on the track and tree of that frisky coon.
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