Sitting up on the hill yesterday and watching a couple of coyotes, I wondered if my hunting dogs hear as well as these coyotes? I know many times I watch my dogs on point and they seem to know the birds are about to flush. Maybe they see a slight motion or maybe the birds make a slight sound I don’t hear as they prepare to flush. By the dogs reactions, I believe they hear something.
Watching wild animals, it’s amazing how much they use their ears. We always talk about their ability to scent things but we forget about their hearing ability. Watching the deer and elk around my house I marvel at how they are constantly turning and cupping their ears in different directions. These coyotes were constantly doing the same. The footage isn’t the best but you can see how this coyote was using his ears to hear mice under the snow. Most of the video was to blurry to show how successful this coyote was but I was amazed at his accuracy in the pounces.
I watched this coyote for about a half hour and he caught at least 6 mice in that period. Sometimes his leaps were six feet or more and he’d come up with a mouse. That’s some pretty fine tuning with the ears.
One thing I might mention about this coyote is it has mange. Two of the three coyotes I watched that morning had it. It’s a bummer to see and if I understand right, they will probably die from it. Here’s what the other coyotes should have looked like.
Definitely more healthy looking.
One more thing about hearing. Birds hear very well. Take the turkey for example. They can pin point your calls from a mile away within a degree on the compass. I don’t know if other upland birds are that efficient but I do know they hear very well. So when approaching a pointing dog a hunter should try and do so as quietly as possible. Talking only helps to alert the bird.
The dogs point is what pointing dog owners depend on but don’t forget about the ears. Sometimes they can hear things we don’t. My hearing has diminished over the years and many times my boys will alert me to chukars talking way off that I can’t hear. And I am pretty sure they can hear some kind of a sound before a bird flushes.
Just something else to have fun watching as you follow your dog on the mountain.