On our walk today, Jake, Grady and I found a dead deer. It looked to have been dead for less than a week, but predators and scavengers had definitely found it. Looking the yearling doe over I couldn’t find a thing to indicate why or how it died. However, it did get me to thinking about some of the different things I have seen over the years that had to do with predators. Two stories came to mind that kind of relate to our hunting canines.
The first story took place on a turkey hunt several years ago. While calling a Tom, I saw a red fox walking through the sage about 100 yards away. It had vanished until about 1/2 hour later when the turkey made the mistake of coming into range of my shotgun. At the report of the gun the turkey dropped and started flopping around as they usually do. I had barely got up when the fox bounded out of the brush and was on top of the bird. The commotion kept up and the fox was trying to take the bird even as I approached to within 10 yards of it.
Now the incident may not be that unusual. I’m sure the fox heard me calling and that’s what got it into the area. But it’s reaction to the crippled bird, even as I approached, shows how the predatory instinct takes over at times for canines. Seems to me that even a puppy has those instincts and if a person were having a tough time getting his dog birdie, maybe a crippled flopping bird might be the answer.
Story number two took place five years ago when Conner and I were hunting behind Jake. Jake is the kindest and most laid back GSP I have ever had. He doesn’t chase any animal except birds and maybe one time, a porcupine. If he encounters a big game animal or a domestic cow he comes and hides behind me. What happened with Jake that day took me totally by surprise and shows how much of a predator our canine partners can be.
As Conner and I approached Jake’s point I was surprised to see him pointing a deer hiding behind some sage. As we got close, the doe tried to get up and immediately Jake was on it and knocked it down. He was super aggressive and it took a second shock to get him to turn loose. I could tell he wanted more so I took him by the collar as I looked the deer over. She had been hurt in the back end and the injury looked like it might have been cause by a predator of some sort. It could have been a cougar, coyote or wolf, but the wound was definitely made from something trying to take it down. Jake didn’t have enough time to do any further damage but the doe couldn’t get up as Conner and I observed the damage.
Jake’s reaction shows how much of a predator our dogs are. That predatory instinct is what helps to make them such good hunters.
Luckily for me, I always have the Alpha collars on my dogs when we hike or hunt. You never know when that time might come when you have to use it. My worry after that incident was if Jake might start chasing deer. I set him up several times and he has never even shown interest in deer since then.
Maybe, it can work in reverse also. Could it be possible that maybe a coyote might be interested in coming to play with the dogs. I don’t think so, but watching this coyote a couple of days ago while the dogs and I were looking for birds makes you wonder. Doesn’t it look like it’s wanting to join in?
Get out there and enjoy nature with those pups.