The aim of this guide is to provide information on how trained dogs can be used to aid deer management. The guide also seeks to identify various blood tracking training methods whilst identifying when and how dogs should be used
Why use a dog?
Dogs can be used in a number of ways to assist deer managers. They are most commonly used for finding dead deer or tracking wounded deer* in concealing habitats such as woodlands. Dogs can also be used to indicate the presence of concealed live deer ( point, mark or set) or for moving deer out of cover.
Ensure that a suitably trained dog is available for woodland stalking and night shooting**.
Suitable breeds of dog:
Many breeds of dog are used in deer stalking in Scotland. The breed selected often reflecting the stalkers needs (e.g. species of deer stalked/type of terrain) and domestic circumstances. Consequently, dogs used vary in type and size ranging from small terriers to the larger gundog breeds such as HPRs and Retrievers. Most of the working gun and hunting dog breeds can be trained to follow a blood trail and bay at a wounded deer. If selecting a puppy, it is often helpful if the parents have worked well with deer. Regardless which breed is used, a ‘suitable’ dog must be:
Calm, confident and obedient in the presence of deer, game and livestock;
Steady to the sound of rifle fire and to be relied upon to ‘stay’ at a specific point for extended periods;
Capable of tracking a shot/injured deer and communicating its presence at the end of a track;
Capable of securing — either physically or ‘at bay’ — the species of deer stalked..