Can dogs not track in this ice/snow?

Discussion in 'Small Game Hunting' started by KYBH4Life, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. KYBH4Life

    KYBH4Life Banned

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    Feb 13, 2011
    I took my dogs out for about 30 mins and jumped 2 rabbits (easy to see them before they even jumped) and my dogs did not run a lick. I always thought snow was good tracking conditions for rabbits.

    What's your experience?
     
  2. brettfrancis1

    brettfrancis1 6 pointer

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    Oct 26, 2006
    Danville, KY
    Wet snow is awesome. Hard frozen snow is not. Wait until it starts to melt off a little and the track gets hot. A good time to put young dogs down.
     
  3. woodhippy

    woodhippy 6 pointer

    283
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    Nov 11, 2003
    Marion County
    Hard snow is also bad on there pads, they take forever to heal.
     
  4. KY Swamp Beagler

    KY Swamp Beagler 12 pointer

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    Feb 20, 2011
    the swamps of western KY
    Hard, compacted snow and ice do not lend themselves to providing good scenting conditions. In my opinion hard snow and ice doesn't let the scent stick to the ground and vegetation like wet snow does. We've had some very good runs on days when the ground wasn't frozen solid but the snow started falling. The snow on the ground was wet, which provided very good scenting conditions. We ran rabbits none stop the whole day.

    It is kind of hit or miss. Some days they do better than others. I've seen our hounds track quite a few swampers over frozen ditches, creeks and swamps and still progressively move the track along. Our hounds tend to be less conservative on the track and can move a swamper along at a far pace. I'm not sure if a more conservative hound would've had issues.

    I think a pack of 4 to 5 helps on tough scenting days especially when you have hounds with different types of noses (hotter or colder, dogs that sign trail, etc.).
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
  5. KY Swamp Beagler

    KY Swamp Beagler 12 pointer

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    Feb 20, 2011
    the swamps of western KY
    I took 5 hounds out this past Saturday. There was still a lot of hard, frozen snow and ice still on the ground. I couldn't believe how slick it was in the bottoms. I had to cut a walking stick and sharpen the end to get a bite in the snow to keep from busting my butt.

    On a positive note we jumped 8 swampers. I saw three come in close to me and one close enough that I could've whacked it with my walking stick. Funny how they get close to you when the season is over. The dogs ran awesome! We had good long runs. The dogs were able to find them, get them jumped and stay on them. Two different times I had 3 hounds running one swamper and 2 other hounds behind me running another rabbit 300 yards away. They put pressure on two of them enough to run them to ground. It turned out to be a great day of running - plenty of hound music to listen to:)

    You just never know how well they'll run on any given day; there are just too many variables to figure out sometimes.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  6. KYBH4Life

    KYBH4Life Banned

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    Feb 13, 2011
    Thanks for the post Beagler. As I am new to this, I am always expecting them to run like it's prime time, regardless lf co ditions and apparently that is not the way to be. I don't fuss or discipline the dogs at all but feel totally dejected when they have a bad day......like I must not be training them right or something. I need to realize there are gonna be bad days
     
  7. KY Swamp Beagler

    KY Swamp Beagler 12 pointer

    3,703
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    Feb 20, 2011
    the swamps of western KY
    Many guys starting out fall victim to being overzealous in regards to their hound's performance. I've yet to see the perfect beagle. It's a safe bet I'll die before I come across that type of hound. In my opinion overzealousness is probably one of the major factors that influence people to get upset with their dogs and then get rid of them before giving them adequate time. We say to ourselves that they aren't doing well and then we start rationalizing to ourselves. Before you know it we've parted ways with the dog.

    We've all got to remember that no two hounds are exactly alike. They have different personalities, noses, stamina, strengths, weaknesses, etc. Some are hotter nosed, some colder and some dogs sign trail; not all beagles hunt the same. Packing them together will show their differences. Sometimes putting a dog in a different pack makes all the difference. The dynamics of the pack have a major influence on how efficient they run a track. Some dogs just don't mesh well together. You constantly have to watch your pack to make sure a hound(s) isn't pulling the pack off the line or creating conflict within the group. And of course some houndsmen and hounds don't mesh well.

    Then you also have to factor in the days that just seem to be off. For some reason they just don't run well. You always want to watch your dog's body language. How is he carrying himself? Is he holding his tail like he always does? You can tell a lot about how a dog is feeling by his tail. The way a dog carries his tail is a dead giveaway on how he feels.

    These are just a few variables to consider. I suspect there were no major issues with your hounds but rather you fell victim to what most of us experience. And that is running your hounds in conditions that they aren't used to running in; there is always a learning curve. Dogs in KY typically don't get much running time on snow/ice in KY.

    Rome wasn't built in a day. Keep them in rabbits and they'll show you what they're made of. That I can guarantee.

    Case in point, I've got a hound right now that I've been watching especially closely. This year his jumping ability seemed like it increased with leaps and bounds. I told my dad to watch that hound especially when hunting solo as he started jumping close to half of the rabbits we were jumping on a daily basis. He works a swamp like a bird dog by swinging out in loops and covers a lot of ground which can be helpful when the swampers are spread out. He runs a track like I like, too. He wants the front (but won't pull the others off the line to get it) and has the brains, nose and speed to push a swamper. I've got him to where he handles awesomely and checks in regularly after hunting out. I've kept him in rabbits as he goes EVERY time I hunt. I might leave one of the other dogs but he is always in the truck. They can't show you what they've got in the pen.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014

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