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Thread: Dog companion on sheep hunt

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    Member shmobag's Avatar
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    Default Dog companion on sheep hunt

    Hey all, I'm looking for some advice from anyone that has brought their four-legged friend on a sheep hunt. I don't have a consistent hunting partner, and I am a little bit wary of hunting solo on a fly in hunt in Alaska (have hunted solo in the lower 48). Has anyone on here brought their dog sheep hunting with them? If so, where does your dog stay? Do you you bring them on stalks? Where do they sleep? Thanks in advance. Looking forward to sheep season this year!!!

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    I don't sheep hunt, but I have considered taking my dog on bear hunts when i cant find anyone to go.

    I have been practicing with him for a few years now while small game hunting. If I spot something to shoot before he does, I make him sit and stay while I "stalk" and then call him up after I shoot.

    If I were doing this on a real bear stalk I would leash him to my pack which he could easily drag but he's leash trained well enough that he stops when he feels the drag of the pack. We practiced that while tending my bear bait site and weasel traps and he did great.

    We haven't put it all together on a bear hunt yet but I'm going to try it this summer.


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    A well trained dog can be an asset on a hunting trip. Well trained, being the crucial element.

    Sounds like limon has the right idea - utilizing non hunting outings as training opportunities. (non big game, any way)

    My own chessie lab mix and I were duck hunting once along a salmon stream. She was well trained to heel at my side. We 'jumped' the wrong kind of duck (brown bear). She growled and gave a couple of quick barks the instant he rose up to look at us. But she obeyed my every command and we backed out very slowly. LOL Her training was crucial to her response...if she had been unruly or uncontrollable, things might not have gone so well. I was glad to have her at my side, though. When it comes to brown bear protection, I personally don't think dogs are good at much more than alerting us humans of their presence. That is all I would want to have mine around for. Ol Nestle and Kiska were commonly sent to chase black bears out of the yard and they both took great pleasure in doing so when we lived remotely - but they were never sent after a brown.

    I guess if you take your pup along on some overnighters this year, you can get an idea of where the best place for him/her to sleep would be. Something else to consider on a sheep hunt is water. Depending on where you are, the weather, etc. Water availability can be an issue.

    I think solo (big game) hunting with a dog would be very rewarding. And nice to have a companion along for company.
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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    As Juli said....... "well trained" would be crucial for sure. I would hate for you to be crawling up to the top of a ridge on the final stalk and have your dog come running up after you.

    I do believe that some here have posted that they do bring their dogs along sheep hunting. I used to hunt moose with my dog. But here again, she was a highly trained bird dog and would obey my every command. If you feel you have good control over your dog then I would say go for it. If not, you may want to think again.

    Another thought.......While sheep hunting I have had to climb near vertical cliffs before that I don't believe my dog would have been able to do.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    When I lived in Anchorage, I used to walk some of the trails along the Seward Highway. I had a yellow lab at the time. Whenever we saw sheep (quite often), we'd do a practice stalk. The dog would stick close to me, most of the time, though I didn't make her heel going over rough terrain. When we would be in sight of sheep, it seemed that their focus was the dog. I would make the dog stay and walk some distance away. When I saw sheep again, they were still focused on the dog. My thought was that their fear of wolves was more powerful than their fear of humans.
    If you do take a dog with you, you might want to consider a set of "over-whites" for it, also.

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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Another thought.......While sheep hunting I have had to climb near vertical cliffs before that I don't believe my dog would have been able to do.....
    That reminds me of a hike I went on with my chessie, Hitch, who at 90 lb was unable to follow me along a section of boulders. He was scared to death of trying to follow me. His reaction was pretty funny, actually, but I ended up changing course to accommodate him.

    I could see that being an issue while sheep hunting, too.
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    There is a dentist who lives in the valley, has his own cub, and often took is black lab sheep hunting ... apparently without a problem as there are photos of him with his dog on a successful sheep hunt. I would think there might be significant complications taking a dog on a sheep hunt. If the dog were 100% responsive to your commands and you were willing to live with certain limitations then it would have the potential for a satisfying hunt (as opposed to a frustrating one). Good Luck
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    I have no problems bring my dog out hunting with us. He sleeps in the tent, hasn't spooked any of the game I've taken with him around and is a great addition to my hunts. He will be going on my sheep hunt this year.


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    There are 2 reasons I won't bring my dog sheep hunting...1. terrain and 2. If he severely injured himself, I could not carry him out (90 lbs).

    If you are going to an area you have been before and are familiar with the terrain, he's well trained, and believe your dog is capable, I'd say go for it. Personally, I would not subject my dog to big unstable boulders, sharp shale slides, and vertical cliffs where I go. Also, I would only take him if he could carry his own food like in one of those saddle bags, since 90 lb chessies eat a lot! If you slap a saddle bag on him, remember they need to train too with the extra weight. Take some practice trips this summer so he/she's conditioned to wearing it.

    Oh and have your dog first aid kit!

    A well trained dog is the best hunting companion there is, but on sheep hunts, as well trained and obedient as my pup is, he stays home.

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    Member shmobag's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the replies, it looks like I'll be training her this summer and if I feel she is extremely obedient then I will take her. I appreciate all of your guys' help and responses!!!!

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    While I haven't sheep hunted, my 50lb husky has gone on every fly in hunt I've done as well, he is always with my when I'm chasing bears in Kenai in the fall, I guess that's close to sheep hunting. No problems with him at all. I leave my pack, tell him to lay down and he sleeps till I get back to it when I'm making final stalk. I've killed browns, goats and deer with him. He has a pack and carries his own grub. If I was doing a flying sheep hunt I may pack some booties for his paws in the scree. Here in Kodiak, goat terrain is real easy on his feet for the most part.
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    Default Dog companion on sheep hunt

    Some great pictures and stories, I had no idea taking a dog was so popular!

    I have many of the same fears and solutions as others have posted.

    My dog HAS fallen off a cliff chasing a bear I didn't see, he should be dead but he landed in a patch of snow at the bottom. I bought a shock collar shortly after to correct those run offs...

    My dog wears a big enough backpack to carry his own food and water, but I watch his hips and back very closely and he does train with it. Having said that, its about a half days water and a couple days food so we have to be careful about the water.

    My dog is also too big to pack out if he got hurt so I keep that in my mind while hiking around.


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    I haven't done it but we have trined our dog to pull a sled icefishing and to pack her own food around when fishing,camping etc.
    I have read a dog should pack no more than 20% of their own weight so keep that in mind if you are training him/her with saddle bags.
    I could see this working well with a well trained dog and going south fast with one that isn't.
    Good luck and share your hunting story afterwards.
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    I'll never forget the first time I took my old chessie with me moose hunting. We went in at first light and I set up camp. Then I proceeded to chain her to a tree when I took off hunting as I didn't think it would work having her along. I wasn't gone 5 minutes before she started howling for me. I thought....crap, that's all I need, every moose around hearing a wolf howling. I couldn't blame her.....she was a bird dog and knew I had a gun in my hands. As far as she knew that meant it was her time. That dog would go nuts every time she either heard the action of a gun or saw me grab one. So I went back and got her. We hunted all day and she stayed right by my side. I rarely had to say a word to her. We even ended up sneaking up on a few moose in their beds. I never did take her sheep hunting though as I'm positive she wouldn't have been able to go where we did. That was the only reason though....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    I'll never forget the first time I took my old chessie with me moose hunting. We went in at first light and I set up camp. Then I proceeded to chain her to a tree when I took off hunting as I didn't think it would work having her along. I wasn't gone 5 minutes before she started howling for me. I thought....crap, that's all I need, every moose around hearing a wolf howling. I couldn't blame her.....she was a bird dog and knew I had a gun in my hands. As far as she knew that meant it was her time. That dog would go nuts every time she either heard the action of a gun or saw me grab one. So I went back and got her. We hunted all day and she stayed right by my side. I rarely had to say a word to her. We even ended up sneaking up on a few moose in their beds. I never did take her sheep hunting though as I'm positive she wouldn't have been able to go where we did. That was the only reason though....
    I use my dog for a climbing guide, if he shouldn't be there I shouldn't either! But I'm afraid of heights!


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    I take my dog bird, bear and bou hunting. I haven't taken him Moose hunting yet. I'm sure he would do just fine. We float and fish a lot to. He generally will see or smell the bears on the river before I do. Commands is what counts when hunting with a dog. We were bou hunting and I said the wrong command. I told the shooter to "get it" because the bou saw us and developed into a nice run. Well saying that is one of the release words for the dog. A 65 lb German shepherd running down a bou is kinda funny. Good thing the shooter smoked it with one shot right away. I would take a first aid kit like others said. Cut paws or worse will likely happen.

    Pets love to hunt like we do. Exercise not only for there muscles but their mind. And they go total savage when they smell the blood.

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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    I'll never forget the first time I took my old chessie with me moose hunting. We went in at first light and I set up camp. Then I proceeded to chain her to a tree when I took off hunting as I didn't think it would work having her along. I wasn't gone 5 minutes before she started howling for me. I thought....crap, that's all I need, every moose around hearing a wolf howling. I couldn't blame her.....she was a bird dog and knew I had a gun in my hands. As far as she knew that meant it was her time. That dog would go nuts every time she either heard the action of a gun or saw me grab one. So I went back and got her. We hunted all day and she stayed right by my side. I rarely had to say a word to her. We even ended up sneaking up on a few moose in their beds.
    That is a great story... chessie didn't want to be tied up again and was a perfect hunting partner. I don't know many chessies that would be happy at being left behind... be like.. . 'dude, you aren't getting away with it, I am coming whether you want me to or not' LOL
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    When we would be in sight of sheep, it seemed that their focus was the dog. I would make the dog stay and walk some distance away. When I saw sheep again, they were still focused on the dog. My thought was that their fear of wolves was more powerful than their fear of humans.
    It's worth noting that using your dog in such a way as described above likely runs afoul of regulation <edit: I understand that you weren't actually hunting at the time, which makes what you were doing ok, but if you were hunting that way it might not be good> . From page 19 of the 2015 hunting regs:


    ...big game MAY NOT be taken by the following methods:

    .
    .
    .

    * Hunting big game with the aid or use of a dog, EXCEPT: dogs may be used to hunt black bears under a nontransferable permit, issued to an individual who qualifies under the permit conditions established in 5 AAC 92.068; and a single, leashed dog may be used in conjunction with tracking and dispatching a wounded big game animal.
    In my judgment, taking a trained dog with you to keep you safe from bears or taking a poorly trained dog with you who is more of a hindrance than an asset is probably ok. But, if you can identify a way that your dog is making you more effective at taking big game, it's probably not allowed. Be careful. It's not so much your judgment regarding the utility of your dog, but the trooper's and judge's judgment that matters.

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    I took my dog on a caribou hunt last year. He wasn't really keen on the boat ride part. Whenever we stopped, he was jazzed to jump out and pee all over everything. Wasn't very excited about getting back on.

    When it came time to quarter the bou out, he was a little spooked, but just ran off into the woods for a bit.

    Great experience though, as it turns out, it was our last trip together.

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