Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The way a dog show should be

Good ute's, good working dogs... the way a dog show should be

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gratuitous Hunting Pic/Vid of the Day

Today's gratuitous hunting Video:

I'm organizing a posting on the importance of hounding with children, but it's taking longer than I expected. In the meantime here is a fun little beagling video sample.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hounding in Southern Africa

I've been beating the bushes for information on this topic and thought I'd give an update.

It would appear that their are some gräoid hound hunters in southern Africa, but most are running these dogs for themselves only.

The PH's appear to be primarily using trailing hounds and jack russells.

It turns out that there is actually a Southern African Houndsmen Association, and in various quarters of the region hounds are being used for leopard, lynx (caracal), serval, genet, bushpig, blue duiker and bushbuck.

Wade Lemon's scenthounds are currently hunting in Zimbabwe. There are now two packs of hounds hunting. One with Tristan Peacock and the other with Theo Bronkhorst. Both pack have been very successful.

Roy Sparks is houndsman to several different PH's and safari companies including Ratelfontein PGR (Karoo), and Burchell PGR (Eastern Cape) who are doing Namibian leopard hunts.

Sandhurst Safari's is offering leopard and lynx over scenthounds in Molopo.

Cornie & Elaine Coetzee (BERGQUELL and SAFARIHOEK, Namibia) offer leopards over hounds.

PH Johan Strydom is guiding cat hunts over Fell Hounds in South Africa.

Gary Niles of East Cape is houndsman for Barrie Duckworth's (Mokore Safaris - Harrare) leopard hunts.

Rick Lemmer and Darryl de Lange (H&HA - South Africa) offer bushpig, caracal and jackal over hounds.

Willem Roux (Erindi GR - Namibia) is hounding leopards.

Dave Davenport (Leopard's Valley Tygerkloof) is guiding leopard hunts over hounds in Zimbabwe and Namibia

And Lastly,

Gavin Lipjes (Xosha - all the countries of southern Africa) pursues numerous species with hounds, mostly Gascogne's.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dog bites man - a contrived crisis

According to the CDC, each year, dogs bite about 4.7 million people in the United States.

Wow! That's a lot of dog bites. Especially if one assumes that the CDC did not attempt to factor in unreported bites, of which there are many, every day.

On average, 800,000 require medical attention, and more than half are children.

Double wow! This means that over 400,000 children per year see a doctor following a dog bite.

"There ought to be a law!!!"

Funny you should say that...

Usually 0.0015% of those injuries (about a dozen) which require some level of medical care, become a cause of death. Put another way, out of 4.7 million dog bites in a given year, 0.00025% result in fatal injury.

But wait, it gets better.

If you are interested in the broad picture of dog breed bans and "vicious dog" outcries, pick up the books by Karen Delise,

Fatal Dog Attacks: The Stories Behind the Statistics,
The Pit Bull Placebo: The Media, Myths and Politics of Canine Aggression.

Be sure to also pick up Dogs Bite: But Balloons and Slippers are More Dangerous by Janis Bradley.

During a recent seminar Ian Dunbar was asked about the problem of dog attacks and he said "Each year, nearly a thousand children are killed ... [he paused dramatically] ... by their parents." Or to put it in context, children are nearly 60 times more likely to be killed by their parents than by a dog, any dog.

Obviously, we need to enact more city ordinances banning parents.

Sarcasm aside, I'm not in any way trying to diminish the very real pain and trauma that can come from a severe dog bite or dog attack. Nor am I unaware that a dog bite need not be fatal to be disfiguring, or otherwise injurious. I'm simply saying that we need to get some pragmatic perspective.

This deadly dogs vs. deadly parents data comes from Bradley's book. Her extensive research and facts are surprising, even for those of us in the dog "choir."

You are, for example, 5 times more likely to be killed by lightning (killed -- not just struck) than killed by a dog.

This is why we so desperately need a healthy dose of real perspective on the dog bite/vicious dog issue... a dog bite is one of the rarest causes of death, but one of the most highly publicized.

Importantly, Bradley also spends a lot of her book discussing the absurdity of determining "vicious breeds."

These books are must reads for anyone concerned about this issue wanting real numbers, and not hype, to defend our dogs from the overblown rhetoric.

For additional information on dog attacks please go to The National Canine Research Council website.

Many thanks to Julia Jones for pointing me to the "Dogs Bite" book.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Gratuitous Hunting Pic/Vid of the Day

Today's gratuitous hunting Pic:

Another from OZ, this one courtesy of "Bear". Many thanks to you Bear... some good looking hounds at bay.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Republican by Default?

As a dyed in the wool Libertarian, I am begrudged to admit that Barrack Obama had the rural religious vote, and the rural hunting vote figured out way back in 2004.

Many republican policies hurt middle and lower class America. Many of these folks also happen to be hunters. Hunters in general, but hunters in the rural districts specifically tend to be Republican, even though republican governance tends to hurt them in the pocket book.

Why is this? It is tempting to argue that they are voting on moral absolutes and on principle, not economics. But it's actually much simpler than that. They perceive the Republican party as "their" party, because they do not feel like they are understood or valued by Democrats.

So how does this work? Well, let's look at a make-believe constituent we'll call "Jimmy the Hunter".

Jimmy the Hunter believes in Guns and God. And in that order - if it were the other way around he would be Jimmy the Evangelical.

--- One party makes it clear that they are supportive of people in Jimmy's tax bracket, but they think Jimmy is a backwards redneck who is worthy only of high-brow ridicule, not respect as a living, breathing -thinking- voter.

--- The other party makes it clear that they are very supportive of people in Jimmy's boss' boss' tax bracket, and they beat the drum that says Jimmy will get a 'trickle down benefit', but of course it hasn't really worked out that way in real life. But they don't scorn him for his core beliefs. Indeed they try to convince him that they are all about Guns and God too... our real priorities are going to cost you a few thousand dollars a year, but to us you are family, welcome home Jimmy!

Now does Jimmy really believe in this love fest? Not really. But given the choice of supporting a party that openly mocks you and people like you, or supporting the other party that welcomes you with open arms (even if it isn't totally in your best economic interest) and claims a desire to preserve those things you hold dear? Most Jimmys choose the latter.

Hunting for Food

"I am a meat hunter."

Yes, I enjoy time afield. In fact I enjoy it for a multitude of reasons. Despite the "we enjoy killing, let's just be honest about it and move on" hunter's-lib hype, I really don't like the killing part. What I do enjoy is the deep sense of accomplishment that comes from a pursuit that ends in a quick, clean successful harvest.

But I also love my dogs. And I am honest enough with myself to know that when I see the intelligence behind the eyes of a deer which I am a split second away from dispatching, it's not all that different from what I see in the eyes of my own dogs.

I am alive and sentient. The deer is alive, and arguably, also sentient. I (with the help of my hounds) am predating. The deer is prey. It is morally undefinable. The relationship between predator and prey is neither right, nor wrong. It simply is what it is.

One of the favorite arguments of PETA and their compatriot groups is that no one needs to hunt in modern society. The irony and hypocrisy is too much to develop fully in this post, but I will touch on one facet which is illustrative.

On the one hand I totally agree with PETA's contention. Sport hunting, as practiced by most sport hunters, has no economic rationale as a source of cost-effective sustenance. Factor in the cost of gas for multi-hour hunting trips, the fancy camouflage costumes, expensive firearms or archery tackle, the cost of motel lodgings, state licences and permits (especially out of state), etc, etc... Whatever meat the typical sport hunter does put in the freezer is very expensive meat. Much more expensive then almost any meat you could buy at the local grocery store.

On the other hand, it's pure bullocks. This argument might actually carry some weight if the PETA paradigm didn't actively discourage, and campaign against, corporate farming. Economies of scale are the only thing that keep mega-mart ground pork cheaper than pursuing deer with all the expensive (and frankly unnecessary) trappings of modern American sport hunting. If PETA got its way, and most large commercial livestock operations were shut down, and those few that did exist were 100% organic, free range, family farm operations with distribution channels limited to a single metropolitan area, even hunting the expensive way would offer savings over beef and pork if that system were imposed nation wide.

Don't get me wrong. I am a huge advocate of sustainable, organic, local, family farming. But we are in very tough times as a nation, and in my mind, my own feel-good ideologies come a very distant second to the need for affordable food for poor families. Especially poor urban families. Rural land owning families, and even suburban families have some options for freeing themselves from the teat of the mega-mart, like this family has done on their 1/10th of an acre lot. But for many apartment dwellers this simply isn't an option.

One of my heroes of the working dog community, and the blogosphere, is Patrick Burns. While I agree with him on almost everything, there are a few notable exceptions. For example I disagree with him on his assertion that line breeding is inherently detrimental, that nothing good can come of it... but that's a whole other posting. The other concept that I disagree with him on is this particular idea that hunting doesn't add up for the poor.

http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2008/04/politics-involved-shocking.html Quoted here:

Here's a question: If you make $17,000 a year, how do you pay for gas to get out into the field to hunt, and also pay the mortgage, health insurance premiums, prescription drugs, food, heat, water, electricity and the cost of basic truck or car maintenance? Damned if I know!

The insinuation on the part of PETA and (unfortunately) Patrick, is that the poor are wasting their limited monetary resources on hunting when they should be buying food at the grocery store. I've already articulated one of perhaps a dozen reasons why PETA's take on this is schizophrenic. But with Pat's, I think it is just a case of a sincere person, with an intelligent question born from a lack of understanding and/or experience.

Patrick is a hunter/conservationist and a dog man. He gets it. But on this issue he doesn't. I don't know if he has or not, but it makes me question whether or not he has ever actually been poor.

Has he ever experienced a childhood Christmas knowing that one small present per child may or may not be possible because your parents have (rightfully) decided that having the heat stay on in December is more important? Has he ever been on WIC, AFDC, Food Stamps, or Section 8? Does he know what it's like to be unemployed, running out of money and food stamps, and have a hungry baby that you're not sure how you'll feed this week?

I ask because I do know all these, first hand. And so I ask if he has, because then he should already know that in-state, non-trophy meat hunting, on nearby free access public and/or private lands for deer, boar, rabbit, and turkey - and not doing it like you just stepped off the pages of a bass pro catalog - is a viable, and economically efficient way of making some good for your family out of a bad situation.