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Hog hunting with pit bulls


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#1 painted_ponies

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 05:22 PM

For a long time, I've felt really bad for pit bulls in my area. Almost all the shelters have a policy of killing them as soon as they're surrendered, because shelter staff are afraid they'll be adopted by people who will fight them. Or because maybe they're just pibble-phobic. I don't know. Anyway, there are lots and lots of BYB's breeding pibbles and lots and lots ending up seized by AC or abandoned or surrendered to kill shelters.

We also have a terrible feral hog problem. These are not Wilbur. These are great big old half ton black razor-backed suckers. They destroy crops, they undermine drainage ditches around the fields and cause flooding, they root up reptile nests and out-compete indigenous species - oh, yeah and they scare the bejesus out of your horse if you run up on one. Or twenty. :rolleyes: They are domestic hogs who escaped and, within only a few generations, reverted to the archetypal bad-ass boar hog. My neighbors shoot every hog they can, but they're real hard to kill with one shot. Usually what happens is the wounded hog takes off into the woods and, since they are generally shot at dusk, can't be followed and probably dies a lingering death somewhere.

So I'm thinking - what if one trained homeless pibbles for hog dogs? As I understand it, the pit bulls -one uses several- chase the hog down and hold it until the hunter can catch up and dispatch it with a knife or a head shot. I bet, since the shelters know me, they would release pit bulls to me since they know I'd never allow them to be used for fighting. And I also bet I could place a half-dozen at each farm around me.

That way, the hogs don't upset our environmental balance or destroy our crops; the poorer farm families get lots of pork (it's customary to donate killed hogs to them - the meat isn't wasted); the pibbles get a home and a job.

Is this just an awful idea? I know that the dogs can get hurt doing this - but hell, so can any working dog. Do y'all think it could work? Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? Like how one goes about training a dog for this sort of work?

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#2 bsms99

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 05:43 PM

...Is this just an awful idea?

Yes. :rolleyes:
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#3 MaggieDog

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 05:47 PM

Absolutely without a doubt a BAD IDEA!! Hog dog handlers are not known for their good animal husbandry skills and many see the hog dogs as just another tool. If I'm correct, in areas where hog dog work is popular it's also very common to get a large number of dumped hog dog rejects as well.
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#4 painted_ponies

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 06:15 PM

Absolutely without a doubt a BAD IDEA!! Hog dog handlers are not known for their good animal husbandry skills and many see the hog dogs as just another tool. If I'm correct, in areas where hog dog work is popular it's also very common to get a large number of dumped hog dog rejects as well.


Oh. Well, I certainly wouldn't want to send dogs to a bad home. I mean, my neighbors would take good care of them - or I'd come over with a big stick :rolleyes: - but I guess eventually I'd glut the market around my farm and have to branch out into new areas.

OTOH, I wonder if it's like the people who hunt deer with hounds? Some are good owners - others, sadly, are not. Some of the latter category won't look for a hound who doesn't come home - figuring somehow it's the hound's fault, I reckon. But around here the bad ones seem to be gradually getting weeded out. I guess peer pressure, particularly when one's peers are big armed men, counts for something. :D

Anyway, I'm not shy about telling people they can't have one of my dogs. If there are good working homes out there, I think I could sort through the bad ones to find those. I guess it depends on whether or not good homes exist in this sport.

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#5 urge to herd

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 06:33 PM

I'm no expert on any kind of hunting dogs, but I grew up in a hunting family. I've seen a couple minutes of a video of dogs hunting boar and it's bloody and ferocious. And, there's a fair amount of training involved. IF you can hook up with a reputable, experienced hog dog trainer and sell them on the idea, you'd be able to start investigating the possibility and seeing what it took to get there.

It's a decent concept, but the actualization would be arduous.

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#6 painted_ponies

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 07:01 PM

IF you can hook up with a reputable, experienced hog dog trainer and sell them on the idea, you'd be able to start investigating the possibility and seeing what it took to get there.


Yes, I suppose that's the place to start. :rolleyes: Good advice, Ruth.

Do y'all remember the very early episodes of "The Crocodile Hunter"? Steve Irwin's "little dog Suey" was a hog dog. I saw one episode where Suey caught a hog and held it for Steve to come kill it - as you can imagine, it was a godawful racket and definitely not a scene for the faint of heart. I guess hogs are a big threat to croc's the same way they are to gators and turtles, because they root up their eggs and eat them. Anyway, for some reason later episodes of the show didn't feature this aspect of the boy-and-his-dog relationship. :D

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#7 Liz P

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 07:09 PM

Have you ever seen videos of people hunting the big boars that live wild with dogs? The dogs weight 100+ lbs, wear huge, fat, metal studded collars to protect their necks and are still at constant risk of death. The boars have HUGE tusks that could rip them right open. While I am all for controlling pest species I think hunting hogs with dogs is dangerous and brutal at best. Bucks are like little kittens compared to boar. I would rather stumble across a grizzly bear than an adult wild boar.

I think it is a bad idea.

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#8 painted_ponies

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 07:51 PM

Have you ever seen videos of people hunting the big boars that live wild with dogs? The dogs weight 100+ lbs, wear huge, fat, metal studded collars to protect their necks and are still at constant risk of death. The boars have HUGE tusks that could rip them right open. While I am all for controlling pest species I think hunting hogs with dogs is dangerous and brutal at best. Bucks are like little kittens compared to boar. I would rather stumble across a grizzly bear than an adult wild boar.


No. :rolleyes: I've seen videos of people hunting hogs with dogs, but never with dogs that big - they use catahoula to track them and pit bulls to hold them. The dogs were just wearing orange vests - no spiked collars. :D

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#9 JaderBug

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 08:17 PM

A year ago my fiance went with the guys in his family down to King Ranch where this hunting boars with dogs is exactly what they did- and people will pay big bucks to do it. They have two types of dogs that they work with- the first type goes out and sniffs out the boars, and once they find it, they release the muscle to hold the boar until the hunter comes. The dogs (from pictures) looked like pit mixes, I think they had either some Mastiff or American Bulldog in them as well. Like Liz said, they wear huge broad protective collars, big sheets of thick leather that cover them from their ears clear past to their rib cages. They do get beat up somewhat, but they have an incredibly high pain tolerance, and the hunt leaders had staple guns to put them back together. The dogs love what they do... DF said that was very apparent.

While I see where you're coming from with the idea, I don't see it being practical. These dogs down on this ranch were carefully and specifically bred for their purpose- they are bred for their working and training ability much like our BCs. Of course, I'm sure the hunting/breeding program at the King Ranch is a little higher quality than others, but I'm not sure you'd want rescued pit bulls from unknown background going to some sub-par breeding program.

Unfortunately, I think pit bulls are always going to get the short end of the stick... there just aren't enough options or people willing to give them a home.

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#10 painted_ponies

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 08:43 PM

These dogs down on this ranch were carefully and specifically bred for their purpose- they are bred for their working and training ability much like our BCs. Of course, I'm sure the hunting/breeding program at the King Ranch is a little higher quality than others, but I'm not sure you'd want rescued pit bulls from unknown background going to some sub-par breeding program.


I wondered about that, too - whether or not the ability to hold a hog is something one would have to breed for. It seems to me to require a less complex skill set than, say, that of a working bc. But I don't really know what all's involved in holding a hog, so it's very possible I'm wrong about that. Anyway, the dogs would all be spayed or neutered before I'd place them - otherwise Duford would become the pit bull capital of the southeastern US in very short order. :rolleyes:

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#11 Rebecca, Irena Farm

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 09:49 PM

Hog dogging is one of the most arduous "jobs" on the American scene. People talk about cowdogs needing to be tough. I've talked to some hog dog breeders. They are very, very picky - and for good reason - dog screws up it's instant severe injury, death to man, dogs, horses - one boar can wreak terrible havoc in mere seconds. Imagine a smallish, very agile hippo with sharp teeth.

I think it's an honorable job if done right but I don't think it would be practical to take rescues for this task - it's a one in a million type of dog who can do it right. And it's a one in a million owner who'd be willing to try training adults that aren't bred for this, and promise not to trash the ones who fail.

And then what do you do with all the "rejects?" Back to square one. I train rescues to work and this is a serious problem for me, and Border Collies are not particularly hard dogs to place.
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#12 Ms.DaisyDuke

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 10:39 PM

It's a good idea, in theory, but in reality as a lot of others have said, training adults would be a very, very difficult task and what would happen to the ones who weren't good at it. While pits were originally bred for this and other similar purposes, it transitioned into pit fighting, they are still bred for holding, determination and high tolerance for pain, I have a feeling it's not the same. It would also be hard to have a couple of packs together hunting as well because a lot of them do tend to have dog aggression built into them now.

It's the same as any other working dog, people breed from certain lines for top performance and ability, so it's kind of a shot in the dark to start with dogs that haven't been bred to work for like 100 years.

#13 Lenajo

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 10:22 AM

And then what do you do with all the "rejects?"


Hog dog rejects die in training. Plain and simple. The hogs kill them.

I applaud the idea of looking for solutions, but turning adult, likely from pet circumstances, dogs into hog dogs is not much of a fair solution. It would be tantemount to bear baiting with kittens. The dogs are going to lose, and in the process likely suffer great pain.

Hog hunters here keep specialize lines of dogs - usually purpose bred combinations of Catahoula, Walker, and Pit. Many of them take good care of their dogs, but it is definately a high risk activity. On a good night you just staple and suture a few dogs on the tail gate.

#14 painted_ponies

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 10:32 AM

Yeah, I suppose it's an undertaking that's a little beyond me, especially at the moment, since I haven't the faintest idea how to train a hog dog and really don't have time to learn, what with getting my own practice off the ground.

It'd be tough dealing with the injuries, and good point about what one does with the surviving rejects - "Hey, lady, wanta hold a pit bull? He just doesn't have quite the bloodlust we need in our program, but I bet he'd work out real well as a pet." No, that wouldn't be a hard sell at all. :rolleyes: :D

Oh, well, thanks for the input, y'all. :D

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#15 sea4th

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 12:11 PM

I watched a UTube video about hog hunting in Brazil. I didn't go beyond the scene of a bitch disemboweled by a hog, but still alive.

On another board I'm on, there is a woman who breeds central asian dogs and they have the run of her property. She's had hog problems lately. Recently, when the dogs returned, she could tell they'd been "boar hunting". Two did not return. She found their remains -- i.e., parts of their pelts. They'd been killed and eaten by the hogs.

I always knew wild hogs were dangerous, but I never knew how destructive of a nuisance they are.

Are dogs the only way to get rid of these things?
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#16 Root Beer

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 12:29 PM

Are dogs the only way to get rid of these things?


I was wondering that myself. They sound horrible.

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#17 bsms99

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 01:19 PM

Watched some videos on YouTube. Disgusting. I'm not a real sensitive person - 25 years in the military, former hunter, understand our meat doesn't fall from the sky wrapped in plastic - but using dogs to hold & kill hogs is repulsive. Get a gun & use it. But sending in dogs to hold and maybe die while you kill a hog with a knife? YGBSM!

Why not just rescue the pits and use them in dog fights? What is the difference?
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#18 painted_ponies

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 01:58 PM

I always knew wild hogs were dangerous, but I never knew how destructive of a nuisance they are.

Are dogs the only way to get rid of these things?


My local hog hunters shoot them when they see them, but that's the problem - hogs are smart and keep to cover during the day, so the best chance to get a clear shot at them is at dusk. Of course, when you shoot them, they run back into cover, so if you don't hit and kill them with the first shot, it's over.

That's why people use hounds, to find the hogs, and pit bulls or similar to hold on to the hog until the hunter can get there to kill it.

I don't know that I'd rank hogs up there with tigers or polar bears :rolleyes: , but yeah, they're a damned nuisance. Ruin crops, kill wildlife, flood fields, oh - and cause bad wrecks. My nephew's grandmother was in a wreck last weekend when the guy in the oncoming lane hit a hog and knocked it under her truck, nearly ripping out the undercarriage. No one was hurt but could've been, and of course there was lots of property damage.

Why not just rescue the pits and use them in dog fights? What is the difference?

I see no similarity at all. Hog hunting serves a practical purpose and while a dog may get injured in the process that's not the point of the exercise - in fact, care is taken to prevent injury. Dog fighting is solely for entertainment and generating illegal revenue and all the dogs involved get injured every time.

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#19 PSmitty

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 02:09 PM

oh - and cause bad wrecks. My nephew's grandmother was in a wreck last weekend when the guy in the oncoming lane hit a hog and knocked it under her truck, nearly ripping out the undercarriage. No one was hurt but could've been, and of course there was lots of property damage.


Oh my. :rolleyes: Maybe I don't want to live in the country after all!
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#20 MaryP

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 02:27 PM

Are dogs the only way to get rid of these things?


You could release a few Florida panthers into the area. Hogs and deer are their two favorite prey items. :rolleyes:
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