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Neiko

Bear Hounds in Mn

68 posts in this topic

I hate to open a can of worms here but who is for using dogs to hunt bears? As a landowner and bear hunter I am not. There is a certain group that wants to get it legalized and is working on the DNR to get it passed. I know people will say hunting over bait isn't ethical but how much fun can it be to have dogs chase a bear up the tree so when you finally catch up you can shoot it out of the tree? Meanwhile how many Do Not Trespass signs did you pass to catch up to your dogs. I would hate to be sitting there bow hunting for my trophy buck when all of a sudden a pack of dogs come blazing through my land ruining my hunt. I wonder how much my taxidermist would charge to mount a dog?

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I am against it, for the private land reason. I don't have a problem with using hounds to hunt bears, except that in most of Minnesota there are too many blocks of private land scattered around to avoid trespass concerns. In order for it to work I would think it would have to be strictly confined to large blocks of public land with no private land interspersed.

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Call me old fashioned, but I really appreciate "fair chase" with any form of hunting or fishing. Hunting over bait is actually still kind of up in the air for me, but I do recognize how hard it would be to tag a bear without it - I've tried.

I've seen videos on hunting mountain lions where they use dogs to tree the animal, then shoot it out of a tree. It doesn't seem very fair to the animal, and it doesn't seem sporting at all.

Personally, I hope they never allow hunting bears with dogs in our state.

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i agree with the poster above me i dont bear hunt but i have watched videos where they use dogs and it doesnt even look much fun all you do is try to keep up with the dogs. i would rather do the work myself instead of saying ya i shot a bear my dogs ran for an hour i found the dogs then shot the bear, the dogs worked so hard for.

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I'll just say if you think treeing bears with dogs is so easy you don't know squat about it. Lots and lots of time and money involved for those guys with hounds who make it look easy. Big bears especially are never easy, with or without hounds. It is too bad the trespass issues are very real - you need lots of room for hound hunting.

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You hit it on the head with the trespass issue, you'd create to many enemies chasing your dogs across private land, whether the private landowner is a hunter or non-hunter. Talk about bad publicity!

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You guys are worring about the tresspas law but how many guys do you actually think that will be running bear down in the populated areas - a big fat none. it will be all up north in the big woods and for you guys that think that bear hunting with hounds seems easy why don't you try it once im shure you wouldn't make it through the first day of hunting.

Bear hunting with hounds is more then killing a critter its the chase and seeing good dog work over in wi the have a training season were you don't shoot at all you train your dogs aprenlty none of you know any thing about the hound world.

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Running hounds is more about training the dogs than shooting a bear out of a tree. In MN you can get 2 tags each year and they cant get rid of all the tags, my last tag in WI took 6 years to get so it might be a good way to get rid of some of those unwanted bears.

Those videos you guys watch don’t show the years of training that it takes to get a dog to chase the animal you put it on. The hour that you watch on tv is not the whole hunt

I have seen hounds run for 10 hours and then some still not get the animal in a tree its a lot more work than just chasing your dogs and it takes a long time and a trained eye to find a track to put the dogs on. There is more than what you see on tv. You skeptics should try it before you say anything about it. There is 3 million acres encompassed by Minnesota's 56 state forests (Except in a few portions) these areas are entirely open to public hunting, The Chippewa and Superior national forests in northern Minnesota are open to public hunting. Many northern counties manage state tax-forfeited lands. Mainly forested, these lands provide some excellent hunting opportunities and a lot of land owners would be happy to have the bears off there land.

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Cooter and Houndsmen.

I don't think anyone is disputing whether or not it's easy to train dogs to do this. It's often challenging to train a dog to do anything you want it too do. I don't think anyone is arguing whether or not this is an adequate way to control bear populations either. I know for certain that no one is debating who is in better physical shape here - although I bet I could give you a run for your money! grin.gif

What is at issue is whether or not is ethical to use dogs to hunt big game. We don't use dogs to hunt deer. In fact it is completely lawful to shoot dogs that are chasing deer. It is extremely stressful on the big game to be run in this manner, and it can have very detrimental effects on their overall health. Dogs can easily wear down full grown deer, I'm sure they have little problem with bear. Getting them to tree is another story.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion here. That is what was being questioned with the post. We are questioning the validitiy of this method of hunting. The tresspassing concerns are very valid, even on a large tract of open access land in any state. I personnally feel that this is only a secondary concern though, closely following the issue of whether or not running any big game animal with a dog is fair chase.

Why don't you explain to us why you think it is ethical and "fair chase" to use dogs in this manner?

Wisconsin also allows a degree of baiting for deer during the season. Most ethical hunters disagree with this practice as well. These hunters would rather allow the game to have a fair chance of escape - making the pursuit even more challenging both mentally and physically.

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Ethical........How do you define ethical.....Hunting with hounds goes far back.....Even though I don't condone this idea for this state I don't know how you decide this is ethical or not...Alot of people think that killing animals is unehtical Not Myself...I HUNT....I think hunting with dogs takes alot of skill and knowledge to be succesful altough I don't want to be sitting in a stand and have a pack of dogs come running by while I hunt in the state of Minnesota I really don't think you can call it unethical cause you don't agree with it though........I am sure if you bird hunt and get a thrill of watching your dog stand on point for a bird you would probably love having your dog(s) corner a 350-400lbs bear up a tree!!..... just my 2 cents

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I agree Ozzie. It seems like no matter what the topic, from how to hold a big fish to using live bait to when to shoot a partridge, we are often too quick to pull out the "ethics" card. What happens then is everyone gets their shorts in a bundle.

Fair chase is good topic for discussion, and something we all need to keep in mind BUT we need to be careful about labeling others' tactics as being unethical. I know plenty of guys who view stand hunting for big game as being done by those who are either lazy or inept. There are lots of trout guys who view worm dunkers as lower life forms. Or bass guys who cringe at the mention of eating a bass. Or duck guys who view jump-shooting as cheating.

My concern with the whole hound thing - from coon hounds to bear hounds to coyote hounds is that private property gets violated. A rancher out in South Dakota was so fed up with some hound guys running their dogs after coyotes through his pastures that he offered us a bounty to shoot on sight any dogs we found. About 20 years ago I had a bunch of coon hounds chase a coon into our yard, where my lab killed the coon and proceeded to get into one heck of a fight with the hounds. It was an ugly scene.

Personally I think the whole idea of hounds is pretty cool, and would enjoy watching a few hunts. That's assuming there is some way to make sure no one's private land is being violated.

We are all experts on a bulletin board!

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Good question Ozzie. Although it probably would be exciting to see a large bear in a tree, I personaly don't feel that it's fair chase with dogs. That's all I'm saying.

If I'm hunting birds with dogs, the birds have every opportunity to fly away. They might be held on point, and when they break cover I might miss the shot. The point is the birds will not run until exhausted ahead of a dog. I don't have a bird dog by the way. I have a water dog - and she's a dumb one. crazy.gif

A bear has no choice! Its only option is to climb a tree for sanctuary from a nuisance that it can't escape. I'm not likely to miss the shot at a bear that's sitting in a tree - if I do, God forgive me for where the bullet actually lands! I completely agree that it's a great pleasure to watch good dogs work, but not at the expense of another creatures suffering. How would you like to be the bear that's being run by a pack of dogs on a hot humid August afternoon? You might as well make it easier on the dogs and just use four-wheelers.

Define ethical: just, fair, principled, moral, doing what's right in all situations. As I stated in an earlier post, I'm not all that keen on inviting a bear to dinner every day, then when he shows up on Sept 1st I shoot him. But I also recognize that it's almost certainly the only probable way to control the over population of bear in Minnesota. I've spent a few years hunting bear without bait, tracking and stalking them in corn fields, learning travel pathways and attempting to catch them following their normal travel corridors, going to where they live and just hunting them. These are ethical "fair chase" scenarios, the way our forefathers hunted, and it is much more fun and rewarding than baiting. However, baiting is a much more efficient, though not always successful way to tag a bear.

It's just my feeling, right or wrong, that it doesn't allow the animal a sporting chance to run them with dogs. The odds of the bears actually getting away have got to be greatly reduced. Dogs have a tremendous sense of smell. Again, I might be wrong, but it seems to me that the only limiting factor is how long the dogs and hunters are willing to maintain the pursuit, or how good of physical shape the bear is in.

Ethical standards will vary greatly from one hunter to the next. It really only boils down to a matter of preference, self-discipline, and legal guidelines. I would be very dissappointed if this practice was made lawful in Minnesota. It's just my opinion.

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Lots of hunting issues are black and white in regards to ethics but many more are "shady" and always have and will vary from individual to individual - and using hounds for hunting is one of them. I won't try to explain why I think its ethical/sporting but you are more than welcome to join me and experience it first hand and if you disagree thats fine.

Bottom line is its one of those situations where we need to group together as hunters and support one another.

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There is absolutely no question what-so-ever that the society we live in today doesn't pull out the ethics card often enough. Sadly, we have forgotten what it means to be ethical to other living creatures, including each other.

I have no problem at all eating a bass, or harvesting any of this earth's creatures for sustinance(sp?). I'm not on any calling list for the PETA folks either. It clearly says in the Bible that God made all of these creatures for us to use as food. I love hunting, and I love eating well-prepared meat of virtually every variety. I just don't think it's right to stress an animal to the point of exhaustion, then dispatch it.

My last sentence brings up yet another good point. Have you ever eaten a big game animal that was running for many miles before being shot, or before it finally died? The amount of lactic acid buildup in the muscle tissue of an animal after running for many miles is remarkable. You might as well eat shoe leather. I shot a nice buck right thru the jugular vein out in NoDak one year. This darn thing ran 1 1/2 miles before it finally went down. A blind person could have followed the blood trail. The venison was so tough and tasteless we couldn't even eat it. Do you eat a bear that's been run for miles before climbing a tree? They are not normally known for being great runners.

I prefer to drop an animal cleanly, and humanely, right in it's tracks if I can. There's no suffering, and the meat is perfect for preparation. They don't "run" cattle before slaughter for a reason.

I guess that can of worms has been opened up.

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Another good post. This ain't football. I've spent enough time outdoors with my WI. in-laws to know for a fact that we are many miles apart in just about everything! As for the hounds, can a bear that's really a trophy actually climb a tree?

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I dont mind if a person chooses to hunt bears with dogs as it is a legal way to hunt.When I use to pheasant alot with my dog I would always retrive evry bird we shot.When I didnt have a dog we lost many a bird.Is it right to not hunt with a dog,I would say not.I have no problem with hunting any way that is above the law even if that includes hunting bears with dogs.I agree that all hunters need to support one another as the anti's do and will create some new problems for hunters as a group.Get your dogs and go hunting if you like. smile.gif

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If you guys don't think that hunting with hounds is ethical what is your reason for it and have you ever hunted with hounds like the other guy said about bird dogs theres no difference and yea mn needs this to help get the bear pop down its getting to be to hard trying to get these bears over baits and this would really help out not so many nusance bears but a few of you don't look at it that way apprently

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Actually Houndsmen, if you read all the dialog, the vote is surprisingly even (for vs. against).

As for why I feel that this method of hunting is unethical, I thought I'd already provided a valid compelling argument by citing numerous reasons; fair chase, preservation of the edible portion of the animal, and others (and myself) have strongly recognized the high probability for tresspassing while engaging in this activity.

As for supporting fellow hunters, fisherman, and outdoorsmen as a whole, I am all for it. As long as their methods are fair, legal, respectful, humane, and the animals that they harvest are processed and used accordingly.

I won't advocate or support a method of pursuing game that presents eminent potential for infringment upon others rights as landowners, or disrespecting others participating in hunting and fishing activities in the area, or the degradation and misuse of valuable natural resources that are supported by my tax dollars.

Comparing the use of dogs for flushing and retrieving birds vs. using them to run a full grown animal to the point of exhaustion is comparing apples to oranges. It is unlikely that one would loose a large bear in the tall grass after it had been shot from the tree it was trying to hide in. crazy.gif

What if we were to clip the wings on all our wild birds so they couldn't fly? Then the dogs could just keep running after them until they caught the poor creatures. How about allowing the spearing of walleyes and northerns and muskies during their spawning seasons? I mean the fish can always swim away, right? Perhaps we should make it legal to shoot game from the back of a 4-wheeler? Would that make it an even playing field for both the pursuer and the one being pursued? blush.gif

I think all of these scenarios lean towards giving a distinct advantage to the hunter, or fisherman. That's my point. That's the perspective one must take when looking at it from an ethical standpoint.

There is no question that we will differ on this issue. That's okay. Using hounds to pursue game has been a time honored tradition for hundreds of years, but that doesn't make it right. That doesn't make it fair to the animal being pursued. It's just tradition, and man has been hung up on thousands of ridiculous traditions since the beginning of time.

What I have yet to see is a valid argument to support this method of hunting. It's good exercise for the dogs, but so is running with them around the block (it's also very good for the hunter grin.gif) - and no animals have to suffer with this particular aerobic activity.

I'm not at all concerned that this proposal would ever be made legal in Minnesota. I think the vast majority of us that truly appreciate our amazing resources have evolved beyond this practice. smirk.gif

Please keep up the discussion though. It's an interesting debate. wink.gif

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Sam, good post but I have to disagree with you on the for and against count. I see that most people are against it. The people who are for it are from WI and they don't count. wink.gif Actually there votes don't count when it comes election time. I took the following from the MN Trail Hound Association website. I am concerned if everyone just thinks it won't happen it will go away. That is how they get a lot of laws to go through. Everyone ignores them thinking it will just go away.

07 Aug 2006

Many things have happened since the last newsletter so I will get right to it.

On June 2nd and 3rd I attended a meeting of the Bear Hunter Rights Coalition in Hudson, WI where the future of bear hunting in the USA was discussed. Three issues that were discussed and will be the main focus of the Coalition this year are Delisting of the Black Bear in Florida, defending Bear hunting in New Jersey and legalizing Hound Hunting for Bear in Minnesota. Since that meeting, I went to a meeting in St. Paul with the DNR, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Minnesota Bear Hunters Association and the US Sportsmen’s Alliance. The DNR is showing signs of support for this issue and if during the legislative session aren’t forced to support a different bill we have there support. I know that sounds wishy-washy but trying to get them to commit is difficult at best. Later that same day we, all of the above minus the DNR, talked over a game plan on how we are going to attack this. There are many things that have to get done but the ones that the membership need to be concerned with are the Grassroots effort (calling legislators) that will happen after the bill is introduced next January and the raising of funds. When asked how much this is going to cost Tony Celebrezze from the US Sportsmen’s Alliance said in the neighborhood of $75,000.00. The way the responsibility for that money would break down would be $30,000.00 from Minnesota organizations (MTHA and MBHA). That would then be matched by the rest of the Bear Hunter Rights Coalition members then the rest would be covered by the US Sportsmen’s Alliance. The way I see this is that the money that we would contribute would be a good investment that would have a good rate of return not only in the fact that our money would multiplied by the contributions of others but also we would be getting our bear hunting with hounds and our legislators will know that we are a knowledgeable and organized group of people. So in the very near future you will be contacted to do your part!

At the Board of Directors meeting Chris Bengston was appointed as a director as John Jarnot had not renewed his membership for this year. Thanks Chris for stepping up to the plate!

Game Fair is upon us and if you have not contacted Joe Bingham to let him know when you can man the booth please do so ASAP. Also, make sure that you get your raffle tickets to me no later than August 16th or bring them to our booth at Game Fair. If you do not sell your tickets please return them to me as they all need to be accounted for.

Another Puppy Hunt has been added to the schedule. It will be at Cannon Valley Kennels on August 20th. For more information call Mark Petron at (320) 250-3657.

On the back of the newsletter are the results of the Puppy Hunts we have had so far this summer and also the results of the Water Race held on July 16th.

This is your organization so if you have any ideas, comments, suggestions or want to be more involved with the operations of the Minnesota Trail Hound Association please call any of the directors or officers.

Allen Lysdahl

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Wow! Neiko, you're right! Does the MN Bear Hunters Association support this idea?

I'll gladly get on board and fight this thing. I know about a half dozen bear guides, and lots of bear hunters that will fight against it as well.

I'd be interested in joining the MN Bear Hunters Association, even though I'm not much of a "joiner", but not if they support this type of hunting. I didn't even know that there was one. If they plan on opposing it, I'll be right there with them.

It's interesting to note that the person who wrote this article mentions that everyone (minus the MN DNR) got together to discuss, "how we will attack this". Sounds a little sneaky, doesn't it? This included what sounds like a "national" group for Bear Hunters rights, as well as the Bear Hunters Coalition (the latter seems to be making the big push for this legislation). We can only hope that these two entities don't have a real strong following.

I believe this thread may be about to explode!

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Unfortunately it looks like they are involved with it because in the letter it discusses MNBHA being partly responsible for the $30K. Maybe if we email them they will change there stance on it and not waste the money. I am for hunter's rights but bear hunting doesn't need this. I plan on emailing the SPortsmens alliance and let them know my stance. I will be passing this along to the people I know that bear hunt as well. I didn't think there was much of a threat about a law getting passed for using dogs but when I saw a guy driving around by the cabin with 4 hounds tied up on the flat bed of his truck driving around I did a little digging and found the letter from the MNTHA and it scared me that they even got the DNR's ear.

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All I am going to say is I totally disagree with bear hunting with dogs. I love to hunt birds with dogs, but that is way different. The bird can fly away. With bears all they can do is run until they die of exhaustion or climb a tree and die. There is no escape. Doesn't seem like fair chase to me. Just my 2 cents.

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Hound hunters might shoot 5% of the animals they put in a tree/chase and the animal is not getting peppered with lead after you pull the dogs.

What % of birds get hit with lead and still fly away.

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I personally have no problem with the idea of guys running bears with dogs, we have the beginnings of a bear problem in MN, let them run a few of them so that the next time that bear smells man he runs the other way. Putting out bear bait sure doesn't do anything to put the fear of man in bears. Look what happened in California once they stopped hunting lions, the lions fear man less and a few attacks have taken place. Same with the grizzleys around yellowstone, a few need to be shot so they're not so comfortable around humans.

I still see the bigger problem as the tresspass issue. Yeah there are thousands of acres of public forests but dogs know no boundaries, all it takes is a few instances of tresspass to create lots of bad PR.

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I do not hunt bear. In wisconsin, there are several people I know who use hounds. It is not easy, and many times the bear outsmarts the dogs. Sometimes, the bear may turn and kill a dog. Nothing against bear dogs, but i suppose tres spassing could be an issue. I use a dog to hunt grouse so i am in no position to tell someone they cannot use dogs to hunt bear.

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