Tracking dog ideal to trace wounded animals

2016-06-02 06:00
<Professional hunter Christo Claassens with Rex, a cross Red-tick/Blue-tick Coonhound Dog, which originates from Tennessee.                                Photo: SUPPLIED

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It is hunting season, a time of the year that many keen hunters are looking forward to, getting out in the bush or veld and hopefully shooting whatever animal it is that they have on their hunting list.

The touchy issue of hunting is when the expedition has to come to an unfortunate halt the moment an animal is wounded. It is a hunter’s responsibility to do everything humanly possible to recover the wounded animal.

“This often takes hours to follow the trail and track down the wounded animal. Especially when the terrain is dense or mountainous. But it has to be done and therefore a tracking dog is of great help,” said Christo Claassens, a professional hunter and tracking dog trainer from Uitenhage.

“Time is money, the longer it takes to find the wounded animal, the less time is left to continue with the hunt. This is when a tracking dog comes in very handy and it will be far less time consuming to find the wounded animal.

“Let’s face it, a dog can do a much better job as they are trained to trail by scent, whilst we humans must use our eyes,” said Claassens.

He is the owner of Rex, a young tracking dog. Rex is a cross Red-tick/Blue-tick Coonhound Dog, which originates from Tennessee in the USA.

“Tracking is in his blood. He has an amazing drive and can focus for up to 3km before I have to give him a break.

“This breed is extremely alert and able to work over difficult terrain in bad weather conditions.”

Claassens explained that each dog has an unique “voice” which can usually be recognized by owners.

“Red-ticks do not have a normal sounding bark, but rather a loud bay cry that almost sounds like a short howl.”

Rex is trained to sniff out wounded game by tracking blood, body fluids and warm spoor.

“I simply love Rex. He is an absolute star. It takes many, many hours to train these dogs and thus a tracking device, supplied by the Uitenhage Vet, was implanted in Rex to make sure he would not get lost as a result of a strenuous track,” said Claassens.

  • For more information regarding tracking dogs contact Christo Claassens at 072 201 1280.

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