Deer dog standard of training for Lamping contractors

Shabz

Well-Known Member
#1
I know this has been done before but it's a pertinent question with the recent recommendations in the SNH review of deer authorisations.
http://www.snh.gov.uk/protecting-scotlands-nature/species-licensing/deer/statutory-returns/

The review is suggesting that deer dogs are trained to a set standard and that some people have suggested that the standard could be based on continental models of training/testing.
This doesn't really fit for me, I was under the impression that these dedicated tracking dogs don't work in the dark? That's not going to be much use for a Lamping dog? Is there a European method that fits our needs in this country? What are folks opinions of how SNH should address the need for standardised training/testing for dogs?
 

Siggy

Well-Known Member
#2
I know this has been done before but it's a pertinent question with the recent recommendations in the SNH review of deer authorisations.
http://www.snh.gov.uk/protecting-scotlands-nature/species-licensing/deer/statutory-returns/

The review is suggesting that deer dogs are trained to a set standard and that some people have suggested that the standard could be based on continental models of training/testing.
This doesn't really fit for me, I was under the impression that these dedicated tracking dogs don't work in the dark? That's not going to be much use for a Lamping dog? Is there a European method that fits our needs in this country? What are folks opinions of how SNH should address the need for standardised training/testing for dogs?
I'd agree. I'm sure that European dogs could work in the dark, and they are very effective, but why restrict to one standard? Lamping dogs, I would imagine would rapidly deployed for follow up on a relatively hot scent.

Also in the dark, it would be more difficult to locate the point of shot - wouldn't you want a dog (GWP of course ;) ) that you could cast out and let it get on with it?

Siggy.
 

countrryboy

Well-Known Member
#4
Are u not already meant to have a 'trained deer dog' just that they never set a standard.

I don't think ur ever going to have a dog that tracks in the dark, not because the dog can't do it, would make no odds to the dog but because the human isn't capable off following safely or reading the dog.

Ur talking about european standards, but if u look at any of the threads or posts by either the UKSHA or UKDTR (who i'm sure will be along to correct me if i'm wrong)
But everything starts from the shot site, how/where deer is hit, if u can't establish that u probably wouldn't track, plus most advocate a decent time delay (injury dependent) so realistically ur looking at marking the position u shot from, line of shot and where u think u hit it and coming back the next morning to track.
The simple fact is in most cases u won't be able to see the shot sight well enough in the dark, even if u can and u decide to track will be very hard to see/read ur dog even on its line in the dark so u'll have no idea wot its indicating or if it has veered off track.
There is also some fairly big health and safety concerns too, esp if shooting over restock sites, can be a pita in daylight never mind in darkness.

There probably should be more dogs trained to a higher standard, u could probably argue that a stalkers own dog would not really need to be trained to a 24 hr standard as he will be able to take it out next morning, so realistically a 12hr track should be good enough.

Sort of casting a dog out and letting it get on with it is the very oppisate of wot ur properly trained deer dogs do

But really the whole deer dog thing has came on a long way in a relatively short space of time,
And simple fact is it will take years to implement as generally ur only replacing a dog every 7-8 yrs so u can't just spring it on stalkers, even if they bought a new pup for the law it will take a year or so to get it up to standard
 

Shabz

Well-Known Member
#5
Are u not already meant to have a 'trained deer dog' just that they never set a standard.

I don't think ur ever going to have a dog that tracks in the dark, not because the dog can't do it, would make no odds to the dog but because the human isn't capable off following safely or reading the dog.

Ur talking about european standards, but if u look at any of the threads or posts by either the UKSHA or UKDTR (who i'm sure will be along to correct me if i'm wrong)
But everything starts from the shot site, how/where deer is hit, if u can't establish that u probably wouldn't track, plus most advocate a decent time delay (injury dependent) so realistically ur looking at marking the position u shot from, line of shot and where u think u hit it and coming back the next morning to track.
The simple fact is in most cases u won't be able to see the shot sight well enough in the dark, even if u can and u decide to track will be very hard to see/read ur dog even on its line in the dark so u'll have no idea wot its indicating or if it has veered off track.
There is also some fairly big health and safety concerns too, esp if shooting over restock sites, can be a pita in daylight never mind in darkness.

There probably should be more dogs trained to a higher standard, u could probably argue that a stalkers own dog would not really need to be trained to a 24 hr standard as he will be able to take it out next morning, so realistically a 12hr track should be good enough.

Sort of casting a dog out and letting it get on with it is the very oppisate of wot ur properly trained deer dogs do

But really the whole deer dog thing has came on a long way in a relatively short space of time,
And simple fact is it will take years to implement as generally ur only replacing a dog every 7-8 yrs so u can't just spring it on stalkers, even if they bought a new pup for the law it will take a year or so to get it up to standard
This is pretty much how I'm thinking. It would be pointless to force Lamping contractors to have dogs trained to a set of rules that don't meet their requirements. A contractor doesn't need a tracking dog, but one that goes and finds a shot deer in the dark. One that finds the shot site. I would imagine that would be absolutely contrary to the training of any of these scent hounds. I know if I had trained a scent hound to that standard, I'd be pretty reluctant to take it out lamping!
 

countrryboy

Well-Known Member
#6
Mibee every stalker has there own way of doing things, but i'd imagine most work as a 2/3 man team and u send the other person to find the deer while the lamp man keeps the spot marked and lite.
I doubt they ae not recovring many shot/dead deer as thats money in there pocket, and to be honest i doubt there losing many injured deer either.

Was actually speaking to a boy last night about this, i knew he culled a lot but the numbers shocked me wot he culls himself, and he stalks with a dog but says u rarely need to use it

So i think it possibly may push for deer to be followed the next morning rather than working a dog at night which also follows most of the scent boys ideas for best practice.
To be honest dunno how happy i would be casting a dog of over a restock site at night, ur really asking for an injury to ur dog with so many holes and jaggy branches, seen them walked to heel over to shot sight thou so only a small hunt round the immediate area.

I totally agree with there being some standard, but i think have to be careful its not too high, i don't really think there is much of a problem as it is (or mibee the boys that i know that do it are decnt proffessionals) incase u scare people off.
The stalkers should really be able to get to most shot sites within 8-12 hrs really so slightly diferent than the scent hound/recovery assoc's as they could be 2 days or longer depending on distances and handlers work commitments

The problem will be with it written by civil servants with no idea wot goes on or how ur meant to work the dogs
 

6pointer

Account Suspended
#7
Problems have been raised and I am sure many are now aware that lamping will become the norm in Scotland. There is also talk of night vision and thermal. While most lampers were contractors who had to adhere to the FC standard. This will no doubt change and with that change comes the problem of people with no dog lamping and people with dogs that are not fit for the purpose. Same as the night vison stuff standards will need to be set. No point saying you have a dog when all it can do is keep the passenger seat warm or run deer on to busy roads and cause problems. No point some one having 80.000 pounds worth of thermol gear when I can get one for 200 for my phone. I think there needs to be a standard and it needs to be very high or deer will suffer and be found by the public or hit on busy roads.
 

Shabz

Well-Known Member
#8
I think it's pretty much standard practice to take your dog out to find every deer that you shoot in a lamp. All the rangers that I know walk their dog to heel out to the rough area that the deer was shot and then cast the dog off. 9 times out of 10, they're within 20-50 metres of the deer and the dog finds the deer really quickly. Usually, you could find the deer yourself with a torch so it's not at all necessary to use a dog but it could save half an hour (or more) for every animal you shoot. Time is money when you're at that game.

Now, you don't need a particularly well trained dog to do that (although, all of the dogs that I've seen that do it are very well trained) as it's not particularly difficult work. I would suggest that dogs like these learn as they go and tend to be able to find the vast majority of deer that they're asked to find. For the deer that they can't find, there are now dedicated tracking groups (UKSHA & UKDTR) that are willing to come out to search. I don't personally see any need for the lampers dog to be trained in anything other than recall and possibly walking to heel, and heel is only necessary if they've lost their lead and recall could be dispensed with by using a long lead. Really all it needs is its nose.
 

Ben P

Well-Known Member
#9
Are u not already meant to have a 'trained deer dog' just that they never set a standard.

I don't think ur ever going to have a dog that tracks in the dark, not because the dog can't do it, would make no odds to the dog but because the human isn't capable off following safely or reading the dog.


Humans are more than capable of successfully tracking with dogs over a variety of terrains in the dark. Police dog handlers have been successfully doing it for years. If anything the dogs heightened senses in the dark are more obvious to read.

Cant say I would be keen trying to use a tracking line over restock in the dark, especially with a really drivey dog!

Spotlight held on shot sight, walk out with dog at heel then cast off from shot sight off lead is far more practical and a dog with the ability to bring a mobile deer to bay is preferable.

Not too sure how you would consistently replicate that scenario in an "assessed" exercise?

Regards

BP
 

countrryboy

Well-Known Member
#10
Are u not already meant to have a 'trained deer dog' just that they never set a standard.

I don't think ur ever going to have a dog that tracks in the dark, not because the dog can't do it, would make no odds to the dog but because the human isn't capable off following safely or reading the dog.


Humans are more than capable of successfully tracking with dogs over a variety of terrains in the dark. Police dog handlers have been successfully doing it for years. If anything the dogs heightened senses in the dark are more obvious to read.

Cant say I would be keen trying to use a tracking line over restock in the dark, especially with a really drivey dog!

Spotlight held on shot sight, walk out with dog at heel then cast off from shot sight off lead is far more practical and a dog with the ability to bring a mobile deer to bay is preferable.

Not too sure how you would consistently replicate that scenario in an "assessed" exercise?

Regards

BP
Aye but wot u are saying makes sense but not really the 'european way' that is being talked about.

And thats the difference ur tallking about tracking over restock sites or into thick conifer plantations which are usually a pita in daylight, never mind at night.
I doubt many polis would track someone at night over a restock site, there H&S would never allow it

If u bring a mobile deer to bay, wot happens next? In pitch black u have to get spotlight on it and then shoot it, just everything is a lot more difficut at night (even checking safe back stops etc quickly) means u almost need 2 folk to be followingthe dog, have added noise of walking at night and also most of the tracking orgs recommend leaing it 4hrs+ depending on injury so ur really almost into the morning anyway

Must admit we usualy just walk out to the spot with ur own lamp and look around by hand withut a dog, can see it being useful in some circumstances thou. nd know a few boys that do it that way occasionally
 

jamross65

Well-Known Member
#11
Often the wounded (depending on injury)animal is better tracked after several hours anyway, so there is perhaps no immediate rush to pursue in the dark? As mentioned already, trying to see and find sign along a track in the dark is going to be a problem. There is also an increased risk to the dog, both from what it may encounter along the track in the dark, branches and so on that could injure it's eyes. Risk to the handler too without good sight. An increased risk from a found and bayed stag is also relevant as the dog is working in the dark, especially if in thick woodland. Then if a beast is found in the dark, how will it be dispatched? With a rifle shot? In light provided by a lamp? Without seeing everything clearly beyond where the beast is stood???? Nah, far to many variables for tracking in the dark with a dog for me and my dog isn't worth risking for the sake of recovering a beast that can wait under those circumstances until light...... That means a dog trained to the standard of possibly working at least 12hr old trails....
 

jamross65

Well-Known Member
#12
Sorry countryboy, I'd posted without reading your reply fully and seem to have repeated your opinion......at least we agree...lol
 
Last edited:

jimmy milnes

Well-Known Member
#13
Pretty much agree in that no way on this earth would I want to send a dog into the darkness over restock and the like
Seen too many running dogs smashed up and even heard of them getting impaled when running the lamp let alone in the pitch dark
 

Shabz

Well-Known Member
#14
There have been hundreds of dogs over many years that have worked for deer managers at night, they don't have proportionally more accidents than any other dog. My own dogs spend every day and quite a lot of night time on clearfell sites and have only ever injured themselves in the day time. Are you really saying that a dog shouldn't be used in the dark to help find a shot deer? Is the lamping contractor supposed to go out shooting and then come back the next day to find all of the deer that he shot the night before? Even though 90% of them drop on the spot?
 

jamross65

Well-Known Member
#15
There have been hundreds of dogs over many years that have worked for deer managers at night, they don't have proportionally more accidents than any other dog. My own dogs spend every day and quite a lot of night time on clearfell sites and have only ever injured themselves in the day time. Are you really saying that a dog shouldn't be used in the dark to help find a shot deer? Is the lamping contractor supposed to go out shooting and then come back the next day to find all of the deer that he shot the night before? Even though 90% of them drop on the spot?
If 90% drop on the spot, leaving 10% to be recovered, and of that 10% many will not require a dog to find them then there is a small number requiring to be tracked. Even looking at culling 300 deer a year, 10% is 30 deer, small number not found easily is a small number needing recovered the following day. And no, I wouldn't use the dog at night unless I knew from the evidence at the shot site the deer was likely lying dead nearby, but I just couldn't find it. I wouldn't track with a dog over a long distance on a tracking lead in the dark. I'd return the following day. I should have said in previous reply I'm talking about forestry of the type I shoot in, dense and often regenerated sitka. I have returned the following day several times to recover the deer the client shot the night before as it was too dark by the time I would be tracking.
This is just my opinion, others may be happy using the dog over tracks at night or running about in heavy cover. I'm not....
 

Shabz

Well-Known Member
#16
Problem is, you still need to recover every deer that drops on the spot. It's very hard to find a shot deer on a clearfell site in the dark. You could walk about for half an hour and never be more than 20 yards from it. It only needs to drop behind a pile of brash and you're going to struggle. You walk your dog out to the vague area that you think the deer is and the dog will take you straight to it. Of the 10% that run, the dog will find 99% and the 0.01% that's left might need a dog that can follow a 12hr track. Why would you want all dogs to be able to follow a 12hr old track when 99.9% of the time it's found the deer within 10 minutes of the shot?
 

jamross65

Well-Known Member
#17
Problem is, you still need to recover every deer that drops on the spot. It's very hard to find a shot deer on a clearfell site in the dark. You could walk about for half an hour and never be more than 20 yards from it. It only needs to drop behind a pile of brash and you're going to struggle. You walk your dog out to the vague area that you think the deer is and the dog will take you straight to it. Of the 10% that run, the dog will find 99% and the 0.01% that's left might need a dog that can follow a 12hr track. Why would you want all dogs to be able to follow a 12hr old track when 99.9% of the time it's found the deer within 10 minutes of the shot?
Because a dog being able to track a 12hr old track should be a minimum as wounded deer could create that necessity. It also allows the option to leave that track overnight and not force someone to just push a leg or gut shot deer on and on overnight without success. Do you not think a 12hr old track is a reasonable expectation?If I knew a deer dropped on the spot on clearfell in the dark I'd find it with my dog. That isn't a track through dense cover and does not pose the same risks. What you describe for recovering is what I'd also do and have done, often.
 

Shabz

Well-Known Member
#18
My point is that the majority of dogs who work with lamping contractors do not need to be able to track a 12hr shot deer. One dog in 100 needs to be able to track a deer after 12hrs, just like one dog in 1000 needs to be able to track a deer that was shot four days ago and has run 15 miles. (Based on how much work there is for these dogs)

In my opinion, it would be ridiculous (and impractical) to expect every person with a night licence to have a dog trained to that standard. Especially when anyone who shoots at deer already has access to dogs with these abilities through the new tracking organisations that have come about. Obviously, I'm assuming that these organisations will continue to exist.
 

jamross65

Well-Known Member
#19
My point is that the majority of dogs who work with lamping contractors do not need to be able to track a 12hr shot deer. One dog in 100 needs to be able to track a deer after 12hrs, just like one dog in 1000 needs to be able to track a deer that was shot four days ago and has run 15 miles.

In my opinion, it would be ridiculous (and impractical) to expect every person with a night licence to have a dog trained to that standard. Especially when anyone who shoots at deer already has access to dogs with these abilities through the new tracking organisations that have come about. Obviously, I'm assuming that these organisations will continue to exist.
What standard? Being able to track a 12hr old wounded deer? Why is that impracticable? Surely if it's a 'trained' deer dog then that is a reasonable time to cover the possibility of recovering a leg shot or gut shot deer in the morning? An overnight track is surely a basic, basic track???? No-one suggested 15 miles Shabz. I've used night licenses on sika and roe. I never once had such pressure on me to have to recover that night and had the option of looking in the morning. We are talking ab out deer that have run off and still running, not deer that have been seen to run and then drop. Such gut or leg wounded deer can travel far and whilst the organisations do exist and will assist, as a professional I'd want to be able to at least give myself the best chance of recovery before looking for assistance.
 

jamross65

Well-Known Member
#20
If my expectation of doing a 12hr old track is unrealistic, what is your idea of a basic or minimum standard for a deer dog?

Just to add, I assume like I was that despite using a lamping licence I was also controlling deer in daylight and therefore these 'lamping contractors' do the same? So as they are shooting large numbers and therefore the risk of wounding increases due to the ratios rising, I'd have thought the desire to have a dog that can do it all, including a track 12hrs old is pretty minimum? As they say, if your tracking for 1000m practice for 1500m to 2000m, if you expect to track over 4-8hrs practice on 12hr tracks. Does that not give the dog a better chance at success?
 
Last edited:

Top