Which Dog

This is my first post so high to all.

I have decided to purchase a dog for blood tracking and deerstalking. I cant make my mind up on which breed would be best. I have narrowed my choice down to either a GSP or a Bavarian but would appreciate any advice from the stalkers/ Trackers out there with experience with any of the suitable breeds. Dont know if it makes any difference but i stalk mainly Roe. It would have to also be a bitch and would be kennelled outside when we are not at home and at night with two lab bitches.


Site Staff
Hi Adrian, I have a Bavarian, not the easiest of dogs to train but if you want a true blood spooring breed you will not go far wrong. They are also very one person dogs, with brilliant temperments, very inteligent and loving. I would hope Mark H would agree, as I know he has one as well.

Good luck with your search.


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Just to say I agree with Sikamalc. Mine is half Hannoverian and therefore heavier in the body weighing about 35 kg. Lola is a very dominant bitch but also quite steady and happy to sit in the cold for extended periods.
My experience with the short haired pointers on any type is that they get cold and fidgety.
Remember bloodhound means 'hound' which is a very different hunting mentality and can be translated to stubbornness once on a trail, so make sure you train them to follow the right one :D


Rob Mac

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Mark & Sikamalc

Would you recommend a Bavarian to a stalker who hasn't trained a deer dog before? Sikamalc mentioned that 'it's not the easiest dog to train'.

Do you need experience to train this sort of dog?



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Why not train one of your lab's to track deer, if they are trained already for the gun then half the work is done. In fact even if they are getting on a bit they can still make a useful tracking dog. Then in a couple of years you will know exactly what you want from your deer dog, and able to make a informed choice.

Also if a part time trainer has too many dogs at one time the training of one or all often gets compromised.

Tracking is only a very small part of a deer dogs job. ;)

Hi guys thanks for all your comments

The problem with training the lab is they would now rather hunt pheasants etc than anything else deer just dont mean anything to them. On a further note about the hound type do you use this type of dog whilst out stalking as you would say a GSP or is it purley a tracking dog for finding lost deer.


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Hi Adrian
Here's the gen on tracking dogs IMHO. I am quite traditional in the European sence of the word in training. Others just let the dog loose and still come up trumps.
Compared to a lab which is born half trained all other breeds require a little more work but it mainly depends on the energy level of the dog. Bavarians can be a little high energy but so can GSP's just excercise them hard prior to training.

The breed is not vitally important as long as it is of a calm steady disposition and its coat bright white. Also if using high seats a reasonably thick coat helps of they have to lie still for hours.
Your requirement for tracking lost or wounded game hopefully will be limited unless you are clients are really bad shots, therefore I train mine on cold trails like others use field trials and dummies with labs.
Pointers as a general rule air scent so are best on fresh blood when the wind favours the ground your hunting on. Bloodhounds groundscent preferably cold bloodtrail greater than 4 hours old
Training means walking to heel 100% and dropping to silent handsignals 100% for as long as is required.
THe dog should be behind you when you take the shot.
I trained my pup by dragging a fresh skin on the grass witha piece of liver on top working with the mind to my back.
At present I lay light blood trails over 300 yds+ and age them between 4 and 36 hours.
Possibly the most important factor is being able to track without a dog. You need to be able to assess where the animal was shot, how long ago, which direction it went and the habits of a wounded animal vary with the shot position.

I personally feel a GSP would be a harder dog to train as the energy levels are higher and the dog bigger therefore more control required. My other dog is a viszla who is fantastic at finding lost beasts but hates sitting still for more than 5 mins at a time.



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over a good many years i have used 5 diferent labradors trained both for deer and game shooting .I also have a terrier that is very good but sadly all of my dogs are now well over ten years old . I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and was given aGSP pure german bloodlines this dog is the bees knees i can honestly say this dog has never mist a single deer in over three years of use . Any blood hair bone or meat he has found it next day or nextnight no problem but how do you stop it pionting woodcock ? He will retrieve muntjack he will drag roe out of thick cover will hold wounded beast till you get to him absolutly brilliant dut dont blink or he takes the p--s out of you I use him free in clear fell ground but alway use a horses lead rope in the trees on his collar i atatch a bell and if getting dark a small flashing light . As for sitting under a high seat i sit him on a roe sack with one of those neoprene coats on . I have used him on every one of our deer in the uk with no problem at all .This dog is out every day with me doing my pheasants or what ever but dont let him see some one with sweets or sandwidges or you have lost him and yes i do feed him . :D


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Hi Adrian

I am a recreational stalker but having said that I do the following up shot deer for 6 of our 7 syndicate members, being 15min away from the land helps in this. I also help my pro-mate out with some of his guest at weekends if he gets too busy. That said my dog may track around a dozen deer a year, may be the lads are too good shots. :lol:

I use a GWP because the better coat for up here in Scotland. she has no problem following a 24 hr trail despite being a “wind scenter” the wind scenting can be used to your advantage to find deer that have been down a long time and the foot sent is “washed out”. It becomes a bit pointless in my opinion trailing after 24 hrs as your deer will be dead and the venison spoilt or if alive there will be a good chance it will survive the wound (unless you have some idiot head shooting them and he has jaw shot it.) the exception to this is of cause is if you have people shooting Trophies and paying big bucks, pun intended.

My dog will happily sit at the bottom of a high seat for over a hour, but is wind scenting all the time I am stalking with her, so pointing deer is 90% of her job and tracking is only 10% or some thing like that.

You might find the GSP a bit of a different kettle of fish to a Lab’ my GWP was stubborn when she got it into her head to do things her way, :evil: but very very bright once show the way. ;) I was used to some hard hunting ESSs so it was not a big culture change. Having said that one of the litter sisters to mine is as laid back as a Lab’ so you never can tell.

All the best.



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One other thing if you unfortunately believe you are tracking a leg shot deer, you will stand little chance of catching it while your dog is on a leash, even a 3 legged deer will out run you.

So if you suspect a leg shot, small bone fragments at the place of the shot are a sign then you will have to un-leash your dog and let it run the deer down and bring it to bay.

I have always worked mine off the lead but I am not necessarily against the use as it is a good way of training the handler.

All the best


Hi Thar
I run three springer's and a cocker and as you might of read on other threads I'm looking at various breeds for a stalking dog, I love my springer's attitude to life and worried I would be disappointed with any other breed (like the cocker, lovely dog but never again).
Interested as you have had springer's to see what you think.



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Hi Wayne

The only problem is that you need a steady one and the colour is not ideal (too much white.) but it depends how you are going to use the dog. If you are going to just fetch the dog to follow a trail and stalk without him, the rest of the time then the above is not a issue. You could always buy him one of then camo dog coats.

I always drop my dog and go forward on my own as I approach a clearing, cross roads on the rides or any other place I know I am likely to find deer. So the colour thing was not a big problem. Mine was 7 when I turned him to deer and was a hard hunting type, but he soon got the idea that stalking was a different game and their fore what was expected of him ie walk at heel ect.

The hand signals were learnt quickly as I have always used signals in conjunction with the whistle when he was used for rough shooting/beating. The stop/sit command “raised hand” soon became a handheld at waist level, the heel command was just a tap of the trouser leg.

The trailing came easily as it is a very natural thing for a dog to do once he knows you want him to follow that particular scent. At first I used a bells on his collar but by using food treats (I had not use food as a training aid for anything else, and with this particular dog it was a good motivator as he was a greedy bugger) he soon got the idea that he had to get me to the deer/skin when training to get his treat, so once he found the deer he would come back looking for me run on a little then look back for me.

He did in his own way point deer but it was a change of body attitude the only trouble was that unless I was looking at him instead of for deer I would of not notice this always.

My mates ESS will happily pull down a roe buck if he has to.

After you have trained your dog you will have a better idea of what you want from your deer dog and if you then decide on a dedicated deer dog latter you will be in a better position to choose the right breed for you.



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There are couple of saying from the Fatherland

"The best dog belongs to the worst shot" so hopefully you should not need his tracking ability much.
Enjoy the dog first and worry about the breed later. A dog for tracking needs to be mentally steady first, breed is not important.

"A tracking dog growns a leg each year" ie if you are working a serious tracking dog then don't expect miracles. Most dogs steady out at 4 years old. That is not to say they can't track but for the professionals they need to be mentaly steady and if you have teenagers at home need I say more :)

In the UK very few stalkers will admit to loosing a deer, its always a clean miss apparantly :rolleyes: . In my experience with a lung or gut shot shot deer it may not bleed for 25 m and the the spoor may be light. Even on a missed animal check with a dog much further than you think and you may be suprised to fine a cleanly shot buck dead the other side of the bramle thicket.



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MarkH said:
In the UK very few stalkers will admit to loosing a deer, its always a clean miss apparantly :rolleyes: . In my experience with a lung or gut shot shot deer it may not bleed for 25 m and the the spoor may be light. Even on a missed animal check with a dog much further than you think and you may be suprised to fine a cleanly shot buck dead the other side of the bramle thicket.
I will second that Mark, the Reality is that a wound is more likely than a complete miss, and people admit even less to wounding deer than missing.

I have shot deer myself and been unable to find any paint or pins down, but when the animal has been found with the dog it has been a perfectly placed shot.



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Thats a damn fine dog :D

Good to see someone else post pictures, brightens up the forum don't you think.


HI Thar
Thanks for that, I don't think I explained myself very well. I've trained and worked springer's for years. I was wondering how you thought I would get on with a GWP after running springer's and how a GWP dog would get on with my springer dogs?

Many thanks Wayne


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Hi Wayne

I kennelled my GWP with my Springers from a pup, my old ESS bitch mothered the GWP. In fact I had to move the GWP to a separate kennel for a time as I thought she was get her emotional support from the old Springer rather than imprinting fully on me.

The GWP can be a bit of a bully once they find there feet, but I have had no problems with mine they get on fine helped no doubt by introducing her into the pack as a pup.

That said My GWP is from Danish/Swedish line and these are supposed to be not as aggressive of the pure German lines, but as I have not had one to compare to my dog and even then you would need to see a number to get a true reflection. I have heard of a few GWP that were a bit to terrier like for their own good. :cry:

If you are in Dumfries and Galloway at any time you are welcome to come and see my GWP and if you are interested I can put you in touch with the breeder. He has a stud dog out of the world champion coming into the country latter this year.

Hi Mark

Yes your photos prompted me to post one of my own, ;) nice dogs you have as well.



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Hi All,
Earlier this year went on the BASC arranged course by Niels Sondergaard author of "Working with Dogs for Deer" Lectures then practicals.Some aspects aren't relevant to us but they have raised it to an art form.Most informative and humbling was the "Scene of Crime "investigations.A culled pricket was taken to various places and shot in varying positions.Stalkers were then paired, had to find place,placement of shot and action to be taken.Immediate follow up or delay.
The tracking was very enlightening various breeds followed the same spoor.All varying stages of training; Spaniel 90 mph lost track,lab brought back on track every so often,GWP strong point to end of test,Bavarian checked evey slot.All on long lead with harness to feel if dog on correct path.
The pricket was then suspended on a gantry, polythene sheet laid out beyond it and various shots taken to show spread of pins.
My personal opinion was excellent course.The book is a bible.Worth training a dog to a standard but dedicated deer dog no pheasant/partridge.