Will Deer ruin my Game Dog??????

Andy L

Well-Known Member
A couple of weeks ago I caught up with a Young buck and my first shot hit it a bit far back. I managed to squeeze of a second a bit rapid and the beast fell down into the bushes and ditch. I waited a few minutes and then decided, as I had the spaniel in the truck, to let him out and see what he did with a deer scent. Well, he was a bit slow to catch on to a scent but when he did, he went straight for the spot where the second shot hit the buck and then he found the deer a couple of yards away.
So now my question. WHen he found the deer, he imediately grabbed its back end and tried to drag it out of the ditch. He was really reluctant to let it go and I did not want to tell him off for it as it was his first deer. My worry is that this type of behaviour may make him hard mouthed when it comes to retrieving game. He is 4 years old and very soft mouthed. He even retrieved a ducking unharmed which my son kept for 4 months before releasing it onto the fish farm.
Am I worying about nothing and should give him lots of encouragement or should I keep him for just the game and not deer?


Well-Known Member
I am just getting myself a new pup to bring on (lost my springer ) 2 years ago,
she would have nagged at the beast and said look what i got ! .Yup the excitment would be there and relutance to let go . NEW GAME!!. if the dog is biddable then I wouldn;t think you have a problem just an extension of natural talent. I know nowt and there are guys and/ladies out there with
vast experience, who would give you info how to correct, Me personally think you have a dog that shines. My old springer got roe ,red , fallow forelegs to nag on , kept her keen but she still was soft mouthed , she knew when to back off , I still think you got a cracking dog there.


Well-Known Member
There is no correlation between your dog ragging deer and being hard mouthed, my own GWP will kill wounded deer and crunches foxes but ducks, winged pheasant ect are brought to hand unharmed.

My old ESS was a great tracker of deer, but this never made him hard mouthed, the dog knows the difference.

This site has been put on here before, but no harm in putting it on again as it is a good one, read this chaps article on using dogs for deer and game, he knows his stuff.

Best rgds



Well-Known Member
There is no reason why it should make the dog hard mouthed.

One problem with spaniels is that they can be distracted from the job in hand by game scent.

That said, many including myself have had spaniels that will do both.

But not with the same efficiency as the GWP



Well-Known Member
dogs for deer

the kennels you mentioned i know quite well me and my son attended a best practice day at Bowhill near Selkirk a few years ago Chriss was giving a talk and demonstration there it was spot on . Very informative and the demo with the bringsell was rely good to watch . This man knows his stuff and said on the dayif any one would like to phone him he would help them if he could i dont know if this still stands


Well-Known Member
I would think it would. He was involved with doing the “Best practice, dogs for deer” that the Deer Commission has formulated.

Best rgds



Well-Known Member
dogs for deer

If any of you know where Peter kirk used to live just outside Hawick he lives in the same house taking over from peter as wildlife manager for till hill when peter joined the red deer commission as it was in them days if this is any help to any body visiting the borders in the near future . Or if the deer commission do any more days try to get on them they were doing 6 i think all around Scotland very informative with quality speakers and demonstrations and best of all it was FREE no basc, bds ,getting cash out of us a nice certificate afterwards and all you could eat as well one of the best days out we have had and the offers of stalking we got was unbelievable . The only NO NO was they had just shot the **** out of the reds with helicopters so you were not aloud to ask about this as the controversy still goes on . My son asked if he could have a go at it and got a clip round the ears for it one of the stalkers involved


Well-Known Member
hi andy
from all the books i hav read and info from other stalkers, the general comments were
train your dog for deer only then if you must introduce it to game do so at a later stage dog it's life , with the veiw that once deer is installed in the dogs brain first of all then , when introduced to game it should then know when it is being asked to track a deer , as this was the primary training it had , likewise with starting them on game first then moving to deer , it's primary instinct will be find the game first the deer second
my spaniels and O/H's labs hav prooved this therory for me on several occassions though all hav found deer thier concentration wandered as soon as they got on fresh pheasant scent
thats why sika will be a deer dog for a few years yet, before she is used on game if at all
hope this helps

Andy L

Well-Known Member
Thanks for that. It has now led me to another question.
Which is easier to train, a game dog or a deer dog?
I have to be honest and say that my spinger was far easier to train than any of my prevoious labradors. He had it in him from 8 weeks old and no matter what I did with him, he was aways going to be a good rough shooting dog and retriever. So, does the same ring true for some deer dogs. Can they be born with it??
I think that might be 2 questions, never mind!


Well-Known Member
i can only honestly comment on dogs for game, as i hav trained a fair few
start with the hunters
springers are natural born with the hunting instinct in them just you need to iron out the finer points and get a bit of controll

cockers these days the breeding has turned them into little pocket rockets and you again just need to harness the energy (i blame joe shotton for this)
where as yesteryears cockers were trained first then taught to hunt last as it sometimes took 2 years to get them started

labs are a little bit more sedate and easier to train and respond to training and commands quite quick

as for a deer dog
i played it safe with my first one , hence a lab , nothing wrong with there ability just knew how easy a lab was to train , just used a different method of training


Well-Known Member

My lab does both retreiving and tracking to a reasonable standard but all of the experts say if you want a dog to be truely briliant at either then it needs to be dedicated.