Blood tracking dogs
The tracker is a dog that can track its prey and make it move by barking. Sensing that a dog is following it, the game takes off on familiar trails to escape.
Dogs do not catch the game; they track it using their sense of smell. The game usually maintains a good distance between itself and the dog. Depending on the animal and weather conditions, a period of thirty seconds to twenty minutes can go by between the times the game and the dog pass over the same spot. Dogs can also completely lose track of the animals, which can be very good at tricking hunting dogs. Many people think that the dog brings the game to its master and the master just has to wait. However, the dog is not in charge of the hunt, the game is. The hunter must anticipate which way the game will go in order to cut it off in its tracks. Each tracker dog is trained to track one specific kind of game.
Breeds most often used in Canada and the United States:
The beagle (33 to 38 cm at the shoulder), a short-haired dog with varied colours, preferably tri-coloured (black, white and tan), is the choice of hare hunters. Beagles also compete in field trial competitions for dogs specialized in hare hunting.
The American foxhound is mainly used for fox and coyote hunting and for field trials. Its size is 53 to 63 cm at the shoulder. It has the same colours and qualities as the beagle: very active and very willing to hunt.
The coonhound or racoon dog differs a little from its foxhound cousins in its hunting style. It tracks the racoon while barking, making the animal take refuge in a tree. The dog must bark and remain in place until its master arrives.
In Quebec, the most popular breeds are the Black & tan coonhound, the Bluetick, the Plott, the Redbone and the Treeing Walker.