Tracking Dogs Require Special Licenses

Around the first of the year, I like to scroll through the documents on my computer, seeing if any need to be in a file together, or maybe deleted. This year, I found a document from 2008 about black bear tracking dog licenses. There are no notes to indicate why I would have saved this information and I have no recollection of why I saved it, but, save it I did, which led to research.

I checked the 2019 regulations, and in New York state, if you want to teach your dog to track black bear, you can get a special license that allows you to put out bait, and to “track, trail, pursue and tree black bear for training purposes only.” The 2019 fees are the same as those in 2008 ($25 for one year and $100 for five years.) You may not injure or kill any bear you attract. Dogs used are specified, and two more breeds are on the 2019 list. The dogs, which must be licensed and have their rabies shots, must be a purebred, or a cross of, an Airedale, American Black and Tan Coonhound, Bluetick, Redbone, or English Coonhound, Karelian Bear Dog, Majestic Tree Hound, Plott Hound, Mountain Cur, Leopard Cur, Black Mouth Yellow Cur, or Treeing Walker.

Trainers must have a valid hunting license, and, if working on state lands, a special permit. Permission from land owners is also required.

This search led me to the Leashed Tracking Dog License, which is a license for an individual to “use a certified trained dog to locate dead or wounded white-tailed deer or black bear.” If you’re a hunter, you can use a licensed person with a dog to help you find prey that you’ve lost.

A tracking dog offers a great service, not only to the hunter to retrieve his deer, but to help put suffering animals out of their misery. Thirty-six states allow the use of leashed tracking dogs to locate wounded game. I could find no information on whether or not they may be used in Hawaii.

In New York state, the person with such a dog must have a hunting license and can’t charge for his services, unless he also has a guide license. Any breed of dog may be used but it must pass the tracking exam with a score of 80% or better. Information online includes information on how to train your dog to track deer and/or bear and they also suggest breeds that may be particularly good at following “cold” or aged tracks.

They include on their list 13 different breeds, but they list “curbreeds” and that group contains 14 breeds. According to rover.com, the word “cur” refers to “any of several North American ‘working’ hounds that have been bred to hunt, herd, or protect their owners’ farms and ranches.” These include American Leopard Hound, Black Mouth Cur, Blue Lacy, Camus Cur, Canadian Cur, Catahoula Leopard Dog, Kemmer Stock Mountain Cur, Mountain Cur, Mountain View Cur, Parnell’s Carolina Cur, Southern Black Mouth Cur, Stephens Cur, Treeing Tennessee Brindle, and the Yellow Black Mouth Cur.

A list like this just makes me head for the computer to see what they look like and how they came to be. The Stephens Cur and Parnell’s Carolina Cur are named after the families who developed them. The Blue Lacy is the official dog breed of Texas.

Many of the breeds are found mainly in one specific region., but the breeds of dogs don’t stop there when it comes to good tracking dogs. Besides well-known breeds like the Beagle and the Dachshund, there’s the Dachsbracke, a breed of Austrian origin, bred to track deer, boar, hare and fox. The Drahthaar is similar to a German Wire Hair Pointer. The Hanoverian Bloodhound (the American Kennel Club calls it the Hanoverian Scenthound) is a gorgeous brindle or red dog with a black mask and black ears. The Deutscher Wachtelhund is a medium-sized dog that can follow a track that is up to 40 hours old.

If you’re a hunter and a dog lover, consider training your dog to track wounded deer or bear. Check out dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife–pdf/ltdguide.pdf which includes information on how to train your dog. You don’t need to actively hunt to train such a dog, but to be licensed, you do need a hunting license, and must be able to kill the wounded animal if the hunter is not with you.

Contact the State Department of Environmental Conservation to find a licensed tracker.


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