Dog days of winter
Oxford Centre coyote-hunting gang member Robert Hird with a pair of his Walker Foxhound/July crosses. Jeff Tribe/Tillsonburg News
It’s more about the dogs than the coyotes for Robert Hird.
“Some people have a hobby of golfing, this is mine,” said the Oxford Centre coyote-hunting gang member. “And I like listening to the chase.”
Hunting hounds are an integral component of the Oxford Centre gang’s methodology. Simply speaking, the dogs are put onto fresh tracks, trailing and flushing coyotes from cover, accompanied by aurally-exciting ‘tonguing’ (barking) toward strategically-placed hunters.
Hird keeps six dogs: Moon, Molly, Goose, Sally, Sam and Si, Walker Foxhound/July crosses combining the former’s tracking abilities with the fact the latter have a tendency to be aggressive, “and fast,” says Hird, adding breeding is important.
“You breed a good one to a good one to get a good one.”
It takes roughly a year to train a pup says Hird, who mentored the one-year-old pup Molly with 10-year-old veteran Moon Saturday. Patience is important, Hird continued, along with remembering to not shoot a gun off too closely to a young hound.
That, along with not taking coyote hunting too seriously, are about the only hard-and-fast rules for the Oxford Centre gang.
“If you do, you’ll be told,” said Hird.
Snow is definite asset for tracking, colder better than Saturday’s soft, melting variety, due to the fact it holds scent better.
“They did very well today for what the weather is,” Hird concluded with a smile, following a four-coyote count on a warm, sunny morning.
“Pretty proud of them. Guess I’ll feed them another day.”