Best gun for hunting elk

Discussing the best breed of hunting dog for various game is kind of like arguing whether a Chevy or Ford is better. But, we’re going to take a crack at putting some definition to the hunting dogs discussion.

While many breeds can be hunted on several species of quarry, we’re going to only use a breed of hunting dog once – forcing us to choose wisely which breed we’d want if pursuing that animal. Hopefully this allows us to cover a wide range of breeds and gives you a better idea of the strengths of each dog. So, use our hunting dog guide for picking out your next pup and let the debate begin.

Duck Hunting Dogs: Labrador Retriever

Without a doubt, the best all-around waterfowl dog you can find, Labradors were bred for marking, retrieving, and delivering waterfowl to a hunter’s hand.

Their physical attributes make them perfect for cold-water retrieving: a double coat for warmth and water repellency; webbed feet; a compact, muscled body; a thick otter tail for balance and maneuverability in the water.

As perfectly suited physically as they are for swimming and retrieving, what separates the Labrador from other retrieving breeds is its intelligence. In particular, Labradors mature faster than other breeds, which allow them to grasp training at a younger age and handle the learning curve of taking whistle and hand signals at great distances while performing blind retrieves, as well as the complex concepts involved in field trials.

Plotts can find old scent and track it over heavily wooded hill-and-dale that black bears call home. They’ll fight and tree a black bear in a pack or even by themselves (although it’s unadvisable to let them square-off alone). Descendents of German big-game dogs brought to the New World in 1750 and used for wild boar hunting, Plotts were developed in the U.S. – in North Carolina by the Plott family that still resides in the area and still breeds the dogs.

Recognized by the United Kennel Club since 1946, Plotts only received recognition from the American Kennel Club in 2006 – despite their lengthy and well-documented ancestry. But for houndsmen and big-game hunters, recognition by a governing board is of less concern than performance in the field … as it should be.

Mountain Lion Hunting Dogs: Bluetick Coonhound

Perhaps the most elusive animal in North America, mountain lions, can live just about any place where there are enough deer to feed them. They prowl, almost invisibly, close to homes, towns, and near hunters, hikers, bikers, and campers. To track this big cat, you need a hound with a good nose and stamina. When cornered, the hound needs to have the tenacity to stand toe-to-toe with a powerful enemy capable of killing with ease.

The bluetick coonhound, can pick up an old trail – key when cutting cougar tracks – and follow it with just enough speed and more than enough staying power to corner a cat in a tree or on a cliff’s edge. The bluetick’s ball and chop keeps the cat moving, or bayed when the time comes.

Recognized by the AKC as a standalone breed in 1946 (they were originally categorized as foxhounds), blueticks are descended from the Bleu de Gascogne hound of southwest France, the English foxhound, the cur dog, the American foxhound, and the black and tan Virginia foxhound. Purposefully bred to be slower and colder-nosed than foxhounds, blueticks have enough athleticism to keep up with a cougar.

Squirrel Hunting Dogs: Mountain cur

Bushytails. They’re often the first game a child is allowed to hunt, and they’re part of a rich hunting tradition – especially throughout the South and Midwest. You can hunt squirrels by spot and stalk – walking through the forest and sniping them; sitting and calling to the territorial rodents; or you can use dogs to locate and mark them and then take a shot.

Almost every dog enjoys chasing squirrels, and nearly any could be trained to bark up bushytails, but the curs and feists are bred to do so – and they do it with enthusiasm. The mountain cur, brought from Europe by settlers of Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, historically hunted squirrels and raccoons. They’re an all-around dog that families used for hunting and protection. They’ve been a registered breed with the UKC since 1998.

Mountain curs dominate the Squirrel Dog World Championship, with two making the finals this year and both taking the top-two spots. Sharing a mixed ancestry with hounds, which contribute a great nose and voice, terriers, which added tenacity, and even some shepherd, which allowed the dog to be used for herding purposes, curs are distinctively American; a mix of breeds to be used for all purposes in the frontier wilderness.

Chukar Hunting Dogs: German shorthair pointer

Chukar, the most frustrating and physically demanding upland bird to hunt in the country, require a dog with a good nose and the stamina to keep up. The Mr. Red Legs is notorious for running up the steepest, nastiest hillsides in an attempt to elude (or perhaps kill) hunters. Just as the hunter catches up to the bird at the crest, the birds take wing and fly to the bottom of the canyon just ascended.

To successfully hunt chukar, you need to be in shape and so does your dog. A pointing breed with an exceptional nose works best; the dog can pinpoint the birds without bumping them, giving the guns a chance at an in-range shot that doesn’t come as a complete surprise.

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Popular Q&A

what is the best gun caliber to use hunting elk and/or black bear? | Yahoo Answers

I'm fortunate enough to have hunting rifles in quite a few calibers. The perfect caliber for the shot is generally the one I was going to take with me before I decided to pick up the one I have with me.
All of them are a compromise. For hunting that size game in close cover, one of my favorites is 348 Winchester, but there seems to be a correlation between my carrying that rifle and the opportunity for a shot too long to take with that rifle. If I'm carrying one of my small-bores, I get the perfect shot for a medium-bore. Murphy's Law. The best compromise for you might be 280 Remington…

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