Hunting with Hounds: Is it Fair and Ethical?

Show Notes

Austin Tomlin is law student, author and deer Houndsman. He has grown up deer hunting in Virginia both still hunting and with hounds. Austin is so passionate about his hounds and deer hunting that it motivated him to write a book. The book titled Deer Hunting with Hounds - A Southern Tradition is more than a tale of heritage and tradition. This is a well written book with cited works that addresses some tough issues facing all Houndsmen.

It matters not if you are hunting deer, raccoon, opossum squirrels, bears…you name it. This podcast showcases some great information that will help us succeed and sustain our passions.

Show Transcript


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Welcome to the Houseman XP podcast, everybody. Thanks for tuning in this week. And [00:03:00] man, I'm, I've been looking forward to doing this podcast for a long time. we're right in the height of deer season and the conflicts. are abundant. I've got neighbors that are, they're crying about dogs barking and dogs running around here.

I've had to put the young dogs up and keep closed tabs. It's pretty stressful for me, but I'm, I am happy to have Austin Tomlin on the podcast and Austin contacted me, man, it's been a while back. How long has it been? How long was that? Awesome. Was that back in it's

probably been three or four months.

I think it was this summer.

Yeah. Yeah. And Austin has written a book called, uh, deer hunting with hounds, a Southern tradition. And when I first got contacted by Austin, I was like, Oh boy, here we go. It's another opinion piece justifying hounds with objective [00:04:00] thinking and my great granddaddy told me, and he's been doing this and I've been, my daddy and all of us have been doing this.

It's a tradition. And we know how that goes. People start posting stuff or writing stuff and it's, it comes from an emotional based opinion. Platform. And so I really didn't pick up the book. It was laying there on the table. I'd thumbed through it and looked some pictures and there were pictures of deer and dogs and kids.

And on my recent trip to New Mexico, then I took it with me because I was bound and determined to read that thing. And what I saw was an answer to a lot of the questions and a lot of the problems that, that I have. Been asked and addressed and tried to do different differently with fish and wildlife agencies.

This thing is a masterpiece when you get into the center of that book and you start talking about fair chase. And it's I was just impressed, Austin. I was impressed with the [00:05:00] work you put into it, the way that you've cited the biology, biological studies. We're going to get into all of that.

So welcome to

the podcast. Yes, sir. Thanks for having me. I'm looking forward to talking to you. I've been excited about this for a while now.

Yeah. Yeah. And so Austin, tell us where you're from. Tell us, we're gonna, we're gonna get a little piece about you and what motivated you to write this book.

Sure. I'm from Southeast Virginia. I grew up in a small town called Carlsville Virginia, in Alawite County. I do most of my hunting in Southampton County. I grew up dog hunting. I killed my first deer in front of dogs when I was six. I grew up steel hunting. I hunted with the bow and muzzleloader my whole life.

And after, after, I graduated high school, I went to Hampton, Sydney. I majored in philosophy, got a degree there, and that's where I really learned that I enjoyed writing. Found my love for it there and [00:06:00] that's where the idea for writing a book about deer hunting with dogs Began yeah,

you sure you get a degree in philosophy.

I looked in. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. It's It's a good degree to go into law school with

We joke around about You know getting together and talking philosophy and stuff, but this is gonna be this is gonna be like the real deal We're going to talk. Oh, yeah.

Yeah. All that. I learned how to think about in those philosophy classes.

They really taught me how to think objectively and be open minded. And I hope that showed in the book. Yeah, it

did. It sure did.

Yeah. But after I graduated college, I went to law school. I'm currently in my third year of law school at Campbell University right here in Raleigh, North Carolina. I should be graduating in May and then I'm coming back home and I'm going to join a small practice in Suffolk, Virginia.

And I lived there the rest of my life.

You got plans, man. You got plans.

Yeah, but I wrote this book because there's nothing, there hasn't been anything written about deer [00:07:00] hunting with dogs in a book, there's a few articles online that you find. But in most of them, they're extremely uncharitable.

They, the author's obviously never been, so they have a two or three sentence explanation of how deer hunting with hounds works, and then they provide their opinion on whether it's ethical, unethical, whether it should or should not happen. And I wanted to write. Something that people could buy and pick up and have a, at least a basic understanding of how deer hunting with hounds works.

And I wanted to clear up some of the common misconceptions in all those little articles. And when you talk to people who haven't really been deer hunting with hounds, there's a lot of. Misconceptions, the deer catch the dogs that the deer has no escape route. Things like that are common from people who

dogs run all the deer out of, they run them into the next state and never see them again.

Yeah, and it's easy to think that way when you've never done it or you've never read something like this. [00:08:00] So at least if you can't go deer hunting with hounds, at least you can read this book now and get a charitable in depth explanation of how it works, and that was my goal and I hope it's worked.

Yeah, it's a, it's one of those pieces that it's very unassuming and it's I've referred it. I've actually referred some of my I'm not going to say friends, some people that I know that have some real concerns with hounds and their effects on deer hunting. And after I read it and I found the bibliography in the back, I've forwarded that bibliography to multiple deer hunting experts, and got there.

At least encourage them to read the studies, read the book and I'll be the first to admit, I did this for a living and in wildlife management and I don't get excited about reading peer reviewed fish and wildlife studies, Seth Hall, that guy he'll devour that [00:09:00] thing in 10 seconds and he just can't get enough of it.

And so my advice to the listeners of this podcast is I get it, man. That's technical stuff. Get a copy of Austin's book. And read that because it puts it, he, he lays it out in a way that we, as houndsmen can relate to it. And I'm sorry for, we're here to talk to you, Austin. I just got some things I want to lay out and I want to make sure that anybody that turns a hound loose reads this book, just if nothing for nothing else for.

The information in there about the effects that hounds have on deer and deer movement and things like that, because I've been looking for resources like this for a long time. I'll tell you a quick story probably in the early to mid 2005 6 era there we were looking to expand the, [00:10:00] Coonhound training season, running season here in Indiana.

And we went to hearings and different things. I was with the Hoosier Tree Dog Alliance at the time. And the only study that I knew of at the time was the famous South Carolina study of coon hunting and hounds and their effects on deer. And I always thought let me get back to the story and then I'll tell you the, my, my wrap up, but so we go into the meeting and deer hunters that are already lined up a biologist to come in and talk about that.

And they already knew which study I was going to pick. And he picked apart the South Carolina study based on habitat differences in habitat between South Carolina and Indiana. And he really did a good job of discrediting it in our position. Whereas, if I would have had things like the Georgia study, the Texas study, all of these studies that have been done by the Journal [00:11:00] Journal of the Southeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, most deer hunters don't realize we get a ton of our research information and biologists right here in Indiana base their opinions and their management practices on what they're doing in Georgia.

That's a huge one. If I would have had some access to those studies, then I could have taken them totally off their game and said, what about this study? This is where a deer is chasing or a dog is chasing a deer. That's their target species. So I was really excited to read this off.

Yeah, those studies were, they weren't easy to find.

There hasn't been many studies conducted specifically on deer hunting with hounds, but there has been a few. And I tried to get as many as I could into the book. They're just, it's very limited on what you can find. But the most recent study I think was from 2003. So that's at least helpful.

Most of the studies I [00:12:00] think were from the seventies and eighties, which was a little, a long time ago, but. But the land hasn't changed, but so much since then, there's more development, but there's still large tracts of land where the similar behavior and there's similar things going on with the deer and the habitat as there was in the seventies and eighties, so I still rely on those studies, but that's all I have to rely on. There's not many studies out there. I wish there would be some more. Studies conducted like these older studies have been where they focus, they radio collar deer, they figure out where the deer's home range is before the season, and then they intentionally turn dogs loose on those deer and see what happens.

That, that kind of study hasn't been conducted in 20 years that, that I've seen, deer,

but Wildlife management is a big complex thing. You got to look at habitat. You got to look at the common term urban sprawl, developments, things like that, but deer in and of themselves, they, you can put a house somewhere in the [00:13:00] middle of of nowhere.

And once the deer come accustomed to you being there, they're going to come up to the window and eat the, your landscaping. We see it all the time. So deer are highly adaptable to that sort of stuff. And they have not evolved to the point where human intrusion and different things like that are going to push them out just because I've decided to live here.

I think it's something we need to be on point for, and I hate to see it as much as anybody but. Trying to say that deer have changed in 20 years or their behaviors have changed. It's totally unacceptable. And it's just not true.

Yeah. And I see it in my experience every year that I go hunting.

We run the same bucks all year round. We'll see the same buck multiple times after being ran before. It's just it's hard to change people's minds with my personal experiences, and that's where I [00:14:00] think these studies come in, come into play. The ones that we, we do have to work with, but We run, we get bucks on trail camera all summer long.

We'll have them on trail camera during dog season. We run them multiple times. They might not be killed and we'll see them again next year. The deer. It's the dogs don't have a substantial effect on a deer's home range, at least from my experience and these few studies that we've found.

That's what it shows. And I don't know, I think that's one of the common misconceptions out there that people think that when a dog gets behind a deer, that deer's gone. He's gonna be ran a country mile out of the block and never to return. But that's just not the case.

The science doesn't say that, does it?

The science doesn't say that, my experience doesn't say that. Everybody I've talked to who, hunted with dogs for 50 years, they'll tell you the same thing. Yeah.

And I, we talk a lot about science based management and we talk about, I made the comment about my daddy, my granddaddy, type thing.

[00:15:00] We can't discount that firsthand experience. Those old timers, a good hunter is a good hunter and they become good hunters because. They're perceptive and they see things around them. They know where deer are going to move. They know how that deer is going to move. They know what time of day that, wildlife's moving.

So we're not trying to discount the value and the wisdom and the knowledge of people who have been doing it a long time. What I'm trying to accomplish here is giving people the resources that when they're in a conversation. With a deer hunter that's trying to tell them this, they can have science based facts for that person and give them an opportunity because in this day and age deer hunters love to talk about, they always love to talk about science based management, it's trendy it's fad, we'll, all these guys talk about, their favorite they see their favorite deer hunting [00:16:00] celebrity use phrases like science based management.

And now all of a sudden they're saying science based management too. And if we can hold them to that, the science is on our side. I

completely agree. Yeah. As a spirit experience alone, it's just, it's not enough to persuade people who've never done it. And with these studies, you can talk to somebody and show them, look, here's what the science shows.

Deer are returning back to their home range more often than not within 24 hours after being chased with dogs. And a lot of times, specifically in one study I have here, They turned out 200 plus dogs in every hunt and the majority of the deer were, yeah, the majority of the deer returned back to their home range during the hunt while the dogs were still in the block.

These studies are, they they support the experiences we've had. And I completely agree with you. If we got these [00:17:00] studies on our side, we should use them. We should make people aware of them, especially people who. Claim that the deer are substantially affected by dogs. It's just not true.

If I had

access to this kind of information and it was, this was happening back in the day when, the internet was only 10 years old at the time, probably. And I wasn't real savvy on using it. Not the information isn't as available as it is today, but sitting in that way. I can think of one, one statement that I could have made that would have ended the whole conversation.

Do you believe in science based management? Everybody agrees. We all believe in science based management. Yes. Okay. Here's my study that says that it doesn't affect them. Where's your study that says that it does? Yeah. So conversation's over at that point. Yeah. And I

haven't been able to find a study that shows a substantial effect on.[00:18:00]

Did you look? Deer's movement? Deer's desired home range? Yeah I've looked. I've gone through, I've looked the Virginia has done a couple studies on deer hunting with hounds. I think one was called deer hunting with hounds, a way forward. And then there's another study that they've done.

And in both of those studies, there's a long list of citations at the end of those studies. I went through. Every one of those studies that I could get my hands on some of them. I couldn't get access to they were they were unavailable. They were cited back then and now they're not on the Internet anymore.

Or I had to pay us a lot of money to get access to it. But those were rare. The ones that I couldn't get access to. I was able to read most of them and m. I never found a study that showed a substantial effect on deer popular on deer movement and desired home range, now there's outliers in some of the studies, but that's not but they're outliers.

[00:19:00] They're like the biggest outlier that I can think of relating to deer's desired home range was there was one deer in a study. That took seven days to return back to his home range. That's the longest I've ever come across in a study that a deer stayed away from his home range after being chased with dogs.

Now in that same study, all the other deer returned within 24 hours. So this was a rare case. I don't think I've come across any other studies that showed deer staying away from their home range more than 24 hours, other than that one outlier. And

these were all specific to turning dogs loose to run a deer.

They're not out there chasing a hog or chasing a bear, chasing a raccoon, or even a beagle chasing a rabbit. I think there's a big misconception out there by people who don't know that just having the presence or the intrusion of the man and the dog there is [00:20:00] going to somehow, uh, totally mess up their ability to hunt that property.

It's run for the season. The mature buck is gone. And that's, these studies show that we're there for the purpose of finding that mature buck, turning a dog loose on him and running him to see when he comes home.

Yeah. They put radio collars on these deer and then they'll monitor their home ranges.

So they'll figure out before the season in the fall, where are these deer living at? Where, what's the furthest they'll go away. From where they're generally at and where they, so that data will be used to determine their home range basically, um, and then once they know where the deer is normally at before the season, then they can use that to determine what, where the deer goes after the dogs chased on there.

So they'll intentionally turn dogs loose on these deer that are ready. see where they go and then see how long it takes for them to come back if they come back at all. And in [00:21:00] every case they come back and more often than not, the deer are back within 12 hours. Almost always they're back within 24 hours.

And that's just what the, that's just what the studies show. I've read studies that have been conducted in mountainous habitat in Western North Carolina. I've read studies that have been conducted in Virginia, Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and all of them show the same thing. The deer is not substantially affected.


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You'll go right to Onyx maps. And when you check out, enter the code HXP20 and you will get 20 percent off of your order. Know where you stand with Onyx. So I just had a conversation last week with a guy that made a post on Facebook or Instagram, I think, showing pictures of some neighborhood dogs that are running through the, running through in front of his, one of his cell cameras.

And he was all alarmed about it, asking for advice. And I know this guy fairly well. And I said, do you really think that we need to provide a platform? For people to get on there and start talking about,[00:23:00] shooting dogs, I thought it was very irresponsible For him to do that, especially in the position he's in he's fairly influential in the outdoor world.

And I said, man, let's talk about this. And he goes these dogs came through there, ruined my hunt. I said, what do you mean it ruined your hunt? I said, it may have the hunt, the way you wanted it may have changed, but my experience has been, I've spent. hours and miles. And I wouldn't even say months on foot out in wooded areas.

I've seen dogs that the neighborhood strays come through. A deer comes busting by me. And then you see that the mutts come right behind him, and they're like, yeah, looking for the deer. And while I'm standing there, that does running through there. And all of a sudden, if you stand still 15 minutes later, here comes a buck.

Sneaking through and sneaking, he's [00:24:00] actually running the doe that the deer, that the dogs were chasing. It's amazing. And that's, that goes back to that non science based experience, but it's valuable experience that I think we get trapped in our own paradigm of how a hunt should go. And then when it doesn't go that way, we think, Oh, I screwed the whole thing up.

I'm the same way with hunting hounds. I, my ideal bear hunt is to cruise down a forest road, get this rig strike from the box, put the dog down, get the bear up and, get the cold trail and get the, get everything lined out and then pour dogs in behind and stuff like that.

And then you catch the bear, but. Just because it doesn't go that way, doesn't mean my hunt's old.

Yeah. We've had numerous standards shoot deer that were chasing does in the middle of a hunt, while dogs are running in the block and they're, and they'll have a doe come through especially when the season opens and the rut's going on, we, standards don't come out of the woods during the hunt because you never [00:25:00] know what might happen.

And these bucks are, they're not bothered by the dogs. They might stay bedded down if they hear dogs around. We have seen. I've been sitting on the edge of a cutter before and watch dogs walk 10 yards past a buck and the buck never move and the dogs not smell them and they keep on going.

They'll do that. They might stay down, but for the most part, it just doesn't affect them. I and I recommend people who don't deer hunt with dogs and live in an area where it's possible that dogs might be on your, Run a deer through your property. I take advantage of that. You some of the biggest deer that are killed in Virginia each year are killed by steel hunters who end up shooting a buck in front of dogs that were from a neighboring club, and if you hear a pack of dogs around your property, I say go get in a tree stand.

You never know what they might be running. You never know what might come through your property. Take advantage of it, and if you have a pack of dogs come through in the middle of your steel hunt, don't leave. It's [00:26:00] those deer have heard dogs before. They're not getting out of their bed unless they get jumped or unless somebody shoots around them or unless it's been a while, it's been a couple hours and they're starting to feel the pressure, they might get upped in.

Be patient, that's what I tell people, take advantage

of them. One of the things that I've tried to convince some of my neighbors up here, And I think a lot of this energy and griping and complaining and just absolute resistance to dogs being on property is directly related to trail cameras and especially cell phone trail cameras.

They're getting instant updates, they're seeing this stuff I get pictures from my neighbor all the time about dogs on his property and not just when it's my dogs but any dog I said, Chris those dogs are through there every day. Day, they are there, a few times a week and before you had cameras in your camera system, they were there, you just didn't know it, it didn't stop you from hunting,

Don't you still saw deer, you still and how many times do you think a coyote [00:27:00] walks through there, That's exactly right.

Similar, it's not the same thing.

And I've thought about this, I've thought about this. If presence of a threat, a predator, whether it be predator or a perceived threat by deer, move them out of an area. Imagine what's happening with coyotes, wolves, Bobcat are a favorite target for the Midwest.

Deer hunter now because they think they're just raping and pillaging the deer herd. And that's an anomaly when a bobcat kills a deer. That is sudden. Yeah,

oh yeah. Yeah, I didn't even know bobcats killed deer. I thought they were too small to make that happen.

I'd say your coastal bobcats probably are.

But, you get a 35 pound bruiser up here, a 30 pound bruiser. From the upper Midwest and yeah, they're capable and there's actually video evidence of it, but they're not the terrorist hit squad on deer, like they want it to be. I think a lot of times deer hunters just need an [00:28:00] excuse as to why they're not killing big deer.

Cause everybody's killing big deer. Look at them on Facebook, so they're looking for reasons why they're not successful. And I'm not saying all this, I am 100 percent pro landowner rights. A person's got the, should have the right. To dictate what happens on their property. And I'm not advocating that we abandon that at all.

But, as a landowner myself, I've dealt with landowner conflicts my whole career. And, when I was working, you'd always start getting these phone calls at the beginning of the... Before season came in, it's Hey, my neighbor's got a tree stand ten yards from the property line, it's facing my property.

I know he's gonna shoot a deer on my property. I'm just like... Who's your neighbor? I some guy from Indianapolis. Have you seen him out there before? He's he goes, Oh yeah he's been out there the last three weeks. I said, did you stop and talk to him? Introduce yourself, make a [00:29:00] neighbor out of him.

Let him know that, that, and build a relationship is no. And I said, until you do that, I don't care about his tree stand on his own property.

Yeah, you got to communicate. That's something that, that I think could be done better in every aspect of hunting, but especially in the dog hunting community, we got it.

We got to communicate with each other. That's important for the hunt itself is planning and organization and having those walkie talkies and being able to communicate during the hunt. Good. More importantly is communicating with the landowners and especially the landowners who don't dog hunt in the area, if you have landowner who owns a farm doesn't let you dog hunt, but you hunt 1000 acres beside it.

Go talk to them, introduce yourself, tell them you're the president of the hunting club, we hunt this do you hunt, find out if they hunt and if they're going to, this is more, it's more important for when they're small pieces of land inside of [00:30:00] larger tracks, have, communicate with those small landowners and ask them if they're hunting, if they hunt on Saturdays, say they work all week and they can only hunt on Saturdays, Don't hunt around them if you can, most of these clubs around here got 5, 000 acres at least you can communicate with these landowners and try to coordinate to where property rights issues don't happen, because, okay, you work all week, we can hunt a different block on Saturday and stay out of your way and you'll stay out of our way and everybody will be happy, but I think a lot of people are scared to talk to those landowners that are against dog hunting or They might not be against dog hunting.

Maybe they just don't want, they just don't want hunting to happen on their land. But we got to talk to those people. Communication is key. Talk to the landowners, talk to the neighboring hunting clubs, the steel hunters around you and create a good relationship with them. Yeah. That's if you can create a good relationship, problems can be taken care of without law enforcement coming out there and [00:31:00] without things escalate.


Yeah. See, that's the. That's the issue right there is, when you read these studies that you put together, the ones that you cited in the back of your book, I think hunters, we just don't as houndsman, we haven't learned how to take information and make it work to our advantage yet. As a community, as a whole, few of us are, it's good to see that I'm going to give you a chance to practice your litigation skills here in a minute as a young attorney in training.

But. It's hounds when we've got to find ways to use information in our event to our advantage. And what will happen is these studies are out there. The biologists collecting this stuff, the only thing they care about is getting the right information, getting it in a peer reviewed study, getting it published, getting it to their higher ups.

The reason that we as [00:32:00] hunters need to understand this sort of stuff is because going on Facebook and complaining about your neighbor that Doesn't allow, he hates hounds and stuff like that. That does zero, nothing. It does nothing for our cause, but being able to go to a fish and wildlife meeting and where they're looking at new laws to pass about hunting with hounds, if you can go in there.

And not have a narrative that this is my right, my heritage, and I've been doing it for 40 years, and I ought to be able to keep doing it if you can go in there and say, here's this scientific study, here's this scientific study, here's this and lay that out in a logical way, undeniable way, then you're going to be victorious, or you're going to have a much better chance of being on the winning end of that debate and, but what I've seen in the past, Is houndsmen are really unorganized.[00:33:00]

They have no desire to find out what the truth is. And I've said this before that when we talk from an emotional based platform, we are no different. Then the animal rights activists, that's all they have. That's where they come from every time. And when we fall into that trick bag, we're doing exactly the same things that they're doing.

So learn, understand, read, figure it out. And I want to wrap the show up here in a few minutes with some solutions, but. One thing that, that I want to maybe do here, Austin is I'll put, I'll set the scenario. I'll be the landowner from your attorney based litigation standpoint, you're going to have the opportunity to refute what I say.

Okay. So we'll have a little debate here. I just bought 15 acres and it's [00:34:00] ordered by your 5, 000 acre hunting club. And I like to deer hunt and I'm from the upper Midwest and I just got transferred down into Southeast Virginia by my company. And I bought this 15 acres and I'm going to deer hunt on it.

And the only way I know how to hunt is with cell trail, cell cameras and tree stands and things like that. And so I'm sitting out here in my tree stand and here I, I hear the hounds coming, deer, they come, deer run by me. Dogs run across my property that I paid for and they've run my hunt for the day and now the game warden is called and where do we go from here?

Mr. Deerhunter, you ruined my hunt today.

That's an accident that's gonna happen when you hunt 15 acres surrounded by 5, 000 acres of dog hunting woods, it's not something that we intended to do. We didn't turn, we didn't, we're not going to turn [00:35:00] dogs loose on your 15 acres and we do everything we can to prevent the dogs from crossing that 15 acres.

We have GPS collars, we monitor these dogs. And we're able to tone the dogs to, to correct their behavior and. Every now and then we're just not able to prevent the dogs from crossing property lines and it's an accident. That's uncommon, especially it's becoming more and more uncommon with GPS technology and stuff, but it's something that we will continue to try to get better at and prevent.

And if I'm talking to this individual specifically, I would, I would apologize for the dogs crossing his land, but I would also tell

him that it's a reality. Apologies don't cut it here, man. I only get a few hours a week to hunt and last week I had a mature buck on my cell phone camera and I saw your dogs come through and I haven't seen him for four days.

You only have, you only, you're only hunting 15 acres. A mature buck doesn't stay on [00:36:00] 15 acres. That's all I've got. That's all I've got. I'm just saying that there's reasonable alternatives as to why you haven't seen that buck in front of your trail camera recently. Can I hunt your


Yes, you're more than welcome. Since I've only got 15. That's

where I was going to get to next is come hunting with us. Somebody like that who buys 15 acres, first thing we're going to do if you're, if you seem like a decent person and respectful, we're going to invite you up to the hunting club.

Come up to the hunting club and eat dinner with us. Meet the guys. See if, let's develop a relationship and if you want to come hunting. Are we going to hunt

with hounds? Are we going to hunt with hounds?

yOu can come hunting with hounds. Or you can become a member of the hunting club and hunt with hounds when you want to and steal hunt.

We do both. I

don't, where I come from hunting them with hounds is unethical. It's, it gives you an unfair advantage.

whY do you think hounds, hunting with hounds is unethical? How would you define ethics?

It's something that, I see it all the time. These [00:37:00] dogs are running down the, through there.

These trucks are lined up along the side of the road and guys are standing out there with shotguns and rifles. And as soon as a deer pops out on the road, they're firing shots down the road and wounding deer and just all kinds of stuff. Ethical sitting in a tree stand and hunting deer that way.

If you're going to claim that dog hunting is unethical, then we at least need to know what you mean by unethical. We don't, if you can't give us a definition of ethics, then we don't know how what your standard is here. So what's your standard of ethics? And then maybe we can see how you think dog hunting doesn't fit into that standard.

I define ethics as a set of principles or values used to guide one's decisions. So if that's how you define ethics, then we need to know what your principles and values are that you use to guide your hunting. And if dog hunting, how dog hunting doesn't fit into those values and principles for [00:38:00] you. It's my position that the most common values used in deer hunters is what I call a deer hunter's ethics.

And my book are shared by dog hunters as well, respect the land. Follow laws and regulations. Respect the animal. Respect the other hunter.

But how can you respect the animal when you're turning, when you're turning 15 hounds loose? That's no respect for the animal. When I'm out there one on one, I'm the only predator in the game at that point.

And it's between me and the deer. It's not between me and the deer and these dogs that are going to run every deer in the county.

We respect the animal by taking good shots, good clean shots that are gonna kill the deer efficiently and using all the meat up. We don't waste any of the deer.

And also, I would say that it's not necessarily, you're not completely one-on-one with this deer. I would, I feel like it's a safe bet to say you're probably in a tree stand. You're probably using a gun. or bow, some kind of a weapon. You probably got camouflage on. Do you use trail cameras? Do you have a food plot in this [00:39:00] 15 acres?

All of these things provide you with an advantage that I think dogs give us to, we have, we, everybody has an advantage over the game that's being pursued unless you're going after that animal with your bare hands, no shoes on and tackling to the ground. Oh, any other but dogs are no more of an advantage for deer hunters as the tree stand, the long range rifle, the food plot, the trail camera, all those things give us an advantage.

Dogs don't give us any more of an advantage. We're able to follow. All the laws and regulations respect the animal being pursued and land and hunters and we abide by the fair chase principle, all things that other deer hunters do and which is why I think deer hunting with hounds ethical, so if you're going to claim deer hunting with hounds is unethical.

First, we need to know what you mean by unethical. What's your definition of ethics is and what are your values and principles that you use to guide your life [00:40:00] underneath that ethical umbrella? And if you can't tell us that, then we're at a loss for the discussion here, so be more, you said you're not familiar with deer hunting with hounds.

You just moved up here from Northern United States.

So what it's damn Yankees. I moved down here and I'm never coming back.

Yeah. Yeah. So how could you have any experiences with it in the first place? So given that I'd say, try it out, come to the club, eat dinner with us, hang out with us. Play poker with us and then come hunting with us,


All right. That

there's a lot going on there.

Yeah, there's a, that, that conversation right there, if you can do that with a cool head, then, you got a chance here. When would you bring in, when, when would you bring in the data, the studies, the things like that. If you were litigating this case, say you've got, you've been hired to represent someone who is charged for trespassing and,

when [00:41:00] would you bring in the data or would you at all?

When they specifically make an objection related to the studies. So most people, they say it's unethical. Then you got to ask them what, why do you think it's unethical? And if one of the reasons they give for saying it's unethical is because it pushed it, it alters the deer's behavior.

It alters their desired home range. And it's unethical to cause an animal to do. Then you can point to these studies that show that's not the case. Also if they claim that dogs have an effect on deer reproduction, there's a study in my book that shows that's not the case. Once, once they bring up those specific objections, see that. The problem is most people don't know what they mean when they say something is unethical or ethical. They haven't thought about it enough and boiled it down to what that actually means. Which

is the purpose that's a purpose why we produce this podcast so that when.

A hunter engages in this debate and he says something off the cuff [00:42:00] like hunting with hounds is fair chase. What do

you mean? What do you mean by fair chase?

We as houndsmen have to be able to define that. We've got to know what we're talking about. If we're going to say that it's ethical. Then we've got to know what ethics means and be able to back that up.

And when I see studies like this, it puts tools in our kit to be able to prove our point, but we can't get tripped up all the time. And that's where I see the failure of, I sat in multiple fish and wildlife council, natural resources commission meetings and all this sort of stuff. And everybody wants to go up to the mic and pound on the podium and say, I've been doing this forever.

This isn't right. This is America. I've got rights under the constitution, blah, blah, blah. But they never get down to a reasonable conversation. There's just a guy or two that can do that in a crowd of, hundreds [00:43:00] of hounds. And that's what it takes. Yeah.

So yeah, when somebody says it's unethical, it's not fair chase, don't immediately respond, throw, throwing your opinion out there.

You need to first figure out what they mean. Oftentimes, if you attempt to try to figure out what they mean or try to get them to define what they mean and understand it themselves, their argument starts to crumble, as you break it down, but you got to break these arguments down. You got to know what you mean, know what you're saying and have.

And have these studies to support you if they try to, if they try to break the argument down into specific objections, have these studies to to counter those. Yeah. And that's one of the reasons I wrote this book is because I hear, I see so much on Facebook, especially Facebook with Houndsmen, yeah, houndsmen responding to steel hunters and anti dog hunters in ways that just, it just doesn't make sense, you need to think about it a little harder.

And I hope this book gives some of these deer hunters, the tools to respond to [00:44:00] these objections, to respond to these common arguments, especially that it's unethical. It's not fair chase. Those should be easy conversations. Not, they're complicated conversations. Because it's a, they're vague terminology, but it should be easy to determine if you're talking with somebody who knows what they're talking about after two questions, what do you mean by fair chase?

What do you mean by ethics? And if they can't tell you that, then it's almost hard to have a debate at that point.

And it's one of those deals, again, you've got to know what those definitions are before you ever step into this thing. It's it's you're not going to walk in the ring with a professional boxer.

If you haven't trained a little, at least a little bit and expect to walk out of there without your face smashed, so when you walk into this conversation, be prepared, be armed with the truth, be armed with the facts, but also have the knowledge and the [00:45:00] wisdom to know that a lot of times they don't care about the facts.

They've, they're emotionally charged, they think they've had their heart run for the day. My advice for that is don't engage them at all.

Just yeah, you got, you can't, you gotta have a cool head. You cannot blow up in these arguments and they shouldn't be called arguments. They shouldn't be debates.

If it escalates into an argument, you should really stop talking, but keep a cool head, stay open minded. You're going to run into those people who. Who don't care. I'm against dog hunting and I'm never gonna be for it. No matter what you tell me. You can't do anything with those people.

But there are a lot of people out there who just don't completely understand. They have an opinion based on false pretenses. So if you run into those people and they're respectful, they have an open mind, then you should. Yeah, try to understand how they're thinking about it. Maybe they don't understand exactly how it works.

And if that's the case, explain it to him, take 10 minutes out of your day and explain it to them [00:46:00] how it works. Exactly. Maybe point to some of these studies, tell them to read my book if they want to learn more about it. But there are people out there who aren't aggressively against dog hunting.

They just never experienced it. And there's nothing out there for them to learn about it. So take the time and be open minded with those individuals. At least take them, I've had. One of my best friends, he goes deer hunting with hounds with me every year. He goes once or twice with me every year, and he didn't start until we met in college, and he absolutely loves it.

He's been steel hunting his whole life, and he looks forward to coming down to Southeast Virginia every year.

Yeah, I'll tell you what, man. It's in this day and age, it's like people we just don't want to move off of our paradigms. We get caught in this paradigm paralysis And we're, we entrench ourselves on some of the dumbest issues and it's polarizing and that's what drives it.

When I say don't engage [00:47:00] there, there's going to be nothing that is going to push the abolishment of hunting with dogs more than you losing your cool. And end up with your mugshot on the evening news, because it's not going to say Joe Smith got arrested for beating this guy up. It's going to say deer hunter attacks, landowner in Southeast Virginia.

That's what, deer dogger, something like that houndsman. So it's not going to be productive. And that's what I've taken away from your book. Austin is you have written this thing that is. Non offensive, it's non challenging, it's just factual. You did a great job of putting the intrinsic values in there.

The values of hunting with kids and family and all this stuff. I want to talk about some solutions that we as houndsmen should be looking for. And especially the, you guys have got a unique situation. You've [00:48:00] got clubs, hunting clubs. And the coon hunters used to have clubs and they're dwindled, but let's talk about some real solutions for playing this game effectively in our communities.

And I'll just start off, Mark Booth runs Southern Hound Hunting Magazine and out of Vidalia, Georgia. And I went down there for a deer hunt and we had a great day of hunting. We took some veterans down there. And Mark laid it, set this whole thing up. He had landowner buy in, he had community buy in and he was showcasing the fact that his club was taking America's wounded veterans or America's veterans on a hunt.

So he's showing that his club was giving back to the community. So let's talk about some of those options that these clubs can be. Steps that can be [00:49:00] taken to be more successful and be more accepted in their communities. Yeah.

The wounded warrior wounded veteran projects that, that, that stuff goes on around my area too.

I think central hill hunting club hosts a number of veterans in the ally county. For a hunt each year. I think it's Central Hill Hunting Club and Orbit Hunting Club.

Freedom Hunters is an organization. I'm sorry. Freedom Hunters is the organization that we're involved with. I know we They do deer hunts in Virginia, and we do stuff in South Georgia.

And yeah, it's been highly successful. So

I'm sure that's probably the same organization too. They do a similar thing around home. That's a great, that's a great event that, that should continue to happen. Other than that, just be involved in the community. Yeah. Go around to your landowners and people who just live in the area and take some meat to them.

Take some deer meat to them and offer them something like that. Just go up there and introduce yourself. Hey I'm so and [00:50:00] so the hunt master at the club. Here's my number. Here's my name. If you have any problems, call me. But you got to develop these relationships and you got to communicate and other than Communicating and developing a relationship with your community.

Just follow the laws and regulations, you know that don't do anything stupid don't Don't trespass the deer is not worth it Dogs not worth it. And we're all setting an example for dog hunters across the nation with it with everything we do so Continue to follow laws and regulations.

Don't trespass Don't shoot where you can't shoot and hunt, hunt legally and develop a relationship with your community,

Yeah, the clubs, yeah,

the clubs that fall apart are the ones that. They lose touch with the local landowners and then they eventually lose land. And then next thing you know, the only thing they're hunting is leased timber land.

And then that timber company doesn't want dog owners anymore. So there's no longer a club there. The

[00:51:00] attitude within those clubs can be infectious, one good or bad. I've seen several clubs over the years where they became an exclusive club where, they go behind their closed doors and they get this attitude that the whole world's against us.

And they're secretive. They don't get involved in community. And everyone that I've ever seen do that is failed miserably. Whereas the clubs that like in Indiana, you can enroll your organization in an adopt a highway program where you can go out every hound hunter has got a pickup truck and.

You pick a day in June or July or May or when the weather is good or whatever and go out and clean up a roadside ditch, you've got obligations, you pick up some trash. Now you get a sign up there that said this highway is sponsored by so and so hound hunting club. That's all good image.

And then you stay engaged and you make sure that you don't just take meat to the [00:52:00] neighbors. You invite them up on a night that you're having a. a banquet dinner, just invite them up to Hey, we're having a community night at the club next week, and we're inviting you to come up.

And when people start putting those faces together, maybe they have a harder time, shooting darts at you're trying to shoot holes in your boat. Clubs need to start doing things like buying 4 H. This lamb was bought by Vidalia Hunting Club or whoever it is, Bear Branch Houndsman.

Anyway, you can get involved in the community. I recommend doing it. Like you said, invite people up to the hunting club. There's plenty of clubs around the area, including ours that invite landowners, people that don't hunt with us, they just come up there and eat dinner with us, meet people and get along.

That's how it should be. It's communal activity and it doesn't exclude the people who aren't hunting in the hunting club. It includes the people surrounding the hunting club and everybody's got to be a part of it. Even if you don't hunt, at least [00:53:00] have somebody's phone number to call if you have an issue or a problem, and let's communicate.

But when silence takes over an area. it's inevitable. The demise of that club is inevitable, and it just you got to communicate. It's important. And along the same lines is as a as this is, I want to urge houndsman everywhere to take advantage of the GPS collars that we have nowadays. I don't think I don't see many people nowadays not using Garmin GPS collars, but we should be using that technology with the advancements in technology that we've had over the last 15 years.

It's become much easier to prevent property trespass, dog related trespass, and we should be taking every advantage every opportunity we can. to take advantage of that technology and prevent it. And that will also help. Ease relationships in the community, we're taking advantage of the tools that we have to try to prevent any problems.

And we're also [00:54:00] developing a relationship with the community and that's just what you got to do as a club to, to stay alive and continue to.

And we all know, as much as we spend time as we spend out there hunting, we know what landowners are volatile towards houndsmen. And so if I'm watching this on my GPS, my experience hunting, last three times I hunted there, the dogs ended up over there and I had to call them back or whatever, I can use my Garmin at that point.

I know which way, I know where it's going. I've seen this, we've been doing this for years and that's a new landowner. Those deer always run that way or that coon always runs that way or the bear or whatever. And now the guy that owns a property doesn't want my dogs here. So you can simply do a recall takes a little more effort to teach it, but he talks about that all the time on his podcast, the journey about training techniques.

So if you're. [00:55:00] There's no excuse. It's capable of being done. When you can send a police dog on a full send at a bad guy and stop that dog halfway down and put him in a down, you can teach a hound to return to you on a tone. Yeah

we have some really good, trained deer dogs and at our hunting club.

We have they'll come to load up, hop on the tailgate, get in the box, don't even have to put your hands on them. And I've seen they're all tone broke. There's no excuse for them not to be in my opinion at this point with Garmin GPS collars, they should be tone broke so you can call them off, but I've seen deer on a full up.

Dogs on a full sprint across a field on a track and houndsmen presses the tone beep. The dog slams on brakes, turns around and comes straight to the truck. That's how,

You're going to take the drive out of those dogs, Austin. Those dogs, they won't chase deer like that next time if you start toning them.


It's not very often now. [00:56:00] And I will say we never, ever Shock a dog. I know some people who, who have done it and do, but we never shock our dogs. We tone break them and

there you go. You tone. Rarely you do the tone breaking away from the hunting situation. Yeah. So you've, but


It's an, it's a tool that's there if they're like in that case where the deer was running straight to a property. We know we can't hunt and we have an opportunity to prevent the dogs from crossing that property line. And if you can do it, that's prevent the dog trespass, but it doesn't happen very often.

You're not, it's very hard to get in a position like that where Yeah. where you're looking at a long, a big field and you can tone break the dogs and the dog stops and sees the truck and knows exactly where to go. But they're all tone break, broke. So when they're not hunting, they're not on a track.

We can tone them. They'll come to your voice. Yeah. But yeah, so if that's, if you can. I think there's no excuse for houndsmen in the deer world to [00:57:00] not have their dogs at least tone broke so they can get them out of a place quicker. And if worst case scenario, I know you say it's not good for the dogs, but worst case scenario, if you have to break them off of a track so they don't go on somebody's property.

Yeah, I was saying that facetiously. That's the kind of feedback I hear all the time. Yeah, you can't correct the dog around a tree. You can't correct them for this. It's yeah, you can. Sure, you can. You do it. We do it all the time. Training your hound is no different than training a police dog, a Labrador, a bird dog, to woe, to stop, to do all this other stuff.

It's just simply something that hasn't been traditionally done and going back to the old timer and I could speak because I'm getting to that age, there's just some things that we get entrenched in and we think it's bad. 25 years ago, it was a bad thing to pet a hunting dog, don't pet that dog.

He's a hunting dog. And now we see people whose hounds are living in the house and they're catching lions every day. And. And, [00:58:00] it's some of the old mindsets have been debunked. We used to drill people holes in the tops of people's heads to relieve headaches. We don't do that anymore.

It's not a, it's not a good practice.

My, my great granddad, he used to, they used to turn dogs out and then just go back home after the hunt and the dogs didn't have collars on. They would come to the front porch of the house at night and he'd go out there at night and they'd be sitting on the front porch.

He'd put them in the kennel, but you can't do that nowadays. And there's no reason to do something like that with college we have but it just shows you how much things change over time. That was just, three generations

ago. That brings up something very interesting because a lot of the studies that you included in your book in the synopsis of the study, they talk about, the effects of deer and blah, blah, blah, and how to, one of the studies that, that I really dove into was the best management practices and current status [00:59:00] of deer dog hunting in the Southeast.

Okay, so that study was largely about it's happening. What are we going to do with it for the future? And we talked about, some things that clubs can do, but all of those studies talk about cultural acceptance, the world's changing folks. And if we don't figure out how to change with it and stay in front of it and think strategically for the future, then we're going to find ourselves.

Without being able to turn dogs loose. And there's a Eric Hoffer made a statement that I've always looked at when I was in leadership and different things, but it just served me very well. It said, it goes like this goes, the learners will inherit the earth while the learned. Will inherit a world that no longer exists, find themselves beautifully prepared to, to deal with the world that no longer exists.

Meaning [01:00:00] that people don't learn, keep on learning. And if you think you've got to the place where nobody can tell you anything, the world's changing every day, you're going to find yourself. In a world, you don't recognize,

I completely agree. You never can stop learning, especially in the career I'm going into the law changing

is there by the minute, every minute the law is changing court rulings, different things like that.

I think people are going, especially the folks in Virginia, people in your club. I think you're going to be an asset for the future houndsmen, Austin, I really do. It's really an anomaly to find someone who, you know, just as evidenced by your book, you got down in that thing and you wrote something that, that is going to be useful for anybody.

Fish and wildlife managers ought to read your book to get an idea of who we are and where we come from, and then apply [01:01:00] that and see that not every houndsman out there. Don't paint us with broad brushes. A guy like you with your skills and your training as an attorney, you're going to be valuable.

I hope so. I want to see my grandkids shoot a deer in front of dogs, and I wanted to continue. I hope it does. I'm going to do everything I can to see that happen.

For sure. AuStin, thanks for taking time. Tell our audience where they can find your book and help put it, help put us starving.

College student through law school. Yeah. It's

called deer hunting with hounds, a Southern tradition, and you can find it on Amazon. If you do buy a book from it, from Amazon leave a review for me, please. I haven't got, I haven't had many reviews. I've had, I've sold some books, but not many people leave reviews.

So leave a review for me. Tell people what you think about the book. And you can also find me on Instagram or Facebook. If you'd like to buy books from me in person, they're a little bit cheaper in person and I can try to make that happen. And [01:02:00] if you read the book and want to reach out on Facebook or Instagram, and we can talk about what you think about it.

I love to hear how, what people think about the book and I'm always willing to talk. And Mr. Powell, thanks for having me on the podcast. I've really enjoyed this. It was a good conversation. Yep,

You're more than welcome. Awesome. Keep up the good work. I just want to make sure that everybody got your taglines, your handles on Facebook and Instagram.

Where do they find you there?

Yeah, on Facebook, you can probably just type in my name's Austin Tomlin, T O M L I N. And on Instagram, my, my name, I think it's. A Tomlin 70, or it's either a Tomlin 70 or a Tomlin 15. I'm not, I need to double check that, but either way, find me on Facebook is probably the easiest way to get in touch with me.

I would recommend that direct, send me a direct message if you want to talk and I'll give you my number and we can talk on the phone.

Sounds good, man. Sounds good. Thanks for tuning in everybody to this week's episode of the Hounsman [01:03:00] XP podcast. Hopefully this conversation was beneficial, entertaining, but most of all, make sure you're keeping a cool head out there.

Think progress, think into the future. Don't think about today. Think about where we're headed. I'm always glad to have, some deer, deer dog guys on the podcast and let everybody know, we're not just thinking about bears and coon hunting and lion hunting and stuff like that.

There's a lot of opportunity out there. I've only participated in one deer hunt with hounds. I had a blast. I saw a side of a bunch of houndsmen that that it just opened my eyes. I went into that situation with some preconceived ideas. At the end of the day, I saw guys that were just as passionate, conscientious about what they do as what I do.

And if we're going to make this thing work into the future, we've got to break out of our own little tribes and [01:04:00] go experience Deer dogs and running rabbits with beagles and chasing a bear. And, it's not just a one dimensional world and we're never going to make it a bigger impact until we come together as a hound hunting community and back our brethren, whether they're chasing deer, bobcats or whatever they're doing.

So make sure you check out our, all our stuff over on our website, man. It's we're loaded up there. We're selling the fire out of those join or die hoodies right now. I want to tell everybody a little bit about that. So I'm more than happy to tell you that the profits for that. Shirt and that sweatshirt are going directly to CRWM, Coloradans for Responsible Wildlife Management.

Initiative 91 out there, the animal extremists are coming after science based wildlife management there, making it an emotional issue, and trying to outlaw lion and bobcat hunting out there. That's going to have a wide [01:05:00] ranging effect on all wildlife management in the state of Colorado. And don't get caught up and don't think that it doesn't affect you because it's Colorado, because Colorado is just a launching pad.

There's already designs in Montana, Nevada, and New Mexico that they're going to carry this fight on to. We're already starting to see some of it coming up in New Mexico now. So help us help them help your brothers in Colorado. And take a big bite out of this thing that full of salt on our hunting rides.

So go to houndsmanxp. com. It's a join or die collection. We'd love to see you purchase one of those and help Colorado Houndsmen. All right, Nick, until next time, thanks for tuning into the Houndsman XP podcast. This is fair chase.[01:06:00] [01:07:00]