What it Takes to Win

Show Notes

To win the July National Field Trial Championship you have to know what it takes. Heath takes a deep look into the running dog world with 5 time National Champion Howard Owen, from central Missouri. Howard’s love for hounds goes back to his early childhood while coon hunting with his grandfather. Once his grandfather passed, Howard took over his hounds and the rest is history. Howard and Heath talk about the style of dogs and the traits they look for. Howard breaks down the competition world and explains the judging and point system to Heath. It doesn’t matter what type of hounds you run, we all have things in common. Listing in to see how much we are all striving for the same things. The Journey is off to the races.

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] The Houseman XP podcast Network is taking you on the journey. Your host, master trainer, Heath Hyatt, will combine his decades of experience as a homan and as a professional trainer that will light the path forward and make our PACS lighter on this lifelong journey to become better hunters and hounds men.

There are no shortcuts. So lace up those boots and grab a dog leash. The journey begins now.

Hey guys, the journey on Hounds Man XP is teamed up with Go Wild. Go Wild is a social media platform that was made for hunters by hunters. If you guys and gals have listened to any of the other podcasts that I've been on, you know what a huge outdoor enthusiast I am. [00:01:00] I love being in the woods with my hands.

There's nothing more exciting than hearing the thunder of the spring gobbler. I love fishing for trout and the brooks and the streams, and I love being on the river chasing that ever elusive fish of a thousand cast. The muskies Go Wild is the place that I can post my trophies, hunts, and memories without being censored.

But Go wild is so much more than that. It's a place to share your stories, sharpen your skills, hone your tactics, get gear reviews, and shop for anything outdoors when you make a purchase from the Go Wild Store. Everything is free shipping, anything that you purchase anywhere in the country, no matter how big free shipping.

So go down to the show notes, click on the go Wild link at the bottom, and get signed up today. [00:02:00] And let's go wild. If y'all purchase anything from Go Wild, make sure that you're using the Hounds Man XP promo code. And that code is gonna be H X P 10. So when you go in there and you download your cart and you come up to the bottom and it says promo code, add Hounds, man XP to it.

We are going to Central Missouri and we're gonna learn about the running dogs. And you guys have listened to me on the podcast before, you know that several of my dogs have come from Mike Kemp. And they have a running dog in them. In fact, all three of three of my camp dogs have quarter running dog, three quarter tree walker in them.

So this is going to be a learning experience for me and I can't wait to find out the ins and outs. And we're actually gonna do a little competition hunting and know Josh Michaela, [00:03:00] we are not gonna be coon hunting. We are going to be dogging and we gonna be yos. We, I call 'em yos Harold. I don't know how, what you call 'em, but I call 'em yos.

And I've had some dogs that are scared as yos. But today I've got Harold Owens on from Central Missouri and I'm just going to Howard. Howard Owens, Howard. Yeah, it's my accent. I'm telling you. It's the Southwest Virginia. Okay. It's what it is. I'm saying Howard. Howard, but it's that Appalachian slang is what it is oh, okay.

Anyway. Yeah. You're not the first person. They're like, what are you saying? Yeah. Can't help it. It's pretty deep in the roots here. But Harold, tell us a little bit about you, what you do, and then we're gonna get into some dogs and talk hounds. Okay. I run coyote hounds. I hunt on the outside, and I guess you'll learn more about what I mean by outside as the podcast goes along.

But I, [00:04:00] I hunt dogs. A lot of people nowadays run pins and do what I call, they run dogs. I'm actually hunting coyotes and we try to we we don't shoot the coyotes. We run to catch and So that's what I do. It's my love. When Turkey or deer season comes in our conservation department doesn't allow us to hunt on the outside of pens.

So we'll go to a pen, we'll run in there for exercise and you can get a closer look at your hound because he's cooped inside this fence. Whether it be a hundred acres or a thousand acres they're gonna come back by you where on the outside of coyote may never return, and you just have to stay close to your truck or stay in your truck and travel along with them.

And when you go to a pen you get a lot more looks at your dogs on crossings and stuff like that. I guess I, go ahead. Nope. No, I was just going, I was just gonna go back and tell how you got into Hounds. And I know that your grandfather had a big part in this. [00:05:00] So what got you started?

Into the hound world to begin with? I don't remember the first time I went with my grandpa. He took me from the time I was little. I know we went to a field trial when I was five, and I, he gave me the trophy that the dog won and I was hooked. The dog that we won with, I had actually been hunting with my grandpa.

I'd say it may have been a year or two after this field trial actually. But we had a beagle club, and they ran rabbits and coyotes were killing the rabbits, and they wanted us to come in and help 'em kill the coyotes. So we took our hounds over there and all the Beagle Club guys had shotguns and we turned the dog Zeus, and they jumped a coyote.

And I wandered off of my grandpa. I, he didn't care. He let me hunt, and. And I walked in probably a half a mile from where the truck was and I heard a [00:06:00] shot and I looked up across this cornfield where the corn had been picked and a coyote come out across that field. And those dogs were after it.

And that guy had hit that coyote and I actually got to see those dogs close the gap and tackle this coyote. And they just roll. They all rolled. And I think I may have been hooked already, but if I wasn't that for sure hooked. And so I walked across the field and I remember that old man, he gave me a dollar if I wanted to drag that cow out back to the truck.

I didn't know if I could, but I'd have done it for free or I maybe paid him, but he gave me a dollar and I drug that thing and it about killed me, but I got it back to the truck. And that was just the first memory that I probably have coyote hunting and it was a good deal. My, my grandpa one night we were out hunting and we had a coon hunting friend who went with us and he asked my grandpa if I, if he knew of anybody that had Kon dog or that wanted Kon dog [00:07:00] puppies.

And I sat there and I knew I wasn't supposed to be getting in their conversation, but man, I wanted to speak up bad. And I just sat there and thought about that coon dog puppy till later on when I got a chance. And I asked my grandpa if I could have one of the puppies and he said, you're gonna have to ask your mom and dad.

So I couldn't wait to get home. It was about three o'clock in the morning when we got home. And so the next day I was asking, and they said, yeah, and I got a coon dog puppy, and I become a coon hunter until the time that my grandpa died when I was 21. And at that point I didn't wanna let his pack of hounds get away.

And so I bought them from my grandmother and. I couldn't hunt both packs, like I thought dogs needed to be hunted, so I ended up selling outta the coon dogs. And now that's pretty much the rest is history. I'm a coyote hunter now. What kind of, what, and I know you told me this already, but what kind of dogs were you?

Coon hunting? If you hunted them for, that was a good 15, 15 years or so, right? [00:08:00] Yeah. I had Walker Dog, tree and Walkers. The first one actually, this coon hunter, and it's just ironic that it was this way. He had a g that was a running walker that a guy that I got to know later.

He had her and she went to T and Coons and she was no good as a fox hound. And he had her, and she was an excellent coon dog and he bred her to a tree and walker and I think it was a, some Finley River stuff, if I'm not mistaken, on the top side. And so I went. With this half running dog and Half Tree and Walker.

But the running dog part was a great tree dog. And I got me a pup that was a great running dog, but not a good tree dog. He would run to the tree and I was nine years old when I started hunting and hunted by myself. And I remember he would run and he'd shut up and I'd shine the trees and try to find the coon and then I'd take him over there and I'd pat the tree and pet him and everything.

And long story short, he never [00:09:00] worked out. But I moved on. I ended up buying me a black and tan that was a gray dog, but he was silent on track. And I treated a lot of Koons. And at that time, Koons were probably, they were $40 maybe for a good one. And it didn't take me long to pay back $300 that it cost to get that dog.

And having a good dog, I ended up having buddies starting to hunt with me then, so I didn't have to be out in the woods alone, and it didn't bother me to be out in the woods. I was never scared, but. Later in life, I had kids and I can't imagine my mother, my mom and dad let me hunt. They didn't know what I was doing.

I was climbing trees and shaking coons out. I was crossing creeks or rivers that I should not have been crossing as a nine year old kid. But I learned a lot and I lived through it, and it's made me a better hunter, I think. So back to the I guess we, this can get into the, some of the other, so you said the running dog that you bred to actually wood tree.

Yes. Yeah. So for, is that tip That [00:10:00] was her downfall. That was what? That was her down, that was her downfall. Oh. As far as the running dog. Oh, guy was concerned. She, that's all she would do is fall off and tree. The first coon that she come across when she was running COEs, or what was she, what was it? Yeah, she was supposed to be, yeah.

Oh, so she had too much tree in her, huh? Yeah, that's right. For me, looking at that, I've never thought about it. I've never thought that tree was a bad thing, but I guess in the running world, that's not something that is looked, is it's frowned upon. Yeah.

And we can go a whole, I'll tell you, I could probably spend another hour talking on that because it's an issue. I have trouble with the gaer hounds that I have. I have trouble keeping them off of coons. In other words, a lot of time when I go hunting at nighttime, I'll howl and get a coyote to answer me, and I'll either drive or send the dogs to this coyote.

And the reason is if I just [00:11:00] send them into a cornfield in the bottom, where there's a lot of water and stuff. They'll hit a coon a lot of times and them, coons will put up a race. They don't go to a tree like they do for a running dog. I don't know if it's the, if it's the difference in speed or what, but.

We'll have a 30 minute race in a cornfield a lot of times, and it end up being a coon and that's not what we're after. And you can't really, it's hard to use a sh a training collar and train 'em off of it, because by the time you figure out what it was, it's on the ground and they're fighting it, and so it's a whole new issue, but I've got my line of dogs I've had them tree coons. They put their feet up on a tree, look like a night champion, and I'm aggravated when I get there, and I know most coon hunters wouldn't understand that, but it's an aggravation. So what line of dogs are you?

Oh. So let's go back to your, let's backtrack to your granddad. You said that your granddad passed away when you were 21, and that you decided that you were gonna let the coon dogs go because you wanted to keep his line going. Is that still a [00:12:00] line that you have today? Yes. Yes. So yes. I've started there and I've just kept breeding on and, That's it's a part of me that that I won't let go now, what kind of, what, so what dog, what kind of li what line is that? Is that the line that y'all have developed or is that a line that you've just carried on from others? Or how does that work? Tell, explain that to me. Yeah, I'll go back in my grandpa's history just a little bit.

He had a line of Walker dogs that was Glover's powerhouse. He was a real famous stud dog. And the Glover's powerhouse dogs were the ones that I watched catch the Coyote. My grandpa somewhere in there he got outta dogs because of his job for just a little while. And when he got back in, he got connected up with a guy that had July Hounds.

And he bought these Julys and they were off of a real famous July stud dog. And he took and he bred them on. And when he got 'em, he was just amazed. At how fast they could run. [00:13:00] They would clear a barbed wire fence or a woven wire fence with barbed wire on top and gain so much ground on his hunting buddies', dogs that he was just tickled to death that he was able to buy something like that.

When I got his dogs, I took 'em to a field trial and I didn't know anything about it. I had always let him do the conditioning and all that. So we went to a field trial and my wife was actually my girlfriend at the time and I knew where there was a really good stud dog that I wanted to breed my dogs to.

I had a guy come up to me and ask if I would sell him this puppy I had, and I didn't really wanna sell it, but he had a litter made to that stud dog. And I said, I would trade you for him. And I was just joking cause I didn't think there was any chance. And he said I'd trade you, but I'd have to have a hundred dollars difference.

At the time I didn't have a hundred dollars, but my girlfriend did. And so she gave me the a hundred dollars. She said, we're partners on these dogs. And I said, the worst part about that is we can't break up [00:14:00] now if I like this dog. And her name was Quigley. My name's last name is Owen. And so we used a o q and that's my kennel name.

Every dog I've got is named say I had one named Ruben. His name was OQs Rocking Red Ruben. And the kennel name is stuck. We've been married 34 years. And so it's just, it's been a long story that, branches out and we can go a lot of different ways from here with the way it's gone, so I wanna learn more about, so you're running, basically running a July Crossback dog? Actually when he got back in, he got into July's. The July's did have a tad bit of walker in them. But he liked the July he stayed straight July, and I have too since that time. My dogs may have a 1 128 walker in them.

But the glover's powerhouse dogs, when he got out, he sold those dogs. It's pretty much straight July now, so what puts a curiosity, what puts the tree in [00:15:00] those dogs? Is it just because they're so gamey that they don't care wherever it goes, they're gonna, they're gonna park it there?

Or is there something that goes back that's causing that, that tree to show up? I think it's the Gaminess. I've tried different breeds and some of 'em don't do that. Some of them, oh, I had some puppies here one time. I let 'em run loose and break themselves. And I had a fox around here.

Was somebody shot the fox or whatever? And I didn't have anything except rabbits and squirrels and they got the tree and squirrels for me and they were just gaming hounds. And it was just that particular line. And so I really think it's just the ganess and the more tracky a hound is, the more likely he's gonna tree.

If you and Kyle hunting, you can have a dog, I call him a heads up dog. They run hard. They don't put their nose to the ground, they just wind it. And those kind of dogs don't treat much because they pass the tree looking for the scent, at such a speed and they may come back and look around, [00:16:00] but they're not likely the tree like a tractor pound is.

And if you have the dogs that do park get parked, how do you break, do you ever break 'em from that or is that just something like you said you cater or your hunting to make sure that you give them less opportunities to do that? Yeah. That's how I do it. Yeah. I'm not gonna go in a tree and pet 'em.

I, I was maybe scolded 'em or whatever, verbally. I don't whip 'em either. I just I get 'em off of it and I go try to put 'em in a good opportunity to jump a coyote. Yeah. Yeah. And that's one thing a lot of people don't understand when it comes to training. And I hear this a lot with possums and coon hunters, my dog trainer possum, they scold the dog.

They use e on it. They do every, and I've done it too. I've done it, everything under the sun. But they have, you gotta understand that negative attention is still attention. And it's like the kid that knows he's gonna get in trouble, but he does it anyway because his parents aren't giving him the attention that he needs.

And then it's like Dennis the Menace, that's what happens [00:17:00] with the dog. And, I think what you're doing without even knowing your world, That, you just go put 'em on a lead. You don't speak to 'em, you go do the next thing. And then eventually thought I'm not getting paid for this, so this is not worth my time.

Yeah. And I've had some luck. Last year I had dogs jump a coon and I had corn fields on both sides of the road and the coon coons and cowes, we love hunting in corn fields cuz they'll getting those rows and give you a real race. The coon crossed the road right behind my truck and one of my dogs happened to catch it, as it crossed the road.

And I jumped out. I, before I even got completely outta the truck, I heard the coon squad. I get right back in the truck and I push the button and I lit that dog up. He thought the coon was what did that. Now the rest of my dogs still will bump a coon, but that dog air, he won't mess with a coon anymore.

So he had a negative experience, didn't he? Yes, you've done some, you've done some elimination training but he had it in his mouth. That's what people don't understand is[00:18:00] you took that opportunity when the dog actually had a halt of the game. You do not want him. And when you're not in involved then that, that, that stimulation comes in, the dog pairs that with the ant.

That's just like dogs fighting. You shock a dog for fighting. They think the other dog's doing it. A lot of times that causes worse problems, but no. Yeah. So just talk to me about your hunting. Like you say you hunt on the outside, feel like I'm in jail. We on the outside now instead of the prison in the confine.

But, so let's talk about outside and then let's talk about, I wanna know some about your competition on the inside of that too. So let's talk about the outside. How what style of dog are you looking for? What is your. If you could pick out a dog, what is something that you're looking for your own benefit?

I guess the way I'd start that is I'll talk about what I have now. I made a cross and they were heads up swingy type dogs. The daddy was that way, [00:19:00] but the daddy learned, after about, he was two years old, I think when I started noticing him closing in, when they, let's say the game turns 90 degrees, they keep going straight.

He would go straight for a half a mile and if there was a highway there, he'd hit the highway and keep going. He was an aggravation. But as a two year old he started closing in on those losers and tightening up, and he became a dog that he was smart enough to know when to tighten up, and he was smart enough to know when to swing, and that made him a really good cow dog.

He could. Gain ground by swinging. And maybe not running a hundred yards of that track and still going full blast. And when he got to the track where the coyo, where he picked the coyote back up he, he was closer than he was when he lost it, but then he also didn't go two miles in the wrong direction sometimes.

And so I bred him his pups, they were too swingy. I had six of them [00:20:00] and five of them were really swingy and one of them wasn't. And I ended up, I've only got one left because you can't have a whole litter of pups that go the wrong direction on a lose you. It's hard to train them.

It's, i, to be honest, to answer your question, I like a Trackie dog, but a swingy dog or two in the pack doesn't hurt a thing because like I say, they may gain ground on the cart where the rest of 'em lose and hunt it. And then hit that track and get it going again. The Plenty Dogs maybe gained a hundred yards on the coyote.

And then I want those tracking dogs to be the kind that listen and pull up to the bark. And I don't want 'em to just run that track behind all night, which that's another issue that you can run into with a Trackie dog is they wanna run every bit of that track and they'll be behind the rest of the race.

But right now I'm hunting at night. I hunt, hunt at night usually, oh. April is when I start hunting at night. The days are, they start getting hotter. And I like [00:21:00] the corn fields. Corn fields, right now they're getting about thigh high, which is about right for those cos to get in those rows.

And you may be able to sit in one place in your truck all night and listen to this race. And by talking about this race, sometimes we'll catch four or five coyotes in a night. And so you could sit there in one spot. Listen to this race. They bay it. You I'll walk in, walking in through a cornfield through 200 rows.

Sideways is not fun at nighttime when there's dew on the corn, but it is just something I do. We'll go into the catch the coyote's not worth anything, but I've got sheep and I'm trying to kill coyotes and it's good for me. And all the farmers give me permission because they went to coyotes killed.

And so that's the way I hunt at night in the wintertime. Stay at the truck and all the crops are out. We have probably I'd say 60% open ground and 40% woods. And so the coyotes will go from the woods through the open ground and in the truck you get [00:22:00] to see a lot of it. And it's exciting, especially, if you get to see a pack close in and catch a coyote or whatever.

It'll get your blood pumping, get your adrenaline flowing, and so daytime, nighttime, those are two different things. Then in Turkey and deer season with it not being legal, I'll go to a pen. We call 'em fox pens because the first ones were stocked with foxes. Now almost all of 'em are stuck with coyotes.

Foxes go in go into den or whatever. If they're run too much in the pins they get run enough that they get used to going in, into a den. And you may, you might get a 30 minute race and that's it. Coyotes will stay out and run. We go to a pen we'll run. That's for training purposes, conditioning purposes, and also for, I guess you'd call it cooling purposes.

You can see. A lot of crossings. You can see what dog's doing, what you get a lot of opportunities to see your dogs in action. And you can really call a dog a lot [00:23:00] faster in a pen. And he could become a hero in your eyes, in a pen a lot quicker too, if he's doing the right thing all the time.

So that's the three, three different aspects to what I do other than field trial. And then that's a whole new game. Yeah. So you, when you was talking about your dog being swingy, like one of my male dogs spook, he cuts and slashes and that's what I call it. And when he gets uptight on a bear, then that's, he don't do that anymore.

And it's it's interesting to watch exactly what you're saying. How he makes up ground and how he gets out front is because of what. You're explaining is he's able to shortcut the track a lot of times. And he will swing on a tree if he overruns it. And I've got another dog that she's a little bit slower than he is, and she'll pick that tree up and you'll see him on the [00:24:00] Garmin, make that, he'll go past it, make that circle, and then he'll come right back into it.

So what you're explaining to me, I can visually see with some of my dogs and what they're doing, just in a different game. And when you talk about track, like and I get different opinions on this because I've asked several people, like with your running dogs, like what kind of nos are you getting?

Are you wanting your dogs to, I. To pretty much trail up a coyote, jump him and get him going? Or are you wanting to put him on a a track that's already up and moving? What is your style and what do the dogs do? I want 'em to trail it up and jump it on the outside. I think it's critical.

Nowadays there's so many places where you can't run hounds anymore. A lot of the people in different states are hunting in pens, and you don't need a trailing dog in a pen. There's stock with a lot of game dogs that can run around the road and hit a cow [00:25:00] and they start to attract.

But for what I do, I need a dog to steal hunt trail. I just like it too. It's the way I started, and at nighttime will how, and get the coyo to answer and the dogs will go in. A lot of times there's no hunting or trailing. You may hear a little bit of a baying or guy. Yeah.

And then the cow's off and running, so there's no trail in there, no hunting, but. Some nights you can't get 'em to answer. Some nights it's windy and you can't hear 'em very far and you send dogs in and they got a bed, a hunt and trail. And talking about nose I think a nose is the biggest thing I look for.

The number one item I'm looking for because when I go hunting, people talk about with running dogs, people's, they're always talking about speed. And a lot of people think speed is athleticism how fast a dog can physically run. And I think a dog with a good nose will outscore athletic dog every time because the way the field trials work, the judges is scored the [00:26:00] front dog and it's getting more points than the second dog and the second's getting more than the third dog.

And if that front dog's the one smelling it he's gonna stay the front because the athletic dogs may pass him, but they may not be on the track. Nose is, to me is really important. And my best dogs I've ever had an extremely good nose. So what about and this is something that I've run into with mine is now I've talked to different people, owners of the same bloodline that I have.

And I get a mixed review, but my two best dogs are tight on the ground. And I think a lot of people, and I've said it on here before, a lot people think that they're cold, they're hot nosed because they're not opening. And I have seen over the last two year, my dogs are four now, I have seen over the last two years that they'll get off and they'll start working an area.

Like just they'll start working a [00:27:00] holla and they'll go down that, that. That hollow, and they'll just keep, you'll see 'em making circles and zigzagging and you can tell if a dog's working or he is just piddling, just going, straight down it and just taking off.

But you can see them work in an area and, next thing they're a half a mile in there and they're jumped. And of course then they're called or treed pretty quick because they're tight. Is that something you see a lot of in the running dogs or is that not what you guys look for?

I've seen extremes on both ends. I I've seen dogs put their nose to the ground. You could tell when they're smelling the track, just by body language and not bark. Some of them aren't as free of Barkers as others for one one, but I've watched them and they don't bark till they get up and get the track fairly hot and then they start opening.

Then I've seen dogs that maybe are right beside that dog that can't even smell it. You could tell by. What he's doing. He's not wagging his tail, he's not sniffing the ground, he's not getting [00:28:00] excited. He's just drifting along with the dog. And then you've got some that are real free Barkers, and I don't like them if they're too, almost babblers. An old man told me once time he had a dog, had a cold nose and a loose tongue, and you just see that dog barking all over the place. I'd like for to get a mediocre track going before they start open, because I don't want 'em to be letting the guy out know they're coming.

I want 'em to get up on him where we can have a race and maybe catch him, and I hear a lot of the a lot of the cat dog guys too. They, some the couple that I've talked to, they like a dog to be a little bit tighter. They want that, they want him to get up on that cat before he starts opening.

So I guess it's just different in the game that we're chasing and for us. Yeah. Yeah. And I, I don't know anything about mountain lion, but Bobcats, we do run 'em occasionally and my better dogs, and when I say my better dogs are the ones that I think back and they stand out, in my mind that was the cold nosed dogs.

[00:29:00] And those dogs would run a bobcat occasionally. And I've caught bobcats on the ground, and it's an exciting thing. I don't personally look at that as trash. I know some guys would, but I have so much fun doing it. I, if I see a bobcat, a lot of times I'll get my cold nose dog out and put it on him just to see if we can have a race.

It seems like they're, you have to have a cold nosed dog around here to run a bobcat. I don't know if it's that way everywhere, but yeah, cat dog, I could see you really wouldn't want them to bark until they had that track. Pretty warmed up. And a silent trailing dog probably would actually help you.

If you get a Bobcat race going a lot easier than a dog that barked a lot. Yeah. Yeah. So let's go inside, let's go inside the cell block. When you're, when you guys are doing the competition, and I heard, you just talked about, the dog front gets scored, but being a judge in several other areas of hounds like that doesn't necessarily [00:30:00] mean that's the best dog.

So how does the scoring go? How do these things work? And when you say a pen what acreage are we looking at? I know that a lot of the guys down here in North Carolina they're looking, they're, most of 'em got about a 50 20 to 50 acre block is what they're looking at. The journey on Hounds Man XP has teamed up with one tdc, this dual action support for oral health and mobility in our dogs.

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For a person, for a guy to have his own personal pen 40 acres is the lease that's even legal in Missouri. And you can't run very many in other words. Okay. I guess I gotta set it up this way. A guy who owns a pen has to buy the game for that pen. So if you buy coyotes for that pen and it's a 40 acre pen, and five dogs in that pen are gonna cause every coyote to be caught, then that guy's not gonna stay in business [00:33:00] long.

It's not what he wants. He wants to use that pen. So it depends on how much brush is in there, how much open, and in other words, how many times the coyotes the dogs could see the coyote and close the gap by eyesight. So every pin's different. A real thick pin. You can have less acreage than a, a big pin.

Now if you're gonna competition hunt, About the smallest successful pin that I've ever been to is probably four or 500 acres. Normally it's 600 to 1200 acres, I would say is the average pin that we go to that's used for competition. And I've been in pens that are 2000 acres. And the one pen I remember it was in Georgia.

It was 75 miles a road inside this pen and 10 miles around the fence. And it was I think it was 1800 and some acres. Wow. And so we're talking it's a big expense, [00:34:00] but the difference in Kyle field trialing or Fox Heim field trialing and heim field trialing or beagles or a lot of different things.

A lot of times when I was coon hunting, it was four dog cast, or almost always you'd have four dog casts. And in Fox Hounds, all the dogs get turned loose at the same time. So if you have 150 dogs at this pin in Georgia and you turn 150 dogs loose in there it's plenty big to handle the pressure that they, it's big enough that you're gonna have a lot of different packs running, maybe a one dog pack or maybe a 20 dog pack running in.

The co judges are scattered out within this pen on crossings and the local guys know where to go, and they'll set up in their area of the pen and they'll judge dogs as they come through. Now the rules have changed over the years. Field trialing used to happen on the outside only, and that's the way the rules were written.

And now field trials are [00:35:00] mostly, I'd say 80 to 90% in pens. So the rules had to be changed because there's a lot of game in pens. It's not a deal where they're having to hunt or trail as much as they do on the outside. It's it's a deal where we do have a class where you score for hunting and you have a class where you score for trailing, and then we have the speed and drive class.

But a lot of field trials are set up just for speed and drive, and a lot of hunters are anti hunting and trailing. Most of those guys are PIN guys only because a lot of 'em never have experienced the need to have to hunt and trail. So this thing has evolved over time and changed a lot. It seems like to me as a hunter, like you have to have the hunt, you have to have the tr or you should have the trail and then the speed.

Should come at the end of it. To me, that's what you're looking for. For a well-rounded dog. [00:36:00] Yeah for a hunter. That's true. For a runner. Like I said before, a lot of these guys are just runners now. They go to a pen in their own personal time. They turn dogs loose. There's coyotes there, there might be coyotes.

If you watch 'em feed the coyotes there might be 20 coyotes up there eating. They pull in the gate, they open their dog box, dogs hit the ground, and they just are on a hot trail and they run until the guys catch 'em or the dogs wear out. And the coyotes in the pens seems like they work together and switch enough that they don't get caught.

And that's actually a big key. That's something that we try for in pins because we don't want to catch the man's game, even though the rest of the year for me, It's all about catching the game. And so I go in there and I just, I don't do anything different to my dogs. I just go in there and I hope that they don't catch his game.

And if they do bay it, a lot of times the coyote will get behind the electric wire which will keep the dogs back. And I'll go in, I'll [00:37:00] get the dogs and get 'em off of him. Or sometimes we'll get ahold of the cow and put him in a safe spot and turn him loose again and run a different coyote.

But it's a complete different game and it's not really hunting. It's running. And so like you say, in a hunter's mind, hunting and trailing, and then speed and drive would be what you're after. But a lot of guys are hound runners now. So let's go through the point system. So talk let's talk about hunting first.

How do you judge that and how do you critique it? Okay. As a judge you're out there in the woods, you see a dog coming through, and then you. You see him wagging his tail up there and he's snipping around. You can tell he's looking for something. Each individual judge has his, at his discretion can give that dog within the first hour.

You can give him 10 points, and then the point system goes up as the hours go along. So a dog in the fifth hour comes [00:38:00] along in hunting. You can give him 20, I think it's 25 points, I believe. Because it's harder for a dog to hunt if he's tired. So you give him more points if he's doing a good job or if you think he's really Hess hunting, but he's not doing that good.

You can give him 10 in the fifth hour too. It's all a judgment call on a hunting class. And a actually on a trailing class too. But why was it if we're hunting in a pen, would it take five hours to find a coat? No not unless you're, you happen to go to a pen that. Didn't have any game.

Or something like that. So when I'm talking about these rules, they were set up on an outside, and this is the same set of rules that was taken to a pen. Nowadays, a lot of guys don't even have the hunting and trailing rules in these pens that have so much game in them. They've taken them out and you've got old timers or guys who are set in their ways, grew up the old style.

They get aggravated at the young guys for not [00:39:00] wanting hunting. It's just like anything else. You got guys that have different opinions. There's been, splits within the hunting organizations over just guys liking one set of rules versus another set of rules. And the thing is, everybody hunts differently.

And I've done it all, and I like it all. I can see both sides of the coin, yeah. I, and I can. I could see the issue with just the need for speed. I get that. I completely get it. Alright, so you get, so that's how you judge the hunting part. Now let's talk about the tracking or the trailing part.

Okay. So a dog, you hear a dog trailing and I, I ride a horse as much as I can when I judge it because I can get around quicker. So I'll head towards this dog and and these dogs all have numbers on 'em that we judge 'em by the number on their side. That's how we know a difference. And so we paint numbers on 'em or I like white dogs and I use black hair dye.

And so you get in here, [00:40:00] you see the dog trailing. You decide as a judge once again, 10 points is the minimum, 30 points is the maximum, 30 points can be given if that dog jumps the game. Runs it. If you actually, get an opportunity to see the dog jump the game and run it, you could give him 30 points.

So you decide what you're gonna give this dog, and you write that number down and the amount of points, and then the time. And then that way if another judge scores him, he can only be allowed so many hunting or so many trailing points per hour. That way he's not just loaded up on hunting and trailing points.

And it gets complicated if you get into the figure in the winter, because the way the rules were set up, it's a, it's called highest general average. So they average the hunting category, the trailing category, and the speed and drive category, and then off the total points there, there's [00:41:00] actually an endurance category and then an endurance category.

The judge doesn't. Doesn't figure that or score that. It's totally figured off the average of these other three categories. And then all four categories are averaged together and the highest score wins. And we could go there if you want, but that's gonna be another hour or two to talk about how that works.

No, but I want to go back. If you're judging a dog on trailing and you, did you say there's 150 dogs, let's just say there's 20 dogs in this cast, or is that what you call 'em? There's a hu there's 20. Yeah, but yeah. Yeah. You don't, we never have that few, but yeah, go ahead. Yeah. Maybe a hundred dogs is a little bit more than the minimum.

And so let's say there's a hundred dogs. Okay, so there's a hundred dogs and you're gonna judge these dogs on trailing. How do you pick apart I. Who's doing what, like, how do you say, okay, this dog's gonna get maximum points, but the fourth dog in line, is it barking because the front dog's barking?

[00:42:00] Or is it barking because it's actually trail? You start seeing these things, you're like, yeah. You hit on something that, that there's a fine line between trailing and speed and drive and it's a judgment call when you have four dogs barking on a trail.

It's, I would say 99% of the time it's speed and drive when, what I consider trailing. Usually you might have a couple dogs doing it. You might have a hundred dogs out there, but they're not all together. They're all in the woods. But here, working this trail, usually you might have five or six dogs on a mediocre, warm trail.

And one or two will be doing the barking. And so those two are the ones that you try to score and you try to you score any that are trailing. But that's just the way it is. Normally, not more than one or two trailing scores are given at a time in my experience, and and so this is just coming to a thought.

Would you benefit by having an independent dog that goes and gets their own game [00:43:00] versus the dog that is in a pack? Okay. Yeah. That's where coon hunting is different. Like independence is a big deal in the coon hunting world. In the Fox ho world. Yeah, he might get a trailing score and he might get hunt hunting score because he was alone doing it by himself, but by the time he jumps it.

And like I said, there's been a split in the rules, but national rules and some of the other rules are the same. Once he jumps that game, if he's running by himself running a loan score is 20 points. A running up front. A first place score is 35 points. So he may have benefited in the hunting and the trailing, he gets it jumped and really most of the day ought to be running the hunting and trailer should be at the beginning or on a lose possibly.

And for the biggest part of the day, he should be getting speed and drive scores. And he's getting 20 every time. Now when he is barking, he's pulling more dogs to him too. So he could work in his favor if he's fast enough to hold the front end. But [00:44:00] I, nobody really wants to be independent that I know of like in the coon dog world.

And for me, hunting, I don't want him to be independent cause I like a pack. I like to hunt a pack. Now I like every single dog to be able to do his own work. Don't get me wrong, but I don't want him to leave pressure. And I've called for that before a dog. That he just can't quite run up or it's too much work for him.

So he goes off and gets his own game. I don't like a dog like that. And then the field trials, other than what you said, maybe getting more trailing points or something like that he would not benefit. And when you're talking about running, like what is your expectation for when your dog gets in?

Let's say he's jumped, let's just get to that point, you've jumped and they're running the, yo, how long do you expect that dog to stay with it? What is like for me, and I don't have all my, I don't have my, all my dogs are not like this, but this is what I want. [00:45:00] I want to have to go pull that dog off that animal.

I want to have to go catch them off. That is my expectation, but I don't have a pack of those at this point in time. What is yours? Okay, and I know this is a podcast and this is a good thing to be, Wendy, but I can go on and on about this. It's changed over time. When I was a kid if a dog was barking, you wanted your dog out there with it.

And if it came in, hunters used to cu him for quit quitting was a big deal. And then I'd say in the around 1990, somewhere in that area Harland Stonesifer was a guy from Oklahoma had a lot of money and influence in every, aspect of life, but in the hound world, he started having field trials that were three hours.

Nobody had ever heard of that. And man, he got slammed by the old timers that wanted a dog to run eight to 14, 15, 16 hours, the guys used to go out at dark and they wanted [00:46:00] their dogs to be running at daylight. And so then he has these three hour hunts and people say you're breeding the toughness out of him and everything.

In a way it has in a way really, nowadays, there's very few guys that want a tough hound. They want speed and speed only, and they'll sacrifice, that dog could quit in two and a half hours if he scored enough points to win. They like him. I'm still old school if a dog I really, if a dog's still barking, I want mine out there.

Not saying that's what I have, but my dogs will run eight hours for sure. And I'm talking about going to a pen, and that's where I really try in, into cornfields. We'd normally we'll catch a cow before three to four hours would be a long race. And so in a fox pen where they're trading off, the cows are trading off and the dogs are running yeah.

Want my dog to be out there eight hours and nowadays with the GPS and everything, I'm ready to go home anyway. So I catch 'em [00:47:00] up and I got 'em where they handle. And in my case, I blow a whistle, turn the lights on, those collars, I start seeing lights. I'll shine my light, I'll turn my headlight on and shine it towards 'em.

And they come toward me. And that's from hunting 'em on the outside. I to leave certain situations like highways or whatever. And I've just got 'em broke to handle the best. And so at eight hours in a pen I go to blowing that whistle and we go home. I don't want anything. Blowing the whistle at me.

I don't want them to tell me when we're going on. I wanna be the one to call, and I hold it against him really hard if he quit before he was ready to go. Yeah. My, my great granddad he used to run Fox, back in huh. That was back in early eighties is back as far as I can remember.

When he was doing it. And that's what they did. They go out at dark and they catch the dogs up after daylight, and that's what they expected. And I have very little knowledge about it other than listening to him talk. But and that's how I want my dogs, if they're [00:48:00] on a walking bear don't come off until I get you.

That's just, it. Don't come off you better stay. And again, I do. I don't have a pack of that. I've got a couple. But I, and I don't have that. As a whole. And I want my dogs to stay after. I'm like, you, like e even if another dog's not barking, I want mine in there barking. If you've got it up and running, you better do your job.

Just do your job. And I'll do my part. I'm a little older and slower. It may take me a few more minutes but I'm going, I'll get to you. Just give me a minute. But I want you to stay there till I do, right? Yeah. And anymore in I would say probably in the FoxTown world, maybe 70% really don't care anything about how tough they are.

Or if they come in, that's fine, as long as they did a good job when they're out there. So we, I really, we gotta finish up with the speed okay. So you just could hit on it. So basically, as [00:49:00] long as you're, when you're crossing the path or the crossing points, as long as you're up front. You're getting those points?

Yes. Yeah. Speed drive is what it's all about in the modern era, I guess you'd say. Nowadays we'll run for trucks, and it's all judged on the front. Dog gets 35 and the second dog gets 30 and it drops back five point increments and there's different sets of rules, how far you go back with that.

Seven dogs is where one, one of the rules. They go back to five points and there's judges strategically put all over the pen. You turn loose at a certain time and the hunts are a lot of the speed and drive hunts nowadays are three hours. Some are still four or five. And at the end of that time, the hunters come in, they start catching the dogs, the judges go turn their scores in and everything's.

There's computer programs now where they turn their scores into a computer programmer. They add 'em up and the most simple [00:50:00] set of rules is where they just add 'em together and the dog with the most points win. There and there's a lot of different sets of rules that come in there.

Probably one of the main things that I think differentiates is most or a lot of hunts, you have to write the time of that score down. So if that dog goes to the woods and hits another judge in a hundred yards and he scored him two that way, adult's not gathering a lot of points because of hitting strategic judges.

He's got a score once every five minutes and everything else is thrown out and they keep his maximum score. For that five minutes. So there you get into a lot of details with this and a lot of different sets of rules. But in general, the dog that crossed the road the most times up front he's gonna have the most score and he's the winner.

That's really the, it's a simple deal and it's probably the most popular deal nowadays. Yeah. I get it. For the competition side of it, I guess that's what you need. And, [00:51:00] but for the hunting side of it, that's just a part of it. It's not the whole makeup.

Before we wrap this up, just take a few minutes here and tell us what you would like us to know about the Running Dog world. Like what is important? What makes you, I know that. Anybody that likes a dog and catching game, that's what kind of what makes 'em tick.

But what is it that you want us that, that don't have a lot experience or don't know a lot about it? What is it some things, advice and stuff that you would tell us? Oh I think, and I don't know if the, this goes to hunters or hound hunters as much, but deer hunters, steel hunters they don't like a lot of us and we're just out there doing our thing.

They're trying to do their thing. Like I said, I don't even shoot the game. The dogs catch it or we don't get the game, we're not running deer. We're off the edge of the earth. We're just out there trying to have a good time doing our sport and In deer season, I [00:52:00] try to leave them alone and let them do their thing.

Same way as anti-hunt or non-hunters, a lot of 'em get aggravated and some situations sometimes happens. I've heard of coyotes running on a old lady's front porch and she come to the door and there's a, about 15 dogs have a coyote bath and she opens the door and the coyote comes in the house and just some bad deals happen.

But we're not that's not the norm. And we're trying to leave everybody else alone. We're just trying to do our thing. We just enjoy hunting with hounds and I, I wanna try to get along with everybody and still do our thing, and you talk about, the deer hunters, because I think, they outnumber all hound hunters three to one and you guys are doing predator control.

Whether they understand what's going on or not. I, I don't know how many ki how many yearlings a coyote takes down a year. I've seen different numbers, so I won't even speculate on what they are. But, they're, it's a [00:53:00] tremendous amount of game that coyotes take. It's just like bear, bear do the same thing, it's like the coon hunters, you guys that like the Turkey hunt, the coon hunters are for every coon they take, they're saving probably a batch of your eggs for the spring.

Yeah. For the hens laying. Hound hunters mostly hunt predators, and not all but most, and, we all have to understand that you love to do what you do. I love to do what I do. I want everybody enjoy the outdoors and. That's something that we don't do enough is educate each other and have an open mind and understanding.

Like I said I don't like coyotes at all, and I don't have nothing against them. I just don't like them. I don't want my dogs running 'em either. They do and I've never told 'em to. It's God, what do y'all do this for? And it's funny I interviewed a guy from western pa Brent Hilliard and [00:54:00] one of my dogs, he'll rig a coat.

I've never purposely had him on a coat, ever. And he'll rig a coyote, but when he rigs a coyote, you can tell there's a distinct difference in his voice. He sounds angry when he barks. Like he has that, it's just, it's, it's just the anger coming outta him. And I know immediately when I hear that.

I'm like, oh Coyote. And I just keep driving, I don't even put him down. And it's so weird that that he has that distinguished bark on a coyote. When he is on a bear, he's got a more hollow, like a bell or just a bull instead of that. Ah, like a scream. But it's funny but yeah, I don't want my dogs running them and I have problems with them and don't ask them to have problems with them.

You're having problems with coon. I got problems with cows. I get that. Every pound or dog guy has problem with something probably. Cuz none of 'em are perfect. Yeah, no. That they are. Sure are, [00:55:00] they're not. But I really appreciate your time. I really appreciate you lightness. Like I said, it's always a learning lesson, especially when it's outside of my wheelhouse.

I know dogs, but I don't, I don't have running dogs. I've ordered dogs over, I. The last 20 years that's mixed. I had, I got a dog from Idaho that was mixed up with July did not have the speed I was expecting, so I think it took more to the other side than what I had.

And we've had a few t trig m mixed in. And I, I know there's more types of running dogs, but yeah, I like the speed that I have outta my, now I do. I like the determination, you talked about Ganess and I, I don't know if it's coming from the walker side of it or the running dog side of it, but those two dogs especially are extremely gamey.

My little female really don't have no quit in her. And she, when she was younger, she'd get tore up here and there. She's getting smarter now that she's getting a little older.[00:56:00] But I can see some of the things that you're talking about. Even though I've, I'm hunting the ha the treeing part.

Whether it be, walker or black and tan or blue tick or whatever it is, plot. Like I can see some of those traits in the dogs, the running dogs like you were explaining. And hunting walker dogs versus Julys. You have good and bad in both breeds. You have, the Julys used to be known when I was a kid as being the faster breed.

Now that the three hour hunts have become popular, they've bred the faster walkers. So I think you're gonna see similarities within every hound. Like you're gonna have gamey bear dogs, or maybe not as gamey bear dogs, depending on where they came from and who had 'em and how they were bred.

And the same way with running dogs that you're gonna have fast, slow good and bad in all breeds, I think. Yeah. And it's, it's our job to, to breed better genetics, to breed better, [00:57:00] better hound, top quality hounds. I think that's the responsibility of all hound owners is to breed best, to best better, to better.

Not necessarily handy to ready. That's exactly right. And man, so many people do that, so we, I've had numerous podcasts about, breeding quality and how, what to look for and things to do. And we still have, our buddies that, oh hey, I got a female back here.

You wanna breed old Joe to 'em? Nah, you no. I'm good. And some, sometimes I think over, overall a lot of running dog guys keep a lot of dogs. I'm talking some of 'em will keep 70 head, or more. And I try to keep six to eight heads. So when I breed I need to really watch not only how good is the daddy, how good is the mom, but how good was the family on both sides?

Where, what were the weak points on both sides? And I have a lot of luck breeding and getting [00:58:00] a litter of good puppies, and I don't raise dogs to sell. I, when I raise a litter, normally I'll keep 'em all, at least until they're old enough to decide if, oh, I don't like him.

He's good enough. I think somebody should have him. I might sell that dog. You know what I'm saying? But yeah, I'm not into that 70 to a hundred dog, especially the price of dog food now. Yeah. You're not kidding. I know the feeling. I can't do it. And I got double what you have and it's still kills me, like Yep.

It's hard. Yeah. I appreciate your time. Thank you for coming on and sharing your world with us. And like we always say in each podcast, thank you for helping us teach, train, and learn.