Hunting Manners

From the August 2014 issue of Tuskers Magazine - by Ed Barnes

A lot of the older guys, or even younger guys that were raised around hunting dogs will get this and may even think this is all common sense and a bit of wasted space, but we are going to talk about hunting manners. For many years before Tuskers I hunted either by myself or with one or two other very close friends, I would never hunt with anyone else. Partly because I am kind of like that, social interaction with most people is painful for me, but also because the few times that I would step out of my box and hunt with other people the manners on them left a bad taste in my mouth. Another thing about hunting with different people are the dogs, and I wont just throw my dogs that I have worked hard to make hunt the way I want in with dogs that I know nothing about. When I say manners im not talking about holding doors, or saying yes sir, im talking about hunting manners. Now since we started Tuskers I find myself hunting with lots of different people in new and interesting places, sometimes they are with us, sometimes we are with them. That last part is important when talking about hunting manners. There are things you can do when you are on your place that you can't do when you are invited and hunting with others on their place.
First we are gonna talk about dogs. If stranger "Billy" invites you to go hunting you don't show up with a box full of dogs! If you want to bring dogs then you need to ask Billy before you go. Now me, I don't even want to bring dogs. Sure, you've seen Billy post pictures of hogs, an he has a pretty good reputation of having some darn fine hounds on the computer, probably way better dogs than you have you think, but let me tell you from numerous first hand experiences - don't believe any of that until you see it with your own eyes! Before I throw my dogs on the ground to hunt with someones dogs I want to be dang sure these dogs aren't going to drag my broke dogs into a deer race or show them all the fun they been missing killing dillos, treeing coons or runnin to town to drink beer all night while I'm off in the hills yodeling for them all night. And as for the manners part, lets take Billys side - he invited you to hunt with him and he don't want your hounds running his dogs to town to drink beer either! Now most people go hunting, they want to run their dogs, an I get that. So you showed a good bringing up and asked Billy if he minded you bringing 2 dogs and he agreed. The classy thing to do when yall get out to the corn fields is to let Billy run his dogs on that first cast, tie one and then ask if you can run yours. If Billys dogs impressed you and hunt in a way you like then turn your dogs in with his, if not maybe suggest his take a breather and run yours by themselves. Most dogmen will box their dogs without being asked out of caution. After Billy has seen your dogs hunt, if he throws his dogs with yours then take that as a compliment.
I guess I got a bit ahead of myself, so lets back up and talk about NOT BEING LATE! If yall agreed to meet at the truck stop at 9, then I would be there, truck gased, beer on ice and mens room already visited by 8:45, ready to roll. Now we are talking about hunting with new people, I don't ever like being late, but with old friends stuff happens and sometimes its funny to be fashionably late. We are talking about first impressions! After that you can cuss, spit an make fun of fat wives.
Sometimes if the place your hunting is a good ways off, you might catch a ride. If you do, PAY FOR HALF THE GAS! Gas is high and guided hog dog hunts are even higher. I have taken guys hunting and they didn't do this, and take a guess how many times I called them after that to see if they wanted to go?
So you're a veteran hog hunter that just moved and you met Billy at the feed store and your hunting with him friday night just to meet some local guys and get to know people an so on. We get it, you been hog hunting with dogs for 2 decades, SHUT UP! No one likes a blow hard, so show Billy how much you know about hog hunting with your actions and let your darn mouth rest for a minute! And that brings up another thing, DONT BAD MOUTH A MANS DOGS unless you got one right there thats a better dog! Now me, I've rarely bad mouthed a mans dogs, the few cases I have, it's been because the man was a bigger jackass than his dogs. We all have a ton of time in our dogs, and even the guys with less than great dogs are proud of them, so keep the boastful talk of your dogs rattle in your head, not his. Talk is cheap.
So you didn't bring dogs, you were on time, and you haven't ranted n raved about so-n-so an his bring you a beer dogs. Billy's dogs got in a foot race, crossed 2 counties, 9 rivers, it's 5AM, you gotta be at work at 7, and the dogs are bayed in an underwater cave and Billy's truck has a flat and is stuck in a mudhole... YOU HUNT TIL THE HUNT IS OVER! You don't hunt part of a hunt, you don't get to tag along as long as things are peachy and then split when you get tired or hunting hogs gets a little too hairy. This one is a very big hang up I have, and a sure way to never see me again! It seems pretty obvious to me, but I have seen it more than a time or two an it gets my blood boiling.
It don't matter if you have been hog hunting for 20 years or never been, if you are hunting with another man, YOU DO WORK, YOU DONT WATCH WORK! There is a lot of work in hog hunting with dogs, there are hurt dogs that need carried, there are hogs to drag a quarter to the road, there are bulldogs that need led. The man that watches me work won't do so but once.
FOLLOW DIRECTIONS! even if you don't do it that way when you are hunting. When you are hunting with another man on his ground you do things the way he wants them done, chances are he has a good reason for doing them that way.
We all hunt for different reason, for some it's for pork, for some it's about dogs, for some it's varment control, for others it's a social event. I enjoy talking, not as much as most, but I do enjoy it sometimes, but there is a time and a place. So Billy cast them mutts towards the river and he's standing by the Ranger staring at his Garmin and you and 15 other guys are talking about the virtues of the running walker as a hogdog. About 1000 yards in the bottom, one of Billy's pound bred curxbirdxpoodle dogs opens just once. Again ... SHUT YOUR MOUTH! The "social" aspect of hog hunting just ended in the heartbeat that dog opened, we are hog hunting now and there are couches all over Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and probably a few other states where talking is allowed. We don't hog hunt in your living room, don't talk over our hog hunt. This one always gets me, and usually leaves the question in my head, "How fast can i get my dogs hollered in and loaded up so i can go home?" Sure, we have Garmins, we know where the dogs are, an idea of what is going on, but NOTHING replaces good ole fashioned ears for letting us know WHAT is going on! When a man knows his dogs he can read that one little bark like the Bible. It tells me whether we need to load up and get close, stay back an let it get worked out, haul butt an get a bulldog ready, or *cough- get the Tri-Tronics out of the glove box. When you are talking while a man is trying to hear his dogs you are increasing the odds that we won't need that mule tape tonite.
So here is the short version on manners when hunting...