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I am very new to the world of hunting - the kids, especially my oldest girl who has always been very outdoorsy and interested in wildlife, really pushed us to get involved in it as an outdoors activity we could all do together and we are trying to work out what the best starting point could be. We also have another member of the family, Annie the pit/beagle mix. At some point, we got to thinking that she might make a good squirrel dog and maybe we should start with taking her to see if she can tree squirrels for us. It's a nice social form of hunting and it would be easy on restless kids. Now Annie has been used to the life of Reilly and formerly lived a spoiled life in pudgy air-conditioned splendor in the suburbs of DC. We adopted her from my friend when she moved to upstate NY and we've been getting to know her personality since May so, 7 months), especially now that, for the first time, she's had a chance to be off-leash in a dedicated dog park near our house that has tons of trees, lots of ground cover and vegetation to sniff around in, and tons of squirrels now that it's Fall. Now, we live in the city and she lived in the city before but she's pretty happy when she's around waterfowl and squirrel when we take her camping or hiking. She trees squirrels every chance she gets, points and stalks and tries to run them down. Yesterday, her newly trim self even jumped up into a tree to try and climb after a squirrel. Part of me feels like it's kind of a crazy idea, and part of me feels like she would love a job to do beyond guarding the front door (that's the pit in her and the beagle needs something to do!). Treeing squirrels has been a "problem" for her because of the pulling and using her to hunt would turn a negative into a positive. What do you think? Would you attempt to turn a 4 year old "city" dog into a squirrel dog?

ETA: Just wanted to add that she does not bark or bray when she trees something. She will stay with it, especially if we ask her to, but she will not actually vocalize. This is the pit in her, I guess (not big barkers) but I'm understanding it can be a big drawback with a squirrel dog.
 

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Im new the forum, but lots of experience between here and the western states with hunting dogs...You have kids willing to hunt and a dog with a heart to hunt...sounds like you can't go wrong! I chuckled when I read your post just due to the amount of fun waiting to be had!

As long as pup comes when called and isnt gun shy sounds like a blast.

I was never nuts about eating squirrels, but since my kids love to hunt and I have taught them that the pride of the meal you cook from your game is part of the hunt, we invented this chicken wing recipe that has my kids craving "squirell wings".

Have fun and keep us posted.
 

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Not to discourage but a dog that doesn't open (bark) on a tree is not going to make a good squirrel dog.

It is one thing to chase a squirrel up a tree in a park or another safe setting area. Quite another to go into a large wooded area have the dog take off and remain at a tree when you don't know where the dog is...


In squirrel hunting you cut the dog loose then wait for a the dog to open...you walk to the sound of the baying dog until you find it. The hunter finds the dog more or less because the dog is barking on tree...The dog finds the squirrel and "tells" the hunter which tree the squirrel is in.

The only scenario I would see a dog that didn't bark on tree would be with the use of a GPS collar on the dog. But you as the hunter would just have to sit and watch a little screen to even know when the dog is stopped and on tree. And the legality of such a hunt may be in question...

Any dog could be a good squirrel dog...but it has to bark and has to hold tree... There are other qualities to look for but those two are pretty much a neccessity.
 

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Pits are not barkers but great hunters, that's why you see a mix down south of barkers and pits In hunting groups. Mostly hogs.

Beagle pit is a interesting mix.
 

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timberdoodle said:
Not to discourage but a dog that doesn't open (bark) on a tree is not going to make a good squirrel dog.

It is one thing to chase a squirrel up a tree in a park or another safe setting area. Quite another to go into a large wooded area have the dog take off and remain at a tree when you don't know where the dog is...


In squirrel hunting you cut the dog loose then wait for a the dog to open...you walk to the sound of the baying dog until you find it. The hunter finds the dog more or less because the dog is barking on tree...The dog finds the squirrel and "tells" the hunter which tree the squirrel is in.

The only scenario I would see a dog that didn't bark on tree would be with the use of a GPS collar on the dog. But you as the hunter would just have to sit and watch a little screen to even know when the dog is stopped and on tree. And the legality of such a hunt may be in question...

Any dog could be a good squirrel dog...but it has to bark and has to hold tree... There are other qualities to look for but those two are pretty much a neccessity.

X2
 

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TATERDAVID said:
Pits are not barkers but great hunters, that's why you see a mix down south of barkers and pits In hunting groups. Mostly hogs.

Beagle pit is a interesting mix.
That's really interesting that they use them that way - I did not know that. The South seems to have a very different hunting culture. I think I am a Southerner at heart because it all appeals to me. The only up north Squirrel Dog Society is Michigan, I think. Everything else is below the Mason-Dixon.

Thanks to everyone for replies. I'll post a picture of her when I figure out how to do it. I guess she'll just have to stay a looker rather than a working dog, though .
 

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Nowdays they have tracking collars, that wasn't always the case

Back in the day the pits would catch the hogs, the other dogs were barkers so you could find them

Southern hunting is different then up here for sure.
 
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