Sunday, February 27, 2011

Boar Training

Yesterday I attended a gathering of NIPPO NK owners/breeders/hunters at a boar training facility in Ibaragi. We do this several times a year to test the hunting ability in show dogs, to let young dogs see a boar for the first time, and to test hunting dogs on their skill and hunting style.

There is a large fenced off area of the mountain into which the boar is released. The dogs are then taken in, usually one by one, to find and face off with the boar. At the end of the day, the boar is dispatched, taken to a butchering facility and the meat split evenly between all in attendance.

I took my Kishu Baron (1 year 6 months) and my Shikoku Rome (5 months). Baron is a started dog who has done very well this past hunting season. He was introduced to a harvested boar at 2 months and surprised us all by baying at and attacking it. He accidentally found his first boar at just over 3 months when I let him out of the car for a short walk. Rome was seeing his first live boar today.

Seeing as there were a lot of young dogs and pups in attendance today we chose a small 20kg boar to release. All the dogs did well, with some of the young pups showing a lot of promise. The siblings of Koyuki, a Kishu I sent to a friend in the States in December, were there and did very well. One of the girls was taken in with her mother and actually went so far as to catch with her.

Boar are at the pinnacle of the food chain in most parts of Japan, and hunting them is dangerous for people and dogs, requiring a lot of skill and perseverance. The dogs need good noses to track and find the boar, stamina to keep up with and stop them, agility to stay out of the way of charges, speed to keep up with them, and skill to know how to tackle boar of all sizes.

I spent most of the day in the fenced off area helping to retrieve dogs once their turn was over, and avoiding (a lot of jumping) the boar charges. I end up climbing a lot of trees and dodging a lot, which makes for a fun day for me, and a lot of laughs for everyone watching from outside the fence.

Baron did well as expected, rounding up the boar quickly, and not letting it move much at all. I was very happy with the way he has learned to deal with boar. He basically keeps his distance till I get close, then taunts the boar to charge him, keeping it from running away, and dodges/nips when it does. Rome took a while to figure out what was going on, but after showing him the other dogs working the boar, he got the idea and began baying. I don't ask much more of a pup seeing a boar for the first time.

So, here are some videos. No pictures from today as I smashed my Nikon while climbing a tree. Even small boar are ornery buggers and will charge/bite anything they can.

Rome bays his first boar

Baron working the boar

Me telling Baron and Rome to wait while a friend's Kishu male works a boar

A friend's female Shikoku baying a boar

Me getting charged by a little boar repeatedly while in the enclosure with a friend's young female Kishu

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