|Abney's Bohannon, the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog|
6 years after Taz's death, two of which had been spent hunting mountain lions, I found myself wanting another hunting dog. I was looking for a very specific animal. One who was tough, fearless, and had natural tracking and protective instincts. My thought was to train a dog who could accompany me on my lion hunts. I would train the dog to be able to track prey, and serve as protection should I call a lion in too close. I further needed a dog who would trail silently, as I have no desire to tree lions. I could think of no better breed than another Catahoula.
Those not familiar with the breed might have difficulty even pronouncing the name, let alone understanding what kind of dog they are. There is actually a curse in owning one, which is you can not take them anywhere without explaining what they are at least a half a dozen times. My simplest explanation is that the dog is a very old amalgamation of several breeds of canine. I will not expound in detail on this as a I do not feel I have either the knowledge or authority to do so. What I will suggest is if you wish to know more, that you visit the website of the authority on Catahoulas at http://www.abneycatahoulas.com. Here you will find a complete history on the breed, detailed information, and an awesome breeder of them. However, my working description of them is this: There is simply more wild left in this breed than any other I have met.
|Bohannon in the Colorado Mountains|
|Bohannon learning to swim|
Since then Bo has entered a training regimen with me to learn how to track and retrieve. He has surpassed all of my expectations and is an absolute natural tracker. I am more convinced he is training me rather than the other way around. In seven short lessons he has progressed to running L tracks that are more than a hundred yards long, with hidden track layers. Bo finds them every time with ease, and it is time to progress to using Lion scent. Even though this is my second Catahoula, I am still astounded at what amazing working and hunting dogs they are. I recently recorded some of our training sessions and made a short video about it. I hope you enjoy it.
As I continue to say goodbye to one dog, I welcome a new one into my hunting world. This time my closing thoughts are about friendship, as this is what our hunting dogs are. They grace our lives for such a short fraction of our life span; however, this is the price we pay for the devotion and companionship they give. I will leave the parting quote to Albert Camus; "Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend." -Albert Camus.
|Bohannon and Dusky Grouse|