Watch Tip: Lost in the Woods

Posted on October 15th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Watch and listen for stray hunting dogs in rural areas during the hunting season;  where may be coldly abandoned for poor performance and some may be lost.  Some may be wounded from encounters with feral pigs or wild predators. Dogs don’t know how to feed themselves in the woods unless they have been taught. Feed them and help them any way you can. Call any authorities you trust to uphold compassionate animal welfare standards.

Austin, a Treeing Walker Coonhound, was found in the woods.Coonhound found in the woods is saved

Austin, the big Treeing Walker Coonhound (best guess) pictured here, was picked up by animal control in the dead of winter in a Wisconsin woods. He was thin, cold, shy, and suffering from Lyme Disease when he arrived at the shelter. He has several scars on his legs that told of hunts near barbed wire fences and open cuts left to heal without stitches. His owners did not call the humane society to claim him. (By the way, this handsome couch potato is not up for adoption. He has a loving home now … ours.)

Many coon hunters are very responsible dog owners who go to great lengths to keep their dogs safe or search for their missing dogs … and as you might expect, some hunters are not.  Austin’s owner probably didn’t know what to do with him. Austin is terrified of loud noises like gun shots and thunder. So did his owner give up on him? Was he dumped or just lost during a gun hunt? We’ll never know.

As you travel along rural roads and highways or while you hike in state forests, watch and listen for signs of lost and wandering or trapped hunting dogs. Barking in the woods is not typical unless a home is located there. Go investigate. Remember the true story of hikers in a state forest who heard barking in the distance and followed the sound until they found a hunting dog who had fallen into a sink hole; the dog was unable to climb out. Those hikers saved that dog. His owner was a coon hunter who had been searching for his missing dog for many days. Hunting dogs can wander many miles. It was a very happy reunion.

    One Response to “Watch Tip: Lost in the Woods”

    1. Ace says:

      Sadly, some hunters will abandon a hunting dog in the forest after the hunting season is over. This dog, Austin, was lucky — I know of one beagle that was found wandering the forest with an unset broken leg that had “set” itself at an angle– in addition to this the beagle’s health was so terrible that he had to be put down.

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