Quebec has legislated leashed tracking dogs for wounded game recovery for many years. They are currently conducting a pilot project with handlers and dogs that meet certain requirements. This allows the participants to carry weapons to humanely dispatch wounded game that is found alive. This pilot will help them update or develop additional guidance and regulations around leashed tracking dogs for wounded game.
TRAINING AND FIELD TRIALS OF HUNTING DOGS
24. For the purposes of this Division, “hunting dog” means a dog of one of the following types:
(1) Retrievers: dogs used to find and retrieve dead or wounded animals;
(2) Pointers and flushers: dogs used to indicate the presence of an animal to the hunter by pointing at it or flushing it out; or
(3) Trackers: dogs used to search for an animal and, having found it or its trail, to track it while barking.
O.C. 858-99, s. 24.
Using a dog to locate an injured big game animal
You may have difficulty finding a big game animal that you have shot, or worse, you may have to abandon your search because the injured animal has not left sufficient traces for you to follow it.
In Québec, it is possible to use dogs to find big wounded game whose hunter has lost its track. These animals, called bloodhounds (breed not specific), are specially trained in this role and are accompanied by renowned handlers.
What the Act and regulations say
The Act respecting the conservation and development of wildlife now provides a framework for the search for injured game while hunting with a bloodhound. A pilot project will document the activities of bloodhound (breed not specific) handlers (in French only) and develop new regulations that will govern the search and killing of injured game.
It should be noted that the Act prohibits the use of dogs in areas where large game is found. A dog used to find injured game must therefore always be kept on a lead rope.
In addition, a dog used in a search is not roaming, because it is following its master’s orders to perform a specific task, i.e. finding a big game animal that has been injured and is probably dead. Consequently, a dog trained for this purpose may be used in these circumstances.
The Hunting Regulations specify that hunting with dogs is only permitted for small game hunting. Therefore, it is prohibited to use a dog to hunt white-tailed deer, moose or black bear.
You may also use a dog at night or after the end of the hunting season, provided you comply with the rules set out in the section entitled ‘Searching for big game at night’.
Using the services of a bloodhound (breed not specific) handler
The majority of bloodhound handlers are part of the Association des conducteurs de chiens de sang du Québec, which also trains them.
The research services they carry out using bloodhounds (breed not specific) make it possible to:
– Avoid unnecessary suffering to an animal injured in hunting, and;
– Limit the waste of venison, in cases where the game is not found by the hunter.
It is forbidden to:
– Use a dog to hunt white-tailed deer, moose or black bear.
– Use a dog to hunt wild turkeys, except during the fall season, when only pointing or flushing dogs may be used.
– Allow a dog to roam in an area frequented by big game.
– engage in training or field trials of hunting dogs carried out using an animal, or to hunt with a dog in zone 20 (Anticosti Island).
The search is not deemed to be a hunting activity, provided that the participants are not in possession of an arm. Moreover, the dog used cannot be deemed to be wandering since the specific objective is to find, following its master’s orders, a big game animal that has been injured and is probably dead. Consequently, a dog trained for this purpose may be used under such circumstances.
By complying with the conditions indicated in the section entitled “Nighttime searches for injured big game animals”, a hunter may also use a dog at night or after the closing of the hunting period.
To obtain additional information on the search for injured big game animals, please consult the website of the Association des conducteurs de chiens de sang du Québec.