Finnish Spitz . Photo Kristina Bergman
Hunting with barking bird dogs
Hunting with a barking bird dog is a form of hunting that goes back centuries and is used in the coniferous forest areas of northern Europe. This is a type of stealth hunting that a hunter can perform alone, with the help of his dog.
The dog uses its sense of smell to locate a bird that is already sitting in a tree or on the ground, or to follow a bird in flight as long as it can be seen or heard, and then mark the relevant tree.
After locating the bird in a calm and even manner, the dog shows the hunter the bird’s location and then gets its attention, so-called holding-at-bay. This lets the hunter sneak within firing range, and it is also possible to crawl or creep to avoid frightening the bird. Normally the hunter will be lying down when firing at the bird, preferably with support on the weapon.
The best time to hunt is in the morning or evening, preferably an hour after sunrise and until it gets dark in the evening. During the winter, however, shorter days mean that hunting is possible all day.
This type of hunting is mainly used to hunt black grouse and capercaillie, and sometimes even hazel hen.
Only two breeds are used for this type of hunting, namely Finnish Spitz and Norrbotten Spitz, although Laika dogs may also be used. Barking bird dogs are sometimes collectively called Miniature Spitz.