Hunting Detection

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Equine Detection Can Be Used For
Locating Wildlife or Missing Livestock

Air scenting is a detection tool that had proven its worth as a reliable search method since first being used widely in the United States during the 1960s. The air scenting detection animal does not need a trail to follow. The search for a subject by first finding and then following light airborne (human, wildlife, or livestock) scent to its source.

The air scenting search method is widely used in SAR because it offers a wider window of opportunity of when and how it can be used compared to that of ground tracking. Since this method is oriented to scent that is directly coming off the missing subject, time elapsed since disappearance is not a factor. The advantages of using air scenting as a detection tool are known worldwide.

The first scent detection horses were trained for hunting. While reading history, you will find examples on how the horse's scenting ability helped early pioneers for hunting. One example of this can be found in the book The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris. In this book they describe how Roosevelt used his horse's air scenting abilities to hunt buffalo. Other examples on how the horse’s scent locating abilities were used for hunting can be found in the book The Mustangs by J. Frank Dobie. Even though I have not had time yet to do much work on this end,  I do forsee the horse's scenting ability used very effectively in different types of hunting. The following is an example on how scent detection horses could be used very efficiently for pheasant hunting.

The horse is naturally designed to air scent in tall grass conditions because its head will be above the grass cover where the scent will tend to travel. Horses are experts at long distance scent detection. When it comes to long distance scenting, my test has proven that the horse is superior to the dog.

Hunting Scenario - Please picture two people riding across a large parcel of tall grass. One is the primary hunter riding a regular riding horse; the other rider is trained to read his horse's sign language, his mount is a scent detection horse specializing in pheasant scenting. The detection horse gives a signal that he has picked up on pheasant scent; the rider, reading the horse's sign, knows this sign means the pheasant is a good distance off. He gives the horse his head to scent locate on his own. The horse turns directly into the wind and follows the pheasant scent drift. “The two riders will have the best seats in the house to witness an instinctive phenomena from the detection horse that most people never before thought possible!”

Soon the detection horse gives another signal, this one is a unmistakable low-headed snaking like signal, which means the pheasant is close. The riders stop, and both dismount. The hunter hands the reins of his horse over to the trained detection rider. The hunter pulls his shotgun out of the scabbard. The detection rider stays behind holding both horses while the hunter proceeds a short distance up-wind until all of a sudden a couple of pheasants flush. The rest of the story is of a successful hunt.

I believe by reading this story you can easily see the great advantage that a scent detection horse could offer on a pheasant hunt. The hunt would be much more enjoyable, and it would give a opportunity for hunters that cannot walk long distances to still actively participate in the sport they love.

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