Why do hunting dogs wear bells? Essential Tips

Bells on Hounds to Hunt Furred Game in Heavy Cover

Hounds refers to a subset of hunting dogs that track and often tree furred game. Common hound breeds are beagles, bloodhounds and blue ticks. Hounds are often released by hunters to cover ground. When they cross the track of a target animal they will turn to follow the sent trail of the animal trailing it until it is treed in the case of raccoons, bears, or mountain lions. Or in the case of rabbits, they will trail the rabbit on wide arcing trails back toward the hunter to allow for a shot at the rabbit. Hounds are known for the braying, a distinctive excited barking, when they pick put the sent and start trailing an animal. Bells are less typical on hounds, used more commonly in rabbit hunting to insure a safe shot on moving targets. Hounds tracking animals long distances to tree them are less likely to wear bells as they can easily travel miles away from the hunter to finally tree an animal. Safe shots are much easier on treed animals as the dogs remain on the ground clear of the shot and the animal is not running. This also reduces the need for bells as safety devices in this type of hunting.

Bells are still widely used especially by grouse hunters, but as technology has advanced, replacements for the bell have been introduced and gain popularity. Two of those alternatives being GPS collars and Beeper collars. GPS collars have a transmitter on the dog’s collar that sends a signal to the hunters GPS unit showing the dog on the map and telling the hunter if the dog is moving or standing still. Beeper collars can be set to emit a tone on a duration, every 5 to 10 seconds (good for flushing dogs) or just emit a tone when the dog has stopped (good for pointing dogs). The tone when the dog has stopped works well with pointing dog breeds over a bell, as the beeper collar continues to make noise even when the dog is still allowing the hunter to follow the noise to find the pointing dog.

Typically no, but birds that have been hunted often can start to associate bells with hunters and will leave areas when they hear bells. Same can be said of car doors slamming when hunters leave their trucks to start a hunt. On wise birds bells and car doors will make for frustrating hunting.

In what type of hunting should my dog wear a bell?

There are different bell types designed for different hunting types. You only need to walk into a store and purchase the belt that suits your hunting ground more.

To Alert The Prey:

The sound of a bell can have many meanings, depending on the situation. For example, when you hear it signaling that your food is ready at a restaurant or that you are late for work, the noise usually brings relief and happiness. However, in some cases like with hunters and prey animals, hearing this familiar sound can be frightening.

3 Musts For Your Dog To Go Hunting