HUNTING WITH LAIKA
All Laikas are hunting dogs for many kinds of game, from grouse and squirrel to wild boar, moose and bear. They start treeing small game naturally by the age of four to 10 months. This means that you will not teach your puppy how to tree. Treeing behavior wakes up, if you regularly take your puppy in woods and other wild places and turn him loose. Running free he will become familiarized with smells, sounds and look of his future game and every Laika will start treeing. A Laika, which cannot tree naturally, is a very rare case and such a dog must be excluded from the breeding. They all (100% of them) are excellent treeing small game dogs.
Unlike hounds and Cur Dogs, Laika does not bark during search and chase, but it starts barking only when the game is found and treed. It barks moderately, but loud and persistently enough so you will know where your dog is and have enough time to come up for a sure shot. Unlike Cur Dogs and Hounds, Laikas do not jump on tree trunk and do not attempt to climb the tree or bite branches. It would be a very undesirable waste of energy and may frighten the animal and force it to flee or hide. A correct style of treeing means that the dog should take a convenient position away from the tree and watch the game and never loose it. This is important because the dog should never loose and track a squirrel, marten or other animals when they to escape running on tree crowns. The Laika will follow it from one tree to another leading the hunter to the target.
Many hunters with Laikas living in Moscow and its vicinity have an old tradition to use their Laikas as duck retrievers. The West Siberian Laika picks up duck retrieving easily, does not hesitate to swim in water at subfreezing temperature and is strong enough to retrieve ducks from water bodies with thick aquatic vegetation and muddy shores.
Majority of the Russo-European Laika, the West Siberian Laika and the East Siberian Laika makes great big game dogs. However, some dogs may be better than others when hunting bear, wild boar or moose. Usually good bear Laikas are equally good on wild boar. Some good moose Laikas are lacking hunting interest to go after wild boar. If you want to buy a Laika puppy to moose, wild boar or bear, buy a puppy from dogs proven good at hunting the game of your interest. Do not hesitate to contact other hunters for references.
The Russo-European Laika, the West Siberian Laika and the East Siberian Laika, when mature enough, start baying moose naturally and become good moose baying dogs. They can bay male deer, when it try to fight back. Moose hunting Laika displays an entirely different hunting style. A good moose hunting Laika pics up fresh moose tracks and chases silent. When the moose is found, the dog approaches it not straight forward, but makes a curve watching the moose without frightening it. If the moose does not run away, the dog will bark. If the moose attacks the dog trying to kick it with his hooves or gore it, the dog barks aggressively. If the moose does not attack the dog, it will bark in a milder and a peculiar way. Some dogs bark with a squealing and wagging tail. The dog spends a long time, sometimes hours near the moose. The moose may continue browsing while keeping an eye on the dog. The hunter will have plenty of time to come up for a sure shot. Usually one dog is enough for a moose hunting. A team of two Laikas raised and hunted together may be also used in the moose hunting.
A good bear hunting Laika, if taken in woods where bears are present, should display a strong excitement, when they sniff fresh bear’s tracks and strong aggressive reaction towards the bear, when it is found. Once the bear’s tracks are found, the dog will chase fast and silent. When the bear is sighted, the dog will attack it immediately barking loud and aggressively. A brown bear would not climb the tree, but if the dog only barks and remains far away from the bear, the bear will go its way. The dog should keep the bear from running by attacking it on the flanks and from behind biting hard at every opportunity, circling and avoiding being caught by the bear. Determination and the ability of fast switching from attacking fiercely and avoiding being caught by the bear is a unique Laika’s trait. Attacking and even running away at times allows the dog to keep the pressure and preventing the bear from going its way until the hunters will approach and shoot from a safe position. Baying bear the right way is an ultimate criterion for the hunting ability of a good big game Laika in general. Usually a pair of Laikas raised and hunting together makes a good bear hunting team.
Two or three Laikas raised and hunted together make a perfect wild boar hunting team. Good wild boar hunting Laikas should pick fresh boar’s tracks and chase silent and fast. When the boar is sighted, Laikas attack it immediately. I big boar is prevented from running away by attacking and biting hard from behind and on the flanks. While barking aggressively and loud and attacking boldly, the dogs must be cautious to avoid to be cut by the boar. Pair of adult East Siberian or West Siberian Laika catches up to 200 pounds boar. The dogs hold it by ears or hind legs.