Hamiltonstovare are bred to hunt hare and fox, never deer or any other game. I take that stance very seriously and want to make that my mission to keep that instinct very much alive within my line and within the breed in America. I do not hunt animals at all but I was brought up with the idea that hunting is never done for a sport. Hunting should serve a purpose and every part of the animal should be used as much as possible.
Hunting with dogs is a touchy subject for me as it may sound slightly hypocritical. I do not like the way that most hounds are kept that are strictly hunting dogs in America. Most hounds that are strictly hunting dogs, not MFHA registered packs, are kept in horrible conditions, receive very little human contact, rarely if ever socialized, most never know what it is like to live in a home or sleep on a sofa. I do NOT support that care ever. I will never allow any of my dogs, be it bred by me or a rescue, go to a home where they will be kept in a kennel environment and not kept inside primarily. I do support the way that some of the sporting breeds are kept in that they are treasured family companions and go out to the field to work but come home to a home environment where they are loved, socialized, and treated like members of the family. The reason that I have heard from hunters who keep hounds in deplorable conditions is that there is a myth that a dog who does not have human contact will hunt better and a dog that has human contact will never hunt and just hang around the hunter. That is false, no other way around that, it is completely and 100% false. Hounds that are loved and treated with dignity and respect will hunt for their owner because they want to do it. Loving a hound will not do a thing to change their instincts to hunt. Loving a hound will actually help them return to the hunter after a long day of hunting.
At least weekly, I work my guys on rabbit skin and scent both visually and in a drag scent. I view that a dog bred to do a job is happiest when doing a job that triggers those deeply bred in instincts. I rarely discipline a dog for showing hunting instincts. The times that I do discipline them is when safety is more important than hunting or if they are doing something where they have been trained to not react to those distractions, like conformation shows, service dog work and other performance activities. I encourage my puppy owners to take part in activities such as lure coursing, barn hunts and tracking.
This stance of instinct preservation is viewed as very important for the Swedish and Norwegian breeders. When I talk with a Swedish or Norwegian breeder/owner one of the first questions that I get is “Do you hunt?” I have to explain what I do instead of hunting to preserve the hunting instincts as that is viewed as a very important breed trait. The main reason why I do not do field trials or other things like that is because Hamiltonstovare are not allowed to do field trials in America as the UKC only offers hunting programs for Beagles and Coonhounds, not foxhounds or any other scent hound of any kind. The AKC has expressed interest in allowing the Hamiltonstovare Club of America to host our own field trials and doing a parent club title recognition program. That is something that I am very interested in doing but it can only be done if there is enough interest to organize field trials to pay for the fenced in hunting grounds and to fly a judge over from Sweden or Norway.
I am not a hunter as I said before so the idea of taking my treasured dogs out in a hunting environment that isn't safe and their safety is paramount then I won't do it. I live in a relatively rural area but I am relatively close to a few busy roads where dogs get hit a LOT during hunting season. Also, there are several poorly cared for hunting packs in my area and I do not want to expose my guys to dogs that aren't properly cared for and could be transmitting parasites and communicable diseases. For that reason, I do not allow hunting or hunting dogs on my property. If the dogs are on a trail that is fine as long as they leave and no animal is killed on my property. I do not allow hunters to drop off or pick up hounds on my property, unless the hound is clearly lost from the pack then I will contact the hunter to pick up the dog. Those hounds that wander on my property are in terrible condition, dull coats, fearful, infested with fleas and ticks, and some of them have been treated with illegal pest control methods like using motor oil on their coats. When the hunters pick up their hounds, they are given a stern talking to about proper animal care and I also advise them of a better and cheaper method of pest control.