"A Hunter’s Best Friend"

One of the most valuable assets to hunters of two hundred and twenty five years ago was a good dog.  Many types of dogs were used, from Bulldogs to Great Danes, but some breed’s traits were more suited to the hunter’s needs.  Various types of hounds, such as the Plott, were developed for tracking purposes, while the small, quick Mountain Feist proved very valuable in treeing bears and panthers because of their ability to attack in the rear and then get away before the victim could turn and seize it.  The courageous Mountain Cur (or bear dog) possessed exceptional fighting, tracking, valor and loyalty qualities and soon became a favorite all around dog. Hunters hunted year-round, partly for skins, partly to provide food for settlers and military outposts and partly to protect the small gardens and grain fields of the settlers.  As the game animal populations became depleted, the bear, panther and wolf populations suddenly found their normal food source gone, so they naturally preyed on domesticated fowl, hogs, sheep and cattle.  The only solution to this problem available to the settlers was the eradication of these predators.  Few settlers had time to clear land and plant crops plus build homes and families, so there arose a need for professional hunters.  A hunter’s needs were few and profits from the sale of deer hides provided minimal monetary income.  Attack from Indians, thieves and wounded animals were an ever-present danger and even a relatively minor wound could prove fatal to these men when they were so far removed from civilization, but the freedom to be master of their own destiny made their lifestyle all the more desirable.  As long as they had a horse or two to carry skins and meat, a few dogs for tracking and chasing, perhaps some salt,  and a good rifle with an adequate supply of lead and gunpowder, they were able to conveniently survive in the forests. Joseph Doddridge, who accurately preserved the way of life of settlers from 1763 to 1783, states “I have often seen hunters get up early in the morning at this season, walk hastily out and look anxiously to the woods and snuff the autumnal winds with the highest rapture, they return into the house and cast a quick and attentive look at the rifle which was always suspended to a joist by a couple of buck’s horns, or little forks.  His hunting dog, understanding the intentions of his master, would wag his tail and by every blandishment in his power, express his readiness to accompany him to the woods”. It is easy to see why a faithful dog, who was frequently ready to lay down his life for his master, became the hunter’s best friend.

Available As A Limited Edition Canvas Print
Ten In The Issue
Size - 15" x 24"     Framed Price - $410.00     Unframed Price - $250.00