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How & What Do Beagles Hunt? 8 Common Types of Prey

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Beagle on a hunt

While you might see a Beagle as an adorable companion with floppy ears, the truth is that they’re hunting dogs through and through. But what kind of animals do Beagles hunt, and how do they hunt them?

We break it all down for you here and even give you a few tips on how to train your Beagle to hunt if that’s something that you’re thinking about!

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The 8 Types of  Prey That Beagles Hunt

1. Rabbits

dwarf rabbit eating
Image Credit: Piqsels
Population: Unknown (many)
Weight: 2 to 5 pounds
Recommended Number of Beagles: 2+

If you’re looking for the perfect animal for Beagles to hunt, the answer is the rabbit. Rabbits are small enough prey that Beagles can easily and confidently track them down, and you don’t have to worry about the rabbits terrorizing your Beagles if they end up in a corner.

We do recommend using at least two Beagles when rabbit hunting, as Beagles simply do better when hunting as part of a pack. They can hunt on their own but they’re not as effective.

2. Squirrel

Population: Unknown (many)
Weight: 1 to 1.5 pounds
Recommended Number of Beagles: 2+

Not everyone is into squirrel hunting, but if you are, the Beagle is a great hunting dog choice. They don’t see much of a difference between squirrels and rabbits, and they do a phenomenal job of hunting both.

We recommend having at least two Beagles for hunting squirrels simply because it will improve the results. Beagles like to hunt in packs, and this is one of the ways that they can be effective at keeping squirrels from escaping up a tree.

3. Bird

bird with trash on its beak
Image Credit: Tim Mossholder, Unsplash
Population: Unknown (many)
Weight: Varies
Recommended Number of Beagles: 1+

While a Beagle isn’t a traditional “bird dog,” you can still use them as one. They can easily track birds, flush them out, and even retrieve them after you shoot them down. That’s everything that you could possibly want from a bird dog!

Since Beagles are not as large as many other bird dogs, their upkeep costs tend to be lower. If you want to get a bird dog, consider the Beagle!

4. Bobcat

Population: 2.3 to 3.5 million
Weight: 9 to 40 pounds
Recommended Number of Beagles: 4+

You might not think of the small Beagle as a great bobcat hunting companion, but they truly are. They won’t outright attack the bobcat, but they’ll help you find them and get them to come out of hiding.

Still, bobcats are large animals, and you don’t want something to happen to your Beagle. We recommend using a large pack of Beagles when hunting game like bobcats. With four different Beagles, for example, the bobcat won’t want to attack, leaving the job of finishing them off to you.

5. Coyote

coyote in the wild
Image Credit: mathey, Pixabay
Population: 300,000+
Weight: 15 to 45 pounds
Recommended Number of Beagles: 4+

If you’re interested in coyote hunting, adding a few Beagles to the team might make things easier. When in a pack, Beagles love hunting and flushing out these larger animals, and they can save you time in finding them.

Coyotes live in family groups and can reach sizes up to 45 pounds, so always use a team of Beagles when hunting them. This way, your Beagle doesn’t find themselves trying to face down a pack of coyotes alone.

6. Foxes

Population: Unknown (many)
Weight: 5 to 30 pounds
Recommended Number of Beagles: 4+

Foxes are intelligent creatures and can be a struggle to hunt on your own. But with a team of Beagles that can use their noses to help you, it’s much easier to track down these wily animals.

While foxes are usually timid, if you corner them, they can decide to strike. That’s why we recommend using a team of Beagles, so the fox doesn’t get a little too bold and try to strike at your dog.

7. Wild Boar

wild boar in the forest
Image Credit: webandi, Pixabay
Population: 6 million+
Weight: 130 to 220 pounds
Recommended Number of Beagles: 5+

Wild boar are a growing problem in many areas across the United States, and a good team of Beagles can help you track them down and hunt them. Just like with other larger game, you can’t expect even a team of Beagles to bring down the boar, and you wouldn’t want them to, anyway.

But a large team of Beagles can keep boars far enough away while guiding you right to them and will flush them out when the time is right.

8. Deer

Population: 35 to 36 million
Weight: 90 to 310 pounds
Recommended Number of Beagles: 2+

You’re not likely to see your Beagle bring down a deer, but they’ll help you track them down so you can do the job. They’re also great at tracking wounded deer if you don’t bring them down with the first shot.

It’s important to teach your Beagle not to get too close to the deer, but due to their natural desire to herd instead of hunt to kill, this isn’t usually too much of a problem.

Divider-Dog bone- NewHow Do Beagles Hunt?

While many dogs hunt with the intent to kill, that’s simply not how Beagles do it. First, Beagles hunt in packs, so you shouldn’t get just one Beagle if you want to use them for hunting.

Second, Beagles hunt with scent, and their primary instinct is to drive the prey out into the open. This is why they can be great hunting companions for large and dangerous animals, like wild boar and coyotes.

But it’s also why you need to understand exactly what you’re getting with Beagles. You’ll need to train them appropriately, as you’re not going to be able to stay right with them while they track, hunt, and drive the prey out into the open.

Training Your Beagle to Hunt

beagle hunting
Image Credit: olginaa84, Pixabay

Just owning a Beagle doesn’t mean you can head out to the woods and they’ll know how to hunt. You need to train your Beagle to hunt, and this takes time and a great deal of patience.

You must hone your Beagle’s hunting instincts with treats and then expose them to the scents of the animals that you want them to hunt. They must practice their chasing and hunting skills and get comfortable with everything else that comes with hunting, such as gunfire, other animals and humans, and much more.

Finally, if you already have a few fully trained Beagles, this will go a long way in ensuring that your new Beagle has a successful first hunt!

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If you’re thinking about turning your Beagle into a hunting dog, there’s a good chance that you’ll be successful. But keep in mind that it’s better to train them when they’re young, so if your Beagle is getting a little older, you might want to write off the idea of sending them out on a hunt.

That said, the instincts are there, and that’s why they can’t help but chase after a rabbit or squirrel running across the yard!

Featured Image Credit: Igor Normann, Shutterstock

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