There is nothing like being out in woods looking for that first buck of the season. The only thing that could make this any better would be if you could train your dog to hunt deer with you. Since dogs have been used as hunting companions as far back as any type of written (or pictorial) records show, you would think helping you to hunt would come naturally to your pup. Unfortunately, while this instinct might still be there, it will be up to you to train him.
Most dogs hunt in using their nose, which is far more sensitive than ours. Once taught to follow a specific type of scent, a good hunting dog can track very faint scents for miles. The good news is that once you have trained your dog to follow deer scent, you can work to train him to track other animals using the same skills.
So, essentially, we are talking about teaching your pup to put that wonderful nose of his to work helping you find the perfect buck or doe (depending on season and state). Sounds like it should be pretty easy, doesn't it? After all, dogs use their noses on a daily basis to keep track of every inch of their world and what is going on in it. You can train your pup to track the scent of the animal or its blood, both work with exceptional effectiveness.
You should start training your pup at an early age, as this is when he is full learning mode. While you may be able to train an older dog, it can be a lot harder to do. One major note, your goals is to train your pup to track his quarry, not to attack them. In fact, in the case of a wounded animal, he needs to stay back, or he may end up getting hurt.
Before starting to train your pup to hunt big game, you should wait until your vet says his bones are strong enough. Your pup should also have mastered the four basic commands, 'come', 'sit', 'stay', and 'down'. While most breeds can be trained to hunt, there are some that make a better choice for big game. These include most hounds such as the American foxhound. You should also have the following on hand:
You can train your dog to hunt and flush out live animals, to track wounded animals, or to do both. Most hunters will train their dogs in both methods of tracking for those days when your first shot only wounds your quarry. Oh, and one last thing, if your dog has not been trained to not be gun-shy, you will need to do so before you take your pup on an actual hunt.