I agree…there are a few basenji hunters out there but this number is incredibly small. I think if the American small game hunters knew a little more about what the Basenji could do then their would be an interest. Now that I am in GA, I have met a lot of squirrel, rabbit, and other small game hunters who have a interest in the basenji and it is really a matter of letting them see the dog in action. Axel tracked down a wounded deer last year after it had been lost for several hours. It was about 1/2 mile away and the trail was getting cold, but he nailed it in minutes. The hunter was very skeptical when he saw axel but was a believer afterwards.
I have fielded my B's with other normal hunting dogs and generally speaking, the B's last longer and are more cunning. The drawback is they often will not retrieve and getting the game from them if they catch it can be a chore. Axel had a habit of trying to ingest as much as possible before I caught him. The retrieval trait has been engineered through breeding and is not really all that natural, IMO, to semi wild or wild dogs. I'm not sure if it is a good thing or not to breed into the basenji but is also a helpful trait in training for other forms of work.
I do want to clarify things a bit about my choosing B from show stock. When I first got into the breed not all that long ago, I wrongly believed that the basenji was still used for hunting in the US because the subject of the small hunting dog from Africa was so prevalent on so much material I read. Once I started to investigate more, I found it was actually the opposite. Most people I contacted about hunting basenjis had no interest in talking to me about it and a couple were openly hostile. I did meet one breeder, Terri Gavaletz from Bushbabies Basenjis who mentored me quite a bit in the breed. She had bred for hunting traits for hunting dogs that were actually fielded in California over the years. They were few but she did it. She knew exactly what I wanted and helped me find it in Axel, my first B. Axel was amazing and taught me a lot about the breed. Terri also led me to the next B huntress I fielded from the lines of Linda Pence. Terri said there were some things she liked about Linda's dogs that would help me with my efforts. That seems to work out well to because Axel and Ru produced Phoenix who is better, by far, than both of her parents. She has the best nose I have ever seen for cold scent and if she has three tone missile lock on a critter it is almost impossible to get her off of it. I often have to find her at home after a hunt because I lose her to the critter...that is quite frightening. The good news is that she always comes home and she is tough as nails. The next dog in line was Kaden from Susan Stuart...Kaden is out of Carrie Jones' Conan and Susan's Phoenix. Again, I was directed to the line because of some traits that I was told might work very well for our project and Kaden was far above our expectations. So, I think we can still get the traits from Basenjis in the US, perhaps not as much as could be possible, but some, none the less.
I have since met some great people in the B world and hope to work with some of their dogs in the future. Dr. Jo's work is really exciting to me and I am anxiously hoping for an opportunity to test some of her dogs one day.