This factor is difficult to evaluate at the shelter, but it is the most influential in determining whether the dog will hunt. The good news is that if you select a dog that has hunting instinct, you'll spend more time refining that instinct and less time training. Spending time in the field helps, especially with other well-trained dogs. My friend's beagle fell in with a group of trained hounds and quickly learned to hunt with no encouragement from her owner. A dog with the right instincts will be self-motivated to find game.