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Saturday, March 14, 2015

A new generation of canine deer trackers is born

It all started with breeding our "Tuesday" (FC Tuesday von Moosbach-Zuzelek) to "Kunox (FC Kunox von der Dohlmühle), which took place on January 4 and 6. All went well. This is going to be a second litter for Tuesday, and she has very good instincts and mates easily.  Kunox, even though inexperienced, finally figured out how to use his equipment.

Tuesday's pregnancy went smoothly. She had a good appetite for the first few weeks and towards the end she ate mainly home made food. She never got overly large and we did not bother to do an ultrasound or X-rays. We knew she was pregnant, probably with 5, tops 6 pups. Last year she whelped 5 pups, when she was bred to Tommy.

We have had a very cold and snowy winter so she did not get almost any exercise in January and February. But her spirits remained high. I love this dog, who has an excellent on/off switch - off in the house and on the field.

On Sunday night, March 8, I stayed up with Tuesday all night, and then in the morning was relieved by John.

We knew that the whelping would start soon. On Monday morning she started to pant heavily, shiver and she felt like she needed to go to bathroom every couple of hours. Finally her water bag emerged at 12:30 PM and the first puppy arrived at 1:40 PM. This was a female pup, dark in color and weighing 9.6 oz. We call her Willette (she has a pink collar).


Then we had a long break, which was quite nerve wracking. Just about when I was going to call our vet, the second pup was born at 4:14 PM. It was another female, Wiki (yellow) weighing 8.6 oz. Three more pups followed:
4:37 PM a female weighing 9.4 oz, whom we named Willow (lime collar)
5:37 PM an 8.8 oz male Woody (blue)
6:30 PM an 8.8 oz male Waldi (purple)
I can't believe that the whelping actually took place during the day! John had his first litter in 1965 and I had mine in 1991 so we have assisted our bitches to whelp over many decades, yet one never knows in advance how things are going to go. We were lucky this time as everything went smoothly without complications.

From left: Willette, Wiki, Woody, Waldi and Willow.


Today (Saturday, March 14) puppies are five days old and continue to do very well. Tuesday has a good appetite and pups have put already a lot of weight. Waldi put on 6 ounces!



Friday, February 6, 2015

New Jersey’s Leashed Tracking Dog Program: Call to Action

by Darren Doran

This article was published in the Winter 2015 issue of Tracks and Trails, publication of the United Bowhunters of New Jersey

Unlike in the Southern States dogs and deer hunting have never mixed in the Northeast. Over fifty years ago the New Jersey legislature passed a law that prevented dogs to be used to hunt deer. The law is as follows.
23:4-46. Dogs not to be used
No person shall at any time, or for any reason, hunt for, track, search for, seek, capture or kill a wild deer with a dog.
Amended by L.1957, c. 116, p. 488, s. 1, eff. July 2, 1957.

This law was enacted to protect a fragile, recovering deer population from over-hunting, and what was considered an unfair advantage with the use of dogs.

Since that time New Jersey and its whitetail population has vastly changed. The loss of habitat to development and the ability of white-tailed deer to adapt to these landscape changes has created a thriving population of deer as well as greatly increased hours of recreational hunting in order to manage this increased deer population. Bow season now starts as early as mid-September in some parts of New Jersey when it is typically hot and the forest is still in full foliage. Add the seemingly increasing presence of coyotes to the scene and it becomes extremely important to recover deer that have been shot by hunters as quickly as possible to prevent spoilage or loss of venison from scavenging.

Most deer shot by bowhunters are recovered by the hunters themselves, but every bowhunter knows that even a well placed arrow that kills quickly can produce a blood trail that is very sparse or non-existent for a human to follow. A deer is a valuable resource and every ethical hunter will do everything in their power to recover a deer they have shot. A leashed tracking dog is a conservation tool that can help recover a deer that a hunter might not have been able to recover him or herself. This law that was originally designed to aid in the restoration of whitetails never took into consideration the conservation use of a leashed tracking dog to help recover a deer for a hunter.

Currently there are 37 states that allow some kind of big game recovery with a dog. New Jersey’s experimental tracking program began in 2008 when the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife issued a special wildlife management permit to study the usefulness and feasibility of using a leashed tracking dog to recover deer that had been shot by hunters who were having issues recovering those deer on their own.

The research permit is issued to Dr. Leonard Wolgast and it is he who is tasked with compiling and analyzing the data from the sub-permitees which are the dog handlers. That first permit had only three handlers on it which covered a limited area of the state, and had a very limited scope. Today there are 11 certified handlers and dogs on the permit, and tracking by these handler/dog teams may be conducted statewide.

The tracking permit is issued before the start of the early bow season in September and a new handler must be certified by mid-August in order to be included on that permit.
In order to show credibility to the program and basic ability, a handler and dog must complete at a minimum, a United Blood Trackers UBT 1 evaluation. This evaluation is a pass fail evaluation administrated by a UBT judge and requires the dog and handler to complete an unmarked test line consisting of 8 oz. of deer blood, 400 meters long with two 90 degree turns and 1 wound bed. The line is at least 2 hours old and the dog must lead the handler to the deer skin at the end. There are currently two UBT judges in New Jersey.

Upon successful completion of the evaluation, the handler and dog team will receive a certificate from the United Blood Trackers and inclusion on New Jersey’s permit. The handler by inclusion on the permit is then required to complete the tracking data and submit it monthly to Dr Wolgast. A tracker that does not submit their monthly reports or year-end report may be removed from the permit.

Before a tracker enters the woods with a hunter a track report is started. This includes the name, address, phone, email and CID number of the hunter. The location of the property is also included on the report. The hunter then signs the top part of this report stating that he has permission to hunt this property and that tracking is allowed. The handler then calls the regional law enforcement office in that area and reports the tracking attempt to the office. If the deer is recovered the hunter must sign the report stating that the deer was recovered.

During the tracking process all Fish and Game laws and regulations pertaining to that season must be followed. The tracking of a deer does not allow trespassing on private property without permission of the land owner.

In the early years of the research permit, few New Jersey hunters knew this service was available to them. As time passed the word has spread, and today more and more hunters are taking advantage of certified tracker and dog teams to assist in the recovery of a deer they can’t find on their own.

All the trackers are volunteers and there is no cost for this service (though a tracker is allowed to accept a donation for fuel, vet bills, dog food etc.). Please keep this in mind when you call a tracker and they are unable to respond. They all have jobs, family commitments and most of them are hunters themselves.

The New Jersey permit has stood the test of time. Past and present permittees have proven that a certified leashed tracking dog can work successfully in New Jersey. There have been no incidents involving law enforcement since the study’s inception. The United Bowhunters of New Jersey, The Traditional Archers of New Jersey, the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsman Clubs, and the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife support this. So why isn’t it legal? The answer is simple. The law needs to be amended by legislators in both the state Assembly and state Senate and then signed by the Governor. This is not a law that can be changed by members of the New Jersey Fish and Game Council via a Game Code amendment.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife has proposed the added language that would legalize tracking in the state of New Jersey and is as follows,
23:4-46 Dogs not to be used
“No person shall at any time, or for any reason, hunt for, capture or kill a wild deer with a dog. This shall not preclude the use of certified tracking dogs on leads by persons permitted by the Division of Fish and Wildlife to search for and recover deer lost by hunters during the regular deer seasons.”

We have reached our goals with this permit, and it’s now time to approach our legislators and let them know this is important to us. Every hunter I have ever tracked for, whether we found the deer or not was grateful and supportive of the service. We’re here to help you and now I’m going to need to ask you for some help. In the near future, with the help of the UBNJ, I need to initiate a letter writing campaign to selected legislators to let them know this is important to voting hunters. Very few bills that are introduced are ultimately passed each year in Trenton, and in order to stand a chance of amending a bill that most legislators would consider insignificant they need to know it matters to their constituents. A flood of letters from voting hunters will get their attention.

If this amendment became law a certified tracker would still need to call the Division of Law Enforcement before tracking, track on lead, obey the game laws, and respect the private property rights of landowners.

It will be the responsibility of the handler to obtain the required UBT 1 certification for each dog they track with and have it in their possession while tracking. If asked to produce it by a Conservation Officer while tracking, the handler must produce it or risk a citation.

The reason this will be required is to insure that this amendment will not be used as a loophole to have a dog in the field actually hunting deer. Calling the track in and having the certification will insure that the use of the dog is for the ethical recovery of a deer. The handler and leashed tracking dog team is a conservation tool used for the recovery of a dead deer. A leashed tracking dog being used to recover already shot deer is no different than a retriever used for recovering upland birds or ducks. The hunting of the deer has already been done.

Currently there aren’t enough trackers permitted in the state to meet the demand. Legalization would open the doors and attract more handlers that might be interested in tracking, but aren’t really interested in doing the paper work required to be on the permit. The more trackers available the less chance a deer with no blood trail or a lost blood trail will go unrecovered. We as hunters owe the deer we hunt every legal option we can use for recovery. A certified leashed tracking dog is another conservation tool to help meet that goal.

If you have a dog that you would like to check to see if it has an aptitude for tracking you will need to get some training materials. One way to do this is to collect blood, the liver and skin from your own deer harvests. Collect the blood and liver when you gut the deer and put it in a zip lock freezer bag. Once at home put the blood in a blender, strain the blood pour into 8 oz water bottles and freeze. One bottle will be the right amount for a training line. Take a cap of the same type of bottle and drill a few small holes in it. When you are ready to dispense the blood, switch caps. The liver can be divided into thirds and used as a drag. Take a knife and poke a slit through the liver and attach a piece of parachute cord for the drag. These can be frozen and used more than once. The hide will be saved and used to represent the deer at the end of the trail. A half of hide is plenty and these can be refrozen and used over. You will need something to mark the line so when you come back with the dog you will know exactly where it is. Clothespins with strips of flagging material work well. Clip these on branches or brush at eye level. Remove the pins as you pass with the dog. Don’t make the line too hard. Remember your first step is to see if your dog has an interest in this activity. Place the skin at the end, wait a couple of hours and see if the dog can get you to the skin. You may just find that your dog is a natural.

The time to legalize the use of certified, leashed tracking dogs to recover deer in New Jersey has come, and with your commitment to help this might become a reality.

For additional information about tracking dogs in general go to www.unitedbloodtrackers.org.
For additional information about the New Jersey program or certifying a dog please contact Darren Doran at Darren@rvwsinc.com.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Blood Tracking Dogs and Snow

Alain Ridel, who lives  at Mont Carmel between the St Lawrence River and the State of Maine, is a long time tracker with a brilliant wirehaired dachshund that he imported from France as a puppy. He has been an active in the Quebec handlers association, ACCSQ,  and he is also a member of UBT.

Alain's specialty  is tracking wounded moose, but he also tracks whitetails. This story supports our American ideas about tracking a scent line under snow cover. However, we would all agree that it is a major achievement to track a wounded deer when six inches of snow have fallen on the line.

By Alain Ridel 


Is it possible for  a blood tracking dog, especially a dachshund, to find a deer after a good snow fall? The answer is YES.

My dog Théo, who is six and a half years old, proved this to me on November 3, 2014. I had already taken several deer calls with Théo after a good snowfall, but we had never been able to recover the animal, and this left me with doubts about the capability of a dog to follow and find a wounded big game animal in the snow.

Monday, November 3 at 11:15 AM, I got a call to track a deer that had been shot the previous day at 3 PM. The hunters had waited an hour, and then they had taken off to track their game. Unfortunately they jumped him  at 180 meters from the hit site, and because darkness was coming (it's dark at 4:30) they decided to wait until the next day despite the fact that snow was predicted overnight.

Tuesday morning, when they woke up, six inches of snow had fallen. In spite of this, they decided to go back to the woods in order to find the deer. They had found blood and  also stomach contents in the bed where they had jumped the deer. Despite three hours of searching by three people, they had found no sign of this wounded deer. There were only numerous tracks in the snow made by other deer that had roamed around all night long. They decided to call me. So I found myself out in the woods in a six inch+ layer of snow, and I was there to find a deer that had been wounded nearly 24 hours earlier.

When I started Théo at the hit site, the only place that the hunters had marked, he stuck his nose, and practically his whole head, down into the snow; after several minutes he took off on scent line, which only he could figure out because there was no visual sign that I could use to confirm that he was on the right line. But as usual when we tracked together, I accepted the fact that Théo is better in these matters than I am, and I had full confidence in him.

Obviously this search took place without much of a track to follow, but at every bit of remaining   scent, I could read my dog like a book. He would enthusiastically plunge his head down into the snow, and as I followed  10 meters behind, I could hear him breathing in the scent of that deer.

The first 180 meters to the deer's bed, from which he had been jumped the day before, took 25 minutes.  Théo showed the bed to me as he scraped down to the ground where blood and stomach contents were still visible. Two other times he dug down to the earth and showed me blood on the soil that he had uncovered. With the  snow often coming up to his chest, Théo  also had to contend with fresh deer tracks everywhere, but he was never  distracted and never left his line. The area was also tracked up by the hunters, who had searched, but that did not bother him either.

After an hour and 55 minutes, he found the buck dead, half buried in snow, on the edge of a lake. He had traveled 1,315 meters.



Summary

The search took place 24 hours after the shot.

There was more than six inches of snow.

The temperature was -8 Celsius,  17.6 Fahrenheit.

There were numerous  deer tracks in the snow.

The search lasted for an hour an 55 minutes.

French version: Les Chiens de Sang et la Neige?


Est-il possible à un chien de sang et, particulièrement à un teckel de retrouver un chevreuil  après une bonne chute de neige?
La réponse est : OUI

Mon chien Théo, âgé de 6 ans et demi m’en a fourni la preuve le lundi  le 3 novembre 2014.  J’avais déjà effectué plusieurs recherches avec Théo après une chute de neige abondante mais, nous n’avions jamais pu récupérer l’animal blessé, ce qui me laissait un doute sur la capacité d’un chien de sang à suivre et retrouver un gibier blessé dans la neige.

Lundi, le 3 novembre, à 11h15 , le téléphone sonne pour une recherche sur un chevreuil qui a été tiré le dimanche, 2 novembre à 15h., les chasseurs ont attendu une heure, puis sont partis a la recherche de leur gibier.  Malheureusement, ils l’ont relevé à 180 mètres de l’anchuss et comme la nuit allait tombée (il fait nuit à 16h30), ils ont décidé d’attendre le lendemain pour poursuivre leur recherche malgré  de la neige annoncée pour la nuit.

Lundi matin à leur réveil, il avait tombé 6 pouces (15cm) de neige, malgré cela, ils ont décidé de retourner en forêt pour essayer de retrouver ce chevreuil car, sur la couche du cerf relevé le soir d’avant, ils avaient trouvé à part du sang, du fumier de panse.  Malgré 3heures  de recherches à 3 personnes, ils n’avaient vu aucun indice de ce chevreuil blessé à part de nombreuses pistes dans la neige de chevreuils qui avaient voyagé toute la nuit. Ils ont donc décidé de m’appeler, et je me suis retrouvé  en pleine forêt avec une couche de neige de + 6 pouces  à la recherche d’un chevreuil qui avait été blessé il y avait presque 24h00.

Suite à la dépose de Théo à l’anchuss (seul endroit de la recherche que les chasseurs avaient marqué) celui-ci commença en mettant son museau et pratiquement toute la tête dans la neige, et au bout de quelques minutes il parti clairement sur une voie qu’il était seul à comprendre car il n’y avait aucun indice visuel pour nous confirmer qu’il était sur la bonne voie, mais comme en recherche, je pars du principe que Théo est meilleur que moi, je lui aie fait entièrement confiance
Évidemment, cette recherche  c’est déroulée avec beaucoup de perte de  voie, mais à chaque fois je lisais mon chien comme un livre ouvert et celui-ci replongeait gaiement la tête dans la neige, et nous qui étions à une dizaine de mètres (30 pieds) derrière lui, nous l’entendions inspirer tous les sentiments de ce chevreuil,

Le premier 180 mètres jusqu’à la couche où le chevreuil avait été relevé le jour d’avant a été atteinte en 25 minutes et Théo nous l’a montré en grattant la neige jusqu’au niveau de la terre où le sang et le fumier du chevreuil se trouvaient encore.  Deux autres fois (drapeau rouge) il creusa la neige et à chaque fois il y avait du sang sur le sol découvert.  Avec de la neige souvent plus haute que ses pattes, des pistes de chevreuils fraîches (Théo n’a jamais pris un change) de nombreuses traces de pas (les chasseurs dans leur recherche) ,   il retrouva ce cerf mort sur le bord d’un lac à moitié enseveli par la neige au bout de 1h55 de travail sur une distance de 1315 mètres.

Pour résumer la recherche :
-    - recherche effectuée 24heures après le tir,
-+ de 6 pouces  de neige au sol,   
- température de -8 degré,
- nombreuses pistes de chevreuils dans la neige,
- durée de la recherche  1H 55 minutes .                                            
  

Friday, January 2, 2015

Third edition of Tracking Dogs for Finding Wounded Deer

We have been getting a lot of inquiries about the third edition of Tracking Dogs for Finding Wounded Deer and when it is going to be available. We expect it late winter or spring. In the meantime you can add your email to our sign up form and we will notify you when it is out. To do so CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year to you and your tracking dogs!


We are joining Tuesday (in the picture) to wish all of you a Very Happy New Year! BTW, Tuesday will be bred this week to Kunox, and hopefully we will have some puppies born in nine weeks. Unfortunately, our waiting list is full and closed, and we are not taking more reservations.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Vonnie is starting to gain her handler's trust thanks to a good tracking job

This message from Mike Martien came on Christmas Day. Mike lives in Monroe, LA, and his puppy Vonnie came from our only 2014 litter of Tommy x Tuesday. In his message Mike refers to Waldo, who was bred by Laurel Whistance-Smith and was sired by our Asko. Thank you Mike!

Hope this message finds all well, and both of you enjoying Christmas.  Wanted to send you a quick note on Vonnie.  Things have been really slow for us.  Had 2 calls for tracking, and both of them came while I was out of town with my work.  However, we had the second live track for Vonnie this evening.

A good friend of mine, Mark Hoffman, was hunting with his daughter Gabby this evening, and knew I needed to give Vonnie more experience.  Gabby shot an 8 point, and when Mark found blood, and where the deer left the food plot, he did exactly what I wish all hunters would do, he marked the blood, and left to come get me and Vonnie.  Mark felt like the buck wasn't hit great, and wanted to wait a little while before taking Vonnie in, which was a good call on Mark's part.   

When I put Vonnie down on the blood she immediately started following it through the brush and down a steep hill.  I told Mark I wasn't sure she was still on it, while going down hill, but when we made it to the bottom, we found more blood.  She turned and dropped off into a small creek bed with steep, bluff sides and went 20-30 yards, when we hit a log jam in the creek and Vonnie started try to weave her way through it. I followed, but felt confident she wasn't on it.  Lucky for me though, after going through the pile of limbs that looked completely undisturbed, Vonnie stopped to sniff a leaf that had blood on it.  The bluff banks on this creek were now 10-12 feet tall, and nearly impossible for me to climb, but Vonnie made a 90 degree turn and tried going up it.  After two attempts, Vonnie came back down and went just a little further down the creek, where another drain came into it and started her way up.  While we were doing this, Clay Weeks and Mark shined their lights up the hill from where Vonnie had tried going up the bluff, saw the deer stand up, and finished it off.  Therefore, Vonnie has now earned my trust and I will follow her regardless of "what I think the deer did"...  The track wasn't very long, but thanks to Mark and Gabby Hoffman, they provided an opportunity for me to gain confidence, and Vonnie to prove her ability. 
 
I'm attaching a photo of Gabby Hoffman with her buck and Vonnie.  Please feel free to post the above paragraph and photo on your various sites.  It'll certainly help us get more tracking jobs, and make a little girl happy.  Vonnie is much more methodical in her tracking than Waldo was during his first three years.  She works the line slow and close, and hasn't blown a single turn on any of her 2 tracks she's been on.  Everyone has commented on how well she minds, and how well she reacts to being around numerous people.  I know it's still early to be making a call like this, but from what I've seen thus far, there's no doubt in my mind that she will probably be a better tracker than Waldo, and that's a strong statement, giving Waldo's accomplishments.  I honestly had hoped she'd just be as good as Waldo, but I believe she just might show me that it's actually possible to be better than him.  Many thanks to both of you for providing me with such an outstanding dog! 

Mike Martien's contact info is list on the UBT Find-A-Tracker site at  http://www.unitedbloodtrackers.org/tracker-profile/?user=222


Friday, December 26, 2014

Not all wounded deer can be recovered, even if you use a tracking dog

Time to get back to the topic of tracking dogs because we really fell behind with our blogging and emails. I apologize to all our contributors and those who are still waiting for our replies.

We received this letter from Judy Catrett on December 10. As you recall Judy lives in Georgia where it is legal to track with a dog off-leash. Mossy (aka Viola von Moosbach-Zuzelek) is an eight-month-old daughter of Tommy and Tuesday. Thank you Judy!

Just a note to let you know how Mossy is progressing.  We have now started doing a fair amount of tracking for hunters other than those that are guests of the plantation which Craig manages.  I had read John's books, Dead On!  and Tracking Dogs for Wounded Deer prior to tracking season, but have found myself using them as a reference after several tracks recently.  I am always wondering what we (Mossy and I) did not do when we were unable to retrieve a wounded deer--so I dig into the books hoping to obtain a little more knowledge along with rethinking what we did and could have done differently on each track. 

Mossy Brooke continues to be an excellent tracker and her name has become well known around our little town and county as well as into some neighboring counties.  Since I last emailed you, we have been on several tracks that we were unable to find the deer.  One deer had a broken front leg--the hunter shot the deer straight on into the brisket area. Leg bone, a fragment of the bullet, and muscle tissue were found at the site of the shot.  Mossy and I arrived approx. 5 hours after the deer had been shot and after 2 inches of rain.  She immediately picked up the trail and actually jumped the deer within 100 yards of the last blood the hunter had found (this had been washed away by the time we arrived).  She was tracking off leash as she was in an area that was safe for her to do this and the briars were so thick and tall that it was almost impossible for me to keep her on leash.  I was 40 yards behind her when she bayed the deer. The deer immediately ran and she bayed it twice more during her trailing, for only a few seconds each time.   The deer had stopped bleeding and crossed 2 creeks during this tracking.  We trailed this deer for 1 1/2 miles and it was showing no signs of slowing down, so I stopped Mossy as I felt that this was another wound that would not slow the deer enough for us to retrieve it.

We had a similar experience with a buck that I think was shot above the spine and stunned for a few minutes.  This was the second buck that we have tracked this year with this type of injury.  Mossy tracked it on leash for over 1 mile. This track was 11 hours old when we arrived.  On arrival, she immediately picked up on the blood trail which dwindled to no blood within 150 yards.  She continued to pull strong on the leash throughout the entire track.  I finally had to stop her around midnight as this seemed to be a nonfatal injury with no bleeding being noted along the trail past the first 150 yards and I had to work the next day.

We then tracked a deer that was gut shot 24 hours previous to our arrival.  This deer was probably shot in the stomach as acorns and corn were noted at the shot site.  I certainly thought that this buck would be found.  There had been 2 to 3 inches of rain during the 24 hours that had passed since the shot.  She trailed the buck for approx. 1 to 1 1/4 miles total, off leash. She bayed the buck in a very thick pine thicket with terrible briars for a few seconds, but when the buck heard me coming it ran.  Mossy trailed it to a large pond which neither she nor I could cross.  The hunter's (age 12) father owned this land and decided that there was no easy way to get to where the buck may have gone if he was able to cross the water and that he would watch for a floating deer or buzzards in the next few days.  This is one track that I am still puzzled over.  I certainly thought that the deer would be in the edge of the water and that the wound would be significant enough that Mossy and I could catch up with the deer.  I am still mulling this over in my head trying to decide what should have been done differently.

Craig took Mossy on a track in which the deer was tracked for 1 1/2 miles.  She was on leash on this track and Craig did not have a gun as the hunter was carrying a rifle and going with them.  After 3/4 mile, Mossy walked into a briar thicket and actually put her nose on the deer's hip.  The deer was still alive --shot through the flank areas (gut shot)--and it stood up when Mossy touched it.  The hunter had been unable to keep up with Craig and Mossy in the briars and when Craig had to yell for him to come with the gun, the deer ran another 3/4 of a mile at which time Craig had to stop tracking due to property lines.  Craig has not tracked as much as I have and did not realize the importance of being self sufficient and having his own gun.  A lesson well learned he said after being dragged through 1 1/2 miles of briars by Mossy.

I am realizing that wounded bucks will let Mossy Brooke get fairly close to them and they will have a stand off with her if they still have enough life left in them to possibly survive. This I think occurs because of her small size and bucks detecting her as not being threatening.  If I try to approach a buck with a wound that may not be fatal, it immediately bolts as soon as it detects a larger creature approaching.  It is almost impossible for me to get to the buck without making noise due to the thick vegetation and briars.  I would appreciate any feedback on how to handle these situations.  I think that this is one reason a lot of trackers in the south use larger dogs who actually catch the deer and keep them at bay until the person with a gun can get there.  Don't worry, I would never trade my Mossy Brooke for a larger dog.

Mossy Brooke is an awesome little dog with a love for tracking that cannot be described.  I consider myself very lucky to have her--for tracking and more so as a companion.   She is almost 8 months old and has now found a total of 26 deer (December 10).  

Hope you and John have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,


Judy


Mossy modeling her camo jacket with Erin prior to going hunting. Mossy stays in the car very quietly with her camo jacket when I take the kids hunting. I am also sending a picture of the buck that Erin killed on our hunt a couple of hours after this picture was taken. Mossy was not in the picture because Erin dropped the deer in its tracks. Mossy still had fun acting like she found it. All of the kids love Mossy as she does them. I take most of these kids turkey hunting in the spring also, so, if Mossy finds a deer for anyone, when they ask what they owe for her services, I request the favor of being able to bring one kid to their property for a turkey hunt next spring.  I am now having to keep a list of the places Mossy has earned us the opportunity to turkey hunt.  When I sit back and look at all Mossy has done here in Georgia--in addition to tracking wounded deer--I am overwhelmed. Introducing kids to hunting, the outdoors, and WHDs is awesome.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It looks like a White Christmas this year in the Helderbergs

This picture was taken on the night of December 9. Then it snowed pretty much for two days.
This is a view from our field onto a barn and dog yard. While it is a beautiful picture, it also brings back a memory of all the inconveniences of winter in the country: being snowed in and feeling isolated, a need to get a long driveway plowed, a dog yard filled with snow etc etc.
These two pictures were taken after a sunset, without a flash or tripod. The ISO setting was 20000.

Young dogs love to play in the snow. This picture shows Luna and Volt having a lot of fun for as long as it is not too cold!

The 2nd edition of Tracking Dogs for Finding Wounded Deer is out of print

Sorry for a long break from the blog but we had a serious snow storm a week ago or so and ended up without cable for five days. Now everything is back to normal, except for the amount of snow we have to deal with (around 20 inches or so). Anyway, in this post it is not the weather I would like to write about.

The second edition of Tracking Dogs for Finding Wounded Deer by John Jeanneney is sold out and now out of print. I know, this is not a very convenient timing as there is always a rush of orders around Christmas time. The fact is that a new, updated third edition should be out in late winter or in spring. It will have all the information from the second edition plus a lot of new info on dog training. Quite a few topics will be updated. If you need this book, you should wait.

Since now the supply and demand for the book are completely out of whack, online book dealers operating through amazon.com and ebay sell second hand copies for $400-800. Don't be a fool and don't buy it at this price. Just wait. In the meantime read articles on the www.unitedbloodtrackers.org and search this blog for topics of your interest. A lot of info is available online free of charge!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Shot analysis and deer recovery summary by Bob Yax


Bob Yax from Deer Search of Finger Lakes and his wirehaired dachshund Thor recovered this bow-shot 10 pointer on November 30 in Pittsford, NY. As Bob said it must be a tough neighborhood as the buck had two broken G-2s.  

Bob also wrote: 
Out of the 49 we've recovered in the last 5 years it was the 5th deer that was hit in the chest (without liver or stomach involved). It was the 4th that had a slice across the outside of the heart! The only other chest shot we've recovered, was a double lunger (hit in the rain) that went only about 150 yards.

We've never recovered a chest/lung shot deer (other than heart) that’s gone beyond 150 yards.   If they can breathe long enough to go beyond that,  they can breathe for a long time (days) & distance.  Many times we’ve kicked up these marginal chest shots the next day, and they were still going strong.

Marginal lung shots are the worst!!!

Note, all these heart shot deer acted as if liver hit.  They all bedded quickly,  within 100 yards, but then got up out of that 1st bed.   Three of them at least 2 hrs after being hit.  All were found within 300 yards of the hit site.   None of these were pushed very hard – the hunters backed out after pushing them out of their 1st bed – that’s the secret !

Friday, December 5, 2014

Born-to-track Wirehaired Dachshunds Calendar for 2015

The calendar with pictures of our dogs is ready and can be purchased for $19.99 from this link 
http://www.cafepress.com/calendarsbyjolanta.1447679902
MAKE SURE that you choose January 15 as a starting month. Cafepress has daily discounts so you can probably order at a much lower price if you wait. Today I think it is 20% off. This is a "print on demand" technology so a calendar is printed when it is ordered. I have not seen how the calendar looks printed (only on my printer) so if there is something wrong, please let me know. Cafepress has 100% guarantee so you will be able to return it if you don't like it. The calendar includes only my pictures and they are of only our dogs. Why did I choose these particular pictures? Because they were speaking to me so I hope that they will resonate with you as well. John liked them too. 


THANK YOU for being a fan of our dogs!!!
















Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Brady Hesington's Wachtelhund Caliber recovers two deer in one day but there is more to this story

A big thank you to Brady Hesington, a United Blood Trackers member from Missouri, for sharing his recent tracking experience.

I'd like to share one of our more memorable tracks of the year.  I received a call on a Monday afternoon from a gentleman who lives about an hour from me.  He related that his son had shot a nice buck the previous evening, and they needed help locating it.  Unfortunately, I was working and wouldn't be available until the following morning.  After taking a phone survey of the shot, I felt that we had a reasonable chance at recovery.  I was also impressed that the father shared his desire to instill in his children the importance of making every effort of recovering animals that they shot as a way of honoring God, their Creator.  The details were as follows...

The father and son were hunting together on a ridge, with the father sitting not far behind his son, Luke.  A buck came up along the opposite ridgeline, along the edge of a field, and Luke took the shot.  The buck ran into the field and the hunters could hear him taking loud, sucking breaths.  Luke asked his dad if he should take another shot, but his father, Jayson, an experienced hunter, told Luke that the shot was through the lungs and that no further shot was necessary.  The buck then dropped his head and laid down.  After several minutes the two stood up to go look at the deer, and much to their surprise it rose and took off into the woods.  Expecting the deer to be down, they followed the blood trail for about 100 yards and heard more crashing, which prompted them to back out.  

The following morning, they scoured the woods along with two additional searchers.  They progressed the trail by about 200 yards, but did not find the deer.   Later that day a large rainstorm blew through washing away all the blood.  That's when I got the call.  The track had led them within 75 yards of a small river, and they had not searched on the opposite side, as they had not received permission.  My hope was that the deer was not far on the other side, and that we would be able to find it quickly if they received permission.  I told Jayson to do his best to gain permission, and an hour later he called back to tell me that he had it.  Later that night he called me back to tell me that his daughter, Sydney, had also shot a deer and after tracking for about 100 yards they decided to back out since I would be arriving in the morning...good idea!  He was unsure of where young Sydney had struck the deer, but informed me that there seemed to be a lot of blood.  

The next morning I arrived at the sight with both my wachtelhund, Caliber, and my BMH, Chloe.  Most of my time tracking this year has been spent with Chloe, as I am trying to develop her skills.  Caliber, sadly, has not gotten a lot of tracking time in the woods, and I was anxious to get him on the 15 hour old track and save Chloe for the 40+ hour old track.  Caliber has shown great ability on tracks of all ages, but is not as motivated on really old tracks with no or minimal sign.  Chloe on the other hand, will dig for scent to track no matter the age of the track.  The problem is she is less discriminating on what scent she takes at times, which is why I have spent so much time working with her this season.  

We decided to start with the "easy" track.  I started Caliber at the hit sight, and true to the report, there was plenty of blood.  Caliber took off without a hitch.  We covered the first 100 yards easily, then progressed the trail another couple of hundred yards past the point of loss.  There was intermittent blood along the way to reassure us.  At that point, Caliber began acting like he was on a hot scent and really began to track fast.  I slowed him down and restarted him a couple of times to get him to focus.  He took the trail to about 600 yards into a field, then made an abrupt turn along the field edge.  After another 100 yards I hadn't seen any sign, so I set him down and searched the field edge for a bit.  Unable to find any confirmation, I allowed him to work the field edge into a thick, brushy area.  He was searching through the area when I heard a LOUD crash up ahead of us.  My brain immediately screamed "leg shot deer" because of all the racket.  Then I saw him jump up out of a deadfall and run into a field.  It was obvious that he was wounded when he ran, and I felt certain that it was a leg shot, but could not see his wound.  Caliber and I took off in pursuit, and after a short chase, I allowed Caliber to bay and hold the deer so that I could put it down.  Caliber was able to pull it down, but suffered a cut along one leg in the process.  He held it while I quickly dispatched it.  A quick inspection showed that the deer was hit just inside the hind leg, dislocating the joint and entering the groin area.  The deer, no doubt, would have had a lingering death had we not recovered it.  This was Sydney's first deer, and she was very excited by the whole experience...as were we all!  When Jayson approached, he initially thought that this was a different deer than what Sydney had shot because one of the deer's antlers had broken off somewhere along the way.  When everyone was gathered, Jayson and Sydney said a prayer of thanks for the deer and for the recovery.  It was special to be a part of this family's traditions.  

Sydney and Caliber with her first buck
After loading the deer, we loaded up and headed to the sight where Luke had shot his deer.  I started Chloe on the track and she followed it "perfectly" along the trail where they had previously tracked the deer.  Unfortunately, there was absolutely no sign remaining after the previous day's deluge, and the hunters had not flagged the trail.  Still, there were plenty of landmarks, and by accounts Chloe was doing a good job of staying on trail.  We proceeded up to the area where the hunters had lost the blood previously.  At this point, there was some confusion about where the deer had made a hard left had turn.  Chloe wanted to track straight where they thought the deer had turned, so I redirected her into that area.  She tracked around in the area, but didn't make me very confident that she was on the deer.  I then let her track in the area where she wanted to go and we ambled along the woods for a ways, and ended up at the end of the small peninsula of land along the river...no deer.  After several restarts we weren't making any progress.  As Jayson had obtained permission to cross the river, he and the rest of his crew went back to the house to pick up a canoe to help us cross. 

I decided to put Chloe in the kennel box and give Caliber a shot at the trail while I waited for them to return.  It took little time for Caliber to pick up the trail and begin tracking aggressively.  He was very motivated after getting to catch the other deer.  Caliber would prefer to bay deer and wild hogs than just about anything in life, so he was highly motivated on the track.  I wondered if he was "cheating" and following our footprints rather than tracking the 2 day old blood scent, but that was soon put to rest.  The deer had run through a large downed tree which had a 4 foot section cut away.  It was an obvious landmark where they had actually found blood on their second tracking attempt.  Chloe, had missed that section and tracked a line 20 yards around it before coming back onto the correct trail.  Caliber, however, nailed the track without missing a beat.  He was definitely not tracking us as we had not walked that route!  Like Chloe, Caliber, also didn't take the hard turn where the hunters had thought the deer may have detoured, but rather took me about 50 yards further before making a sharp left into an area that looked similar.  He then led me straight down to the river.  

As he searched our edge of the river bank, I began looking at the far edge for an area where a deer may have exited the creek.  The river wall was nearly vertical on the opposite side, so there was no way that a deer was going to climb out at that point.  That's when I noticed the brown lump laying on the gravel bank.  I was so excited, that I took off my shoes, rolled up my pants, and waded across the river in 35 degree weather!  Caliber followed along as well.  When I got to the deer, I couldn't see a wound, but upon further examination there was a bullet hole low in the chest just in front of the near leg...a low lung shot.  This would explain the "sucking" sound that Jayson had described to me, and the low forward shot would explain why the deer had not expired more quickly.  

There was just one problem.  Jayson had told me that his son had shot a "big buck," "at least an 8 point, but possibly a 10 or 12,  and I was standing over a 3 point.  The deer was untouched by any predator or birds (prior to Caliber pulling out all its hair), but looked to have been dead about the right amount of time.  I called Jayson to confirm, and he assured me that it could not be the right deer.  When he arrived on the river by canoe, he again assured me that this could not be the right deer.  Oddly, if this deer had been shot on the opposite side of the river it would have had to jump to its death off a 10 foot sheer bank with a maze of exposed tree roots below.  Not impossible, but questionable.  We did walk down the bank to a point where we were able to climb up and searched the area for a bit, but did not recover another deer.   It's difficult to believe that a seasoned hunter like Jayson would have thought that a 3 point was a 8, 10, or 12 in the heat of the moment, but equally difficult to believe that Caliber would lead me straight down a track that would end up at someone else's wounded deer.  Either way, it made for a great day of tracking!
Caliber and the 3 point...his buck

Monday, December 1, 2014

Memorable tracks do not have to end with recovered deer or bear

Sometimes the most memorable tracks do not produce a dead deer or bear at the end. These are two examples of such tracks that were also very long. A big thank you to Chris and Pete for sharing them with us..

Chris Barr from Indiana tracks with Gerti (Gwen von Moosbach-Zuzelek), who is a  5½ year old daughter of Billy and Gilda, and the track is a direct quote from his email:

I wanted to tell you about my most recent track with Gerti which occurred this past Tuesday evening. The hunter shot a small buck at 9:00 in the morning with a head on facing chest shot. He had blood and bone fragments at the hit sight. He tracked for approximately 150 yards before losing the blood. I arrived at the hit site at about 7:00 that evening and put Gerti down at the hit. She took off immediately with no re-starts necessary. She pulled me down to the point of loss very quickly. I had not seen any blood since the first 50 yards or so but she was pulling very confidently. We continued for several hundred yards with no blood. I called back to the hunter, who was doing a great job of keeping up, that the rope “felt” the same as it had since the hit site but that I was dying for some confirmation. (I have a bad habit of not trusting Gerti sometimes). Well I finally saw some blood and I felt very confident that I could pretty much blindly trust her from that point forward.

It ended up being a 3.5 mile track where we caught up to the deer twice and I even got a shot at him the second time. He only let me get about 30 yards away. The cliff-notes version is that we were in Yellowwood State Forrest. We had no cell signal and we had to rob the batteries from my portable radios for my GPS as it had gone dead. We kept pushing the deer because I just felt (and I checked with 2 experts) that it was the right thing to do. To this point, I had never had a track where I had seen the deer and not eventually recovered it. 

We finally had to make the hard decision to abandon the track. We recorded last blood with GPS coordinates and he was going to try to come back. I was honestly starting to get a little freaked out when everything battery powered we had was dying. I was concerned that if we lost our lights that we may have a long night in the woods in front of us. Temps dipped into the 20’s, and as you can imagine, we’d worked up quite a sweat.

This was without a doubt Gerti’s best track of the season. I give her credit for a “find” because she found him twice! I believe shot must have glanced down and along the brisket and hit the shoulder. I think we could have eventually walked him down. I hated to leave him.

We’ve had a frustrating season. This was only our 10th track total. We are usually in the 20’s by now. I haven’t had the local calls I’m used to and many of the UBT calls have just been too far with me working and hunting myself. This was our 3rd find and possibly Gerti’s best track ever. The total distance from the truck back to the truck was 5.5 miles….and suffice it to say there were no fields and the hills of Brown County can get steep.

When we made it home around midnight Gerti ate supper and then disappeared under a blanket with my daughter’s fiancé. Not a bad life…for me either.

---------------

Pete Martin from Kiamesha Lake, NY, wrote recently about one of his tracking adventures with Lisa von Moosbach-Zuzelek, a  9½ year old daughter of Billy and Gela.

What an unbelievable bear call on Saturday night of November 15.  Took up track Sunday morning @ 7:30 am, 11 hours later. Bear was shot with .270 @ 50 yards by a 17 year old hunter. It was in Ulster County, on state land in Voor Nuy Kill area outside Ellenville.

The hit site showed moderate blood and hair. As we proceeded to track it was obvious that the bear was bleeding profusely. The hunter, his dad and uncle did excellent  job tracking bear 400-500 yards, zig-zagging up and down side of steep mountainside. We passed last marker and blood. Lisa was on this track like nobody’s business. Straight down mountainside to small wet swampy area with good blood all the way.

Here comes the LONG TRACK made short. Next 4 miles up mountainsides, down steep hills, flat open hardwoods, blowdowns, streams, mountain laurel. You had to crawl on hands and knees. Lisa showed us every little blood spot you could possibly imagine, It wasn't too long, maybe one mile, I realized and explained to tracking crew we were pushing a wise old bear. We saw fresh wet blood. At start of track blood was plentiful and dark. This bear couldn’t have been that far ahead of us but just far enough we couldn't catch up. Lisa was totally vocal which indicated to me she was on very fresh scent and blood.

There were two very tough checking spots for Lisa to figure out but after 12 minutes or so she took us off in the right direction to more blood. Amazing. Some blood drops were 75 to 100 yards apart. I could not believe the strength and persistence of this bear. This bear did everything you could imagine Circled, went up and down same but different hills more than once, back tracked, bedded. Near the end blood was getting watery and weak but Lisa was right on it. The tracking crew and hunter could not believe it. At one point close to end of track someone behind me said "you have a million dollar dog -never saw anything like this before. These were experienced hunters.

Lisa never quit pulling, nose to the ground so focused and vocal. She wanted this bear so bad and knew it wasn't that far ahead of us. Still had small drops of blood going up yet another hill. Hunter’s father and uncle decided we were not going to catch up to bear, and they called off track after 4½  hrs. Everybody was completely exhausted, myself including. My only regret is that we didn't take a long break and continue to track as I thought the bear must be at his end. We were almost to the Roundout Reservoir.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Winter has arrived

On Wednesday, a day before Thanksgiving, first winter storm arrived. We probably got around 8-10 inches of snow, enough to affect travel plants for many. We were invited by friends who live 35 minutes from us and on Thursday afternoon roads were in a good condition. The snow is still with us and it still covers trees and bushes. The sight is magical.


This is our dogs' yard during the storm.
A view from our kitchen window on Wednesday afternoon.

Thanksgiving morning, just after sunrise.
On Friday morning we realized that we must have quite a few deer around here judging by the number of their tracks in the snow.
If the snow stays on the ground, it will be pretty much the end of tracking season for. We will continue to hunt if it does not get too cold.