Search This Blog


Friday, October 24, 2014

Handling tracking dogs off lead

She is called Mossy Brooke by her owner Judy from Gergia, and she turned six months old on October 12. The pup's registered name is Viola von Moosbach-Zuzelek, and her parents are Tommy and Tuesday. Mossy has been tracking now for a week on this Georgia Plantation, and she has already recovered seven deer. Some deer would have been found without her but others would have been lost. 

Mossy is worked off lead and she wears a GPS collar. Judy is not new to blood tracking as she has tracked for many years with a very talented Jack Russell Terrier, Bear, and recovered hundreds of deer for the Plantation that her husband Craig manages.

I post almost daily updates on Mossy's adventures on our Facebook. The latest e-mail from Judy is included below. This was the first time when Mossy found a wounded deer still alive.

Tracking "Off Lead" is legal only in certain southern states and in Texas. Georgia, where Mossy tracks is one  of these "legal off lead" states.

Tracking off lead has its advantages and its risks.  The recovery rate, off lead, is higher than we would expect with dogs working at all times on a long leash. They can better penetrate very thick cover without a leash and handler in tow. Also the unleashed dogs can catch up to and "bay" some deer that would probably escape and survive in the North. We all know that the legalization of unleashed tracking dogs is politically out of the question in the North.

One risk of tracking off lead is that  the dog can be gored by an aggressive buck. This is more likely to happen if the tracking dog is young and inexperienced or too game aggressive. And of course small dogs like dachshunds have less "Bay Power" than a 90-pound tracking dog like a Southern Black Mouth Cur or Lab. In general a dog unencumbered by a tracking lead is more agile and better equipped to stay out of trouble when baying an angry, aggressive buck.

In some situations it makes sense to start the dog while it is on lead. Once the dog has clearly established herself on the right line, she can be released. Training preparation for work on older, colder lines is also more feasible if the dog is worked on lead.

Well, we have the answer to how Mossy will react to a live deer.  The opportunity presented itself yesterday evening.  She trailed a deer that we assumed was dead.  When she found it, it jumped up, Mossy backed off a couple of steps and immediately began baying it.  When I took a step, the deer turned and ran with Mossy in hot pursuit-- yipping.  I was in hot pursuit (for a 62 year old)--which meant I was no where close to Mossy or the deer.  The deer ran to a swamp.  Shortly, I could hear Mossy's yipping turn to a bay--a very loud and deep bark.  I finally made my way through the thicket to Mossy.  Weeds/grass were above my head.  I could finally see little Mossy when I was standing directly above her and separated the grass to get a view of the barking.  The deer way laying about a yard in front of her.  I picked Mossy up and then shot the deer with the pistol I carry.  The shot did not phase her one bit--(coffee cans on the kitchen floor work).  Craig had made it to us by then and he and I pulled the deer out of the swamp with Mossy either riding on top or tugging at the deer the whole way out.  The picture of Mossy by herself with a deer is this deer. 

Another hunter had shot a doe and could not find it--on the Plantation--so he had called Craig to bring Mossy. When we got to the field that the deer was shot in, there was a good blood trail.  The hunter said there had been around 10 deer on the field when he shot.  I put Mossy down on the blood trail, but she did not immediately follow it.  She wanted to run around in the field and investigate I suppose.  I think there was just too much scent there for her.  I called her back to me and took her to where the blood entered the planted pines and briar thicket.  She went one way--I thought from blood that I saw that the deer had gone the opposite way.  I have learned from Bear to not second guess a good blood trailer, so I did not try to call Mossy back.  About 200-300 yards from the entry into the woods from the field, my GPS said Mossy has Treed Quarry.  I made my way through the briars to Mossy and there she was with her deer.  Another celebration with Mossy.  We would definitely not have retrieved the first deer without Mossy and probably would have found the 2nd deer only when we saw buzzards on it 2 to 3 days from now--due to the thickness of the briars and weeds.  The first time Mossy was in briars this past weekend, she stopped and came back to me.  I told her to find blood and dead deer--she started hunting again, and the briars have not bothered her since then.

Mossy is quite the blood tracker --This is # 7 for her in her short career of tracking.  There is no doubt in my mind that because of her love for tracking that she will continue to learn and become more efficient.  I just am not sure how I am going to explain to Mossy that we can't go track a deer every day of her life.  If I even walk close to my boots or her collar, she thinks it is time and she begins to beg to go.

Just so glad that we have Mossy.


Good bye sweet Steffi...

Our deep sympathy goes to Danny Horner and his beautiful family on passing of their beloved dog Steffi (Wynona von Moosbach-Zuzelek). Steffi was 16 ½, and thanks to Danny she lived a very long and full love. I made this collage from only a small part of the pictures that Danny sent over the years. When you look at them, it is easy to understand what this loss means and how much Danny is hurting.

He wrote:
"When my sadness lessens I will have nothing but fond memories of my wonderful little dog. It is difficult to put into words what Steffi meant to me. I am somewhat lost without her and will forever miss her.

I saw a post on a hunting forum and it seems a fitting tribute to her.

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.
- Unknown

Wynona von Moosbach-Zuzelek, I miss you.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tracking wounded deer with Darren Doran and his wirehaired dachshund Theo

Darren Doran from New Jersey and his 2½ year old Theo (our Tuesday's brother) are an outstanding tracking team. In spite of his young age Theo has been working as if he were much older and experienced tracker. Darren thanks to his diligent training and superb handling is getting the best out of his dog. So far this year they have made 14 recoveries.

This one, from yesterday. illustrates very well how effective this team is.

By Darren Doran (owner of FC Theo von Moosbach-Zuzelek)

This track came from a friend. The deer was shot that evening and he swore it was a good hit. The deer was slightly quartering to and the hunter couldn’t find the arrow. He told me he had found bright red thin watery blood, but not a lot and was having a hard time in the red tinted maple leaves. I didn’t like what I was hearing but he was a friend and hunting close so I loaded up Theo and went. The worst that could happen was we would confirm a muscle hit and call it.

We got to the hit site and there were a half a dozen deer in the bait. I tied up Theo and asked the hunter to show me the blood. We went about 40 yards from the shot and he showed me red thin watery blood. I started Theo and he tracked right to it and then veered left. I wasn’t seeing any blood and I asked Theo if this was right. He stopped and I told him in a stern voice to “get back on the line and find the blood”. He went back and searched some and took a different line. I marked a few drops of blood and I knew Theo was right but it still didn’t look promising. After a good while the blood started to change and increase. It was dark red and when the deer stopped it showed signs of bleeding from both sides.

We tracked into some nasty swampy brush and dead-falls and Theo went hot. We put the deer out. By this time we had tracked into a skinny part of the woods and were between two housing developments. I wasn’t sure if I could get back here in the daylight so I elected to stay with the deer.
Theo was tracking at the end of the 50 ft. line and all I could see in the light was brush moving ahead.

Then all of a sudden the leash went slack. Normally this is a good thing and I thought he was on the deer. Well he had found the deer, but the buck was bedded and still alive. Here’s where I really like my dog's good sense. He knew the deer was alive and he didn’t go in on him. He held up and circled the deer quietly out of harm’s way. If he had taken a different approach, in the dark this could have ended badly. I got to Theo's collar quickly and moved him back. When the deer saw me he got up and ran. I told the hunter we’ll turn off the lights and wait. Theo had seen the deer take off and wanted to go after him in the worst way. I told him “quiet” and called him over. I sat down with Theo and we waited about a half hour. Theo was whimpering a little but not barking and he seemed to know what we were doing. I restarted Theo and held the line close so I could see what was in front of him and in about 50 yards we had the buck and this time he was finished.

The shot had entered at about the 5th rib from the back, ¾ up the chest and out through the gut. The initial blood was from the entrance wound and it took a while for the dark liver blood to show up. The deer was still carrying the arrow and had a good cut across his front leg on the opposite side of the shot. This must have been from the protruding broad head while he was running. Not much of a photo but it was the best I could do.

Recovery #11 took place on October 10. The track was 19 hrs old liver and gut shot. It was a nice mature buck. This track was a tough one and took over 2 hours. Theo never quit searching. There were a lot of distractions including live deer, rabbits and a mysterious second blood trail that I don't think was related to this deer and didn't seem to go anywhere. Theo only tracked this blood once and searched all the surrounding area. Then he went back to the point of loss (POL) on his own and restarted on the original tack. This track went in a complete opposite direction from where we found the deer. It’s quite possible that this was a back track from our deer but there just wasn’t enough blood to confirm it. 

On our last, and what was going to be our final restart he tracked into a pokeweed field that was mixed with goldenrod and briars. At one point he rose up as high as he could balancing himself on his hind legs and sniffed a bent over goldenrod head and I knew he had the deer. Theo tracked across the field into a green briar thicket where I found a bed with blood. The deer went down through the green briars and back into the pokeweed field and died about another 75 into the field. The hunter told me he would never have found the deer without us. Aside from the other blood track I didn’t find any blood after the POL until the bed in the briars.

This track was a great learning experience for us. I got to use techniques I train for and we really had to work as a team on this one. My patience was tested as well as Theo’s stamina and focus. In the end we were successful. The dog work and the hunters gratitude made me very proud and reaffirmed my reason for tracking.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mossy's first real track of wounded deer was quite an adventure

Jolanta and John,

Just a short note to let you know what a great morning it was for Mossy Brooke and myself.  A doe was shot on the plantation yet we could find no blood--knowing that the deer had taken a chest shot.   Mossy had her tracking collar on, so after looking for blood for 15 to 20 minutes to no avail, I told Mossy that there was a dead deer and to look for blood.  She hunted diligently in the areas I asked her to look--and suddenly, she caught a scent that she really liked.  She started through the woods with me behind her.  Approximately 200 yards into the woods, I saw a deer 100 yards in front of Mossy run through the woods.  Mossy saw it also and started running and barking.  I thought to myself, this is exactly what John said to make sure did not happen.  I heard Mossy barking, but could not see her and assumed she was in hot pursuit of the live deer.  I looked at my GPS Tracker and saw that Mossy had Treed Quarry 100 yards in front of me.  I made my way to her and guess what--Mossy had found her first DEAD DEER.  She was barking continuously at it--she and I celebrated, and within 15 minutes the DEAD DEER had become MOSSY'S DEER.  She lay beside it and guarded it until Craig could there to help us drag it out of the woods.  She rode with us to the deer processor who lives 1/4 of mile up the road from the plantation.  She was introduced to everyone there and they immediately wanted to know if she was taking Bear's place as the deer tracker--as she was wearing her tracking collar.  Bear was known throughout the area as the little dog who could find anyone's wounded deer.  Mossy has big steps to fill, but after today's excursion, there is no doubt she will make both Bear and me proud.

Thanks Jolanta and John for this great addition to our family.  Mossy is the most loving little soul and will become known as the little dog that finds wounded deer. 

Thanks So Much,

Judy and Craig

Judy and Mossy with the deer she found

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bob and Thor's team work results in the successful recovery of heart-shot buck.

By Robert Yax (owner of Thor von Moosbach-Zuzelek), Deer Search of Finger Lakes

Sunday  10/12/14,  I returned home at about 9 PM after taking three unsuccessful  tracks, which included  two one-lung hits that we tracked a long way,  and a very minor brisket hit.   I called into the Deer Search hotline and heard a call that came in at 5 PM from Hunter, Brian in Scottsville.  I called him back at 10 PM  and found that he had hit a Mature Buck at 7:30 that morning.  The shot was from a tree stand at a shallow angle with a fixed broad head.  The Buck was slightly quartering towards him and he hit the Deer’s  left side. He thought the hit was about mid-way up the body and  “back a little”.  The shot was a complete pass thru and he said the arrow was covered with dark blood.  

After the shot, the buck took off running and went out of sight around a swamp.   After a short time, Brian carefully got down and examined the hit site.  At that point he decided to back out and wait a while before tracking.   After a 2 ½ hour wait, he and a friend got on the easy to follow blood trail.  They found the blood covered arrow a short distance up the trail and soon after they jumped the Buck from its bed, about 75 yards from the hit site.  The buck ran off,  but seemed to be struggling a little.  Brian then decided to back out again.  At 2 PM he and his friend got back on the blood trail and took it about 300 yards beyond the first bed before running out of blood sign in the middle of a large open block of tall pines.  At this point they searched the pines for another 75 yards  in the direction the Buck was headed.  At the far (west) end of the pines they stopped  and decided not to go into the thick brush beyond.   Brian then decided to call Deer Search  (two good decisions!)

After hearing the story from Brian,  it seemed that a liver hit was very likely, especially since he had mentioned dark blood and that the buck had bedded so quickly.  It was especially promising because Brian and his friend had not reached the end of the blood trail till 7 hours after the hit.  If it was a liver hit,  it was very likely that the Buck would have been dead in its second bed at that point,  and it was not likely that they had pushed it any further.   Hopefully,  we would find the Buck in the thick stuff, not too far from the end of the blood trail in the pines.  I agreed to meet Brian at 8:00 on Monday morning.

We started the search on Monday morning just about 24 hours after the hit.  It was warm (60 deg) and dry – not ideal tracking conditions.  The arrow Brian showed me was covered with darkish dried blood but contained no stomach matter – it certainly could have been a liver shot.   After a hike back to the woods we started on the trail, just beyond the first bed.  Thor was on it easily and quickly followed the  known 300 yard trail (with a little dried blood sign) to the point of last blood that Brian had marked the previous day in the tall open pines.   From there Thor continued tracking,  with no blood sign, the 100 yards or so until we hit the thick brush at the west end of the pines.  Brian and his friend had searched to this point, but had not gone into this thick area the previous day, so I was really hopeful that we would find the dead Buck in this area.  

After a little searching along the edge, Thor took  an obvious deer trail into the thick stuff.  After only about 25 yards, Thor took a quick left and headed to a nearby pond.  He jumped in and did a little 4 foot diameter swim and then got back on dry land.  (Thor seems to like to take advantage of water holes and streams whenever he gets a chance while tracking, especially on warm days).  Once out of the pond, he headed back to the thick area he came from.  After only a few seconds of searching he stopped and looked back up at me as if to say  “so what do you want me to do here”?   -- I was like “what the hell “!     I tried to get him back on the track, but he obviously didn’t think there was any reason  for us to be there.  Then it hit me!   From the last blood sign,  we had continued straight back to the thick area at the west end of the Pines.  This is the same path the hunters had gone the previous day – probably with blood on their boots!  Thor had taken this same path, but once he got into the thick stuff,  there was no more blood scent – the hunters hadn’t gone in there.

I quickly brought Thor back into the pines heading back to the last blood sign.  Along the way, he veered to the south and we were soon heading into the thick brush along that side of the pines.  It wasn’t long before he put his head up, air scenting something ahead of us.  A minute later we crossed a coyote den, where he stopped for a second to stick his head down a hole.  After I pulled him out, he was quickly back on the job.  After about 100 yards in the thick stuff we popped out into a horse pasture.  Now what?  I thought,  but was quickly surprised to see the white belly of dead deer laying in the corner of the pasture about 40 yards ahead of Thor – we got him! ---- Not!    The dead deer was a recently dead button buck – not a nice Mature Buck.  Not sure what killed it,   as we couldn’t  find a hole or mark on it.  Possibly a car hit deer that ran off?    

Now we had to forget this distraction and get back to our deer.  I again headed Thor back to the last known blood sign in the middle of the block of pines.  Once there,  I decided that because the hunters had mucked up the pines while searching the previous day with bloody boots,  I would take Thor along the outside edge of the pine block and hope he could catch the Buck’s  clean trail heading out.  Starting at the last blood sign, we headed 90 degrees off the Buck’s known trail and came to the north edge of the pines.  We then started searching along the edge, just inside of the pines.  After only about 50 yards along the edge,   Thor turned and started tracking into the grassy field to the north.   He definitely seemed to be on the trail with his nose tight to the ground as he tracked the first 75 yards into the field.  At that point he began circling wildly while hopping up and down  thru the grass.  I  knew the dead buck had to be close and then saw it about 25 yards ahead in the grass.  

Thor got to it first and had a few moments of “chew time”  before we began examining it.    From the entrance wound location,  (low and just behind the left front leg) it was obvious that it wasn't a liver hit.  It seemed as though it should have hit the heart.  A short time later we confirmed that it actually did put a two inch slice in the outside of the heart as well as hit one lung.   This is the third heart shot deer we’ve recovered in the past few years.  All of them bedded quickly,  within 100 yards  but then got up when pushed a few hours later.  We even kicked one up out of its second bed  25 hours after the hit before finding it dead four later.  There’s no telling how long Brian’s  Buck lived, but probably for quite a while since the deer was still good 25 hrs after the hit.  He definitely made the right decision by not randomly searching the thick stuff the previous day. 

Thor and I also confirmed that we definitely need to work as a team to successfully overcome the complications and distractions that go along with tracking wounded deer. 

This recovery demonstrates that many times neither the dog nor handler would be successful without the help of the other.  Bob says that by far  this was the most interesting of his four recoveries so far.
This picture shows Thor with a buck recovered in Monroe County on October 4.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Gone too soon: ABS12 FC Augden von Moosbach-Zuzelek, ME, RE, VC, BHP-G

Rest in Peace
ABS12 FC Augden von Moosbach-Zuzelek, ME, RE, VC, BHP-G
3/11/2003 - 10/11/2014

The last few days have been very difficult as we have been grieving the loss of Auggie owned and loved by Sherry and Phil Ruggieri. He died due to complications from Congestive Heart Failure. 

This year we have lost several dogs, and I have not been able to bring myself to update our website and put my own feelings into words. I know that I need to do it but I keep postponing it. 

Auggie was this once-in-a-lifetime dog for Sherry and she wrote beautifully "I have had to say goodbye to the most fantastic dog ever - my heart dog, who was placed in my arms in May of 2003 and I shed tears of joy, I now shed tears of sorrow and pain, for he has left us. Like the tin man, I know I have a heart because I can feel it breaking. Auggie and I were so connected. He was a sweet, loving partner who led me on such a fantastic journey - through trials and tribulations, wins and losses - breaking records along the way. He was the first FC to win the Invitational 2 years in a row; he won it his first time entered. In the 9 years he was a field champion, he was in the top 20 all but one - most of the time he was in the top 10! He was ALWAYS number 1 in my heart - a heart he has taken a piece of with him."

I know that tears keep on flowing. But as Washington Irving said: "There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love."

We will write more about Auggie soon. For now all we can say is: Good bye Auggie, sleep tight. We hope that Alfi and Elli watch over you.

The Helederbergs in their autumn glory: the colors are peaking

I know that a tracking season is in a full swing and there are so many stories and pictures to share with readers of this blog. But this fall has also produced some exceptional colors so I am going to post a sample of my pictures. They all have been taken in this area in the last two weeks. There is no other place I'd rather live in September and October.
This picture shows a small swamp just 3 miles from our place in Berne, NY. Several years ago a hunter harvested a black bear here that was over 500 lbs. By the way, ten days ago or so one of our trail camera caught a short video of a pretty big, fat bear on our property, just ten yards from our dogs' fenced field.
A view from our property onto the Helderbergs.

A view from our driveway onto our neighbor's land across Route 443.
Woodstock Lake, Berne, NY
Few days ago we had our first frost, and this was a view from our front porch.
I was running errands in Cobleskill today, and this was a view of I-88. It looks like colors are in their peak.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Some young dachshunds are already proficient trackers of wounded deer

It's very satisfying to see that young dogs out of our 2013 Sky x Mielikki litter are providing a real service to deer hunters.

Matt Sacco is a member of Deer Search of Finger Lakes  and so far he has recovered four deer this season with Heidi (Uma von Moosbach-Zuzelek). The last one was his Heidi's first Big Buck:

Hey John and Jolanta,
Heidi and I had a great morning.  I got a call from one of our hunters who is part of a deer management program in Trumansburg, NY. The hunter shot this deer yesterday and knew the shot was far back just at the edge of the rib cage. The deer was standing on a pond bank so after the arrow went through the deer it went into the pond washing off any evidence. There was no visible blood trail leading away from the hit site, and the buck ran into a swampy area of cattails and other thick vegetation. The hunter backed out at that point and called me. I met him this morning at 9:00am, 15 hours after the shot and started Heidi. We found the buck in his first bed less than 200 yards from where the hunter lost the trail. Both arrow holes had fat and entrails hanging out, completely sealing the holes. I found one small drop of blood at the hit site and that was it for blood. Not a long track but one that would have been extremely difficult/ near impossible to find without a dog. Happy dog, happy handler and very happy hunter.

Thanks again for everything!

Adam Hostetter owns Moose (Uncas von Moosbach-Zuzelek), and he lives in Pennsylvania, close to Maryland. Since it is illegal to use tracking dogs in PA, he tracks in the adjacent state.

Adam: Just thought I'd share a picture of yet another impressed hunter!

I got the call on October 4 that a Hunter hit a doe and could not find her. Moose and I drove down to Maryland and met the hunter this morning. After roughly 150 yards and two drops of blood Moose came to the dead doe.Here is a picture of moose and I with a happy Hunter. This dog is incredible!! Thanks again. 

I took another call this evening and Moose had success yet again! The hunter had made a decent shot but had very little blood. Moose picked up the scent at the hit sight and went to town! After traveling about 100 yards and dealing with some 90 degree turns he came right up on the dead buck! The hunter was very impressed with the quick work Moose did! I'm starting to enjoy tracking just as much as hunting!

Should you always trust your dog?

Big game tracking season is in a full swing now, and one of the messages shared by many dog handlers is "Trust Your Dog". When a dog is experienced and earned your trust by all means - trust her. But when you have a young dog, without much experience in natural tracking, be careful! It is very important how you handle your dog. This short story illustrates my point of view. Hoss is just six and a half month old, and this is his first tracking season. He came from Bernard Demers' litter, and he is owned by Nathaniel Newman from Ohio. Nathaniel have put a lot of training into Hoss during summer, and this is what happened recently.

Good afternoon.  My pup Hoss and I had a good Saturday morning as we received a call from a muzzleloader hunter.  The hunter reported over the phone a 15 yard broad side shot with a ton of blood at the hit site.  After arriving at the hit site the shot turned out to be more of a 30 yard shot at a quartering deer with a decent amount of blood at the hit site with no other visible blood anywhere.  I got Hoss on the hit site and gave him the command to begin tracking. He started out and appeared very confident even though we could not find any visible sign.  He led us to a dry creek bed that contained a tremendous amount of deer sign/traffic, we followed this for about 15 yards and then I could tell he lost the track.  

Since there was no sign to confirm he was ever on the right cold track I took him back to the original hit site about 60 yards away.  He went right back on the same track he initially followed, but this time I slowed him down tremendously in hopes we both would not miss anything.  I ended up locating 3 drops of blood about the size of a pencil eraser over a span of about 50 yards which made me very excited to know he was on it.  We ended up back at the dry creek bed but this time he very eagerly climbed the bank.  He led us to a nice healthy doe about 15 yards beyond the bank of the creek.  Hoss and I were very excited and he made claim to the deer by tugging at it very aggressively.  After tying up the dog and then examining the deer, we found a high and little far back entry wound with no exit wound, which explained the lack of blood.  The slug was later found in the right rear leg by the hunter during the skinning process.  I am very happy to see my pup reap the rewards of a lot of dedicated training this spring/summer.  We absolutely cannot wait for our next Ohio tracking experience… 

Hoss' first recovery. Restarting him was critical to the final outcome.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

An Old Man Begins to Accept Reality

by John Jeanneney

Sunday was a busy day for Old Man John. In the morning Tommy and I went out on a call to track a buck that had been liver shot the day before. There was good evidence on the pass-through arrow, but almost no blood on the ground. After the first bed I saw no blood at all. Twice Tommy followed the same track out for 200 yards paralleling a high tension electric line . The buck crossed the line at some point, but we could never find the track. Very frustrating! And this sort of thing has happened to me before.  My theory is that the magnetic field generated by the high tension power line ionizes the scent particles, so that the dog can't scent them. We worked 4 hours through thick brush and clinging vines, and then gave up. I hate to quit.

At four I met Jolanta at the Beagle Club Pork Roast and got a few leftovers before heading back home to feed Tommy, and get the lights for the next call that was nearby. This time Old John was accompanied by Jolanta. On this call she expanded her role from companion to tracker-in-chief!

We started out on blood near the hit site, but there was very little of it considering that we were dealing with a wound by a two inch expandable that had passed though the guts and then one lung. Tommy got off on another line, and since I was moving pretty slowly on a steep hill Jolanta took over handling Tommy. After 200 yards we decided this couldn't be the right deer, and went back to known blood that we had marked.

This time Tommy got off on the right line that we could confirm by a few specks of blood. Within a 100 yards Jolanta  yelled, "Here he is!"  Jolanta handled beautifully, and I was very proud of her. I have to admit that I was a little ashamed of myself and my tired, cramping legs. I haven't prepared myself psychologically to be an Old Man.

It was very rewarding to see Jolanta glowing with happiness as she experienced the find. In the future we shall go on together. Very often I will be the one marking the line and carrying water for Tommy and Jolanta. 


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Two Old Men in the Woods

by John Jeanneney

Yesterday  was the first day of our bow season and my first day of tracking at age 79. I have total confidence in my tracking dog Tommy, but I confess that I was a bit concerned about my own agility in  the woods. Jolanta was even more concerned and went along so that she could call in the EMS helicopter if necessary.

I was almost relieved when I met the hunter. He was slightly younger than I am, but in considerably worse  physical shape. I knew that no one was going to laugh at me in this situation. It turned out that he had brought along his own daughter/caregiver, who got along just fine with Jolanta.

Fortunately Tommy Tracker was the one who really had his act together. The start was complicated because there were no markers, and the hunter could not find any blood to verify the line. We ended up going  to the "point of loss", which is  not the ideal place to begin. Here there was  a confusing pattern of muscle blood that had been walked over by the hunter. Tommy figured the mess out and took a line. Blood... Blood.... Then a long stretch with no blood, but I could see that Tommy was confident. "Trust your dog."

The deer was a big doe, shot quartering away with a Rage expandable broadhead. We had hoped for a one-lunger at least, but had seen nothing but muscle blood. As you know, Rage broadheads have been know to deflect along a rib cage. The doe never laid down, but after a quarter mile in very dense cover, I could tell by Tommy's body language that he had jumped her. The hunter also found a drop of blood, which laid any doubts to rest.
We were on the line.

We pushed another 100 yards, and then all agreed that this big venison package was not "gettable". The hunter's family was in need of the meat, but we had to face reality. At least I could  face the reality of some fine dog work. This was enough for me and Tommy and Jolanta. We will help this hunter another day.

Muscle blood

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Four field trials and four Absolute wins

These days it is not easy for us to get away to attend field trials so it was a real treat when Emillie, John's daughter, agreed to come and stay with our dogs two weeks ago. John and I took Kunox, Tuesday, Mielikki and Tommy to field trials held at Niagara River Beagle Club in Alexander, NY, where beaglers running the club feel like our own family.

There were 9 entries in the Open All-Age stake and our Kunox von der Dohlmühle placed first. He also was Best of Open and then to went win the Absolute run over the best Field Champion of the day, Laurel Whistance-Smith's FC Lykke von Lowenherz SE, who is our Joeri's daughter. It was a great day for Laurel's dogs as her FC Diamant Lily von Lowenherz ME placed 2nd in the Field Champion stake of 31 (Lily is our Asko's daughter) and FC Stanze von Lowenherz SE was NBQ.

The picture me with Kunox was taken with John Merriman and Alice Moyer, who were the judges of the Absolute run. 
John and Kunox celebrating a good day.
Lykke bred and owned by Laurel Whistance-Smith was a winner of the Field Champion stake.
On Sunday, September 14, Kunox was not called back for the second series, but Tuesday was called back high (she had a very good run against Sherry Ruggieri's Niya) and she held on to the first place. She won The Absolute run, just like Kunox did a day before. Our Tommy placed 4th.

This picture shows John and me with Tuesday and Phil Kirby (left) and Bob Patterson (right), the judges of the Absolute run. Thank you!

This past weekend I made a trip to New Jersey by myself and took with me Kunox, Tuesday and Mielikki. Entries were similar to those two weeks ago. on Saturday at Bay Colony Dachshund Club field trial there were 9 open dogs, 9 open bitches, and 29 field champions. On Sunday at Dachshund Association of Long Island trial we had 9 open dogs, 10 open bitches and 27 field champions. 

On Saturday Kunox placed 3rd in the open stake, and Tuesday was called back 3rd for the second series. She had some great runs and ended up first and then winning the Absolute run.

From the left Barbie Wills with Veela (place #4), Sherry Ruggieri with Niya (place #3), Christina Wahl with Mischa (place #2)  and Jolanta Jeanneney with Tuesday (place #1. All these wires are out European bloodlines: Veela was imported from Germany, Niya from Hungary and Mischa from Slovakia. Tuesday was bred by John and me and she is out of European lines as well.

Lorraine Simmons and Carrie Hamilton were judges of the Field Champion stake.
On Sunday Tuesday ended up 2nd in the Field Champion stake, and she impressed me a lot with her performance and consistency. Kunox suffered a total mental block in the first series and acted like he did not know what he was in the field for. Is this a sign of adolescence (he is 14.5 months)? I was totally embarrassed but then on our way back to the car we came across a cottontail sitting in the lane. Kunox saw it and then recognized the scent. It was like "Oh, yeah, there are rabbits here!" Luckily he was called back as a bye dog and had another chance to run. He did much better in subsequent runs and ended up winning the trial.

The picture shows Kunox with all his first placements and Absolute wins he got so far, and it was taken for his breeder Annelie Grauer from Germany. Thank you Annelie for this talented dog! This was Kunox's third Absolute win. Unfortunately, even though so far he has gotten 3 first places and several other placements he is not a field champion yet as open stakes on the east coast are pretty small these days. Well, he does not care what stake he runs in, that's for sure.

I'd like to share some other pictures from the last weekend.

Anna Cook is only eight years old but she handled her mini wire Dillan like a pro. Kunox ran against Dillan twice and I admired Anna's poise as a handler.
Teddy Moritz's young mini longhair bitch Hedge was 1st in the open bitch stake on both days. She did great and her quickness and drive are going to be hard to beat.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Workshop for handlers and their blood tracking dogs: The UBT Trackfest 2014

This report is long overdue but as they say, it's better later than never. The official report was written by Cheri Faust and it can be found underneath my remarks (thank you Cheri!).

In the middle of May I (Jolanta) flew to North Carolina to participate in the Annual Trackfest held by United Blood Trackers. Because at the time we had a litter of pups and because some of our dogs have "special" needs (like 15-year-old Asko), it was not possible for both of us to go. This time was my turn. I really enjoyed the trip, and it was so good to meet finally trackers that had never had a chance to meet in person. Of course, a chance to work with good friends was a great attraction too.

A big thank you goes to Kirk Vaughan from Chapel Hill, NC, who found the great place to host this workshop and made possible that all our needs were met. You are never going to meet anybody more dedicated to blood tracking than Kirk. Of course, his wife Barbara Fields was there too helping whenever she could. And I got to meet mac, Kirk tracking dog, who is a beagle/walker mix.

Barbara Fields and Kirk Vaughan, who is holding Mac.
By Cheri Faust

The United Blood Trackers held Trackfest 2014 at the J. Robert Gordon Sandhills Field Trial Grounds near Hoffman, North Carolina, May 17-19.

Participants started gathering on Friday to renew acquaintances and make new ones.  Those who arrived early had the special treat of watching Andy Bensing and his superstar tracking dog, Eibe, attempt the first running of the UBT III test. The UBT III demonstrates the ability to resolve situations often encountered on natural tracks. The test is designed to be challenging and fun. Each test is likely to be unique, and handling teams may wish to take the test on multiple occasions. 

Andy's track was about 1000 yards in length, four hours in age and was laid using just 3 ounces of blood and tracking shoes.  The track included a directional challenge (a three ring spiral), a surface challenge (an area of the pine plantation had recently been burned and the ground was heavily charred) and a distraction (thanks, Alan, for picking up that road killed armadillo!)  We were all impressed with how steadily and easily Andy and Eibe handled the track.

Andy Bensing and his wirehaired dachshund Eibe at the start of the UBT III test. 
Cheri Faust was judging the test and Al Wade was a track layer. They followed Andy pretty close while observers were further behind. The picture shows well the kind of terrain we were dealing with - very sandy.

Cheri congratulates Andy upon successful completion of the test. the test was not easy and Eibe had to work hard on carrying the line.
Over the course of the following two days, 32 participants received a variety of hands-on training and classroom presentations from the 11 UBT “staff” members in attendance. 

UBT Staff: from the left Cheri faust, Al Wade, Susanne Hamilton, Chris Morris, Jolanta Jeanneney, Andy Bensing, Marlo Ondrej, Larry Gohlke, Kirk Vaughan, Kyle Stiffler and Sean Timmens.

The Hit Site Seminar presented on Saturday was an especially big “hit”.  The seminar followed the format described in our post from June 2013.


The Hit Site Evaluation Seminar ended with participants examining several sites for signs of wounded deer such as blood, bone fragments, hair etc. In real tracking situations when a handler is asked to track a wounded deer or bear, he starts at a hit site and by careful examination of all the signs left by a wounded animal he has to reconstruct what had happened and come up with a tracking strategy for the specific situation.

The Hit Site Evaluation seminar has become a very important part of Trackfests as it is an excellent educational tool for trackers and hunters. Just recently Cliff Shrader from Louisiana wrote: 

This past Sunday at Hunters For The Hungry Louisiana, I put on a small Hit Site Evaluation display. I set up several mock hit sites simulating what a hunter would find when he checked his shot on a deer. This is like Deer Hunters CSI. This form of education has never been seen in our area before and was very well received. I didn't count the number of people that went through it but it must have been over 40 people. Each and everyone that went through it had very positive things to say. Thank you Andy Bensing, Larry Gohlke and Alan Wade for the evaluation that you put on in May as I was able to pass this education on!
...... to be continued