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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 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 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
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 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 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 fiancĂ©. 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.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving To All!

On Thanksgiving Day we're thankful for
Our blessings all year through,
For family we dearly love,
For good friends, old and new.

For sun to light and warm our days,
For stars that glow at night,
For trees of green and skies of blue,
And puffy clouds of white.

We're grateful for our eyes that see
The beauty all around,
For arms to hug, and legs to walk,
And ears to hear each sound.

The list of all we're grateful for
Would fill a great big book;
Our thankful hearts find new delights
Everywhere we look!

By Joanna Fuchs

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tommy works out a back track and recovers a great 10 pointer

by John Jeanneney

The hunter's phone call on this ten pointer was not too promising. He reported it as an 8 pointer that stopped bleeding pretty quickly from a pass-through. I couldn't be sure, one way or the other, that it was a "gettable" deer. So I took it. The line was 22 hours old.

The buck had back-tracked after it had stopped bleeding, but Tommy figured it out and took us a 100 yards though  thick stuff to the deer. When I saw that pale white antler sticking up, I thought it was a shed. But no, there was a big buck attached!

John Jeanneney and Tommy recover this really nice bow-shot buck in Slingerlands, NY

Monday, November 24, 2014

We did not need a tracking dog to find John's doe

We finally have some venison to feed this human and canine family! Yesterday afternoon John shot a nice mature doe on our property, and it was a perfect shot. She ran 50 yards from the hit site and expired right away. We brought Kunox and did the short track with him. He really liked the doe but showed no sign of possessiveness towards us. Good boy Kunox! 

Then we brought two pups, Volt and Luna, and let them find the doe too. Volt was much more aggressive towards the deer than Luna was, and even though he was fine with us he really did not like Luna to be too close to "his" deer. 

Mielikki got to inspect the doe too.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Walt Dixon and his two tracking dachshunds are helping local deer hunters

A Deer Search and United Blood Trackers member, Walt Dixon from Tully, NY has been tracking for many years. These days he tracks with two wirehaired dachshunds, Ari and Dachs. Ari von Moosbach-Zuzelek is 11.5 and Dachs von Tierspur, Ari's nephew, turned two in August. The picture shows their seven recoveries so far this year. Walt is having some problems with his back and it is amazing that he gets to track as much as he does.

On this track Walt's friend Chris Daley handled Ari in the lead position and they recovered the buck 47 hours after it had been shot with a rifle. Congratulations!!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

A nice 9 pointer recovered by John Jeanneney and his tracking dachshund Tommy

Yesterday John and Tommy found this nice 9 pointer in Rensselaerville, NY.  The line was only about 7 hours old, but there was no blood to verify. The hunter started John and Tommy in the wrong direction and it took them a while to pick up the right scent line.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A leg-shot deer gets away and a hunter harvests another mistake

 By Judy Catrett (a Georgia owner of  a seven-month-old "Mossy Brooke" aka Viola von Moosbach-Zuzelek)

This little girl, Mossy is addicted to tracking wounded deer.  We received a call yesterday from a hunter who had wounded a deer 5 hours earlier that morning.  There was blood at the spot that the deer was shot and an occasional drop for approx. 100 yards.  Mossy tracked from the initial blood and then continued on strongly after the point of no blood.  She was tracking off leash on this occasion.  

She was 100 yards in front of us when she started yipping. I told the hunter, Rod, that we had to hurry to her as she had just  jumped the deer.  When we got to the yipping, there were two bucks trotting slowly with Mossy behind them. Rod was about 10 yards to my right and both deer stopped. The deer in the lead and the larger of the two had a broken front leg. I knew that this would be our only chance to have a shot at the wounded deer and Mossy was not close enough to be in danger, so I told Rod to shoot the one on the left. He shot and immediately said I got it. I responded, no you didn't, the wounded deer just ran off.  

From Rod's view 10 yds from me, he never saw but one deer and did not understand what I saying about two deer.  He did kill the 8 point in the picture, and was quite proud of it, but was upset about having wounded the other deer. We loaded the deer he killed and got it out of the area. I explained to Rod that it would be very unlikely that the wounded deer was anywhere near and that it would more than likely live with the wound I saw.  

I again asked Mossy to find another dead deer. There was no blood, but I knew the direction the buck had run.  It took Mossy 10 minutes to straighten the track out, but she then started strong on a track. She trailed for 600 yards at which time I called her back.  I explained again to Rod that this wound would not be lethal and the deer could travel miles on 3 legs. Craig had a hunter at the plantation wound a deer last year in the same fashion. The deer was killed out of the same stand 3 weeks later. The front leg was completely severed except for being attached by hide on one side. Basically, the deer was carrying a necrotic leg which was a burden to him, but he was alive and working scrapes.

So the deer in the picture was not the wounded deer, but for some reason was with the wounded deer. Mossy took us to the wounded deer, so I consider her as having done her job.  It was me who did not control the situation at that point as I should have.  I have learned from this experience that in the woods 2 feet can change a persons view and that should we run into this situation again, the hunter should be very close to me.

Off leash tracking is definitely different from tracking on leash. Had Mossy been on leash I do not think that we would have ever seen the wounded deer.  I think that the deer would have detected humans and would have immediately left when we got close to where it was bedded.  Because of Mossy's small size, she does not intimidate the bucks and most wounded bucks do not run from her. They stand their ground and look at her. She is a distraction to the buck and the hunter is usually presented with a shot.  I had the same experience with Bear due to his small size also. Mossy is intelligent enough to know that the buck could hurt her and always keeps her distance when baying, which I am very thankful for.  Bear would get a little closer to the deer than I  have observed with Mossy.  Don't know if this is a male/female --testosterone--issue or just the difference in the two pups. 

I will continue to learn from every tracking experience that Mossy and I have.  I counted  this as #23 as Mossy took us to the wounded deer even though the hunter shot the wrong deer.  I have never tracked a wounded buck that had a healthy buck with him.

Hope you don't freeze the next few days.  We are getting weather that is very cold to us, but probably considered warm by you.

Thanks Again,


Sunday, November 16, 2014

The beauty of hunting season

15 minutes after sunrise on the opening day of gun season: a view from our blind