We got this e-mail from Darby Humphrey, a veteran tracker in Little York, NY. Darby has been blood tracking with Tasha, a Gita daughter. Tasha was born in June 1995 so this is her last tracking season. She found many deer in her long and productive tracking career. Last spring Darby got a new puppy from us - Frida von Moosbach-Zuzelek. She is Emma's daughter, and she is now just six months old.
In Darby's own words:
"We love Frida - she is a great dog, I can see she has what it takes to be a great tracker. I was getting her on at least one practice trail a week. The first trail was around 1 week after we got home, I put blood out around the lawn about 75 yards and waited 4 hrs, that was too easy she ran around it.
Before the season she was on 24 hr 300 yard trails, she could do them depending on the weather, how dry it was. Sometimes I think she would lose her focus and search out everything else in the woods but that wasn't a surprise. She has trouble on 90 degree checks but after a while she realizes she is off, then checks every trail sometimes finding her way back sometimes not. But that got me used to seeing the way she acts when she loses the trail and when and if she can find it again. She works to fast and needs to slow down, we are working on that.
Now for the tracking season so far, we have been busy - I had 13 calls the first 2 days. I did go on 4 took Tasha and Frida on the first one, I had a good idea we would find it. It was hit a little low and back angled forward, a pass thru, hunter tracked it 70 yards and got it up after 2 hrs. It was someone I worked with and he knew I wanted an easy trail to put Frida on. I put her in the lead position. She stayed right on from the hit, thru the bed, down a corn field, out of the field the deer made a 90, she made a small circle and was back on the trail going down the end of the corn field. Half way down the field the deer jumped into a hedge row and a golden rod field but Frida missed that, went straight got about 40 yards and she realized she wasn't on it. My stepson had Tasha she took the right trail and the deer was in there about 20 yards, he got up, went about 100 yards and we got the hunter close enough to shoot it with his bow. So I give that find to Tasha. Probably her last, I had to carry her back to the truck. And Joyce says she is retired. Frida would have found it if I didn't have Tasha. I was pretty sure where she missed the trail, and would have taken her back but I wanted to see what she was going to do.
Now for the one I'm calling her first deer. It was pretty much the same hit a little back low and 1/4 away only the arrow didn't pass thru. Hunter lost the trail after about 150 yards in some pretty thick brush. She missed a turn before where the hunter lost it, but it was thick and you could only walk on trails and she just shot right past the turn. I got her back on the trail and got to the site of loss. She took a couple of trails before we found some blood and 1/2 the arrow about 30 yards away. We followed a faint blood trail about 100 yards and got the deer up, the chase was on. She stayed on the trail, the deer was leaving good blood, and he laid down probably 5 times in 1/2 mile. The last time it was about 40 yards from a house, the only shot I had at him and I couldn't. After I looked at him a minute at 20 yards, he got up and walked across a road towards a river. In the chase I had gotten away from the hunters (they were still looking for blood) so I called my house and had Joyce call them and tell them to come down to the road. I went to the house and talked to the lady there and told her what was going on. She said I should have shot it, I told her she might hear me shoot across the road. When the deer crossed the road I saw where he went into the swamp grass and we found a drop of blood there. Frida circled a couple of times then headed to the river. I figured he would be on the bank, but he was standing on the edge of the water. I shot it, almost straight down 1/4 away in the back top of ribs. The darn thing took off across the river; I could have shot again but wanted to wait till it got to the other side. It never made it, rolled over about 10 feet from the far bank. Well, the hunter was still up by the road looking for blood, I yelled up to him I got your deer, but he's floating down the river. I picked up Frida and ran along the river to keep an eye on him till the hunter got there, we got to a spot where the water slowed down and the hunter said guess he'll have to get wet. I told him not to worry; they drag easy in water I've done it before. Everything worked out he got wet but he got his deer, not that big a rack 5 point but a big deer I would guess 175 -180 lbs. It seems like every call is a story."