The 2008 tracking season has come to an end. Me and the dogs did 18 tracks recovering 12 deer. Charlie, 10 yr old drahthaar went on 6 tracks and recovered 5 deer. I found out later that the sixth deer was found in the river 3 miles downstream. Charlie took me to the water, we worked the banks ½ mile up and down river but came up with nothing. The buck stayed in the river.
Marty and Charlie
Roxy, Mikki’s young female draht, 19 months old at the start of the season, did 12 tracks, 2 of these were leg hits and determined that they were unfindable. I am not sure of 1 brisket hit, if this deer was findable or not. Wasn’t sure of the angle of entry. Another call was a high back hit and we did not recover that deer.
Above - Roxy's first track of the season (14 hr old)
Training session with Charlie and Roxy
One call that stands out – in October we had more rain than normal. A hunter calls around 11 am. He tells me that he had hit 2 bucks with a bow from the same tree about 2 minutes apart early that morning. I arrive at 12:15 pm. It’s been raining since the night before. He tells me that the first deer was quartering away and he hit it behind the elbow. The second deer he hit broadside in the hind quarter. First deer went north across a river channel and got on an island. Second deer went south and he could only visualize it for about 15 feet before it disappeared into thick cedars.
It is still raining heavily. I start Roxy. She takes the track to the river, crosses the 80 yd wide channel, knee deep. The hunter tells me that I need to be farther downstream. The dog goes up the bank pulling hard, stops, airscents, takes me 90 yds through the willows and there is the buck, dead. We go back to the start. The next starts in the nearly the same place. Roxy was confused and wanted to track the first deer. So I guided her south, in the direction the hunter said it went, no blood to assure me.
You know how it is with a young dog, it’s hard to have faith in them. She would put her nose down for a while, then airscent. I wasn’t sure what she was thinking, then she starts pulling like a truck. I follow, she is on a flock of turkeys. Time to restart. She takes a different line, same thing, head up – head down, mostly air scenting. Then the light comes on – she puts her nose down. We weave throught the cedars 200 yds and there is the deer, hit in the hip – but dead. Not bad for a young dog on a track after 5 hrs in heavy rain, 20 mph wind.
I’d like to thank my wife, Mikki for starting this dog on bloodtracking at an early age. She has done most of the real work. Mikki’s not that fond of going out in the woods after dark, she fights the light and brush. You ought to hear her cuss!
Mikki trained Roxy for VJP and HZP and scored well. I’m proud of her. Drahthaars have a lot on their plate by the time they are 2 years old. Pointing, land and water searches and retrieves, fur and feather drags, rabbit tracks. And we go and throw blood tracking into the mix as well. I guess we can say that the pup won’t get bored doing the same thing over and over. I won’t say these dogs are for everyone. It’s nice to hunt duck until noon then upland hunt for a few hours then track in the evening if needed – all with the same dog. I have a lot to learn about reading Roxy on a track. She is different than Charlie.
Charlie is now 10 ½ and after 2 ACL tears he struggles in heavy cover. I save him for the tracks that I think will be really tough. He has the desire he needs to find the deer, but he suffers the next day – thank God for the arthritis meds that help him through it.
BTW – I will be breeding Roxy this spring. She will be bred to a male that is out of Charlie’s sister. I expect to have pups on the ground around June. I am taking reservations on pups and have 3 females spoken for but I have 1 more female and 4 males to reserve. I think these pups have the potential to be great all around drahthaars, with a good chance of being excellent trackers. Both Roxy and the stud dog, Blucher vom Mauntinhome, have calm, even temperaments. Blucher has not been used for tracking but he did pass his VGP (utility test) in which blood tracking is a requirement.
The breeding can be seen at
http://www.wildflugel-drahthaar.com/upcoming-litters.htm It is the breeding at the bottom of the page. The page has not been updated to reflect this year's tracking record and all of the pictures of Roxy are from last season, before she was a year old.
Marty and Mikki Vlach
Footnote added by Mikki –
I think Marty will have more faith in Roxy when Charlie isn’t around as a backup. He is just being stubborn and forgets that it took he and Charlie a few seasons to build the bond that they now have when it comes to tracking.
Roxy is showing a lot of promise. She is young, and sometimes gets distracted. She has a way of pausing on track, lifting her head, and just staring, then she puts her nose down and proceeds. I try to tell Marty that she is collecting her thoughts, or maybe processing what she is smelling.