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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Charlette Curtis and her miniature dachshund - a great tracking team

Charlette Curtis is a member of Deer Search of Western New York. This was her second tracking season with her young longhaired miniature dachshund Jenna. This tracking team recovered seven deer, and Charlette documented her recoveries very well. She is going to share them with us so let's let Charlette tell her story in her won words. Her 2008 report will come in several installments.

A little history of Jenna and me.
To start, I had never trained a dog before in terms of doing anything other than your basic training. Jenna was given to me by my sister (Tina) and we had a magical first night together. I was informed by my sister that Jenna was very outgoing and the runt of the litter. Our first night started out kind slow, at first she would not leave her baby blanket that she used to cuddle with her mom and dad. With a little encouragement she was well on her way to becoming my best friend.

At the age of twelve weeks I started Jenna like most pups with only the blood dripped on the ground for short distances of twenty to thirty feet. When I placed the blood, I made sure that the wind and the lines were in different directions so that she would get an understanding that the scent lines were not always the same and to make sure the wind did not always carry the scent directly to her.

We trained often right from the start, and I increased the length of the lines along with changing the terrain so that it was never the same. Around eighteen weeks, I introduced the interdigital and periodically tarsal scents.

First of all, I do believe Jenna is the first within our organization that was trained with the interdigital scent of a deer. I mixed the three scents along the lines so that it would mock a deer that was bleeding while walking but not bleeding all the time.

I did not use the tarsal gland scent all the, time due to buck's and doe's glands not smelling the same. (What I learned is that the doe's scent must smell different and Jenny has to work little harder, when the doe has gone into a walking mode while wounded, plus Jenna has to pick out that particular deer that may have her fawns following her).

It is a wonderful feeling when your dog teaches you what is happening along a trail. Jenna has taught me that the trail tells a story of its own. 1 purchased the interdigital scent front a company that is located in Western NY by the name of Kishel's. It may be purchased separately or as a kit for a mock scrape that they put together.

Charlette Curtis’ Deer Search Recoveries 2008

Hunter's Name: Pete Batt
Location: Iroquois National Wildlife RAU-C, Alabama Swamp - NY Deer type: 12 point Non Typical

Summary: On the phone hunter informed me that he had a large buck wounded with dark red blood for a blood trail and that he had waited over night before tracking. Mike Faulkner, a new handler that was getting certified worked Jenna. It was a little comical at first due to very deep water, well over the knees. I was even told that I could stay behind if I chose not to get wet. I then laughed and stated, "I would not stay behind for the life of me". After swashing through the water we finally got to dry land only to pursue the deer's blood trail back in again. We could not work the dog due to the deep water so we carried her once again. The blood trail was very good and was easy to follow on the reeds that were in our path. Land was finally in site within 40 yards. It was a good thing that the hunter decided to wait over night. I do believe that had he pursued the deer within 6 to 8 hours it would have been gone from his hunting area.

There were numerous wound beds found, approximately six in all. They were in a 30 to 40 yard area and within 10 to 15 feet from one another. Jenna worked the area for a little while. This indicated that the deer had been in the location for a while before it left. She then started towards the reeds again, we all stated, "Oh God!! Here we go again". But, much to our surprise the deer was just inside the brush. When Jenna first found the deer she only smelled its hooves then looked up to search for me. When she spotted me about 20 feet away, she then wagged her tail, looked back at the deer and gave a little growl.

Pete Batt, proud hunter with handler Mike Faulkner

Jenna looking at the deer that she had just recovered

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I'm new to the blood trailing and trying to learn as much as I can form threads and post on the net I have been hunting hogs with dogs for most of my life but it never cease to amaze me how a dog works.awesome story and if you have any pointers they would b much appreciated...thanks Terry