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Monday, February 2, 2009

Not all wounded deer act alike - John's response to Charlotte

Charlette, you deserve a great deal of credit for the successful tracking that you have done with your small dachshund Jenna. Obviously you are a good team, and I hope that your work will encourage other women to undertake the training of a tracking dog and actually finding wounded deer.

I do think that everyone has to be very cautious about predicting what a wounded deer is going to do. I don’t know how many deer calls you have taken, but after 35 years of experience and 895 calls, I am not very comfortable with the generalizations you make.

You say, “My golden rule is to wait over three hours before leaving your stand or looking for any blood.” The problem here is that you make the common mistake of treating all wounded deer cases alike. What you say may be good advice on a gut shot, but it is all wrong for a leg hit. It is important to go to the hit site if the deer is not in view. Observe the evidence at the hit site and then decide what your strategy should be.

Your statements about the behavior of different aged bucks do not hold up, in my opinion. Even a 1 ½ year old buck tends to move when wounded to his own secure area, which may be quite close or miles away. During the rut a buck may be out of his home territory looking for does, and he will then try to get back “home”. Before the rut he is much more likely to be in his home territory when he is shot.

Bucks and does after their first year tend to go where they want to go as long as they have “gas” in their tank. After an initial shock period, when they may stand and drip, they go where they want to go to be safe and secure. This often means going up hills, or passing right though good bedding cover or across fields to get where they want to go.

The important thing to realize is that deer don’t read the hunting books written by experts who are repeating what other experts have previously written. If the tracker keeps an open mind and takes what comes, he will be more successful.

John Jeanneney

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