If you are looking for tracking services, the United Blood Trackers website can help you. Go to http://www.unitedbloodtrackers.org/find-map.php, click on your state, you will see a list of available trackers. First, however, you should first learn whether tracking wounded big game with dogs is legal where you hunt. Regulations are controlled by state, and vary a lot from one state to another. Now this activity, which many view as a very integral part of ethical hunting, has been legalized in 18 states where any use of dogs in deer hunting, including the recovery of wounded deer, was previously illegal. State regulations can be checked at the United Blood Trackers’ website at http://www.unitedbloodtrackers.org/state-reg.php
If you live in New York state, calling Deer Search is your best option. This volunteer-based organization was formed in 1977, and currently has three chapters. For tracking services call:
- the mid-Hudson Valley area call (845) 227-5099
- Western part of New York state (716) 648-4355
- Finger Lakes Region (585) 935-5220
In the Capital District the number is (518) 872-1779.
In New York state only trackers licensed by Department of Environmental Conservation can track wounded game with leashed dogs. If there is no Deer Search tracker in your area, call your local conservation officer as he might know of local tracking services. Not all licensed handlers are members of Deer Search.
If you are looking for tracking services in Texas, go to http://www.texastrackers.com/Contacts.htm
Georgia has a published list of trackers at http://www.gon.com/page.php?id=67
Some blood trackers have personal websites and blogs describing their services:
- Alabama & Georgia A.J. Niette http://www.deertracking.us/
- Georgia: Ken Parker http://www.hillockkennels.com/
- Georgia: Kyle http://www.bloodtrackers.us/
- Illinois Madison County: Neal Meyers http://illinoistracker.com/
- Illinois Quincy: Neal Meyers http://adamspikeoutdoors.com/bloodtrackers.htm
- Maine York County: Tony http://mainewhitetailrecovery.com/
- Michigan: Rob Miller http://scouttracker.blogspot.com/
- Michigan: Jim Mayer Yooperstracking.blogspot.com
Earlier in the season I took Ruby out to track a deer that I had shot, and had seen go down in about 50 yards. She did great, but I have been looking forward to take her out on a trail where I didn't know where the deer was.
I am in an area where most of the hunting opportunities take place in very populated suburban areas, where the homeowners are desperate to reduce the population. This evening I shot a button buck about 15 minutes before dark. The shot looked a little high, but good. The deer ran across the road, and I lost sight of it as it crossed a large lawn. There was no problem finding the blood on the road, but about twenty yards onto the lawn, I couldn't advance the trail at all. After about an hour of searching all of the trails along the edge of the woods, and the landscaped beds around the houses, I made no progress.
The wind was absolutely howling, and I wasn't sure the dogs could pick up the scent on the open lawn, but it seemed like a good opportunity to get Ruby out on a challenging track. I took her to the last blood, and after a minute or two of working it out, she seemed sure of herself, and lead me to a small island of very thick cover, about twenty five feet across, in the middle of the lawn.
I had already searched it thoroughly while looking for blood earlier, and found nothing, but she seemed sure. She disappeared into the brush, and I got down on my knees and shined the light in to see her on the deer. It had apparently taken a final leap, and buried itself in the impenetrable thicket. There were no trails leading into it, and no visible blood on the brush where it jumped in. I was ecstatic.
The deer was not visible at all from the lawn, and had she not found it, I would have spent hours tomorrow searching the woods, sure that it had gone there. She saved all the time and anguish, and I couldn't be prouder.
Just goes to show that the trail doesn't have to be long, or the hit bad, to make recovery difficult, and a tracking dog a huge help!
Ruby with the deer she recovered.