Andy Bensing said: I think the best natural line for a young dog is a line that has been eyeball tracked and marked first, then bring the dog in and you can run that natural line like a training line to the dog’s best benefit. Of course if the deer has already been found, having the whole deer at the end or if running the next day, the deer skin there is terrific. I have used natural lines where the deer was not recovered as good training lines also. To do this I mark the line before I bring out the young dog and I place a deer skin at the last know point of the line. To try and keep it real, I have also rubbed the “find” skin with some of the blood taken from leaves along the way if there was enough to make that work.
Few days later Don D. from Michigan who is starting to track with a six-month-old Gunther (a Billy/Gilda puppy) shared his recent experience. It was a perfect learning opportunity.
I have attached some pictures of Gunther's first find. I will confess it was a controlled find, but none the less it was a great learning experience for him. October 1 was opening day here in Michigan for bow season. My brother Bart and I had a goal of shooting a doe and setting up a live track for Gunther. It worked out perfect. Bart shot the the doe in the pictures at about 9 am. We let her go for several hours and then tracked her making sure to stay well off the line. We found her about 200 yards away, she traveled through varying terrain and ended up in a swamp on our leased land.The blood trail was consistent so it was a perfect set up for Gunther. I put him on the track about 5 hours after the shot. The conditions were warm, dry and breezy. We were unable to find his arrow during our dog less track, but Gunther found it for us about 40 yards into the track. He did very well, stayed on the line. Did get off it twice, but found his way by circling back and picking it up on his own. He did lose it in the high weeds in the swamp, the blood was high on the reeds and I think it was above him. Which makes me think he is tracking the blood smell much more than the deer smell at this point in his young career. Once he got back on the line he found the doe in the swamp. At first he was not sure what to do. He looked at me with a look like............"now what do I do?" ......but once he saw our excitement over his find he tore into the doe. He tried to drag it, tugged on it, licked the blood and became very excited. when we tried to move him off it he growled a bit as if to say " this is mine!!" I let him watch the entire process of gutting the deer as he wined and tried to get closer. In the end he got a nice piece of liver and a leg to chew on for awhile. Very good experience for both of us, learned a lot. Very pleased with my little partner.