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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Question about the scent of deer interdigital glands

Frank asked:

How long do you think the scent of the interdigital gland lasts after the hoof has been removed from the deer. I ask this because the last few training tracks I have done for my 5 month old Majestic hound consist of taking a deer leg on a stick and making a track and leaving the other deer leg at the end of the track. The pup has found the leg both times but there has not been any other deer tracks in the area. My next training session will be around allot of other deer tracks so would you want fresher legs than say a week old leg to compete with the live legs of the deer in the area. I hope your season is going well and thank you for your book it has really help me train my dog.

John replied:

I think that it makes a difference as to how you handle the deer hoof. I use a set of deer feet in tracking shoes over a month or more, on four or five different half mile tracks. In between tracks I store the tracking shoes, with hoofs attached, in a big plastic garbage bag in my chest freezer, and I suppose that this freezer storage helps to preserve the scent form the interdigital glands. The track itself is something that my dogs can follow after 24 hours. I imagine that a Majestic could do better than that.

On a track made with an aged deer hoof, we really don’t know whether the dog is following the scent of the interdigital gland, or just the smell of the rancid or rotting meat. There is much that we don’t know about what the dog actually perceives, but we do know that tracking shoes, or a deer foot on a stick, are good training devices.

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