Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Trust your dog - part two

Since our last post on the issue of trusting your dog we have heard many more stories falling into this category.

Scott Semrau wrote:

When I joined Deer Search & apprenticed for a season, my "Master Handler" Ed Avis hammered this home. Trust your dog, not the hunters. It happened again. The hunters are sure the deer did not go the way the dog is heading. WRONG! The nose knows. Another 9 point for Buddy.

Certainly it is easier to trust the dog when the dog is matured and experienced. But for novice handlers working with young dogs the issue of trust is not that simple. We received this e-mail from Jeff from Wisconsin who is tracking with Chloe (Emmy von Moosbach-Zuzelek) who is 19 months old.

" I haven't sent any emails this tracking season as it has been an extremely frustrating one. In the last 2 weeks, I have had 21 calls to go on and out of those 21, I have gone on 10. The season started out slow with calls but picked up rapidly! The first few calls were definitely not killing shots and I'm quite sure the deer were not fatally shot but I was eager to get started. A number of the calls were tracks that were 12 hours old or more in dry conditions. I had the word out to a lot of hunters about calling me with easy tracks, but those never came. As the frustration built early in the season, I was able to talk with Larry Gohlke a few times and share my concerns with "my" tracking methods. He felt I had to trust my dog more and let her work farther on a line with no visible blood. Much to my surprise, the next few tracks had different outcomes.

One in particular was a lung shot deer which the hunter told me the buck ran into a corn field and then up on a oak ridge. After last blood, Chloe became confused but showed interest in going deeper into the corn. I pulled her off twice and tried to get her to focus on where the hunter claimed the deer ran. After no interest in the oaks, I told the hunter I was going to let Chloe do her job and I would follow her as far as she wanted to go. Long story short, she got on a hot trail scent and through the corn we went. Again, after approx. 150 yards of tugging I was ready to end the track as there was no visible blood. I stopped Chloe to calm her down and talk to her and let her know I didn't feel we were on the right track. As I knelt by her I looked down and there was a small pile of blood! I couldn't believe it! We went a bit farther and more blood. In total we trailed this deer over a half mile and most of the track was with limited or no visual blood. The hunter could not believe that was blood from his deer but he was the only one hunting the area.

Yesterday I went on another call and did not recover the deer, but had the same situation happen. Hunter shot the deer at 10 yards from a 20 ft. tree stand and thought he had hit the lungs and heart. Chloe picked up the blood trail which was about 3 ft. wide, spraying on trees and all over the place. Trailed the good blood about 100 yards and it stopped. Chloe continued down the trail again with no visual blood and we went a few hundred yards before she looked confused and began roam frantically. Took her back to last blood and start over again, she took another trail same story, nothing. After a search of all the trails, I decided to focus on the first trail. We passed the ribbon I put in the tree the first time we stopped and she was really digging and pulling. I remembered what Larry Gohlke had told me a few nights earlier about trusting the dog and let her work. Again I saw nothing that showed a deer had went this direction until I stopped Chloe to take a break and again I looked down and there I stood in a blood soaked deer bed!! Again this was approx 200 yards from last visual blood. Chloe found two more beds with blood in them but we were unable to recover this deer either.

I contacted Larry G. again to share my track with him and he is full of great tracking knowledge. He reassured me that recovery isn't always the most important factor and not emphasize stats how many calls and recoveries we have. He assured me the fact that she is learning and able to continue on tracks that distance with limited blood is a victory itself. Larry felt this deer may not be fatally shot as the arrow may have hit a rib and stayed between the ribs and front shoulder coming out low which made the blood trail so heavy at first and not hitting any vital organs.

The last three tracks have reconfirmed the fact that Chloe does know what she is doing and I have to have more confidence in her tracking abilities. She and I just want to recover one deer before the season ends! I know I have ready several articles by many great trackers about trusting the dogs nose and again I have found this out first hand."

No comments: