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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tracking wounded deer with Marty and Mikki's Drahthaars

We wrote about Marty and Mikki Vlach and their Drahthaars over a year ago, and it is time to post an update.

Mikki: Sorry it has taken so long to get this to you, but we have been very busy with Roxy's litter of 8 pups. She whelped 4 males and 4 females on Jan 22. All the pups are doing great. We are hoping for some nice weather SOON so we can get them outside to do some exploring. They have all been purchased by hunters and a few plan to do some tracking work with them. Here is Marty's story from this season in his own words.

Marty: Charlie did some tracks this past season, 9 recovering 5. I quit on 1 track because it crossed a major highway coming into town and just too much traffic and too many distractions for both of us. All the calls I took were, I believe, liver/paunch shots from 4-16 hrs old. He did well on most, stayed on line.

With 2 ACL repairs it really started showing this season, steep inclines, downed trees and thick deep mud being a real challenge for us. I can't count the times I picked him up to get him up, over or through it. His heart is into tracking but physically he's slippping. The longest track for Charlie this year was around 3/4 of a mile. I will see how he is doing this fall, but I am sure I will do a track or 2 with him if he's capable.

Charlie is an eleven-year-old Drahthaar

Roxy was out 5 times recovering 5. These tracks were 4 to 24 hours old, longest being 1/2 mile. Her first track in Sept was 13 hrs old after 1/2" of rain. She really surprised me on this one. Put her nose down and went. There was no visible sign anywhere. About 500 yds later there lay a gut shot doe. I think a light quartering wind helped her out but she never had the head up much. Roxy went into heat mid-November and spent a week in South Dakota with the stud dog. Shortly after she returned it snowed 12 inches and got really cold. Very few calls after that.

I don't know about where you track, but most of the calls I go on in the night, when I get there, there are 5 to 30 head of live deer within 100-200 yds of the start of the track. And at times I feel 1/2 of them came down the trail I am tracking on. sometimes the dogs stay on the line, sometimes I have to restart quite a few times. I wonder if they have a tendencey to follow hot tracks because I have let them bring down wounded deer. Even during the day, if you have a little wind, they will pull you to bedded deer sometimes.

I turned down 4 calls from UBT. 1 from KS, 1 in IA, 2 others 250+ miles from here in NE. All sounded like high back or neck hits. You know the story, hit the deer, it fell down, got up and ran off. Very little blood.

Took both Charlie and Roxy on a track with 100% snow cover, 4 degrees, no wind. Neither dog acted like they could smell much of anything. I visually tracked for 1/2 mile but the dogs never got into the groove.

Here is the pic from the track that Charlie did when he recovered the buck in the first picture. It exemplifies why the fuzzy coat is not ideal. It also shows that the tracking game is not for the faint at heart. Most dogs with their face matted like that would refuse to go on....

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