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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tommy tracks and finds a liver-shot buck in Fox Creek

A week ago, on October 21, we received a call from Daniel Hardin, a young deer  hunter. Dan shot a really nice buck around 8 AM and he needed help with finding him. It was a pass-through, close to the rib cage. Dan had a camera mounted on his bow and managed to get a video showing how the buck behaved after the shot (watch the video at the end of this post)

This deer did not know anything about the rules of deer hunting! We are quite sure he never read a deer hunting book. The hunter’s video shows him taking the shot that ultimately killed him with a perforated stomach and liver. The buck does not react when he is hit. He stands there placidly and then when the hunter releases  another arrow he takes off and flags his tail. This is not the way a mortally wounded deer is supposed to act!

The buck was shot at 8 AM and headed back in a nearly straight line to his safe bedding area a mile and a half away. Dan tracked him a long way but eventually ran out of blood. Then it rained hard. We chose to give this track to Tommy (FC Tom vom Linteler-Forst), who has been doing very well in training but has had no experience with real tracks. Since Dan advanced the track a good distance we would see whether Tommy was up to the task and would stay on the line. And he did! So John and Joeri stayed behind me and Tommy, and they were working in the backup position. Also we need to mention that Dan's mother and a friend joined us as well.

Since there was a heavy shower in the morning, some blood signs got washed away, but we still could confirm that we were on a right line. I had a camera with me and took some pics, but it is hard to track, look for blood and take pictures at the same time. John handled GPS and at the end of this post there is a GPS map showing the track, which was a mile and a half long.
Blood was visible on the ground, leaves and branches, especially for the first half of the track.

Tommy was confident in his tracking. I could feel it through the tension of the tracking leash.
We tracked through the woods and fields, and changed the cover multiple times..

Then we ran into a problem at the spot where most likely the buck had bedded before he descended to the nearby creek. Tommy pulled towards the creek but when I did not see any blood I restarted him.We tracked a bit around the bedding area, but after a while Tommy again wanted to go towards the creek, and this time Dan and I followed him. When we got to the creek John and Joeri were already there. Tommy started to pull to the left on the top of the five-foot-high bank, and I could see from a distance that something was floating downstream; it could be a log or a visible part of deer. When I zoomed in with my camera, I could see that yes,  it was a deer, hopefully the deer!
What followed next was caught on my video camera and you can see it in the video included. Dan and his friend went into the water to retrieve the deer, and eventually Dan pulled it onto the other side of Fox Creek

Then we had to follow and cross the water, and this was an adventure in itself. The video shows Joeri swimming across. Only Marie, Dan's mother, stayed dry by crossing the creek on the top of huge log.

Marie going across, and Joeri getting ready to do the same.
Once on the other side we took pictures. As it turned out we were really close to a local trailer park and luckily did not have to drag the deer by going back on our route to the creek!

Tommy checking out the seven pointer he found.
Jolanta with Tommy, who did a remarkable tracking job.
Dan drove to our place, only 2 miles away, so I could download his video onto my computer. Thanks Dan! The picture shows Dan with Tommy and buck.
The below video is a montage of Dan's video, my video clips and some pics. The pictures show GPS maps of the track. Click on the images to enlarge them.

This was one of the most memorable tracks that I have ever been on! It was a good feeling to help Dan recover the deer so it did not go to waste. As it turned out the deer gutted was about 150 pounds, and when Dan butchered it he got 73 lbs of meat.

John and I were quite amazed at the super job that Tommy did on first real track. By the way, two days later he recovered another liver-shot deer, but we'll write about that track some other time.


Anonymous said...

Looking at the gps log makes me think this buck was headed to water.. Do you find this typical of whitetail?.. Justin Richins

Anonymous said...

This is Dan the hunter in the article. It is very typical in my experience, and John's, for a deer with a liver, stomach, or intestine wound to travel to water. As they bleed out they get thirsty and head to water. You never know for sure what a deer will do even if you know right where it was hit. It might run up a mountain, go to water, or even circle back and wind up right where it was shot to begin with. Water is common and always worth a look if the trail goes cold.