I received a call yesterday (November 19) for a blood track on a 170-180 class buck which usually turns out to be a little on the smaller side, but this call didn't disapoint on size or find. I called Rex Marshall up, a friend and fellow United Blood Trackers member as Rex's calls have dried up over the last two weeks. We decided we would run the dogs together.
The blood trail started off pretty well but Quella was drifting off the massive amounts of blood, 4-5 feet off the track, so I decided to let Rex and his dog Radar run the line and we would follow. Radar started to open up on the track, which my dog does when she is on a hot line, so I decided to go back to the start of the line with Quella and try it again by herself. I got lost after trying to find the start of the blood line, but luck was on my side when the hunter came back to tell me that he didn't remember tracking the deer the way Radar was going. My dog gets on a hot line occasionally also being a young dog like Radar and opens up the same way.
When we restarted her at the hit site she started on the sloppy side drifting down wind of the heavy blood trail, but when the blood started to get sparse she started to dig down and lock in on the track with drops of blood here and there for confirmation. Around two hundred yards later we hit a fence row and a big field of overgrown grass and weeds. At this point of the track there was very little sign whatsoever with me really depending on the dog's nose to be on the right line. After a couple hundred yards I rested Quella for around 10 minutes because she was moving on with a little less concentration then I like to see. I took her back to the last orange tape and decided I would let her cool down and give her nose a rest and wait, while Ralph who is the hunter met up with Rex and Radar. Radar picked up the track and worked very well and true with confirmation from the orange tape that I and Ralph placed on the tall grass up to the point where I came back to the last orange marker holding Quella. From there Rex and Radar moved on around 30 yards or so to the big monster buck on the ground with Quella right on his heels. The funny thing is Quella took me within feet of the buck, but I thought she was tired so I picked her up and decided to go back to the last orange tape and let the more experienced dog finish the track.
Radar and Quella both did an exceptional job on tracking this monster buck for this excited hunter. Both Quella and Radar are excellent tracking dogs which I and Rex are proud to own.
A bit later today I also received an e-mail from Rex Marshall, Radar's owner and handler.
Dave Bell and I hooked up Saturday morning to track a buck in Preble County. It was a good opportunity to meet after talking on the phone several times in the past. We tagged-teamed on the buck with Quella and Radar, together but separate. We kept the dogs separated so they wouldn't get distracted. It worked well. When Radar went off on a false track, Quella stepped in and followed the correct track. Later when Quella was having difficulties, Radar stepped in and picked up the track. This good teamwork resulted in finding the 14 point, 170 class buck. It was a shame that the coyotes got to the buck before we did though.
After we said our goodbyes, I travelled 3 hours east to track another buck in Muskingum County (home of huge bucks). We didn't find this buck, but it was the best performance by Radar for sure. He tracked this buck over a mile. Whenever I started to doubt Radar's ability, we would find a drop of blood. We found a drop of blood about every 100-200 yards. One time we even found a piece of meat in the track. Radar was right on! The buck crossed a road; we followed and the frequency of blood drops increased, but they were still small. When we got to the fence line, we had to call and get permission from the landowner to proceed. About 150 yards further we jumped the buck. You could smell his musky stink all over...it was overwhelming actually. We tracked for another quarter mile, and then I turned to the hunter and said "we could do this all night long but I don't think we'll catch up to this buck". He agreed as the buck did not appear to be mortally wounded. It was still a successful tracking job by Radar, and he made me very proud of him again. The hunter showed me videos of this buck later; it was huge...body size at least 300 pounds with a rack to match his huge body size. Maybe this buck will appear again, and the hunter will make a better shot.
|David Bell with Quella and Rex Marshall with Radar|
|Ralph, the hunter, with his tropy buck and Quella|