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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dea, a Tracking Goddess is born!

It was quite a week for Beth and Gentian Shero from Poughkeepsie, NY. A week ago, on March 24, they opened their online Tracking Dog Supply store. And last night Beth gave birth to a baby girl Dea (the name means Goddess). This is Gentian and Beth's first child, and you can see pictures of the happy family here. I am sure that this has been a week that the Sheros will never forget. Huge congratulations to Beth and Genti! Now we can't wait to meet Dea. I can see some really cute pictures in the near future - of Dea and wirehaired dachshund puppies.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Furnishings in dachshunds - a practical application of scientific research and DNA testing.

Regular readers of this blog are familiar with the coat problems in wirehaired dachshunds. For those who have never heard of the issue, I'd recommend reading article 1 and article 2.

Well, we are happy to report that  Vetgen has a  DNA test for the mutation associated with the presence of furnishings. The original scientific paper examining genetic basis of coat in canines was published as "Coat Variation in Domestic Dog Is Governed by Variants in Three Genes" in October 2009. It is a highly technical paper, but it is well summarized at click here.

The bottom line is that  the researchers identified RSPO2 as a potential wirehair gene. It is a dominant mutation.  Actually, it has been known for a very long time that absence of furnishings (smooth coat)  is recessive to the presence of furnishings (wirehaired coat), but now we have a specific DNA sequence responsible for it.

So tomorrow we are sending three samples to Vetgen, specifically cheek swabs taken from three dogs:

Bernie does not have furnishings even though he came from wirehaired parents. His test should show that he does not have RSPO2 mutation.
Paika von Moosbach-Zuzelek  comes from a litter that was 100% wire and my gut feeling is that she has two copies of  RSPO2 mutation. If this is a case, she'd produce 100% wire litter with a dog like Bernie.
Tom vom Linteler-Forst has produced so far just one litter, which was 100% wire. I'd like to check whether he is homozygous for mutation.

We'll keep you posted when the results arrive. The test for three dogs is $165.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tracking Dachshunds

Steffi (Wynona von Moosbach-Zuzelek) owned by Danny Horner is a good example why dachshunds appeal to many hunters looking for a small dog that could be used for blood tracking and at the same time be a great family dog.

In 2001 John wrote this short article on Tracking Dachshunds.

The image of the standard sized dachshund as a couch potato dies hard. When I first started tracking wounded deer 27 years ago I had a lot of fun with this. When I would show up on a deer call to track one that the hunters could not find, they would be expecting me to get out of the vehicle with an 80 pound bluetick coon hound or something similar. When they saw a "little" 20 pound wirehaired dachshund, some of them had all they could do not to laugh out loud. Usually that little dog seemed bigger before the night was over.

Dachshunds can be pretty good at tracking wounded game, especially if they have 20 generations of selective breeding for that purpose behind them. I don't want to claim that they are the only tracking dogs in the world, but there is a big niche that they fill very well. Let's go over some of the reasons for this:

Dachshunds work close to the scent line which is a big advantage for the handler who has to know where the deer is hit.. This is the case in most of the Northeast and Midwest where bow hunting is big and blood tracking with a leashed dog has been legalized. Especially in bow hunting retrievals it is tremendously important to see what little blood sign there is, what it looks like, and where it is placed. If the tracking dog just drifts the line fast, going where the deer went, you may never know whether you have a one lung hit, a gut shot or a muscle wound. You may use the wrong tactics on the deer, or you may spend all night on a deer that is not mortally wounded and which you are not going to catch. A good dachshund will show you the visible blood on the ground and take you close to where it has rubbed off on weeds and saplings This is hard to believe, but one rainy night I had a good wirehaired dachshund bitch turn over a leaf with her nose so that I could see the blood still there on the underside. Most other breeds that I have seen work much too fast; of course there are exceptions.

The biggest problem in finding wounded deer is keeping the dog on the right line. Hot lines and warm lines of healthy deer will distract the dog away from the old, cold line of the wounded deer. In the day time there are turkey flocks that leave a cloud of strong scent that can drive dogs crazy. For these situations the smart cur dogs/cattle dogs like blackmouths and Catahoulas are very good in scent discrimination and focus. But dachshunds also discriminate very well, and they bring to the tracking task a hound's nose for ground scent. Dachshunds tend to be easy to read by their body language and by the way they are using their nose, You know what they are working on even though they work silently unless the wounded deer gets up and moves out right ahead of them.

Dachshunds are small and handy. They ride on the front seat of a pick-up and they love to ride on a four wheeler. When I have a line to track that starts near the top of a mountain four wheelers appeal to me too. When you are going through green briar, bull briars or multiflora rose, the little dog goes under the thick thorny stuff, and does not get torn up like a big dog would. As for yourself, you had better have a good cordura nylon coat and chaps. Also, when I am going over a barbwire fence, I don't need the 80 pound blue tick to help me go faster than I want to go at the critical point. If you don't have a dachshund-sized dog you had better have a big dog that knows the meaning of "whoa".

If you track in a part of the country that requires the dog to track on a leash, there is no particular advantage in having a big dog that has pull-down power or that can bay a big old buck. In parts the United States where you can legally and safely work your dog off lead, I would not want to push the dachshund as the best suited tracking dog. If you have a bad snake problem dachshunds are at greater risk than Labs. which are used extensively in the Deep South. If a Lab. gets a bite on the leg he will probably recover. A bite at the same level bite on a dachshund goes into the neck, shoulder or chest, and that is deadly. Prickly pear cactus in the Southwest can be pretty tough on a dachshund too. The spines of prickly pear begin right at ground level, and they are more difficult for a short-legged dog to avoid.

There are breeds and types of tracking dogs suited for different parts of North America. In a good part of our deer hunting country, especially in the northern areas, the dachshund makes a lot of sense and will more than hold his own against any other breed.

Friday, March 25, 2011

North Carolina House Bill 29 passes the Senate

Yesterday North Carolina House Bill 29 authorizing a hunter to use a handheld light and a single dog on a leash to retrieve a killed or wounded deer passed the Senate and will be sent to  to Governor Perdue to be signed into law. The text of the Bill can be accessed click here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tracking Dog Supply Store opens for business

We would like to extend congratulations to our friends Gentian and Beth Shero, who today opened their online Tracking Dog Supply store at You will find there blood tracking collars and leads, training and grooming equipment, and more.

Gentian and Beth, we wish you much success in your new venture!

Blood tracking collar for dachshunds

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Advanced Blood Tracking Training: Wound Bed Indication, Dead Spots, and Search Pattern

by Andy Bensing

Eibe's Training Line March 2, 2011

After a successful weekend at the North Carolina VSwP I am continuing to train Eibe in anticipation of the Deer Search Competition coming up in April. The purpose of this training exercise was to work on wound bed indication, dead spots, and efficient search patterns. Additionally I wanted to reassure myself that Eibe's problem of ignoring artificial blood scent and looking for a real wounded deer "scent picture" was gone.

The training line consisted of the following:

1. 1000 meter blood line was laid out in CRP field using about seven ounces of blood.

2. Six 12-inch-diameter wound beds with a clump of bloody hair in the center.

3. Two offset "Dead Spots" were created, one 30m and one 20m in length.

4. A little extra blood was squirted at corners.

The video is long, 48 minutes, but with all the wound beds, turns and dead spots there is pretty much some type of training technique being demonstrated every few minutes. The highlights of the exercise are as follows:

1. It is obvious right from the start that Eibe is now having no problem tracking just blood.

2. Wound bed indication improved as the exercise progressed.

3. I continued to confirm a suspicion I had that Eibe will attempt to use human track scent to advance the line when no blood scent is present (I began to believe this during my parking lot training exercise). At the 30m offset dead spot she followed my bloodless path 25m past the last blood until she turned around and began to search. At all the turns, where of course I turned, that she overshot, she went straight 10m or less before beginning the check. At the 20m dead spot I made a turn when I laid it, and when Eibe got to the beginning of the dead spot she made the bloodless turn exactly as I had done. She slowed down in the void and was obviously looking for blood but clearly was following my scent. When she hit the blood again at 20m she kicked back into a faster speed. It was obvious that she was looking for blood but using my path to get there. As I mentioned in the video, I do not think this will be a problem in testing or in real life tracking. Actually, it might even be a help in taking a test.

4. Eibe's performance on the overall exercise was great but it clearly showed my future training needs to emphasize ingraining efficient search patterns.

A map of whole blood line - click to enlarge.

The above expanding concentric circles were a directed search initiated by me to teach the pattern.

More Spring Training 3/16/2011

As I continued my spring training with Eibe today I ran a very similar line as described above but this time it was a little longer and was in a hardwood forest as I expect the Deer Search Competition to be held in. It was a 24-hour-old line and there was about ½ inch of rain on it overnight.

The whole exercise went very well and I continue to build my confidence in her understanding that we are not tracking real deer right now. There were 3 highlights from today's work:

1. Eibe's speed is picking up without sacrificing accuracy. I think now that she is more comfortable smelling for just blood, she is making fewer unnecessary checks and the checks are quicker. She tracked the first 1000m of today's line in 33 minutes and that included 9 minutes working out the second Dead Spot.

2. Completely on her own Eibe located, stopped, and stood over all five small, six-inch-diameter wound beds I had laid out. I think this was the cleanest series of indications she has ever given to date.

3. I did run into a logistical problem in my attempt to work on teaching more efficient search patterns. When I laid the line and created the Dead Spots to use for teaching an expanding concentric search pattern I stopped the blood and walked to the spot where I would restart the blood in a way that was not direct. I hoped that Eibe would not follow my human scent trail. Well, that did not work as she very quickly and easily found my trail and followed it to the blood as you can see on these two GPS diagrams below. I have a different layout in mind for trying to prevent her from using my human scent next time. I will let you know how it works. One thing is absolutely for sure. After seeing how she worked these Dead Spots this time, there is no doubt in my mind that when the blood is gone on an artificial line, she will follow human scent if it is there in expectation that it will lead to blood again. She uses the human scent as a guide. She follows it slowly a few feet then checks to the left and right a few yards then moves forward on it a few feet again. When she hits the blood, she then takes off quite quickly.

Monday, March 21, 2011

First day of spring in Berne, NY

Last year on March 20 we still had 8 inches of snow on the ground. Luckily yesterday, as we welcomed the first day of spring, the snow was mostly gone. Not entirely gone but probably 90 percent of the ground was bare. The temperature was 46F (8C), and the sky was blue. This was a wonderful day, perfect opportunity to unplug and enjoy the outdoors.
Our dog yard and kennels at the back of the barn.

We still have a small mountain of snow by the kennels. The snow piled up while it came down off the barn roof.  This is a northern exposure, and it takes a long time for the snow to melt.

 Joeri and Elli enjoyed strong sunshine while they stretched on the top of the old picnic table.

Billy took a snooze on the grass.

Male catkins of the pussy willow are out. I love them!
These fast growing stems of sumac looked spectacular against the sun.

But our pond looked still very cold and icy.

The forecast for tomorrow: Snow in the morning...then rain and sleet in the afternoon. Snow and sleet accumulation of 1 to 3 inches. Brisk with highs in the lower 40s. South winds 15 to 25 mph. Chance of precipitation near 100 percent. After all it is only March, and here in the NY Capital District Hilltowns we will still have some wintry days. But spring is going to come soon...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Remi's blood tracking training

Justin Richins from Utah sent us this video a couple of weeks ago. Justin, I hope that by now you see more signs of spring. For those who missed earlier posts on Remi (Remy von Moosbach-Zuzelek, a son of Joeri and Gilda) -- he is a wirehaired dachshund, and in the video he is just over 9 months old. He has done really well so far in real tracking and training on artificial lines.

The video shows Remi's work on a line, which is 17.5 hr old, laid with scent shoes and blood, and it includes a lot of sharp checks. I think it is another stellar performance. Remi has some very minor difficulties, and Justin analysis and conclusions are sound. Thank you Justin for sharing!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Problems With Switching Back to Artificial Training Lines When the Natural Tracking Season Is Over

by Andy Bensing

After deer hunting season was over I began getting ready for some spring blood tracking tests by restarting my artificial line training. I really did not anticipate any problems as I did not have any the year before when switching back to artificial lines. I wrote about my Parking Lot Training before which was our first training line of the new training season. I saw no problems on that exercise and assumed Eibe and I were off to a fast start. The next training line I set up was to focus on live deer distractions and heavy cross trails. I had a friend in a suburban NJ neighborhood lay me a 650m blood only (no tracking shoes) line through a neighborhood nature park that is just crawling with deer, especially in the cedar thickets during the winter. He laid the line by following well established deer trails the whole way which would present my dog with deer trail intersections and Y's very frequently. The snow pack was very hard so the tracklayer did not leave any impressions much to speak of but as you can see in the picture, the snow was just covered with tons of deer tracks of all ages and tons of deer pellets. I have used this park before for distraction proofing and it is just a great place.

Note the hard packed snow,  the deer tracks everywhere and all the deer droppings.  These were perfect conditions for diagnosing and solving the problem.
When I started Eibe I saw there was a problem right away. She did her normal searching at the start to orient herself and then started down the blood line as usual but left the blood line and started searching again within a few yards of getting started. Just by luck, not design, the hard snow with visible deer tracks allowed me to figure out what was going on. The blood on the snow was quite obvious so I could see when Eibe would put her nose right on it, sniff, and then leave it. She would go right down the line a few meters at a time and then take her nose off the visible blood and start sniffing in all the deer tracks. At first I thought she was distracted by all the fresh tracks and deer droppings. As I observed her it became clear that she was not following all the fresh sign. She very carefully followed several heavy cross trails for 5 to 10 meters checking out all the hoof prints along the way but she turned back on her own to the blood line. When she returned to the blood line she would put her nose across the visible blood and then fail to follow, and then check out other tracks again. She would give up on the other tracks for awhile and then follow the blood for awhile and then do the same deer print checking again. She never committed to any of the cross trails for more than 10m without coming back on her own to the blood line. It became clear to me after awhile that what she was doing was looking for an actual wounded deer "scent picture". She smelled the blood on this artificial line for sure but after spending literally a couple of hundred hours following natural lines in the 47 calls we had taken this past season, blood only did not quite make sense to her. After all, most of the time when we are tracking for real there is little or no blood even present.

I did not correct her in any way for leaving the blood line but I took quite a few opportunities when she was away from the line checking hoof prints to point to visible blood on the line and verbally and visually encourage her to follow it. As the exercise progressed, she seemed to be getting better and better but it was obvious that she would need more work on this if we were going to be successful in the spring blood tracking tests I hoped to enter. One interesting thing I noticed about her work was that as she improved along the exercise, she was willing to stay on the blood line longer but when she would hit a check, her searching was centered on deer tracks looking for that "scent picture" of a wounded deer. Those are the times I pointed out and encouraged her to the visible blood and that seemed to help a lot. I never would have been able to easily figure out what the problem was and come up with a good way to work on it so quickly had the line not been laid on the hard packed snow allowing me to be able "see" what Eibe was smelling.

I ran another training line a few days later in somewhat similar conditions and Eibe continued to improve in her desire to follow the blood line and not look for a real wounded deer "scent picture". I handled her the same way for that line as well. I would visually point to the blood and encourage her back to the blood line when appropriate and verbally reward her when she made that decision on her own. The problem was not completely fixed after this exercise and showed up 3 days later at our first trial of the season the VSwP 20  in North Carolina but luckily half way through the test it seemed to finally click for her and now she is back to her old form. The next day we took the 40 hour VSwP and she was right on. We scored a Prize I that day and Eibe had no problems at all focusing on just the blood line. I am looking forward to the rest of my spring training and the Deer Search Competition in April.

Friday, March 18, 2011

UBT at the 2011 Ohio Deer & Turkey Expo

The 2011 Ohio Deer & Turkey Expo is starting today! It is taking place in  the Bricker Building Ohio Expo Center (State Fairgrounds), 717 E. 17th Ave, Columbus, OH 43211, and the hours are Friday 2-9, Saturday 9-7, and Sunday 9-4. Stop by the United Blood Trackers booth, say hi and see the blood tracking dogs. John's talk "Using Tracking Dogs to Find Wounded Deer" is scheduled for tonight at 5:00 PM, tomorrow at 11:00 AM and on Sunday at 12:15 PM. For a schedule of seminars click here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blood tracking dogs in Iowa

Brian Hibbs who has been working very hard to legalize blood tracking dogs in Iowa wrote:

The leashed dog tracking is getting close to being a reality in Iowa. After some hard work this is the latest recent action proposed by the Iowa NRC. Please pay attention to #3 relating to using dogs to recover wounded deer in Iowa. Do me a favor and show your support for this action. Send the Iowa DNR a letter of recommendation for this action to Let’s do the ethical thing and give our dogs a job to do!

If you decide to let the Iowa DNR know that you support the leashed dog tracking action please send an email to He is the Wildlife Bureau Chief. There is no need to write a long letter. You can just let him know you think this would be a good thing for Iowa. If you want to forward this email to any other interested people their support will also be appreciated.

Thank you,
Brian Hibbs
Oxford, IA 52322


Notice of Intended Action

Pursuant to the authority of Iowa Code subsection 455A.5(6), the Natural Resource Commission hereby gives Notice of Intended Action to amend Chapter 94, “Nonresident Deer Hunting,” Iowa Administrative Code.

Chapter 94 gives the regulations for nonresident deer hunting and includes season dates, bag limits, possession limits, shooting hours, areas open to hunting, licensing procedures, means and methods of take, and transportation and reporting requirements.

The proposed amendments:

1. Clarify which cartridges are legal for deer hunting with a handgun. The minimum length requirement removes some cartridges which are not designed for hunting deer.

2. Modify the hunter orange requirement for blinds during the shotgun season so that the visible orange is a minimum size, not shape.

3. Allow dogs to be used to recover wounded deer. The dog must be on a leash and the hunter must have permission to track a wounded deer with a dog on private property.

4. Clarify that antlerless deer are tagged on a leg and antlered deer are tagged on the main beam of the antler. This will help keep the tag from pulling off accidentally during transport.

Any interested person may make written suggestions or comments on the proposed amendments on or before April 27, 2011. Written comments may be directed to the Wildlife Bureau's Web site at or may be sent to the Wildlife Bureau Chief, Department of Natural Resources, Wallace State Office Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-10034; fax (515) 281-6794. Persons who wish to convey their views orally should contact the Wildlife Bureau at (515) 281-5034 or at the Wildlife Bureau offices on the fourth floor of the Wallace State Office Building.

There will be a public hearing held via the Iowa Communications Network on April 27, 2011, from 6 to 9 p.m. Interested persons should contact the Department at (515) 281-5034 for a list of hearing locations or go to the Department's Web site at At the public hearing, persons may present their views either orally or in writing. Participants will be asked to give their names and addresses for the record and to confine their remarks to the subject of the amendments.

Any persons who intend to attend the public hearings and have special requirements such as those related to hearing or mobility impairments should contact the Department of Natural Resources and request specific accommodations.

These amendments are intended to implement Iowa Code sections 481A.38, 481A.39, 481A.48, 483A.1, 483A.8 and 483A.24.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dachshund (teckel) puppies bred for blood tracking and hunting

Today I can really see that spring is just around the corner! It also means that it is time to start thinking about breeding. I have created two stand alone pages, which are listed in the right column of the blog. These pages will be updated on a regular basis.

First page gives info on our breeding plans for 2011:

The second page lists puppies bred out of hunting lines by other breeders:

Hopefully this info will help connect hunters with breeders of working dachshund puppies. I listed only the breeders who expect litters in the next few months.

Our 2010 puppies at the age of 9 days.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cabela's Recon Hunt App - a new tool for hunters and blood trackers

Justin Richins alerted me to a new app for iphones and android phones, which he described as "awsome" and "I love it". Developed by Trimble Outdoors, the Cabela’s Recon Hunt app runs on iPhone and Android devices and provides hunters with a full lineup of outdoor and navigation features, including detailed topographical maps, point-to-point GPS navigation, a digital compass and weather forecasts. The Recon Hunt app uses the GPS built into iPhones and Android-compatible devices, so no data or phone signal is needed for users to log their locations. Hunters can collect waypoints, tracks, photos, videos and audio clips in the field. The app tracks other essential hunting information too: weather, sun/moon phases, trip stats and ballistics data.  The app is available  for $3.99 at click here.

The app has some features useful for blood trailing.

Click to enlarge
Thanks Justin for the tip! And congrats on your coyote!

Justin with the coyote he killed. He saw coyotes chasing a deer the night before. Next morning he took Remi to look for the doe. In Justin's own words: "Easy track and they sure made short work of her. Remi was cautious on this track I'm thinking it was because he could smell the yotes." You are right Justin, we noticed that too. Some dogs, especially young ones, are apprehensive when approaching the site where coyotes congregated in a great number.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The VDD-GNA 40-Hour Blood Tracking Test (VSwP) in Fayetteville, NC

Andy's post about The VDD-GNA 40-Hour Blood Tracking Test (VSwP) in Fayetteville, NC, generated a lot of heat and I removed the story along with comments from the blog. A very mild disagreement over some details of the test was escalating into the very heated discussion that I was not willing to post. However, since this blog is committed to reporting news on blood tracking, we are not going to exclude information about the test.

So for the record we are reporting that on Sunday, February 20, in in Fayetteville, NC, two dachshunds participated  in the VDD-GNA 40-Hour Blood Tracking Test (VSwP).
  • Eibe vom Merreche, a standard wirehaired dachshund bred by Hans Josef Broich (Germany) was handled by her owner Andy Bensing, PA. Eibe  passed the test with the Prize I performance.
  • Qua-Linea Enyo, a standard smooth dachshund bred and handled by her owner Sian Kwa, NC, also passed with the Prize I performance.  Enyo was awarded the trophy for the best performance of the weekend.
Congratulations to both handlers and their dogs!

Friday, March 4, 2011

United Blood Trackers and the Expansion of Leashed Tracking Dogs

by John Jeanneney for Full Cry, March 2011

The count of states that have legalized leashed tracking dogs is now up to 22; the rate of legalization has been accelerating since the year 2000. This has been due in good part to the promotional and educational work of United Blood Trackers. This organization has been making hunters and outfitters aware of what can be accomplished by a well-trained leashed dog and handler team. Most hunters now understand that that use of tracking dogs to find deer after the shot is very different from hunting deer with dogs. A dog on a leash does not disrupt deer hunting.

Map showing the 22 states in which tracking dogs have been legalized

In New Mexico, which legalized in 2007, it was the elk outfitters who encouraged the state DNR to change their regulations. One outfitter told me “Our rifle and bowhunting clients were losing a certain percentage of elk. This had been accepted. Now we know that something can be done about this!” He had learned about leashed tracking dogs from sources outside the state. The UBT web site and its members were behind much of this educational process. If one goes to the UBT website information on the regulations of all the dog tracking states is available.

In Iowa, two UBT members, Brian Hibbs, and Patrick McCaffrey, an Ohio attorney, worked with the state DNR. With a PowerPoint presentation and supporting documentation they won the DNR over to the idea of legalization. Tracking dogs will be working in Iowa next fall.

Of course there is a lot more than legalization involved in establishing the use of tracking dogs in a new state. As we all know hunting is a matter of the heart as well as the mind, and the heart changes more slowly. In much of the United States, outside of the South, we all bought up to understand that “deer hunting and dogs don’t mix.” Changes in attitude don’t come over night.

This was quite evident in the state of Maine, where the DNR promoted and established the legal use of leashed tracking dogs in 2002. Little was done at that time to publicize this change or to educate hunters and handlers; little tracking activity took place in the first few years. I made phone calls to a number of hunting guides, and got several types of responses. One guide said, “We don’t have any real need for this up here!”; another claimed that he had tried it and it didn’t work very well.

The doors in Maine didn’t open a crack until UBT member Susanne Hamilton, a German woman with a German dachshund, began tracking and finding wounded whitetails in the southern part of the state. In 2010 at the annual banquet of the Maine Bowhunters Association Susanne was Guest of Honor and named Supporter of the Year 2009 in recognition of her “accomplishments and dedication to the bowhunting sport”.

In Maine the greatest need for tracking dogs today is in moose hunting. Moose with their great body mass and insulating coat of hair spoil rapidly if they are not found within six hours. Little progress has yet been made in introducing the use of tracking dogs in moose hunting. In 2009 UBT presented a tracking workshop in New Hampshire near the Maine border, but no Maine guides attended. Sometimes a new idea like the use of tracking dogs is a tough sell.

This winter United Blood Trackers has been invited to have an educational booth and a seminar at two Deer and Turkey Expos organized by Target Communications. The first event in Lansing, Michigan has already taken place as I write, and the second in Columbus Ohio will take place on March 18-20.

The Lansing, Michigan booth was a great success. The presence at the booth of tracking dogs, including “cute” wirehaired dachshunds pulled in the crowd, and then the experienced handlers manning the booth could explain what the dogs has already been accomplishing in Michigan. At the end of the day we were all hoarse from talking about our sport and its purpose. Leashed tracking dogs have been legal in Michigan since 1998, but it was surprising how often we were asked: “When are they going to start this in Michigan”. It takes a few years for things to sink in! There are at least 20 very active handlers now in Michigan, but after the Lansing Expo there will be more of them.

The UBT booth and staff at the Lansing Michigan Deer Expo.

Left to right: Don Dickerson, Brian Reisner, Kyle Stiffler, John Jeanneney, Chuck Collier, Chris Hodyna.


Larry Gohlke explains the use of scent shoes in the training of blood tracking dogs.

This is a Bavarian Mountain Bloodhound owned by Chris Hodyna.

Cheri Faust says hello to Brian Reisner's wirehaired dachshund puppy.

UBT actually began focusing its efforts on Michigan last year when it held a “Trackfest” tracking workshop in Marshall. This drew 26 already converted trackers from Michigan and surrounding states. The focus at the Marshall Trackfest was on training dogs and handlers rather than on promotion. Both approaches are needed and our next target is Ohio.

Participants at Trackfest 2010 in Marshall, Michigan

The Deer and Turkey Expo in Columbus on March 18-20 will be a big challenge. Ohio legalized tracking dogs in 2005, but as in Maine there was no publicity or education about how tracking dogs are trained and used. As of 2010 there were only a handful of serious handlers tracking, and deer hunters are still largely unaware of the possibilities. There is much to be accomplished in Ohio.

The last major event of this year for UBT will be Trackfest 2011 to be held on May 21-23 near Pocahontas, Arkansas. Tom Baker is hosting the event at his Buck Hollow Ranch located in northeast Arkansas close to the Missouri border. This workshop will consist of indoor presentations on training, tracking breeds and real tracking in the woods combined with outdoor field work, evaluations and tests. This will be the 6th annual Trackfest put on by UBT, and early evidence suggests that it will be the largest ever.

Using your dog to find shed antlers in early spring fits in perfectly with tracking wounded big game in the fall. This year Roger Sigler, a professional trainer of antler dogs, will be one of our speakers.

Both new and experienced handlers, who have attended previous Trackfests, say that they learned much from seeing different types of dogs work training lines. After each exercise experienced UBT instructors discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each dog and suggest how the work can be improved. In an atmosphere of camaraderie at a Trackfest everyone exchanges tracking stories; the learning and the fun never stop.

More details and registration materials are available click here. You can register by contacting Todd Rockhold at 701-340-6367 or

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dead On! is a "must buy" for every bowhunter

Yesterday I came across a new review of John's book Dead On! Deer Anatomy and Shot Placement for Bow and Gun Hunters. Tracking Techniques for Wounded Whitetails. To read the whole review click here. We don't know the author's name, can't even thank him for his post, but we could not be happier with the review. Thank you Horitexan!

To buy your own copy - go to

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Max von Bispingdorpe from Germany and his success in the show ring

We wrote about Max von Bispingdorpe before (click here), and now are pleased to report that he has been doing really well in a show ring. Max is just over six months old and he is being shown in a puppy class. At the AKC show on the Valentine's Day Max was Best of Winners.

Max was Best of Winners at the February 14 AKC dog show. 
Last weekend Max was shown at the Union Cynologie International shows and was declared the best puppy in the Hound Group twice. Congratulations to Max and his handler/co-owner Uta Fehlhaber-Smith!

A beautiful shot of Uta with Max
I have to admit that I had to look up info on the The Union Cynologie International as I was confused about the show setup and organization. In Europe the dachshunds constitute Group IV, and at FCI shows, no matter where they are held, dachshunds are judged separately from the Hounds. At the AKC shows dachshunds are part of Group II (Hounds). It looks like the UCI is an organization that competes with the FCI, but its standards are not as strict. I don't want to get into politics of purebred dogs organizations and standards, but I liked the fact that a judge had to prepare a written critique, which is a common procedure at FCI shows. That's much better than at AKC shows where no critiques are offered.

Thank you Uta for sharing Max's official evaluation. Good luck with your handsome boy!