I found this post on the Long Range Hunting Online Magazine website and I think you'd enjoy it. I don't know a real name of the author, but it looks like he is located in Troy, South Carolina. I hope that he does not mind me reposting his story.
I met with my dad and two other hunting buddies at our hunting camp
early on a Saturday morning in November 1994. We loaded up in my dad's
truck and headed out to our desired hunting location for the morning
hunt. We drove about 30 miles to a piece of Game Management Area in
Edgefield County, South Carolina. Upon arrival we bailed out of the
truck and went to the back to get out our climbing treestands. What!
My treestand was not there! I thought that my dad loaded it, and he
thought that I did. Well, the truth of the matter was that it was
laying in the driveway at our hunting camp 30 miles away. Time for plan
B. I rummaged around in the back of the truck and found a folding
chair. I grabbed the folding chair and off we went, down an old gated
logging road. I found a straight where I could see about 150-200 yards
and set up my chair on the edge of the road. I then went to the edge
of the old road and cut a forked stick for a shooting rest. I was
shooting a Ruger M77 in 300WinMag this morning. I had been sitting
there about 45 minutes after first light when out ran a big ole doe, at
about 125 yards. Before I thought I had pulled the trigger on her, at
the report of the rifle she went down, only to get up and run off. I
was kicking my own butt, because I knew that I should not have shot. It
was a rushed shot, what my buddies and I call a "combat shot". A
couple of hours later when my dad came along and asked what I shot, I
told him a "world record doe". We then walked down to where I had shot
her and she was not there? There was a little blood but not much. We
then began to track her. After a couple of hundred yards she went into
an old over grown clear cut. There were black-berry briers ten feet
tall, and the under growth was so thick that I was down to crawling. We
looked for that deer for hours, with no luck! I was sick..Sick to my
stomach at not being able to find that deer, but it was so thick that
you could have crawled within ten feet of the deer and never have seen
it. On the way back to camp, I swore that by the next year I would have a
dog to use for tracking wounded deer.
In South Carolina it is legal to use a dog to track wound deer as long
as the dog is kept on a leash. I then began my search for a beagle
puppy. I was unable to locate a puppy and I did not want a grown dog.
That year at Christmas my parents showed up at my house with my
Christmas present. It was a 10 week old puppy, a 1/2 Australian Blue
Heeler and 1/2 beagle. What a pretty little dog, white with blue marle
and big blue eyes. My dad said that he had been calling him "Sackett"
from the Louis L'Amour books about the famous Sackett family. I liked
that and thus he was named Sackett.
I began working with him that every first day. I taught him to sit, to
stay, and most importantly to track wounded deer. All that winter and
summer when I would cook any venison I would save the blood from the
packs. I would pour the blood into ice cube trays, then I could just
get a cube of blood, thaw out one cube of blood, mix it with bottled
deer scent then pour this over a drag cloth. I started out by using
this drag to play with Sackett. I would pull it around him, letting him
get it in his mouth and tug against me. I'd hold it in the air having
him jump for it. Run around the yard with him chasing me. Then I
began tying him up letting him watch me pull the drag through the yard.
I'd then go get Sackett and let him track the scent trail until he
found the drag. This progressed until I was tying Sackett up out of
sight from me pulling the drag, then going and getting Sackett and
letting him find the drag. He never missed.
Fast forward to the following summer. I was a police sergeant back
then. One night one of my guys responded to a deer vs vehicle
collision. After the vehicle was towed and everyone was gone I loaded
the deer into the trunk of my patrol vehicle and took it to my house.
The next morning I tied that deer behind my riding lawn mower and drug
it around my yard, through the neighbors yard and then hid the deer
under some leaves. I then went and got Sackett, when I got his bell
down he got excited knowing that we were going to play his favorite
game. I took him around to the start of the trail. He hit it and off
he went. Well, I sure was proud of him when he trailed the deer to it's
hiding spot. When he found the deer, well, I guess it kinda buffaloed
him. He jumped back and began to growl. I could hardly wait for deer
season to see what Sackett could do in the real world.
I continued to work with Sackett all summer long and when deer season
rolled around I was ready and so was Sackett, I thought. On August 15,
opening day of rifle season in the Low Country of South Carolina I was
there at my Uncle's hunting camp, with Sackett. Opening evening I shot
a buck, it ran about 75 yards before dieing. I could hardly wait to
go get Sackett. Even though it was a short trail, I was excited to put
him on it. Sackett worked like a champ, he took me straight to the
buck. I continued all year to put him on as any deer as possible that
was killed, no matter how short the trail was. I figured that the
extra time spent would pay off one day, when he really had to work at a
track of a wounded deer.
His chance came in December of that year. My dad shot a spike buck one
evening and he saw the deer go down when he shot. It then jumped up
and ran off. We got Sackett and went back after dark. Sackett hit the
trail and off he went. Dad insisted that Sackett was going in the
wrong direction. I started over again. Sackett again went in what dad
said was the wrong way. On the third try, dad said, just let him go
in that direction a while and let him see that he is wrong. Then maybe
he'll go the right way. It sounded good to me, so off Sackett and I
went again, in the wrong direction. Well, we went about 200 hundred
yards, and there layed dad's spike!
I continued to work with Sackett that entire hunting season. Sackett
found every deer that he was put on. I'll glad admit that the majority
of those deer that first year would have been found without Sackett.
But I looked at it as training for Sackett. I learned one of the most
important lessons of tracking wounded deer that year, and that is to
trust your dog! That's right, if you are using a trust worthy dog then
trust him, a dog knows so much more than we can ever comprehend.
The day after Christmas that first year I was hunting in the Low Country
of South Carolina and had my .357Mag with me. Shorty, after daylight a
doe came out at about 30 yards. I decided to shoot her with my
pistol. I took aim and shot. The doe ran off. I checked and there was
a good blood trail. I later went and got Sackett to track the doe.
My Uncle and I tracked the doe until we came to a big soy bean field. I
was following Sackett on the leash and my Uncle followed the actual
blood trail. Sackett was parallel to the trail by approximately 25
yards. Then when we entered the woods again, Sackett moved back to the
actual blood trail. From this and many other times of following
Sackett I learned that the scent will "drift" due to weather
Another lesson learned and Sackett was the best at "straightening" out
this trail of any dog I have used since. Often times Sackett would
"lose" the trail. I'd leave someone standing at the last blood found,
and I'd begin circling around with Sackett. I would look for blood.
Most times with no luck. Then I'd remember rule #1, Trust the dog. I'd
go back to the last blood and let Sackett work his magic. What I
learned was that often, in fact just about every trail that I followed
for 1/2 mile or more a deer would do this. I'd come to a place where a
deer stood for a period of time, usually evidenced by a large quantity
of blood on the ground. Then the trail "just quit". From that spot
forward unable to locate any blood. What happens here more times than
not the deer has stood in place for a time, then turned around and
walked back in the same trail it walked in on. After a short distance
75 to 100 yards the deer turns off in at 90 degree angle. This can be
hard to work out, but if you ever find this scenario try walking back on
the trail that you followed in paying close attention for where the
deer left the trail.
After that first year I advertised Sackett for tracking would deer, I
called it "Blood Trail Trackers...Shot a trophy? Can't Find It? Sackett
Can!" For $30.00 I'd come out and look for your deer with an
additional $20.00 when the deer was found. Sackett found over 300 deer
in his life. Sadly in January of 2006 Sackett was poisoned by people
on nearby property while they were trying to radiate coyotes!! I used
Sackett for 10 seasons and learned more about tracking wounded deer
than I ever imagined possible. Rest In Peace Ole Sackett Buddy I know
that your chasing those deer in the Happy Hunting Grounds.