|Blood tracking is one of the many hunting tasks that Caliber, a Wachtelhund, |
has been bred for.
Several days ago I received a nice e-mail from Brady:
Just wanted to say "hello," and let you know how are season has started. This year I had a job change which will allow me much more time to blood track. Prior to the season opener I left fliers with several of our local sporting good and archery shops, as well as posting on Craigslist and the United Blood Trackers website.
The first week I only received calls from Kansas which as you know still hasn't legalized blood tracking with dogs. I typically receive about 3 times as many calls from Kansas as from Missouri where I reside. Last week I arrowed a nice mature doe with my recurve. The shot looked good, but due to a rather steep angle and the behavior of the deer I thought that I may have single lunged her. I watched her walk off in the woods a few minutes after the hit, and felt like this would be a good track for my 2 year old wachtelhund, Caliber. I typically crate him and take him with me when hunting away from home. I allowed about an hour to pass prior to grabbing him from the truck. As you can imagine, a trail that fresh was about all that he could handle after a long, hot summer of practice tracks. He steadily pulled me along the trail. At first I felt like he had passed the turn where I had watched the deer enter the woods, but of course he was right and I was wrong. He zipped along between alternating areas of heavy blood and minimal blood. After crossing a fence, he dragged me down a steep ravine and half way up the other side where the deer was laying, long dead. It was a joy to see his enthusiasm at finding an actual animal at the end of a track.
|Brady and Caliber - a blood tracking team from Missouri|
The next day I received a call from a gentlemen who told me that his son had shot a "once in a lifetime buck" 3 days prior. Unfortunately, there was minimal blood at the hit sight, and only a drop or two after that. The arrow hit high in the back and did not exit. They had searched diligently for 3 days, even using their duck hunting lab without advancement of the line. The gentleman was actually looking to purchase a tracking dog when he came upon the United Blood Tracker's website and saw me listed on the tracker's page. I told him that it I would not be able to come up for an additional 1 1/2 days, and that it would be an extreme long shot. He wanted to exhaust every effort, and was willing to cover my expenses if I was willing to come up and track.
My wife and I met the hunter 5 days after the shot. We first put Caliber on the hit sight, where he proceeded to follow the path that the deer exited the field and was last seen by the hunter. Caliber advanced the track another 100 yards with good concentration and effort before he began looking like he had lost the scent. After a couple of restarts, he was unable to make any convincing headway, but he remained very concentrated on wanting to track. We had already decided to divide the 100 acre thickly wooded property into sections and do a grid search with the wind in our favor. We searched the 100 acres and some adjacent property that we had permission to search for over 5 hours. Caliber did throw his head up as we entered an overgrown field. He led me 80 yards up the hill to the scarce remains of a gutpile. The hunter told me that this was from a deer killed about 2 weeks prior. I was encouraged that Caliber had picked up and alerted on what amounted to a handful of deer sign. He definitely was focused on the right task. Unfortunately, we were unable to recover the hunter's deer. Despite the lack of a "find," I was greatly encouraged to see Caliber's steadfast determination in tracking for over 5 hours with minimal sign. The hunter commented that my "dog looked as determined now (4+ hours into the track) as when we started." I was extremely proud of his effort. Also, the hunter was very thankful that we were able to put some closure on this for him. He was very interested and engaged in the blood tracking, and his father later called me to inquire about obtaining a blood tracking dog of his own. I gave him my opinions on breeds, and recommended John's book enthusiastically. I actually brought my copy along to show him as he had already expressed some interest. I have little doubt that he will be a future blood tracker and member of the UBT. I have attached a picture of Caliber with this year's first "recovery."
|Caliber with "his" doe|