I took today off from work to celebrate my birthday. I was actually going to practice with my new bow and put out some trail cameras. I was sitting at the table working on the puppy questionnaire when the phone rang. It was a friend that had shot a deer with the muzzle-loader this morning and couldn't find it. The hunter told me that he had white hair at the hit and tracked for about 100 yds and lost it.This guy is a responsible and good hunter and I thought we stood a chance either finding the deer or proving a non fatal hit. Karl and I haven't had any work since Dec 1st and I jumped at the chance to track.
We met up and proceeded to get started. I was actually surprised with Karl's actions during the ride. He knew we were going tracking but acted much calmer than usual. We got to the hit site and it was as the hunter said. There was white hair at the hit site and the blood started about 30 yds away. He had the line flagged and Karl started right down it. He got to the last blood too quick for my liking and proceeded to track to a small creek. He was still pretty worked up at this point and rather than cross the creek, I restarted him at the last blood hoping he would take the same route to the creek as before. That didn't happen and I restarted him again.
The third time was the same as the second so I crossed the creek and Karl tracked to an empty bed. This was a good sign as the bed was only 200 yds from the hit. Karl tracked on from the bed down a deer run towards a heavily traveled main road. If the deer crossed the road we were done. A one point Karl acted like he didn't have it and I brought him back to the bed. He restarted and tracked through some stick trees and towards an open field. Just as we entered the field I saw a drop of blood and knew he was right. He tracked across the field over a black top driveway and into another woods. We came to another bed and I think we put the deer out. Karl was tracking hard and digging in. I was finding blood and the occasional bone fragments on the line now.The deer had started to make a big loop and was heading back towards the area it was shot at.
We had tracked a little over a mile and we were heading towards the Matchaponix Brook. This river is not wide but is deep with steep mud slick banks. I could see the deers tracks leading up to and along the river. All of a sudden Karl turned and went right down the bank into the river. The next thing I see is a deer swimming up the river with Karl trying to over take him. I yelled to the hunter that I found his deer and he was alive. I got Karl out of the river and the deer pulled its self out and crossed a bend in the river and went back in.We didn't bring the gun so the hunter sent his boy back to the truck for the muzzle loader. We just kept an eye on the deer without getting too close and waited. When the gun arrived the hunter finished the deer. The first shot had entered low on the left side and raked a lung. When it exited it destroyed the right leg at the first joint from the shoulder. This deer would have died but after the first bed, and until we got the deer up the blood trail was very sparse. The hunter admitted he would not have found this deer if it wasn't for the dog.