I still can't believe it's been three and half months since our trip to meet Dubya for the first time. All of my hunting days have been spent running training lines with Dubya, I can't say John didn't warn me. I enjoy watching Dubya run the lines so I didn't mind much. Dubya did find his first deer and ran an amazing natural line, more on that later.
|October 9, 2012: Jenny and Matt Willis in Berne, NY with their new puppy Strut aka Dubya|
The big deer outing in my family is opening weekend of rifle season in Missouri. I couldn't imagine not bringing Dubya even though he was still a young puppy. I was trying to keep my expectations reasonable even though he had shown tremendous ability on our training lines. Going into the weekend I was hoping for a couple short natural lines we could use to give Dubya the experience of being on a real line.
The weather was horribly hot which made the hunting slow. After an opening morning with very little action and weather only getting warmer I was a little concerned getting Dubya on a line was not a certainty. Trying to tell myself it's still early in the hunt, I headed out for my afternoon hunt. As the minutes turned to hours unfortunately none of the shadows turned to real deer. I was really beginning to feel the pressure when I heard a shot; it had come from a ground blind where one of the other hunters in camp was sitting. I immediately began to hope the deer ran at least a few yards to offer Dubya some work.
I got back to camp soon after to get the scoop. The blind sits on the edge of a cut corn field with a creek a few yards behind. The deer had come in to 50 yards and was feeding in the cut corn. At this point I was thinking this may not be much of a track. The hunter said the deer had run past the blind and splashed into the creek, where he believe it had expired. I was pretty excited we would at least get a 60 yard natural line out of the deal, we got a little more than we bargained for!
Thinking this was going to be a very short track I was grossly unprepared. We got to the hit site with Dubya about 2 hours after the shot. There was some bright blood and Dubya was excited. He had a little trouble getting started but then locked in and off we went. It took Dubya little time to cover the roughly 60 yards to the creek bank, I shined my light in the creek and saw no deer. At this point I wasn't sure what we were in for. Dubya continued down the very steep creek bank to the edge of the water, I couldn't find any blood and wasn't sure he was still on the line until he stopped and smelled a leaf on the edge of the water with a blood drop on it.
The water was calf deep so we carried Dubya across to the other side where he promptly picked up the track again.
We went about 50 more yards on the edge of the creek when Dubya started to head back down the bank to the waters edge. We carried him across the water again where he found blood on some rocks.
He took us up the other side of the creek and back out to the cut corn, we worked from the cut corn to some CRP and then to a hard wood ridge. At this point we had gone a couple hundred yards. Dubya worked up the steep ridge, overcoming being distracted by a dead mole, to take us to the top of the ridge. We were confirming his line with drops of blood and the occasional larger blood spot. After a detour to check out some osage oranges I asked Dubya, "where did he go?" Dubya responded by finding some more sign and leading us further along the ridge.
We realized the track was on a trail leading past a stand where my brother was sitting. He stayed on stand 40 minutes after the shot and never saw the deer come by. The blood has all been bright arterial blood but this new information in conjunction with the distance we had travelled at this point, we began to believe the deer may not be down. We continued along the track, which led us past my brothers stand through an opening in the barbed wire fence and into another CRP field.
We couldn't believe Dubya had stayed with it this long but were still finding blood spots and decided to continue. This is some very tall dense CRP, I wasn't sure how well Dubya could move let alone track through it, but off we went. Dubya was still very determined and continued to follow the track over, under, and around the grasses. Luckily most of the track was on a deer trail working through the CRP.
I was in awe of this little dachshund at this point but this is where he really blew my mind. There were a lot of deer trails in the CRP field, any of which could've been used by the wounded deer. Every time I was pretty sure he had followed the wrong trail I would find a little blood spot confirming he was still on the right track. I can't even imagine how much different scent he had to sort through to follow this specific deer but somehow at 13 weeks of age he was doing it.
After 800 yards and a flashlight battery change and still on the trail we decided the deer wasn't down. Reluctantly I decided to abandon the search for the night. I really wanted to find this deer, Dubya deserved it! After the next morning's hunt I decided to give Dubya a shot at closing the deal. The track now 17 hours old we headed back to the CRP and picked up the track. Dubya continued to the track another 400 yards to the property line, where we couldn't get permission to continue so we were forced to stop. Right on the fence line we found a spot of blood about the size of a nickel to confirm he had indeed taken us on the right track all the way. It was bitter sweet, I certainly couldn't over look the fantastic work Dubya did but at the same time I was very disappointed the track didn't end with a deer. We are pretty convinced the wound wasn't immediately fatal.
In total Dubya took the track 1200 yards! I never could've imagined that was possible for this 13 week old puppy! I believe this speaks to the quality not only of this litter but the quality of the breeding program you and John have established. I don't believe enough credit can be given. I can't thank you enough for all you've done! I have included pictures of different parts of this track. The "bloodsign" photo is an example of the average blood spot found during the track. The "dubyaview" photo is an example of the CRP Dubya tracked through. I hope the rest will be self explanatory.
|End of track|
The next night Dubya found his first real deer at the end of a 50 yard track. This track was 2 hours old and went across a creek with lots of blood. He had no trouble. He approached the deer cautiously, had a smell and was ready to move on. I have included a picture of this find.
|Dubya's first deer|
The final picture is of Dubya from yesterday. We hope all is well with the two of you and look forward to keeping up with the next couple litters!
|Dubya at five months|
Thank you Matt and Jenny for such a great report and all the work you have been done with the pup!