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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Staying home... and taking pictures

This weekend there is a field trial in New Jersey, and since it is not too far I usually attend it. This time I chose to stay home. I could list several reasons for staying home but one of them is that I don't want to miss the beauty surrounding us and changing with every day. We live in the Helderbergs, and the landscape at this time of the year is just magnificent. I will spend quite a few hours this weekend outdoors with my camera. It is good for my soul.

This is a view from our front porch. Feels like heaven.

Before the storm.

Evening reflections in our pond.

North American Teckel Club Fall Zuchtschau and Small Game Hunting Test

Mark your calendar! On November 1 the North American Teckel Club is going run a Small Game Hunting Test and gun shyness test at the Beagle Club, 3262 Dry Branch Rd, White Hall, MD 21161-9624. Next day, on November 2, a Zuchtschau will be held at an indoor facility called “4 Paws Spa" The judge will be Frau Monika Wittkamp from Germany. Two AKC field trials will follow on November 3 and 4. More information and premium list will be available soon.

Paika running a cottontal rabbit in spring 2011.

Friday, September 28, 2012

United Blood Trackers at the Northern Illinois Hunting and Fishing Days at Silver Spring State Park

Many thanks to Ray Holohan and Joe Walters who were representing United Blood Trackers at the Northern Illinois Hunting and Fishing Days at Silver Spring State Park on September 22-23.

Ray reports: The show was really nice with lots of people attending especially the second day when the weather was better. We were busy both days answering questions and showing off my dog Razen Kane. She was the hit of the show, a few people commented that she was the most talked about dog at the show. She was really well behaved giving pets and kisses to about every one that came near her. Of course the number one question was, what breed is she? Most people never had seen a wirehaired dachshund before and were really surprised when I told them that she was a blood tracking dog used to find wounded deer.

There was many different types of dogs that came by with their owners, every once in a while Razen let out a little bark when a dog would come too close too fast, other than that it was a really good socializing event for her. There was one fellow that came by with a European falcon used for hunting. He also had a tracking dog that he used for the same purpose. I think it was Drahthaar? I believe we were successful on educating most of the people that stopped by about deer tracking wounded deer with dogs and everybody thought it was a great idea . I know that Joe Walters and I really enjoyed the experience. I want to thank Larry Gohlke and Cheri Faust for sending me the brochures and material to make the show a success.
Ray Holohan with his pup Razen Kane
Ray Holohan and Joe Walters were manning the UBT booth

Thursday, September 27, 2012

First deer recovery of the 2012 hunting season for Kevin and Ginger

Kevin Clark from North Carolina shared his good news about his wirehaired dachshund Ginger. Ginger is a two-year-old daughter of our Billy and Pepper, and she was bred by Gail Berger from Pennsylvania. Kevin writes:

"I got a chance Friday to put Ginger on a 16 hour old track that Scott the hunter had given up on . She took a smell of the arrow at the stand location and it was off to the races. After about a 100 or so yards of downwind tracking she found the buck in an absolute jungle.

Scott and I had to use a machete to cut our way in to the deer. Yay for Ginger and Scott who had just found his biggest buck taken with his bow.

Well Ginger got another try Friday evening on a doe I shot at 5:45. Well this was a easy one for her as the deer went into the wind and only about 60 yds . She was very confident from the time she smelt the arrow. I never even looked for blood. She drug me too the deer. Yay for Ginger!

Again thanks for getting me involved in the use of tracking dogs for finding deer."

Kevin Clark from North Carolina with his dachshund Ginger and a buck she recovered.

Congrats to Kevin and Ginger!

Support PA Bill HB881: urgent call to action!

by Andy Bensing
This photo could soon be a reality in Pennsylvania!

There never was a more critical time than right now for legalization. We are very close. This week the Pennsylvania Game Commission re-confirmed its commitment to passage of HB881 and our bill now sits poised to be brought up again in the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee in early October. To make sure that happens successfully everyone needs to immediately email all the Committee members and ask them to vote yes for HB881 when it comes before them in committee. Your email does not have to be very detailed. Just express your support for HB881 and ask them for theirs. If you are not a PA resident, let them know how well blood tracking dogs have worked in your state. Here is a list of all the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee email addresses. Just address your email, "Dear Senator" and BCC copy it to them all.

Time is of the essence. There are only a few days left in this legislative session. Please act now and send those emails.

Short Sample Version:

Dear Senator,
I am writing to ask you to support HB881 and assist in its passage. HB881 will allow for the use of leashed tracking dogs to recover wounded deer that the hunter has been unable to recover on his own. 32 other states, including our neighbors, NY, MD, and OH have been allowing this for years with no problems and I do not see any reason why it should not be legal here in PA. Please vote yes when it comes in front of you for a vote.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Seven blood tracking puppies will be going to their new homes soon

Yesterday we drove to Poughkeepsie, NY to visit our friends Genti and Beth Shero and see their puppies that were sired by our FC Billy von Moosbach-Zuzelek. Seven puppies were born on August 1, five males and two females. This is a "D" litter so all pups' names start with a letter D. We could not be happier with the litter. They look really, really nice, and we were impressed by their temperaments. The pups are all spoken for and will be going to tracking homes.

What an exquisite head this male pup called has!
Genti is getting puppy kisses

After spending time with puppies we had a wonderful lunch - thank you Genti and Beth!. From the left: Genti, John, Beth and her father John Robinson

Joeri's surgery for herniated disc: Four weeks later

Today marks the passing of four weeks since Joeri's surgery. He has been improving steadily. His gait is not 100% back to what it used to be, but everybody says that it is just a matter of time. Joeri certainly is enjoying extra attention he is getting! He goes on leashed walks several times a day as without a leash he'd be ready to run and jump. Yesterday he gave a scare when we forgot to put a gate up that keeps him in the kitchen/dining area when we have meals. Few minutes later we found him going downstairs on his own. Not so soon buddy! A couple of more weeks and you will be able to move without any restrictions!

John walking Joeri

Saturday, September 22, 2012

First days of autumn in the Helderbergs, NY

My favorite season of the year is here! Leaves are starting to change colors but the grass and our fields are still vivid green. As always sumac's red leaves provide great photo opportunities. So far September has been really nice with a lot of sunshine providing warmth during the day. We had out first, pretty mild frost on the night of September 20 but fortunately we did not lose any plants.

Pictures are best when taken early in the morning when the lighting is delicate and soft. Below you can see long shadows as these pictures were shot shortly after sunrise. They were taken with my "old" Olympus camera, which produces great colors and saturation. Enjoy!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Blood tracking dogs and their handlers at the NJ Wild Outdoor Expo 2012

By Darren Doran

Last weekend  The 2012 NJ WILD Outdoor Expo drew more than 7,200 visitors to the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area to learn about and experience a wide array of outdoor activities available within our state. Together with exhibitors, vendors and volunteers, more than 7,600 people participated in this very successful and highly commended event. This was a 43 percent increase in participation from the 2011 Outdoor Expo. Many of these visitors have no outdoor or hunting experience. A number of visitors remarked that the Expo was an “excellent family event” and it provided “a great introduction to outdoor skills and learning about the environment.”

The UBT booth was a great success. We had many visitors and answered a lot of questions about blood tracking and our dogs. UBT members Stan Kite and his son Lee and a friend Brandon, Rich Stollery, Nola Wunderlich, John Drahos and his daughter Rylee and myself manned the Booth for the two day event.

We put on two blood tracking demos each day and had a large gallery of spectators watching demos by Rich and Ember and Stan and Rilla on Saturday. I and Theo took the Sunday shift. This type of positive exposure of the non-hunting public to blood tracking dogs can only help the legalization efforts in New Jersey. And you never know, someday I just might be knocking on their door for permission to track across their back yard.

Rich Stollery while manning the booth

Darren's two dachshunds, Karl and Theo
Darren doing a demo with Theo

Nola Wunderlich with a drahthaar
Rylee Drahos with Theo
Stan Kita and Rilla

Rich Stollery's Ember and Darren Doran's Karl are littermates.

Thank you Darren and good luck this season!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Midwestern tracking dogs' handlers and hunters with their teckels

I just love this picture! So good to see American hunters and blood tracekrs having fun with their dachshunds!

This great picture was submitted by Joe Walters from Indiana: "Here’s a pic of Chris Barr with Oscar and Gertie, Doc and I, Ray Holohan with Rosco and Razen and Dan Forsytek and Ishi. We had a great day at the Holohans with training tracks and the dogs having a good run on rabbits in Ray’s three acre rabbit pen. And afterwards dining on really great sticky buns baked by Claudia Holohan. What a great time. Joe"

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A mechanical broadhead produces unexpected results. A blood tracking dog finds the deer.

by Andy Bensing
Sometimes the Hunter Doesn't Lie, but Equipment Does, Another Live Recovery for Eibe
This video documents an interesting call I had this week. The hunter was using a crossbow at about 12 yards. Of course he did not see the bolt hit the deer but he pointed right to a quartering away heart shot when he showed me on my deer diagram. I did not believe him or I would not be there. There was almost no blood or hair to start the track and the bolt was not recovered so there was little to go on in figuring out what had happened. As you will see in the video, the hunter was exactly right. He hit the deer at a spot that should have been a perfect heart shot. Watch the video to see what really happened after the bolt impacted the deer.

Video -

When this video was posted on Facebook, it generated quite a few comments. John Jeanneney wrote: "Bowhunters should be aware of the limitations of mechanicals. There are high risks on angle shots to the rib cage. In this deer case a good fixed blade head would have been much more likely to penetrate at that angle. Some mechanicals are better than others, but they all seem to have trouble passing though rib bones.  This makes for tough eyetracking, although it is not a problem for a good tracking dog that can follow the interdigital scent of that particular deer. As a tracker I have far more calls from hunters who shot mechanicals including Rage. Of course I don't have statistics on how many hunters use each type of head."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Blood trailing bears with dachshunds

Blood trailing bears??? Well that’s what they call it, but bears often  leave very little or no blood on the forest floor. Their dense, heavy coat soaks up the blood, and all the hunter or handler sees is occasional “wipes” of blood on trees and saplings. These wipes are found at long intervals. What the dog works on is the bear’s footprint scent which is very strong and holds up for more than a day if there is not a heavy rain.

It is great to see good dogs going to gifted and dedicated handlers who work in bear country. What Ray Maurier, Mike Lafleur and Steve Herriges have been doing  with their dachshunds is going to impress a lot of hunters and add a new chapter to the lore of bear hunting.

Steve Herriges from Wisconsin recovered his own bear next morning with help from Remi (Lasko von Moosbach-Zuzelek).

On the left: Mike Lafleur of and his wirehaired dachshund Ted (Billy's son) have already recovered another bear (we don't have a picture). The bear in the picture goes to Ray and Pam Maurier and their 13-month-old Tucker.

This is bear number #3 for Tucker. It is hard to believe that it is only September 17. Ray and Pam Maurier are a hard working team from Manchester, New Hampshire. For more info go to


Monday, September 10, 2012

Blood tracking training at its best: Education of a young dachshund Theo

We have not posted much about Theo lately even though we have been getting regular updates from Darren Doran. Darren's updates are very informative and show how to go about training a young blood tracking prospect. The below post comes from a compilation of Darren's e-mails from the last two weeks. Darren, a big thank you for working so hard and diligently with Theo!

Theo was born on April 6, 2012, so now he is five month old. He is out of "Moose" (FC Nurmi von Moosbach-Zuzelek) and Paika (FC Paika von Moosbach-Zuzelek).

At the end of August Theo graduated from the basic obedience class. Darren and Theo are second from the left.
Ireland Brook, August 26, 2012
Training Line
Line was 700 yds long and put out with fresh buck feet with a tarsal gland. Three ounces of blood were used on the hoofs and squirted on the ground. There were various 90-degree turns and one wound bed. There is also a power line crossing and three woods road crossings.
Training Goals
To expand on last week's exercise and see if Theo handles this one in a similar fashion.

Actual Line
The line was 16 hrs old. It was about 75 degrees and humid with no wind.

Theo started well. He took the line immediately and tracked well to the power line. There were high weeds on both sides of power line, and a mowed road through the middle. Theo got on the road and went up and down a couple of times, then he crossed into the weeds on the far side and started back down the road. You could see when he hit the line. He took it through the weeds into the woods. We then tracked to a woods road and he did the same thing. He went down and back up and across the road and down the far side and hit the line. At one point in here he got on a deer run and took it. He realized he wasn’t on the line and started searching. He reacquired the line on his own but missed about 30 yds of it while searching. We came to the second woods road and this time he started down the road, but then went across and back on the far side. He hit the line much quicker this time. He missed the wound bed when he got off the line right before it and by the time he found the line we were past it. He crossed the last road much faster and tracked to the skin. It took 25 minutes to finish.
Theo tracked this line very well. I want to train with Theo as if we were in the real word tracking. I did very little in the way of helping him. I offered a few words of encouragement along the way. He has a tremendous amount of concentration on the line. He can remember and go back to spots on the line when he needs to. He can quickly tell when he’s going backwards on the line and straighten himself out. His search pattern is efficient and he can realize when he’s off the line very quickly. His ability to process and understand what he smells is excellent. His working speed is very comfortable to keep up with. I didn’t even have to keep the 50 ft leash in my hand. For a young pup he is training way ahead of what I would call normal or average.  
Pigeon Swamp Back Side, September 2, 2012

Training Line
Line was 1 mile long prepared with tracking shoes with buck hoof and tarsal gland, 8 oz of blood squirted on hoof and about 5 steps apart on the ground. There were various 90-degree turns and some woods road crossings. The line went through a couple of deer feeding areas. Line ended up being longer than I wanted. Line was finished 10 am 9/1/12.

Training Goal 
Goal was to prepare Theo for the start of bow season Sept 8.This line would be the hardest line we’ve done to date and in my opinion the closest thing to a real track.
Actual Line
It was 70 degrees with no wind and humid when I parked the truck.

We haven’t had rain for a while and the woods were dry. It was 7:14 am when we started to track. Theo took the line right away and didn’t have any problems till we got to the first road by a dried up swamp. The road here was a circular part of the four wheeler trail and this time I walked on the road on the left part of the circle then across into the woods. It took Theo some time to figure this out, but he did it on his own. There were no real problems until we got into the feeding area. I could see he was tracking live deer on deer runs. When he was off and didn’t correct on his own, I would pinch down on the leash until he would lift his head and say ”is that right? find the blood”. Theo would start searching and most time he worked back towards the line.

I would not let him get further than the 50 ft lead. If he was having problems or would take the same wrong way twice I would ask him to search here and direct him back towards the line. Theo will take this command very well in the woods. I had one 45-degree turn on this line and it was in this same area. This was the hardest part of the line for him and it was about in the middle of the track. I stopped him a couple of times along the way to give him water and he restarted right away. We got to the second woods road and this time the line went right across. Theo took the road to the right but then came back up on the same side to the line and then went right across. The rest of the line was uneventful until we got about 30 yds from the skin. Here he drifted off and had to search around a little. I know he was getting pushed to his limit at this point. Theo found the skin and got the most praise I could muster up. I had some meat on the skin and more in my pocket. I sat down on a log shaking my head watching him chew the skin. We finished at 7:52am. It took 39 minutes.                         

This line was too long and I could have made a big mistake here. I wanted 1000 yds but got a little carried away. It was 21 hours old. Theo tracked this like it was his UBT I. I’ve been very systematic with my training with Theo. I’ve repeated exercises to make sure the first one wasn’t a fluke before I’ve advanced him. This line was the biggest jump as far as age and length.

At this age his concentration and natural ability continue to amaze me.

He will track live deer when the opportunity arises. I will work on this, as he gets older. I’m looking forward to tracking with him this fall. I will have no problem taking him in the woods to track for a hunter.

Red line shows the line that Darren put out, yellow color shows the way Theo moved.

Real Tracking

On Sunday evening Darren shot a average size doe and she only went 100 yds but very quickly. In his own words: "The arrow hit high on the right side but the angle was steep and the broadhead exited nicely but the arrow stayed in. I found some blood right away so I went home to get Theo. Home wasn't far and it only took 20 minutes round trip. There were 8 deer total there where I shot. I knew there would be plenty of distraction there when we got back. I started Theo and he started searching around. He found blood and once he got the beginning worked out where all the other deer were, he tracked right to the deer. It wasn't a hard track, and he was surprised when he got to the deer. He didn't know what to make of it. I put Theo up and brought the deer out whole on a cart. I gutted it by the out buildings with Theo watching. Buy the time we were done and he had a taste of warm liver and belly meat, he was looking at the deer in a different way. A couple more of these and he'll realize were tracking for food."
Theo's first find.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

First successful recovery of the 2012 tracking season by Andy Bensing and Eibe: Spike buck in velvet in Maryland

In some states deer hunters have started their pursuit of whitetails already and we received Andy Bensing's  first report of successful recovery in Maryland. A big thank you to Andy for such a nice presentation of the call. Make sure that you check out his video.

By Andy Bensing

I headed out Friday night to take what sounded like a liver/gut shot so the odds were real good of recovering it. Normally I would let it sit until morning but with the temperature almost 80 overnight, a high fox population and the deer being gut shot, the meat would likely be gone by morning. I gave it 5 hours after the shot before tracking it with the dog. The hunter could find no blood trail at all. He saw deer run up over a hill 70 meters in a field but when he went to the crest, the deer was not visible down the other side. Hopefully I'd find him just inside the woods on the other side of the field.

It turned out that the buck was shot too far back just in front of the back leg.  Eibe jumped him from his initial wound bed about 285 meters from the hit site having found only a few drops of blood along the way.  After we put him out of his wound bed, we slowly tracked him for another 165 meters getting within a few feet of him 3 times until the fourth time when he did not get up and I was able to dispatch him.

An interesting note when you look at the map. Notice how he goes basically in a straight line. When we track we see this all the time. Severely wounded deer most of the time head as directly as they can for a place they feel safe, typically their bedding area, usually regardless of the difficulty of the terrain. Also notice how each time we jumped the deer he kind of cut back on us but then re-oriented himself to the original line of travel.

I had some interesting dog work from my Eibe on this line after we jumped the deer. I wanted to track slowly and carefully so as not to push the deer and keep him as calm as possible to make it easy to slip up to him and finish him off. Of course at the first jump my Eibe went crazy but I was able to calm her down with an "easy" command. After about 50 yards and for the rest of the hot track she stayed almost completely quiet and did not pull crazily but just tracked very slowly and matched MY slow careful pace. This enabled the hunter and me to walk very quietly and scan the darkness ahead with our lights and get close to the deer several times.

Another interesting point. Neither the hunter nor the landowner could reach the neighbor on the one side before we set out to track. I always try to get that done before I ever leave the house to meet the hunter. I knew that property lines might end up stopping this track but with the deer being gut shot there was a good chance it would not travel too far. It ended up being real close but the deer stayed on the landowner's property and died just a few feet short of the property line. It's frustrating but several times a year I end up having to give up on deer when we either can't locate the landowner or sometimes they won't grant permission. Check out in this photo I snapped with my iphone how close we almost were to loosing this one! Of course we could have waited until morning if it had crossed the line and went up to the neighbor's house but the deer would have been rotten and eaten by foxes. Just glad the deer died on the correct side of the line.

Here's a video depicting the recovery process for this call. There's some video of the dispatch of the deer with a spear at the end that you might find educational.

Spike Buck in Velvet Recovery

Friday, September 7, 2012

Pictures of sunflowers in their full glory

John planted some sunflowers by the house, but very few of them actually germinated. Some seedling were devoured by rabbits. However, the plants that survived and are in a full bloom now are simply spectacular and my camera loves them! Have a great weekend everybody!

This liver-hit mule deer was recovered by Remi, a wirehaired dachshund from Utah

While Joeri is recovering, his son Remi (Remy von Moosbach-Zuzelek) is already busy tracking for Justin Richins' clients. Justin has an outfitting business in Utah, Wyoming and Montana. The picture shows the mule deer recovered by Remi a couple of days ago. The deer was shot at 5 PM and tracked next morning around 8 AM. It was a liver-stomach shot that left very little blood. The trail was 200 yard long.As some probably recall Remi was injured last year in an accident, but according to Justin, he is doing really well and has recovered completely from a very complicated surgery.
Way to go go Remi!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Joeri's road to recovery: 10 days after surgery

We received some inquiries from people asking how Joeri is doing so this is an update on his condition. As you recall Joeri underwent a surgery to repair his herniated disc 10 days ago. Details about what happened are given here.

Joeri is doing really well, but I have to admit that we had a couple of days that were very tough on him and on us. When he came home on Wednesday afternoon (August 29), he started to improve steadily. But when on Saturday evening we removed a back patch with pain medication as instructed by Joeri's surgeon, he regressed. On Sunday and Monday he was in a lot of pain even though he was getting pain killers orally. He did not want drink or eat, just stayed in his crate. He could move but you could see that he did not want to. So far these two days have been the most difficult, maybe because we did not expect such a sudden setback.

On Tuesday, after the Labor Day holiday, we called the vet to report his slightly elevated temperature, the lack of appetite and general malaise. Dr. Fitzpatrick reassured us that Joeri is going to get better and there was no need to bring him in. We were told to take him off Tramadol (oral pain medication) as probably it was suppressing his appetite. I have to say that I was very sceptical, yet on Tuesday afternoon Joeri indeed started to improve quite dramatically.

Joeri on Tuesday afternoon resting on the blanket in my den.
On Tuesday afternoon Joeri's appetite came back.

His eyes were bright, and he started to feel much better.
When you look at this picture carefully you won't be able to see Joeri's tail. The tail was wagging so fast that it is just a blurr. Joeri spends part of the day, when the weather is right, outside in a small pen. His interest in his surroundings is back.

Day #10 post-surgery. I took a leash off  Joeri to take this picture, but he walks only on the leash now. We are afraid that if he saw a rabbit he could try to go after it. He does a lot of ground sniffing and territory marking. And he started to lift his leg to do it.

Looking pretty scruffy early in the morning. He is overdue for grooming but for now we are not going to worry about it.

On Monday, September 10, Joeri is going back to Pattersonville clinic to have his stitches removed. Hopefully from now on he is going to improve steadily.

Many, many thanks and deep gratitude go to our good friends who provided a much needed support. I don't think we could do it without you!