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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Two Pope and Young bucks recovered in one weekend!

Well, my plans have changed. Thursday early morning I am leaving for Maryland, where our young dogs will be participating in the NATC Small Game Hunting Test (Thursday), Zuchtschau (Friday) and two AKC field trials (Saturday and Sunday). I am taking Sky, Tuesday and Mielikki, all very young dogs. I should be back on Monday afternoon. It also means that I will have to catch up with posts after I get back (this is my last trip this year). Have a great weekend everybody!

Congratulations to Dean Muthig from Wisconsin who wrote few days ago: I got a call at about 9 this morning wondering if I could take a track. This gentleman found my name via the UBT "find a tracker" feature. He stated that he had gut shot a buck yesterday at 7:30 in the morning and had lost blood. Unfortunately he started tracking the buck only an hour after shooting it and tracked for 6 hours. I knew even though it was gut shot that this one might challenge us a bit especially being a 24 plus hour old track and that the deer was most likely pushed out of his bed. Well that assumption was correct as the hunter had tracked the deer well over 40 acres before losing the trail...At the original point of loss my dog seemed unsure of the path of the deer but walked me to a drainage ditch and put her nose in the grass as she crossed the other side telling me she was thinking this is where he crossed. She went a little further and seemed to lose interest so I decided to walk her down the drainage ditch to see if the deer was in the water. We walked a couple hundred yards down the drainage ditch and ran into another ditch which ran perpendicular to the one we first walked down. We then ran that ditch another 200 yds. While walking this ditch the wind was in our favor and she was able to scent check a large area. I decided to turn back around. When we came back to the ditch we were a hundred yards or so down from where I thought she smelled him originally. As I looped back into that area she whipped her nose straight up in the air and almost sounded like a pig snorting. She took off with me in tow and within another 30 seconds we were standing on top of this beautiful 8 point buck! He truly was a brute! And what was most impressive about this buck is that the hunter took him on a high pressured area of public land!
Second Pope and Young buck recovered by Dean Muthig last weekend.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our own blood tracking team, John Jeanneney and a wirehaired dachshund Tommy

We have been extremely lucky here in the Capital Region of NY:  Hurricane Sandy produced very gusty winds and only one inch of rain. We have not suffered any damage to our property, and never lost electricity. Unfortunately, the impact of Sandy was devastating in many areas and communities in the Northeast. It will take weeks, months and years to rebuild what has been destroyed in such a short time. Millions of people still do not have power. If you can help through donations to Red Cross, please consider doing so.

I am running way behind with posting reports, stories and pictures documenting the 2012 blood tracking season. Today I realized that I have posted anything about our own tracking team - John and Tommy. So let me post some pictures with captions starting with most recent ones.

After a string of calls that did not produce the deer, the winds have shifted into a nice Northeaster. On the 28th Tommy found a gut shot deer that left only two drops of visible blood. He worked calmly and patiently over a winding track of 500 yards and there was the deer.

Today, the 30th, Tommy found another one despite a little side-pissing from Hurricane Sandy. The hunter had shot the deer late the afternoon before, and he called at 10:45 last night. He had run out of blood, but he knew it was a good hit. “Could the dog track in the rain?” We got on the line at noon today. From the hit site Tom worked over the line tracked by the hunter and then kept on going. We wound back and forth through the thick stuff, crossed a road and there was the deer, dead. He was hit a good deal farther back than the hunter had thought. (Those quartering away shots can be deceptive.) This second deer is the one shown in the above photo. 

In the case of both of these finds the hunters confessed that they thought Tommy was just going for a walk. They doubted that Tommy was really following their deer. I could see subtle signs that he was onto something, but he did seem pretty laid back. These two deer went 500 and 400 yards, much too far for it to have been an accident. There were total changes of direction in each case.

Jim F. Hens with Tommy who found his buck.

On October 25 John and Tommy found a nice 8-pointer for Jim F. Hens in our home town of Berne. It was an angling down shot through a lobe of the liver, through the stomach and out. There was almost no blood. Tommy got off the line once on another deer that had walked the same trail. When John saw no sign for 300 yards he bought him back to last blood and this time he figured it out. It was a good learning experience for Tommy has excellent abilities, but needs the experience of natural tracks. In the meantime Joeri, back in the house, is getting restless.

On October 15 Tommy recovered a deer in the town of Glen, Montgomery County. This was an 18 hour old track, unfortunately, coyotes arrived there first.

On October 13 I accompanied John on a track and had an opportunity to take some pictures. We did not recover the deer but advanced the trail and finally ran out of blood and scent.

The cover was very thick and John had to crawl through a wall of multiflora rose.

At one point John scratched his hand badly and the blood started to drip. The picture shows the deer blood at the beginning of track and then John's blood at the end of it.

Tommy never quit but basically ran out of blood and scent to follow.

It is very tough to track in the thick cover of dry leaves.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Back from New Jersey field trials and getting ready for Sandy's arrival

I spent Saturday and Sunday at dachshund field trials in New Jersey, and just back this evening. Now it is time to get ready for Sandy. Here by Albany, NY, we are supposed to get some gusty winds and 2-4 inches of rain, which is nothing too serious. Our thoughts are with our friends living in the areas that will suffer much more severe impact. We hope everybody stays safe.

I am just too tired to post anything tonight, and will try to catch up over the next few days, if we don't lose power. So I am going to close this short post with a picture taken on Saturday in New Jersey. It shows our friend Teddy Moritz with her new Harris Hawk. It was great to see you Teddy!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Andy Bensing: Tracking Deer From My Office

A big thank you to Andy Besning for another interesting story.

As blood trackers we get to see more than the average hunter's fair share of unusual tracking scenarios.  That combined with hanging out with other blood trackers and swapping stories builds a database in our head that can be very valuable to the average hunter when he gets in certain tracking situations.  As leashed blood trackers, we develop strategies for tracking deer, especially ones that are still alive.  I find myself getting more and more calls from hunters who don't need me yet but are asking for help in the initial eye tracking of their deer.  This weekend was a perfect example of this.  I was able to help 2 hunters, one in MD and one in NJ recover their deer without even leaving my office.
The first hunter was a hunter I had tracked for before and helped on the phone as well once before.  He had gut shot a doe in a patch of woods adjacent to a very ritzy million dollar plus neighborhood.  He had an enormous initial blood trail and because of this he incorrectly ignored the gut material on the arrow and tracked right away and jumped the deer and it ran into the neighborhood.  Here is the story of how he recovered the deer written by the hunter...................

"Had a pretty interesting day in the field yesterday. A group of three nice does came in across a backyard around 8:30AM.  One gave me a shot and I took it, 23 yard shot slightly quartering away.  Thought the broadhead hit in a good spot.  I climbed down (way too prematurely, the excitement overcame me!) saw that the arrow had gut matter on it, but just beyond the spot of the arrow was a lot of bright red I’m excited.  (Stupidly) I can't help myself but to start tracking right away.  Followed the blood up a hill and across the neighbor's driveway.  (generally in this area the deer normally run to the thicker woods than up to roads in my past experience).  I got to the neighbor's property and spotted the deer slowly getting up and it trotted off across a road. At this point I’m assuming it's a gut/liver/one lung shot.

I backed out and decided to call Andy Bensing for some advice.  Andy told me to head home and change into normal clothes to knock on doors for permission and start looking for the deer to hopefully prevent a neighborhood tree hugger or their family dog to wake up to a dead deer on their front lawn.  On Andy's advice I took my dog, Kolby, who has shown some signs of being a tracking dog, but never had ANY kind of training whatsoever. 

After talking to a few neighbors before running over their property, I went back to the spot where I last saw the deer and started tracking.  Kolby and I tracked through two more back yards and find the deer but it has still not expired.  It allowed us to get 15 yards away before I saw it and it did not get up.  I back out and call Andy again, who thinks I should go back and take a shot to finish her off.  I cleared this with the neighbor and head around to do so.  At that point I see the deer getting up and slowly trotting off again!  This time she went well behind the houses were it was not as likely to be found accidentally by a neighbor so I decided to back out and comeback once it's been a full 6 hours after the shot. 

I had seen where the deer went and talked with yet another neighbor before tracking when I came back.  I mapped the area prior to returning and saw a stream that I was sure the doe would go to.  I took Kolby down and she insistently pulled me to the opposite direction away from the stream....but I didn't listen to her....I went the other way for a quarter mile assuming the doe would be in the stream if anywhere.  Feeling like a failure to myself, the deer and the sport I decided to go back to the last spot we saw blood.  On the way back Kolby starts yanking me up the small hill again where she wanted to go the first time.  This time I decide "why not try" even though I see no blood.  She leads me to a fenced in water collection basin with blood all over the ground and inside the fence this is what I see.

I was absolutely stunned and in awe of how my dog's natural desire to track led her to the animal.  There were great stretches of ground we covered that had NO blood and she pushed straight through and seemingly knew the entire time right where to go, despite her stupid owner.  HUGE thanks to Andy Bensing, his advice and point of view contributed as much to the recovery as my dog did."

The second hunter had gut shot his deer as well but this one was way back just in front of the rear leg and only a few inches up from the bottom.  He shot the deer Friday night and correctly did not track it that night but jumped it Saturday morning.  The deer ran off into some small woods behind some road side businesses in a semi suburban area interlaced with 10 to 20 acre patches of forest and fields.  He called me for help after jumping the deer Saturday morning.  I informed him that I was not available until Sunday morning, 40 hours after the shot, but that was probably for the best as the deer would likely need much longer to die.  Low, large bowl hits can take 3, 4, even 5 days to die.  They don't really bleed to death, they eventually die from peritonitis.  I told him to spend the day lining up permission from all the likely land owners in the area as there was a good chance we would end up chasing the still alive 8 pointer around even on Sunday morning.  Late Saturday afternoon I got a call from the hunter that he was on his way to pick up his deer and that I did not need to come and help.  A local jogger had kicked up the wounded deer while passing along a walking  trail behind a school and when the deer appeared and acted so strangely the jogger called the local police who came out and shot it.  Because the hunter had followed my directions well and done such a good job asking permission so many places in the area ahead of my arrival, an resident that saw the police finish off the deer knew that the deer belonged to him.  The police called him after shooting the deer and told him to come and get it. 

That was two for two that day without even leaving my office!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Should Paulene, a Deer Search handler, trust her tracking dog's nose?

Paulene Eggers, a member of Deer Search of the Finger Lakes, learned a lot on the track that lead to her 3rd recovery of the season. She says:

On this track, I learned to NOT direct your dog away from her original course. The hunter stated to me that had a 10 yard shot through the mid section while he was on the ground. At the hit site there was the broken broadhead end of the arrow on the ground with some hair nearby in a large field of very tall goldenrod. Braylee proceeded to plod thru the field cutting through a thick hedgerow going into another field of tall goldenrod. The hunter stated to me that the deer went that way pointing in a different direction, and I replied that we could check that area after I let Braylee go her way. Braylee went into a half circle and came to another hedgerow where I saw an arrow....I said "there is someone's arrow" and the hunter exclaimed "That's my arrow"! I looked at the arrow realizing it was the fletching half of the broken arrow.
Braylee proceeded to go downhill now and I urged her to "come check over here". She detoured going uphill now at my request. We went around in a circle until I realized she came back to the exact same spot where we just found the fletching half of arrow, feeling foolish now; I allowed her to go the exact same way she wanted to go just ten minutes earlier. Only 15-20 yards away Braylee found the buck!

I am still learning about tracking and I certainly learned to not direct your dog away from their intended course!! The track would have been just 30 minutes if I had allowed her to just go the way she wanted to!
The story made it to the outdoor Syracuse blog, where the hunter's wife posted this comment (edited for the ease of reading)
That was my husband's deer that Paulene & Braylee found. He called me that morning and was beside himself that he thought he had lost the deer. My husband has been hunting for over twenty years and he knew after looking for the deer he would never have found it due to no blood trail. Without the article posted in the paper on Paulene & Braylee, he would have never found the deer without their help. Thank you to the Post Standard for writing that article! He is so happy & proud of Braylee for finding his deer. Jeff has been bragging about that amazing dog & her owner to everyone he can! He is so grateful for Paulene to take time out of her life to help him. Congrats to all of them! Jill hurd

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Jeff Bonner provides deer tracking services in the Texas Panhandle

Jeff Bonner from Pampa, TX is a wildlife biologist with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. He tracks in the Panhandle area, which is dominated by open sagebrush prairie traversed by some wooded draws and creeks. Jeff's biggest challenge is low humidity so he almost exclusively tracks at night or morning before light. He uses bluetick/walker hounds because of their tenacity, patience, endurance, friendliness, and excellent "cold nose".

Jeff Boner from Texas Panhandle
Annie's first recovery of 2012
Few months ago Jeff wrote to us:
I do wounded deer tracking on the side. Had a friend share your book with me a few years back and boy-howdy did I ever wish I'd had it 15 years ago. Sure would've saved some times of grief. I've been tracking commercially in my area for 4 hunting seasons, recently built a quick and cheap website, and stumbled across your Born To Track site while testing the Google search.

Well, now his website is something to be proud of. It has a lot of excellent information so make sure you visit it by clicking here.

Recently we heard from Jeff again: Here's my dog, Annie's, first find of 2012. Hit low with arrow, full pass through exited front of opposite shoulder near brisket. Missed heart and lung but cut artery and bled out. Went a little over 1/2 mile. Hunters should have found but buck had doubled back and they missed the turn. If you get time check out my website. Record so far this year: 5 calls, 3 tracked, 1 confirmed still alive, 1 recovered. 
Jeff Bonner

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A 6.5-month-old dachshund Theo gets distracted by hot lines and Karl finds the wounded deer

No matter how talented, puppies have their limitations when it comes to tracking "real deer" in the real environment. They are just puppies; they have shorter attention span than adult dogs and they are prone to distractions. Darren's experience with Theo, who is just 6.5 months old has confirmed it.
He has reported that his dachshund Karl found another buck on Sunday. "It was a four hour old line without any blood after 40 yds. It was supposed to be a liver shot and the blood sign could have indicated that. I thought this one would be a good one for Theo. I started Theo but he couldn't stay with the right line. There were a lot of deer in here and Theo went hot. After two restarts I put him up and got Karl. After Karl settled down he tracked to the deer. The deer was still alive and the shot actually hit the deer broadside in front of the hips."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Congratulations to Sherry Ruggieri and her Auggie on their great accomplishment!

Congratulations to Sherry and Phil Ruggieri whose Auggie (FC Augden von Moosbach Zuzelek, ME, RN, VC, BHP-G) passed the 1000 Field Champion Merit Lifetime Point mark on 9/10/2012. He is the 14th Field Champion that surpassed the 1000 point threshold. Sherry, we are so proud of you and Auggie! Sherry's friends know very well how much she loves Auggie and how lucky he is to have her heart.

Double lung-shot deer did not go far and were found by Andy Bensing and his tracking dog Eibe

Andy Bensing wrote that the other day he had two easy calls.  
In both cases rain washed  blood trails away.  Rather than grid searching on their own the hunters called me. Both deer were found in 10 minutes. One was in North Jersey, and then I drove 140 miles on Interstate 95 down to MD where I found the second. Both were high double lungs just nicking the edge of the lungs, and both deer traveled about 200 meters. One walked away and one ran away. The bow shot one walked away and the muzzle loader deer ran. Nice easy ones for the score card. I am cooking along at 10 for 25 so far this year! We have logged 3,400 miles so far. We are 13 calls ahead of 2 years ago when I took 47. I may raise my target to 65! Look out Tim Nichols! Sorry for the lousy photos, it was raining.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

First rays of the sun reveal beautiful colors of trees against dark sky

This morning first rays of the sun revealed deep, rich colors of turning leaves and a triking contrast against dark sky. This exquisite lighting lasted only five minutes, and John was the one who alerted me to it.
Over the next week or so I am going to put together a website, which will be dedicated just to my photography so stay tuned.

Congratulations on Claudia Holohan's first recovery

Ray Holohan from Ashkum, IL, is sharing the news about his wife Claudia's first recovery. Congratulations Claudia - the first deer recovered is always very special. Not sure why Ray wanted YOU to pull out HIS deer ;-) I bet he is going to pay for his comments.

Hi Jolanta, I'm sending you a picture of my wife Claudia's first recovery with Razen Kane (and Razen's 2nd.recovery). I shot a doe in the morning. The shot was a one lung, liver hit without a pass through. The track was four hours old and 3/8 of a mile long in a 40 acre dried swamp overgrown with honeysuckle, briars and locust trees.

There was a minimal amount of blood spaced out 10-20 yards most of the way. I was busy following Claudia and Razen marking the trail with ribbon so we could find our way back to the truck. After finding the deer we went back to the truck and got my other dog Rosco and let him run the track, he did just fine on it also. Claudia and Razen make a good team with both of them getting pretty excited when they found the deer. Although I'm going to have to train Claudia on pulling the deer out as she didn't seem to know how to do that very well even though she tried. All and all it was a good track and training session. Claudia ended up getting lost for a short time while I was trying to find our marking ribbons on the trail. There was a little yelling going on back and forth til I found her. That's nothing new after 42 years of marriage.

Thanks Ray, Claudia, Rosco and Razen

First solo recovery for Claudia Holohan!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Finding a deer and getting a deer is not exactly the same thing!

Andy Bensing says "Here is a narrated GPS video of my track from Tuesday night. We did not "get " the deer but the video gives some interesting insight into what blood trackers do and the kind of things deer do as well.

Whenever I come home from tracking my wife always asks the question, "Did you find him?"  Sometimes my answer has to be qualified by using the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky approach, "It depends how you define, FIND HIM."  My wife means did we find the dead deer but as all blood trackers know, especially trackers who have to keep their dogs on a leash like most of us, finding them and getting them are often two very different things.  This GPS video is a good example of finding him but not getting him.  Heck, we saw him 5 times but couldn't get him.  The video shows what non-mortally wounded deer can sometimes do and explains some of the strategy I use to determine when to give up."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

This  little swamp on Route 156 from Berne to Altamont is regularly visited by waterfowl.

A tracking dog gets gored by a wounded deer

Justin Richins's Remi tracked this deer for 1.6 miles! Unfortunately, he also got gored by the deer. Justin realized that only after they got back to this truck. Last evening Remi underwent an emergency surgery. His chest and internal organs are OK except for the liver, which got lacerated. He is not out of the woods yet so have him in your thoughts. Remi's vet is optimistic about his recovery.
Get better soon Remi!

First successful deer recovery of the season for Sam Allen from North Carolina and her mini dachshund Ollie

Samantha Allen, a United Blood Trackers member from North Carolina shared with us her first tracking experience of the season. This was a tough line and the recovery was made possible only by the partnership of the handler and and her dog. Great job Sam and Ollie!

The hunting still seems a little slow here in North Carolina but I received my first call of the year Tuesday October 9th. The call came in about 9:00 on Tuesday night from a hunter that had shot a buck that afternoon with his crossbow at 35 yards. The property he was hunting is about 1 hour 15 minutes from my home. The hunter had found blood at the hit sight but lost it after tracking the deer about 80 yards. He was unsure of the shot and legally in NC I can not track past 11:00 PM so I encouraged him to wait until I could get off work at 12:00 on Wednesday and I would head to the property with him. The temperature both days had been around 72 degrees and Tuesday night dropped to around 45 degrees with light winds.

We arrived at the property at around 1:30 PM on Wednesday, and I chose to take Ollie with me as she has more experience and this was going to be a tough line. We started the line at 18 hours old, and Ollie took off with no problem tracking to the point of loss. Then she seemed to have trouble finding anything from that point. After learning from the hunter they had walked the area the night before a good bit in search of blood. I patiently waited for her to find something and it seemed she had picked the line back up. We made our way through the dense briar thicket circling left from that last point of blood but in a matter of ten minutes we arrived back at the hunters ATV! After about 5 rounds of doing the same thing I figured that the hunters the night before most likely had blood from the buck on their boots and when they decided to pull out they set a false line right back to the starting point. Poor Ollie seemed confused by this endless circle!

I decided to move her about 75 yards in front of the point of loss to see if we could pick up the real line. The cover was VERY dense and mostly briars so we were now about 2 hours into this track. As we were tracking up the hill the hunter stumbled across a nice size area of blood. I restarted Ollie at this point and she began to track. In about 75 yards we hit a nice hardwood opening, but we have not seen a drop of blood since the last restart. In the opening Ollie made a dead left and headed back into the thicket. The hunter and his friend did not believe the deer went that way so they decided to search the hardwood tract. I of course followed Ollie, I trust her greatly. In about 50 yards I was down on my hands and knees in the thicket crawling behind her, she seemed very set on this line. We hit the top of the hill in the thicket and she began to go down the other side with increasing speed. Finally we popped out of the briars into a hardwood bottom with grass and cane plants. Ollie headed straight and in 75 yards she had found the buck!

The deer had been gut shot and I feel that he had not died until that morning if not later. I had to contact the hunter by cell phone and direct him to our point. After about 15 minutes he arrived at his trophy with a big smile on his face. He claimed Ollie as his new girlfriend! This track lasted about 4 hours and estimated 800 to 1000 yards and Ollie and I both were exhausted. We got the buck back to the hunter's truck, and I don't think he could have been happier. Ollie and I headed home, her asleep in my lap and me thinking "what could be any better than this!"
Happy Tracking,
Samantha Allen
TimberRidge Tracker

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Two ten-pointers found by Darren Doran on one day

You might say that last Sunday tracking gods were smiling upon Darren Doran from New Jersey. In the morning he recovered a 10 point buck with his tracking dachshund Karl, and in the afternoon he found another ten pointer with his young Theo. Congratulations Darren! How are you ever going to beat that?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mid-October pictures from Berne, NY: changing colors

Three deer recovered in one day: Andy Pedersen and his tracking dog Ruby are an experienced and successful team

Andy Pedersen, a United Blood Trackers member from Southern Maryland has been tracking with his wirehaired dachshund Ruby for three years now. Ruby will be four years old this December; she was bred by Gail Berger, and she was sired by our Billy. What a great tracking days he had just a few days ago! Congratulations!

Andy reports:

This past Friday, October 12, was the first time I have taken Ruby out on three calls. It was a great day, as we went 3 for 3!

I got two calls Thursday night, and after the phone interviews, ended up telling both hunters that Ruby and I would help them track Friday morning. The first track of the day was straight forward. The hunter had arrowed a small doe in the late afternoon that he saw bed down 60 yds away. After less than 30 minutes, the doe got up and walked away. The hunter quietly backed out and called me for assistance. I took Ruby to the hit site early next morning, and she immediately acquired the track. We found the dead doe ~120 yds from the temporary bed in just a few minutes. The arrow angled towards the rear from the entrance wound in this photo.

I then headed over to the local Navy Base where the hunter told me he didn't sleep that night as he had hit his largest buck ever. The hunter shot the buck quartering away with a rage-tipped crossbow bolt that didn't get full penetration. He and his friends found only 60 yds of light blood trail; I had my doubts about the outcome. Ruby followed the track up to where the hunter had recovered the bolt, and shortly afterwards took an unexpected sharp left turn to the general bearing of the track. Another experienced sight-tracker was with me, and we both thought that it was unlikely that Ruby was on the buck's track. I gave Ruby her way, and we went through a marshy swale and continued on for several hundred yards. I decided to re-start Ruby back at the bolt, and she again took the left bearing towards the swale. We followed the line and the sight-tracker spotted a very small smear of blood near the swale. Confidence was restored and again we re-entered the swale - and before I knew it, Ruby was chewing on the buck! - Ruby missed a turn the buck had made when he augured into the weeds and got half-submerged. The hunter was almost as happy with his buck as I was with Ruby. Ruby's initial miss was quickly forgiven, it was likely the buck would have never been recovered.

I thought tracking was over for the day, and went out hunting in the afternoon. I shot a doe at very close range in the late afternoon, and started to sight-track her. I had tried for a heart shot, but was pretty sure after a bit that I had likely caught just a single-lung. So I called my wife to bring Ruby to my hunting spot, and we began the track. Ruby locked onto the blood trail that ebbed and flowed over a long run. I was so happy with the outcome that I promised Ruby some fillet - we found the doe over 600 yds from where I had hit it. Again the outcome would have been in doubt without Ruby's help.

We were both tired from the long day, but the day carried a lot of the satisfaction that comes with hunting and tracking. Ruby did herself (and her daddy) proud!

Andy Pedersen

Why are hunters wrong so often about a path of their wounded deer: Kevin and Karma find a doe in spite of the hunter's directions.

Kevin Armstrong is a United Blood Trackers member from Naples, NY, and the pictures shows Karma's first recovery this year. Karma is a 7.5 year old daughter of Billy and Gilda.
Kevin reports: "Karma's 1st recovery for 2012 went pretty quickly. We started the trail and while the hunter was explaining that Karma was not on the right trail I followed her nose and she found the deer. The hunter could not believe it when I said "Here your deer over here" He said "WHAT?" I said "your deer is over here". He said "but it went this way" I said "it's dead over here". He came crashing through the brush, looked at the dead deer and said "that's right where I hit it" I said "I know". He could not believe what he was seeing with his own eyes. LMAO! Karma GOOD GIRL!"

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fred Zoeller and his Bavarian Mountain Bloodhound recover a huge buck shot by a young hunter

Alfred Zoeller, a Deer Search handler from Cooperstown, NY,  and his Bavarian Rommel, found 9 point buck shot by 14-year-old Frank Cowan with his dad on youth day in Jordanville NY on October 7th 2012. Deer green scored 143 and weighed 255 undressed. Congratulations!

Easy natural lines are the best tool for training a young tracking dog: Cliff Shrader and his longhaired dachshund Tasha

Cliff Shrader is a new United Blood Trackers member, and he is has been working with a young standard longhaired dachshund Tasha. Tasha was born on May 27, 2012, in Denmark. He has been updating me about Tasha's training, and I asked him to write about how he got involved in blood tracking, dachshunds and how he went about importing a puppy from Europe. Thank you Cliff!

I was born and raised in South Louisiana. We were a family of duck and deer hunters, and we did our hunting in a swamp called the Atchafalaya Basin (this is the same area where Swamp People is filmed).  We used Walker hounds to run deer and we used Labrador retrievers for duck hunting. If someone had told me that I would grow up to own and love Dachshunds, I would have laughed at them.

I ended up with two dachshunds, Boudreaux and Thibodeaux. They were just pets until I brought home a deer to clean. When I showed the deer to my hounds, they went crazy. Their prey drive was very high, and they didn't want to let me have my deer back. This is when I first thought about Dachshunds as tracking dogs. In the south, people would laugh at you if you said anything about dachshunds being fieldworthy.

 My idea of actually training dachshunds laid dormant for quite a few years. Two years ago, I needed a tracking dog several times to trail wounded deer but there were none around. I pride myself on my tracking abilities but even after long and hard tracks, I lost two deer. Last year I started doing research on tracking dogs. John and you Jolanta had several things that I read and a friend of mine loaned me his book...Tracking Dogs for Finding Wounded Deer.

I contacted Patt Nance after visiting her website. Timing was very good because Patt and Tina Knoll  were just considering breeding Owl to Tina's dog Babe. I was lucky enough to be able to attend an AKC tracking trial that Laura and Tina Knoll were bringing three of the girls to. After that I was hooked. I waited several months for the mating of Babe and Owl to happen. Finally, all the stars were aligned and the mating took place. Unfortunately, it didn't result in a pregnancy. Patt Nance and I spoke several times and she told me of two litters in Europe. It was during this time that my favorite dog Thibodeaux passed away.

Patt Nance contacted several of her friends and they helped me find The Right Dog, not just a dog. I was very fortunate that Lise-Lotte Schultz at Tranevang Kennels in Denmark had a puppy left. Diane Webb of Doxifun and her husband checked out this litter of puppies when they were around four weeks old. She liked what she saw. When it was time, Marie Gadolin administered the Volhard puppy test. Tasha scored mostly 2 and 3s which indicated that she would be a good dog for an experienced trainer. Patt Nance had been studying the possibility of getting a puppy from this litter for herself. She loved the bloodline and Lise-Lotte provided information on all the hounds in that line.

When Patt bought a puppy (Taya) from the litter she was very impressed with her. From everything that I knew, Taya's sister Tasha was the right dog for me. Tasha was shipped from Copenhagen to Chicago on a direct flight. I was nervous as I waited in the rain at the airport. When they brought Tasha out and I saw her peering through the crate, I fell in love.

I have enjoyed getting to know Tasha. Training has been a bonding experience for us. John Jeanneny's book has been my bible. Your blogs and YouTube videos have helped tremendously. I started Tasha out on very short tracks......tracks that she couldn't fail. It only took a few of these and she started to realize what her job was. Tasha started really well in tracking but these were only training tracks, practice home tracks. When we headed to Illinois for the season opening week long bow hunting trip I was very hopeful but still unsure of how Tasha would perform in the field.

On Monday it rained almost all day. Monday afternoon, my friend sent me a text that he had shot and killed a 9 point. He had already located the deer but would I like for him to leave it where Tasha could track it. I headed over there as soon as my hunt was over. The deer was shot in a field with a crossbow about 25 yards away.  The arrow struck the deer pretty far back through the guts. The deer ran 40 yards in chest high grass and laid down. After an hour, he approached the deer. The buck stood up and he shot it again. We decided to start the track where he had made the initial shot. Tasha was able to find guts on the vegetation and she found his arrow, something that he had not been able to do. Tasha fumbled around on this track having  problems getting a good read on it. I picked her up and placed her where he had made the second shot. This time she took off bouncing through the tall grass. She ran her track straight to the buck. When she ran upon the buck laying dead in the tall grass it scared her half to death. It took a couple of minutes with me kneeling beside the deer to get her over the initial shock. After this she was fine with it.

Tasha's next track, her first true track was over five hundred yards on another gut shot deer. Most of this track was without any blood. I have never been so impressed with a puppy.

I left Illinois Sunday morning heading home. One hour into the trip, I got a page from my hunting buddy Jerry. Jerry told me that two does were shot and one hit was questionable. I turned around and
headed back. We decided to put Tasha on the questionable shot first. The shot was made at 28 yards with a vortex broad head. The arrow struck the shoulder blade and very little if any penetration was achieved.

We started out on the track and Tasha showed us blood. The blood was bight red and was up on vegetation as well as the ground. The trail was steady and led to a wound bed about 75 yards away. The blood stopped but Tasha never slowed down. We proceeded to track another 100 yards with no blood but Tasha was pulling hard. We came upon something that I never encountered while tracking before...the property line. This neighbor would not allow any tracking upon his land. It was also understood that trespassers will be arrested.

We took Tasha to last blood and she tracked the identical track again. She was on this deer but we had to pull her off the track. I do not think that this deer was mortally wounded but I really wanted the chance to complete this track.

The next track we brought Tasha on was a deer shot at less than 20 yards with a 2 inch cut Grim Reaper head. This track was extremely easy to follow. You could see a wide heavy blood trail for
quite a way. Tasha ran this track as fast as I could go and there was the deer as expected 80 yards away. This may be the easiest track that she will ever get! It is amazing that this deer could travel that far after a shot like that. It was nice to end our week long hunting trip with an easy track like this.

During the week in Illinois Tasha ran six tracks making five recoveries. Tasha was fortunate to have a group of hunters that lent a helping hand in her training. They called us on nearly every shot, both good and bad, even though two of the deer could have been recovered without a dog. The lines were all pretty fresh. The averaged about two hours old with the longest being about 4 hours old.

This is the best on the job training I could every hope for.
Cliff with Tasha

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Women can be excellent handlers of blood tracking dogs. Sally Marchmont proves it.

We wrote about Sally Marchmont and her dachshund Petey in the past. Petey's registered name is Matthias von Moosbach-Zuzelek, and he is a son of Buster and Keena; he is now five and a half years old. Sally lives in Vermont and belongs to Vermont Deer Trackers. Few days ago Sally wrote:

Petey and I have had a very good start to the season, and I think you're right - he's in his prime. He can still sometimes be a little too enthusiastic, but he is slowing down a little bit, and definitely using his head more. He's become much more reliable about circling himself back around when he loses the track, and slowing himself down and really working until he picks it up again.

None of our tracks so far has been anything too exciting or out of the ordinary - just good tracking work from Petey on deer that would otherwise have been lost. I'm attaching a couple of pictures - one is a nice 7-pointer, the other a doe, but both hunters equally appreciative.  So far we've taken 8 calls with 5 finds, so I'm expecting a dry spell will happen pretty soon to bring the numbers back to normal.

I'll send you another update as the season goes on. Hope you have a successful and safe tracking season.

Congratulations to Sally and Petey!

First recovery for Razen Kane, a blood tracking dachshund puppy from Illinois

Ray Holohan, a United Blood Trackers member from Ashkum, Illinois, has shared some good news about his puppy Razen Kane. She was bred by Brian Hibbs from Iowa, and sired by Ray's tracking male Rosco.
Hi Jolanta, hope all is well and your tracking season going well too. I'm sending a photo of Razen's first recovery. I received a call Sunday afternoon (October 7) from a friend of a friend who knew I was looking for a fairly easy track to put Razen Kane on. She had been on three other tracks that although she had tracked well she was unable to come up with a recovery.
This guy had made a pretty good shot on this doe, then gave it some time before trailing. The first 300 yards of the track he said the blood trail looked like someone poured it out of a bucket, the next 200 yards he had pretty steady drops to where it crossed a road and into a high grass waterway. After they entered the waterway the doe jumped up and ran down the field towards the river. At this point they backed out. By time I got there with Razen the track was about 8 hours old. I started her at the road and into the waterway, she went zig zagging and checking her way through. I was unable to see any blood in the waterway until we came out of it and she was on the blood. Then she proceeded down the edge of a bean field, through a cocklebur patch, into a dried creek bed and out of it to where she found the doe. The track was about 200 yards long, she went right up to the deer and started smelling and licking it, then looked at me as she were saying "so this is what a deer looks like". It was a great track for her and she had to work at it. The deer was a heart shot and still managed to go about 800 yards. I helped the guy drag it out and my wife Claudia had a hard time holding Razen back. She knew it was her deer and wanted it.

Take care Ray, Rosco, Razen and Claudia
Ray Holohan with Razen Kane and the doe she recovered. It was her first recovery!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Schoharie Creek as a canvas for autumn photography

Yesterday when I was coming back from Joeri's vet, I explored some new routes through the hills. I went back to some places today, and my best pictures were taken by a little bridge in Schoharie. It is hard to believe that it was only 14 months ago when Schoharie Creek flooded and devastated Schoharie and surrounding areas. Today it was so peaceful and serene.

By the way, Joeri is doing well. According to his surgeon Joeri should continue to improve for the next 3-5 months.


John said that my photography has made him appreciate the beauty of nature around us. Now when he looks he actually sees so much more. This is a great compliment - thank you John!

Six-month-old dachshund Thor gets to track and recover a real wounded deer

The picture of Thor and Bob's son Nate was taken on October 6, when Thor turned six month old.

We have written about Theo owned by Darren Doran from New Jersey. Now it is time to report on his brother Thor who is owned by Bob Yax from Deer Search of the Finger Lakes. This is Bob's report. I like his analysis of the whole pretty difficult situation.

As is pretty typical, the story around this one was kind of convoluted.  Two  hunters had hit this doe on Friday evening just before a long heavy rain over Friday night and Saturday AM.  The 1st Hunter, Bob, thought he had a gut shot.  It was a pass through, and he described what sounded like stomach matter on the arrow.  After he hit the doe, it ran off with two other deer.   Several minutes later, it ended up right under his hunting partner Tony, who was  150 yards away.  Tony didn’t know the deer had already been hit.  Tony then proceeded to hit the same deer, in what he thought was the high lung area.  His was also a pass through, and on the phone he described only dark blood on the arrow shaft.  After the 2nd hit, the hunters waited a short time and then began to track.   At the 2nd hit, the three deer took off across an open alfalfa field for about 100 yards until they hit and crossed a thick hedgerow.  At that point the deer were out of sight.  Before dark set in on Friday night, the hunters tracked a decent blood trail to and through the hedgerow.  On the far side of the hedgerow, the hunters found and marked the last blood sign.  Before it got dark, they did a visual search of the large grassy field beyond the hedgerow – they had no luck finding the deer.  It then started raining, they backed out and made a call to Deer Search – Finger Lakes Chapter.  After talking to Bob on Friday night I arranged to meet with him late on Saturday morning -  hopefully after the rain had stopped.

On Saturday morning at 11:00 (17 hours after the hit) I met with Bob and Tony.  Associate handler Jacen Dallas and my son Nate were also with us.  During the interview with the hunters we found that hunter #1 didn’t have his arrow with him and hunter #2 had cleaned off his arrow because it smelled too much!!!  Luckily, hunter #2 didn’t clean off his fletching.  While examining the fletching,  I was able to identify some stomach contents so it seemed that the high lung shot may have exited through the stomach – hopefully hitting the liver on its way.

We decided to start this trail at the 2nd hit site.  Luckily even after the rain, we were able to find a little blood at the 2nd hit site to get Thor started.  It was the only blood we would see.    We then proceeded across the alfalfa field  in the general direction the 2nd hunter described.  During this first 100 yard section, Thor wandered back and forth over a 10 ft wide path, but still in the right direction towards the hedgerow.   I thought this was pretty OK, since both hunters and the three deer had all taken this general path across the field the night before.  Thor also has a tendency, early on a trail, to wander a little. 

After the early excitement wears off,  he then begins to stick closer to the line.  On the trail, we got to the hedgerow in a minute or two.   At that point Thor found a narrow trail through the hedgerow and took us through it.  Directly in front of us, we found the last blood marker that the hunter had left the previous evening.  On the other side of the hedgerow was the large open grassy field the hunters had searched the previous evening. 

When Thor hit the last blood marker he took an immediate left right along the edge of the field towards an area of thick brush.  Now, Thor had his nose on the ground and was pulling hard in a straight line towards the brush.  It made sense to me that the deer would head towards the thick stuff after clearing the hedgerow.   Just about the time I thought “ now he’s really on it “, someone behind me yelled “there it is”!   

There, 50 yards away to my right, in the middle of the grassy field, I could easily see the dead deer.   Now, in hindsight I wish that I would have ignored the deer and continued on the trail with Thor, hoping that he would lead me back around to the deer,  but instead, we all headed directly towards the downed deer.  As evidenced by the two through holes in the deer,  is was the doe we were after.  Both hunters said that the  deer was not there the previous evening when they searched the field, so it made sense that the deer may have gone into the thick brush and then later came out into the field and died. 

I was really interested to see Thor’s reaction when he got to the 1st real deer he has seen.  After a moment’s hesitation when he first saw it, he began pulling on its hair.  I let him do it for a minute then pulled him off.  He didn’t show any real aggression initially around the deer, but then at one point during the picture taking, he did bare his teeth for a second at Jacen who was behind him.  During the autopsy of the deer we figured out that the first hunter had only a low intestine only shot, while the 2nd hunter's shot hit 1 lung, liver and stomach.  All-in-all it was a good initial experience for Thor.  I just wish I had stayed on the trail to see if he would have ended up at the deer. Sometimes, it’s hard to teach an old handler new tricks !

We’ve been on 1 other sortie since this one.  It was a gut hit that we went on only 10 hours after the hit (didn’t know it was a gut hit till we got on site).  Thor took a good line for about 400 yards until we got onto private land where we could not continue.  At the end, we also jumped about 10 deer, which he started barking at once he saw them running.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Good bye Jackson. Sleep tight.

Arko "Jackson" von Moosbach-Zuzelek 
January 18, 2000 - October 6, 2012
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.

Dear Jerry and Arlene, we know how much Jackson meant to you.  We are so sorry for your loss and pain. It seems like it was just yesterday when he was a little puppy. But the time marches on, and old age comes way too soon.

Arko (yellow ribbon) as a puppy. His parents were "Kuba" (Zuzelek's Globetrotter) and Branie vom Dornenfeld.

Jerry with Arko and the buck he recovered.
Rest in Peace Jackson. You are greatly missed.