Search This Blog

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!


Brady said...

I, too, have had an increasing numbers of hunters call for my advice when I was unable to actually track for them due to scheduling conflicts. This year I had the special pleasure of having one of my previous patients call and inquire about a tracker. I have fliers out, but do not leave my name on them as I don't really want patients having access to my cell number. She and I were both surprised when we found out who we were talking to. This young lady was bowhunting with her husband hunting not far away. She arrowed what she felt was a "good buck." She was unsure of the hit, but thought she smelled guts on the arrow. She and her husband had looked for a few hours prior to calling me, and were about to give up. I gave her the number to a couple of other trackers, but when she was unsuccessful getting them to come out, she text me back and asked if she could send me pictures of the blood and sign. I was sure after seeing the blood that she had made a fatal liver/gut shot, and that the deer was recoverable. I pressed them into continuing the search and advised them to look around any nearby water. 6 hours later I received a picture of this 110 pound lady sitting behind a 150" Pope and Young deer with double drop tines! I was so proud to be able to help in any way, and was proud of the effort she and her husband put into the recovery.

Lindsjö taxar said...

Interesting you read about your work over there