This seven point buck was a good challenge for Tommy who has been living and working in the shadow of Joeri, our tracking dog #1.
Late in the afternoon of our bow season’s opener, October 1, the buck was hit high in the lungs. He had been grazing near the edge of a large hayfield. After the hit, the hunter, Justin Crosier, saw the deer enter the woods on the far side of the field and found a few drops of blood there. He eye tracked perhaps 50 yards and then ran out of blood.
I started Tommy the next morning at the hit site, where there was no visible blood, and he tracked easily 200 yards across the field and into the woods at the correct spot. By this time he was familiar with all the different scents that the deer had left behind. In the woods he tracked about 150 yards with occasional drops of blood.
Then there was nothing, and he changed direction. I could see that Tommy was not sure. At my question, “Is that right?” he corrected himself, went back on his own to where he was sure of the line. Confidently he went down through the hemlock woods, although there was no blood to be seen. After another 150 yards there was a small, steep creek crossing and there on the rocks we saw blood! We tracked out of the creek gorge and into a small field. No blood there. Tommy worked slowly and carefully around the field and into a thick weedy patch where the buck had exited. No blood, but Tommy’s body language said “I’m sure”. We tracked to another deep, narrow creek bed and I looked up stream to see the deer’s hind quarters. “Here he is!” Tommy and Justin the hunter were both very pleased. I was pretty happy myself.
Justin Crosier with the deer, which was recovered by Tommy and his handler John Jeanneney