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