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!
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!