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Monday, October 1, 2012

Tracking wounded elk and deer in New Mexico: Nadja's first season with a new owner

Recently we received an e-mail from John Sakelaris, who purchased Nadja (Nettie von Moosbach-Zuzelek) from Jeff Richardson.  He wrote about his first tracks with Nadja at Vermejo Ranch in New Mexico. "I thought you would enjoy the photo attached. Nadja and I have been successful in finding 1 elk and 1 deer out of 7 tracks. The ones we were unable to find were elk and to Nadja'a defense questionable in their severity/blood trail (archery wounds). The elk we did find was a great learning experience as the track went over 3 miles and took us 2 days to work out. I really learned allot on this track as well as the ones we did not find. Nadja is doing well and I really really like her pleasant personality. She stays is the house and gets lots of attention from my wife and kids as well as staying with me in my office or in the truck during the hunts."
John Sakelaris with Nadja and an elk they recovered.

A clever way of transporting Nadja.
 Nadja will have to adjust to tracking wounded elk, which poses some challenges. John wrote: "The elk we could not find mostly ran out of blood line but she continued to trail like she knew what she was doing but just following an elk trail. Elk are herd animals and there may have been 20-50 or more which went down the same trail that morning as the wounded one so I imagine she is overwhelmed by the scent and just keeps going leaving the blood and following the scent.

I was able to confirm this several times by finding blood in the other direction and in one case the dead animal itself. Even the one we did find she left several times on "elk highways" full of scent abandoning the search for blood and following the stronger scent. We successful by being able to visually confirm blood at key times and putting her back on track. I am worried that she will keep doing this and not concentrate on blood. I am worried because I cannot trust her when I see no blood for confirmation. Again to her defense, deer are not like this and that is her experience.

Also, we are in the rut so the scent of a rutting bull is at times so strong you and I can almost follow it. We go into rifle season now and the rut is ending so hopefully this will be less of an issue as a wounded bull now will likely be by himself or with one or two others his age and not rutted up with the cows"

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