John & Jolanta,
We had an interesting and rewarding 4 day weekend where we took 8 calls and had 3 recoveries, including Thor’s 7th before the age of seven months.
I also learned more about Thor and actually used that new info, about a negative trait, to successfully complete our most exciting recovery of the year.
Multiple times this year, Thor has gotten off on what seemed like a really hot trail, where he was very confident in what he was after. In a few cases it did turn out to be the wounded deer, but in many others, it seemed that it was likely a recent trail of a live / not wounded deer. In these cases (not wounded deer) he would yelp a lot and pull really hard.
Our recoveries in Ossian and Honeoye this past weekend were very similar. They both seemed like liver hits where the hunters had both bumped the deer from their first beds a few hours after the hit. In the Honeoye case, after bumping the deer, the hunter had done a wide area search before calling into Deer Search the next day. We arrived to help about 40 hrs after the hit. Thor followed the visible blood trail well, and then got into a random searching pattern (blood from the hunters boots?). After about 30 minutes, he then started pulling and yelping on a hot trail. I let him go for about 200 yds, before deciding it was likely not the wounded deer. We then went back to last blood and I guided him to new thick area to search. On the way through the very thick area, the hunter mentioned that he had noticed a turkey vulture flying earlier in the day just ahead of us – very interesting!!. Shortly after this, while walking down a laneway, Thor stopped and made a left into dense brambles and brush. About 50 yds later we found the well aged, 8pt. It was liver hit.
|Bob Yax and Thor with a successfully recovered deer in Honeoye|
The Hunter in the Ossian recovery had only tracked a short way after bumping the deer from its 1st bed. He thought it might be a liver to intestine hit, but he didn’t find his arrow. He had stopped tracking at the last blood sign, just short of a very dense field of old tree tops and heavy brush. We came out the morning after the hit. Thor again followed the initial blood trail up to the dense field. There, he followed along the outside edge (hunters boots again?) and then into an open woods. After 10 more minutes, he again got on a hot trail and started yelping – not good I thought ! This time after about 100 yds, I pulled him off and headed back to last blood by the edge of the dense field. My plan was to take him into the field and hope he picked up an undisturbed trail or was able to wind the dead buck, since we would be downwind of the area the deer headed into. I led him down a line that was about 50 yds into the field in front of last blood. The combination of old tree tops, rose bushes and berry bushes made it really tough going. At one point Thor pulled me back towards the open woods where we had seen last blood. I could see an old 5gal bucket that I had seen from the woods, so I pulled him back, picked him up and carried him over a tangle of thick berry bushes. When I put him back down, 20 yds further along the path I wanted to go, he headed back towards the open woods again. This time I looked 10 yds ahead of him and saw the beautiful 14 pointer tucked up against one of the old tree tops. He was only about 40 yds into the dense field. When I called out “we found him” the hunter, who was 30 yds behind me, came hurtling over the tree tops yelling “I’m going to kiss you“. Before he got to his trophy he gave me a bear hug and said “ this is the best moment of my life” ----- This is why we do what we do!!
|A fourteen pointer recovered in Ossian|
In Avoca, the hunter drove us and one of his friends to the top of a tall hillside. We ended up about 800 ft above the main road – we had a beautiful view of the valley below. The hunter had arranged that two of his hunting buddies would post up on the farm road at the bottom of the hill, while we tracked down the slope in the direction the deer had run. The slope down was about 500 yds of waist high grass with patches of thick brush. The hit site was near the top of the hill in an open woods. The first 30 yds after the hit had torn up leaves and blood on the trees where the deer had stumbled. Once we crossed a barbed wire fence and got into the field, we initially found no blood. This is the area where the deer had started running down the slope. When Thor got past the fence and into the field he headed strongly down the hill and then took a left across the slope. The hunter confirmed that the deer had gone straight down initially, but then lost sight of it.
After about 150yds down this trail, with no blood sign, I decided to go back to the fence and hopefully find some visible blood. Back at the fence, the three of us and Thor searched again for blood. After 5 minutes without a trace, I let Thor head the way he wanted. He began in the general direction he had gone before. After about 100 yds, I saw big deer tracks in the muddy trail. I had seen these before so I knew he was on the same trail he had started down. The hunter and I continued following Thor for another 200 yds across the slope. Most of the time we were on deer trails in tall grass between big patches of rose bushes. After passing directly under a ladder stand in a hedgerow the hunter asked if I thought he was still on it. I told him that it sure seemed so. He was very focused and quiet.
After another 100 yds along the slope we were about halfway down the hill. At that point I followed Thor around a thick brush patch and then noticed, about 20 yds ahead of him, the butt end of a deer. Thor was going right at it. Just about the time I told the hunter “there it is” !, the big 8pt got up and jumped headlong down the hill. The hunter ran around to watch the buck heading to the roads 200 yds down the hill. I heard him yelling down the hill “we just jumped him, he’s heading down”. When Thor got to bed, he went nuts and headed after the buck pulling and barking. At this point I thought, we could be in for a very long track, but I knew that Thor could follow this deer till one of them dropped. After about 100 yds of getting pulled down the hill, the hunter yelled “they hit him down at the bottom, he’s down on the other side of the road”. I followed Thor down the last 100 yds of the hill and could see the downed deer laying in the field on the other side of the road. Once I knew the road was clear, I let go of the leash and watched as he ran the last 50 yds to the deer. By the time I got there he was happily pulling hair out of its backside.
As we stood by the deer I heard the rest of the story. After we jumped the buck, one of the hunters posted on the farm road below heard the commotion above and saw the buck heading down the slope. He ran down the farm road to intercept the running buck. It was heading to the point where the farm road met the main road. When the buck jumped out of the field onto the farm road, 20 ft from the hunter!, he proceeded to make a perfect double lung shot on it as it ran by. The buck then proceeded across the main road, tumbled off the other side and over a fence and ended up about 20 yds off the road. It was a very exciting finish!! Interestingly, the original wound at the top of the hip was barely visible, there was no blood on the fur around it. It seems that the entrance hole closed up quickly and the major bleeding occurred internally. The four hunters were thrilled and amazed that puppy Thor had found the deer so far away from where they thought it would be. More than any other recovery so far this year, Thor thought this deer was his. While taking pictures, he wanted only to chew on the deer. At one point he barred his teeth at one of the hunters and I made sure he knew that was not acceptable. It seemed Thor couldn’t get this deer out of his head – a half hour after we left, on our way home, he was still whining and looking out the window! This was a fun track.
It’s amazing that we seem to learn more and more on ever track we do.
Happy Hunting & Tracking,