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Friday, November 9, 2012

Too high expectations might spoil your tracking experience

This e-mail came from Chris Barr, a United Blood Tracker member from Indiana whose tracking partner is Gerti (Gwen von Moosbach-Zuzelek), a 3.5-year-old daughter of Billy and Gilda:

So far we’re up to only 6 tracks for this season. EHD is suspected of killing many deer in IN this year and I suspect that this is a significant contributor to our lack of tracks. Attached is a pic of a buck that Gerti recovered Saturday evening on our 5th track.

The hunter shot this deer at 8:30 Saturday morning. He gave the deer 2 ½ hours prior to taking up the track. 100 yards in, he jumped the buck from a wound bed. He wisely backed out immediately. Being a fellow Trooper from the eastern part of the state, he remembered me telling him about Gerti so he gave me a call at 11:00 a.m. I was not available to go to scene until 6:00 p.m. that the evening. He felt confident that it was a liver hit. We took up the track at the hit site and with only one distraction at the beginning, Gerti seemed to lock in pretty quickly. We were getting confirmation with occasional sightings of blood and a few more wound beds. The track extended .52 miles and I only remember Gerti making two looses. She corrected herself both times and lined it out pretty quickly. On the final 30 yards, Gerti raised her head into the wind and I told the hunter that I thought she was air scenting. A few seconds later we were standing over his deer. The entire track lasted about 35 minutes.

One thing that is helping me as Gerti and I mature together, is to not have any expectations going in. We’re just fact finders that are occasionally rewarded with a warm liver to chew on…at least Gerti is. When I started out I wanted a specific number of tracks for the season and hoped for a specific number of finds. I found that this put pressure on myself, and I think in turn, I was putting pressure on Gerti. I’m trying to take more of a “I’ll take what I get and we’ll do what we can” approach. I think I’m more relaxed and I know I’m enjoying it more. Gerti, at 3 ½ , seems to be settling in to what her purpose in life is. I guess a guy never knows unless he’s stared it in the face, but I don’t think I’d take a million dollars for her.

We had about a hour and fifteen minute ride home and I let Gerti ride in the front seat like a queen. I think she was pretty proud of herself. The hunter and his family and friends that accompanied us on the track sure were. And you know I was.

Take care,

Chris and Gerti….and Oscar


John J said...

Chris, this is very well said. Our goal should be to do the best we can.
If we start thinking about percentages of recoveries, we end up turning down some calls where we would have found the deer. And we should all remember that for the hunter the next best thing to getting his deer is knowing that it is going to be all right.

Kevin Armstrong said...

Great story Chris. This is very difficult work to quantify. I've been wondering how the Chris & Gerti team were doing this season. I'm happy to see you two are doing well.

Lindsjö taxar said...

Interesting as always to read the tracking stories. Good job to the team.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the encouraging comments. We've taken 5 more tracks, 9 now, with no additional recoveries. I've experienced some pretty good dog work though.

Kevin, I want to check in with you and Gerti's big sister. I'll give you a call.