Harold Barry is a United Blood Trackers member from Florida. Thank you Harold for sharing your tracking experiences with us.
I'm a 33 year old wildlife officer who works for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. I have been blessed to have the job I'm in. I have spent every possible moment of my life in the woods. About 5 years ago, several deer were lost in my lease due to bad shots, and even when a dog was brought in, they were never successful. I began to get disgusted with it and decided to train my one year old beagle. I have a great relationship with our local deer processor and took him a 5 gallon bucket and said fill it up, lol. I began laying tracks for Marley and before I knew it, I had my very own tracking dog. Marley seemed to have been born for the sole purpose of tracking wounded deer.
In her first year she found 15 deer. As you well know, once the word spreads, it spreads rapidly. I would sometimes track 2-3 deer an evening. I have came to enjoy tracking for others as much as I love harvesting deer myself! I am now training a black and tan bloodhound puppy. He's only 13 weeks and will already run a 300 yard track I lay. He seems to be learning quickly and loving it! He is pictured in a few of the pics I sent. My agency has been very receptive to my tracking and as long as I'm not on an active call, they allow me to track for hunters. It's a way of giving something positive back to the general public; it shows that we care and don't necessarily just write tickets.
The 1st pic is from a mobility impaired hunt on one of our local management areas. This particular management area only allows a limited number of mobility impaired hunters the opportunity to hunt. The hunter shot the deer with a .223 and the only shot evidence was a small amount of hair. I put my 4 year old beagle, "Marley", on the hair and about 200 yards later recovered this doe. There was no visible blood at any point during the track.
The 2nd pic is from one of my co-workers son's first deer. This deer was shot with a .243 and there was no evidence of a sure hit at the shot site. From my co-worker's description of the deer's reaction to the shot, I was confident it was hit. I put Marley on this track and found a small amount of blood about 120 yards in. The blood was very little through the track, but found every 50 yards or so. After about 500 yards, we found the deer still alive but bedded down. We put the deer down with a .38 revolver carried in with us.
The 3rd pic is from from one of my lease members. The deer was shot with a .270 and there was evidence of a gut shot at the shot site. I put Marley on this track and amazingly, the gut shot deer had only run about 150 yards before bedding and dying.
The 4th picture is also from my lease. This track turned out to be very interesting. The deer was shot with a .30-.06 and there was ample blood to start with, but it stopped about 100 yards in. The blood then appeared every 40 yards or so, but when it was there, it was a large amount. Marley took us for about 3/4 of a mile to another food plot on my lease. As we tracked through the food plot, I observed small drops of blood and then discovered a pool of blood with drag sign leaving it headed to the other side of the food plot. Another one of my lease members had shot the deer and tried sneaking it out after seeing it was already shot. I had spoken with this lease member just before our track, and he apparently had the deer in his truck then and was sneaking it out. After discovering the drag marks, I immediately called and confronted the member. He confessed to taking the deer and returned it to our camp. He was subsequently terminated from the lease and the deer was given to the original shooter.
The 5th picture is from my shift partner at work. He called one evening just after dark and I could hear the excitement and anguish in his voice. He sounded like a 12 year old child trying to tell his version of the events from his evening hunt. He explained that he had shot the biggest deer of his life and could not find any blood. When I asked how big, he just replied "BIG!". I loaded Marley and headed his way. The area where he shot the deer was grassy, so finding foot sign was impossible and there was no blood at the shot site. I began cutting the area with Marley and after a few seconds, she hit on something and seemed very confident. After approximately 70 yards the blood looked as if you were slinging it with a paint brush. We discovered the deer about 200 yards in. I saw the deer first and told my shift partner to look just ahead of us. All you could see was the left main beam sticking up out of a very thick patch of briars. He hollered like a kid and hugged me before he could even realize it!