This call offered a lot of excitement for the three hunters present. Certainly it was good exercise and a challenge for the old man handling Tommy, his young tracking dog. The ten pointer had been shot in the hip with a muzzle-loader, and we were able to shorten his suffering from days down to a few hours.
For Tommy it was a relatively fresh and easy track, although the buck left almost no blood as he traveled 700 yards from the hunter’s point of loss. It was where he traveled that amazed the hunters and even me. Tommy led us down a steep ravine, through a creek and up the other side, not once but three times. We were grabbing trees and roots to keep from tumbling down to the rocks and water below. The terrain was best for four legged critters like Tommy. The buck, with only three legs was truly amazing. It was not a place for poor two-legged humans.
I really enjoyed hearing the hunters marvel over Tommy every time he found another drop of blood in an improbable place. Then I saw the glowing eyes and yelled “There he is!” The buck could go no farther.
How the hunters got the buck up out of that deep gorge can only be explained by adrenaline and an easing of the force of gravity. We arrived appropriately enough in a cemetery where a farmer friend gathered us all up in his pick-up. He drove us back, with the buck, to our own vehicles. I was very glad we didn’t have to walk.
BTW, this year Tommy got to track John's own deer. Even though it was a perfect shot placement, the deer went 400 yards without leaving any blood at all. We would not be able to find this deer without a tracking dog. Young dogs such as Tuesday and Mielikki got an opportunity to get a good chew.