By Kasey Morgan
The 2013 Wisconsin Archery Season was upon us and the calls for tracks came in fast and furious. Boomer, my bloodhound, would get his first action the night of opening day on a good buck hit high and slightly back from perfect. We took up the track and Boomer made short work of the 250 yard track. The buck had fled the scene in a completely different direction than the hunter had remembered. The amount of sign along the track was minimal, but a fairly steady track of blood droplets. We were on the deer in less than a half hour and Boomer was on the board with his first “fair chase” whitetail of the year.
The next call would come in shortly after leaving our first track. Matt Serwa of “Real Deal Mineral” had hit a deer he knew very well. He quickly sent me a picture of the deer from one of his trail cameras, and I was amazed at the size. He described the chain of events that lead to the shot and the shot location. He had stomach hit the deer. The shot was back, but looked to be center of the deer between spine and bottom of the belly. We were dealing with a number of variables on this track. The first issue was the fact that it had started to rain steadily and was predicted to continue throughout the night. Being able to locate blood throughout the track is not the most important thing, but it certainly helps confirm that we are heading in the right direction. The second was the temperature. The temperature was predicted to stay above the 70 degree mark which would cause a gut shot deer to spoil more quickly. Matt and I agreed that waiting until the following morning was still the best option. Pushing the deer that night would definitely destroy our chances of a recovery.
Early the next morning Boomer took up the track. It was still raining very steadily, and there was no sign of blood. We began the track and Boomer followed in a similar line as was described by the hunter as the deer’s path of exit from its feeding area. We tracked off of a food plot down into a low swamp area. The dog became very excited and proceeded to make a right hand turn into an area full of marsh grass. There were several deer beds in the area, none of which we were able to find blood in. We trusted the hound as he led us on fairly straight path through the marsh and down into a creek bottom. We had now progressed somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 yards with no visible blood. Boomer searched both sides of the creek bank frantically looking for the scent. He decided on a line heading westward deeper into the swamp.
After another 200 yards the terrain had changed from marsh grass and creek bottoms to tag alders and a foot of water. Boomer pressed on through the water but soon appeared to have lost the track. He began a back track and I watched as his body language showed some confusion. As he backtracked out of the tags he soon hit the scent of the track and again progressed westward. I was out ahead of the hunter when Boomer turned north and locked up completely along the edge of the creek. I circled around the creek bank and was astounded at what I was looking at. Boomer was baying like a fog horn on top of a fair chase, two hundred plus inch, whitetail deer. I yelled back to Matt that we had found his deer. He excitedly made his way toward me. We exchanged high fives and the celebration was on. We snapped some great photos and awed over the sight of such a monarch.
It was not the longest track we have ever run with a successful ending. However, the 14 hours of continuous rain and the tough tracking terrain made the near one thousand yard run, my proudest moment as a tracker. Although Boomer does not pay attention to the Boon & Crocket Scoring System but, the record book whitetail at the end was a great bonus.