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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tracking adventures of Bob and Thor on the opening weekend

By Bob Yax, Deer Search of Finger Lakes
owner of Thor (Thor von Moosbach-Zuzelek, born April 6, 2012)

We had a good opening weekend even though the temps were in the 70s and 80s and it rained a lot.  We went on 3 calls with 2 pretty easy recoveries and a weird non-recovery.   Thor showed me that he was picking up pretty much where we left off last year.
The 1st call was for a hit that took place at sunset, in the pouring rain, on Friday evening.  The hunter Josh,  said he didn’t know where he hit the buck, but he did have a broadside pass through shot from about 40 yds.  He said that it looked like dark blood and stomach matter on the arrow.  After the hit, he only followed the slight blood trail a short way in the rain, before turning back.  After talking to him, we decided to pick up the trail first thing Saturday morning.  When I inspected the arrow on Saturday morning, I did find dark blood and the telltale gritty / sand-like particles that indicated stomach contents.  I told Josh that if it was a stomach only hit, the deer could still be alive, but if it also hit liver, the deer would be dead by now (13 hrs after the hit), likely within a few hundred yards.

Once at the hit site, Thor quickly picked up the scent in the still wet  hardwoods.  In the first 50 yds of the trail I was happy to come across a few spots where the blood had not been washed away.  Thor continued on a pretty straight line another 50 yds or so until he began circling and backtracking a bit.  Since the hunter had not followed the trail this far, I figured that the buck must have stopped here and wandered around a bit looking for a place to bed.   Over the next  5 minutes, Thor constantly went back and forth over the same 30 yd circle.  I learned last year that at this point I had to let him figure this out on his own.  The only help I could provided was to make sure my son Nate had marked the last blood sign up the trail a bit in case we had to go back to it.  Luckily, Thor finally headed off in a clear direction along an overgrown logging road.  After a short distance, I then saw another blood drop – Great ! we’re back on it.   After a few more blood drops in the next  75 yds down the logging road, Thor took a left off the road and there in the patch of berry bushes was the dead 7pt.  We confirmed later that the arrow had just caught the bottom of the liver as well as the stomach.   All toll, we probably only traveled about 250 yds during the 10 – 15 minute search.  
                                                     Hunter  with  Nate Yax & Thor in Howard NY
Our 2nd track was a very similar situation.  The Hunter, Cory had hit a buck on Saturday evening just before dark.  He too had a good broadside shot from about 30 yds but didn’t know where he hit it.  The arrow had blood from tip to tip but he didn’t  think there was any stomach matter on the arrow.  When he inspected the hit site,  he found some blood, but it soon began disappearing when a hard rain started.  He tracked some blood for about 100 yds, but then could find no more.  Later that night he and his father searched an area ahead of the last blood sign with no luck.   I arranged to meet him first thing Sunday morning.  Associate tracker Ark Pisarevsky was along to help.

It was very damp and foggy when we met up with Cory on Sunday morning.  This time the arrow contained a lot of bright pink/red blood – lung blood.  There was no sign of stomach contents or dark muscle or liver blood.  From the description of the hit, this could be a good double lung hit.  Once we got to the hit site, I could see that Cory had marked his initial blood trail with orange tape for about 100 yds. The area was a mix of trees with a lot of thick rose bushes at ground level.  

Thor got on the trail quickly and followed right along the markers.  There was no blood sign however. We soon got to the end of the markers and to the point where Cory and his dad had lost the trail the previous night.  At this point I knew we would have trouble.  After losing the trail the previous night, Cory and his dad had done a grid search of the area ahead, surely with blood on their boots.  At this point Thor began searching in a random pattern all around the area.  At one point we headed off into an uncontaminated area of thick rose bushes.  After about 50 yds, Thor got stuck in thorns with nowhere to go.  I had to pick him up and carry him several times just to free him.

I finally headed him back to the last blood marker and after a few minutes of seemingly random searching the “mucked up – boot print” area again,  he headed off in a straight line like he was on something.  Within a few minutes,  I looked up and saw the dead 9 pt about 40 yds ahead of  him.  The shot ended up being a good, slightly high,  double lung shot.  The buck had gone about 200 yds total.  Again it only took about 15 minutes and I never did see a spec of blood.  I was really happy to see that  Thor again had worked through a problem area and got on the right trail to the deer.

Hunter with Bob Yax and Thor in Hemlock NY

Finally we took our 3rd call late Sunday afternoon.  Associate Deer Search tracker Joe Dallas was with me.  The temperature was 82 degrees!!!  This hunter had hit the deer at 7 am Sunday.   The button buck was only 5 yds from his 16 ft high tree stand.  The deer was facing directly at him with his head down and feeding when he shot (bad shot to take!).  He described the hit, which he plainly saw, as just to the left of the deer’s  spine  (the deer’s right side) and  towards the back of the lung area. He said it was a complete pass thru and there seemed to be stomach matter as well as a little blood and white hair on the fletching.  

The arrow was stuck in the ground when he found it.  He described just a slight blood trail because again, right after he hit the deer it had rained hard.  He thought that the arrow had also been somewhat cleaned off from the hard rain.  After talking to him I agreed to help him at about 5:00.  If it was a one lung & gut hit, this might be enough time.  If it was a liver and gut hit the deer would be dead.  When I met up with him I did a quick inspection of the arrow.  The broad head and first 4 inches of the arrow was covered in dirt.  The camo arrow shaft was pretty clean with just a few area of pink/red.   The fletching were slightly greasy had a slight odor and a few grainy particles (gut matter?) on them.  Both the fletching and nock had white hair on them.

To make a 45 minute, hot /sweaty story,  shorter,   there was no blood at the hit site, no blood on the trail.  No beds found.  Thor never seemed to get hot onto any trail, until near the end when I think he jumped a live/not wounded deer – he began yelping / barking  and pulling hard, a classic sign for him.  About the time I was ready to give up,  we were back near the hunters truck.  I told Joe, “I want to see that arrow again”.  It was in the bed of the hunters truck.  I pulled a paper towel  from my pocket, spit on it and proceeded to wipe down the entire arrow and fletching.  There was not a trace of pink on the paper towel!!   The arrow did still have a little pink / red  PAINT!  on it however.    About this time the hunter came back to the truck.  He said “what now ?”  –  I said “I’ve got one question for you”-  “Did you wash your arrow” – he said no!   I said “then you never hit the deer” and showed him the clean paper towel.  He said, “maybe I need glasses”!

I learned again that often what a hunter sees and what really happened are not the same.

PS – I think this hunter shot off to the side of the deer and stuck the arrow deep into the ground.  The deer then jumped and turned 180 degrees to run off.  I think he landed belly first on the nock end of the arrow leaving some grease and white hair on it.

1 comment:

Lindsjö taxar said...

Good job the tracking dogs do.
Think the hunters have to practice more shooting.