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Sunday, November 10, 2013

The use of blood tracking dogs is growing: two recent articles

There are so many blood tracking dogs working in the field these days that it is impossible for us to include all the reports we have been getting. I have never thought that a day like this would come! For John, who for decades has been promoting the use of dogs in recovery of wounded big game, this spread and rising popularity of canine trackers have brought a lot of satisfaction. Just recently he wrote an article that has been published in the October issue of NYS Conservationist under the title given by the magazine editor: "Born to Track: The Dogs of Deer Search". You can read it on DEC website or download it from click here.

No doubt there is much to be done as big deer hunting states states such as Pennsylvania and Kansas have not legalized the use of tracking dogs yet. However, it is just a matter of time. One of the best articles on this subject has been published by Scot Bestul on his Field and Stream blog "Finding Lost Deer: It’s Time For Tracking Dogs To Go National, where he writes: "We should all strive for close, lethal, and ethical shots on game. But the reality is that, if you deer hunt long enough—whether you shoot a bow, crossbow or firearm—sooner or later you’re going to hit a deer in a spot that makes finding it difficult. And sometimes rain, snow or dense cover can complicate the picture. In situations like these, using a tracking dog is not only logical, there is no more ethical option."

Of course the rising popularity of blood tracking dogs creates new challenges such as recruitment and education of new handlers, dog training and testing, and so on. We will try to make our blog as educational as we can and from now on some posts will have "themes". They will take more time and we won't be able to post daily (especially during hunting season), but in the long run it will be more informative, educational and enjoyable. For example we can write posts under themes such as training on the job, first recovery, liver-hit deer, versatile dogs, multiple finds, adolescence problems, tracking with older dogs and so on. There are many possibilities. Right now we are working on "women handlers".

We are ending this post with reports from calls that ended up with recoveries by two brothers, Theo and Thor.

Darren Doran from New Jersey who tracks with Theo von Moosbach-Zuzelek wrote:
I received a call from a hunter who had shot a deer around 12 noon on the 5th. He had tracked the deer with blood about 150 yds. and then lost it. He had gut material on the arrow and had searched all around the area with no luck.

We would be tracking south of my home in Colliers Mills WMA. This is large tract of mature oak, pine and green briars surrounded by oak scrub. This land scape is mostly flat and looks pretty much the same. It is broken up by various fire trails through out. We arrived about 9am 21 hrs. after the shot and proceeded to the hit site. I told the hunter to locate the blood trail so I could start the dog. He had no marks and looked around for a while with no luck. I was beginning to think that I had been misled and was starting to get a little frustrated. I told the hunter to stop and I would do a controlled search with Theo to find the line. I put Theo down and asked him to ‘’search here’’ and within seconds he had the line and was showing us blood.

We tracked the first 150 yds. with ample blood to the hunters point of loss. At this point Theo continued on another 150 yds. showing an occasional drop of blood. We came to a spot that had an oak leaf with a quarter sized drop of blood on it. This was the last blood we found. At this point I had the hunter mark this spot and stay there. Theo continued on and we hit a sandy opening in the brush. He worked around in here a while and I wasn’t sure if he had it or not. I brought him back to the last blood and put him down. He immediately took the same direction and flew down the line. I called to the hunter and followed.

In the next 200 yds. I didn’t see a drop of blood. It was pretty thick here and Theo was tracking hard at the end of a 50 ft. lead and I couldn’t see him. All of a sudden the line when slack and I knew he was on the deer. This track took less than 30 minutes and the hunter was amazed at this. He knew would have never found the deer without the dog. This was Theo’s 9th find and one of our longer tracks that ended in a find. This makes up for the 2 hours we spent yesterday in a nasty swamp coming up empty.

Darren Doran with Theo

Bob Yax, a member of Deer Search of Finger Lakes, owns Thor von Moosbach Zuzelek (Theo's littermate) and last weekend this team recovered three deer. This is one of them. The buck laid down about 75 yds from the hit site. The hunter snuck up on him and shot another arrow at him. He missed, but the buck jumped up and went 10 more yards before laying down again. The Hunter then backed out for a few hours, but when he came back the Buck jumped up and ran off out of sight, looking pretty healthy again. The hunter called us and we came in next morning. I was thinking it was a liver hit. We found the deer dead about 150 yds up the trail, probably 300 yds from the hit site. Not sure how long he was alive at that location. The arrow caught 1 lung and put a 3 inch long x ¾ inch deep cut in the Heart. You can see the entrance wound in the other photo. The exit was out the bottom of the deer.

Bob Yax with Thor

1 comment:

Lindsjö taxar said...

Love your posts. Like to read all about your job with tracking. Glad that so many are interested in working with this