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Monday, October 13, 2014

Should you always trust your dog?

Big game tracking season is in a full swing now, and one of the messages shared by many dog handlers is "Trust Your Dog". When a dog is experienced and earned your trust by all means - trust her. But when you have a young dog, without much experience in natural tracking, be careful! It is very important how you handle your dog. This short story illustrates my point of view. Hoss is just six and a half month old, and this is his first tracking season. He came from Bernard Demers' litter, and he is owned by Nathaniel Newman from Ohio. Nathaniel have put a lot of training into Hoss during summer, and this is what happened recently.

Good afternoon.  My pup Hoss and I had a good Saturday morning as we received a call from a muzzleloader hunter.  The hunter reported over the phone a 15 yard broad side shot with a ton of blood at the hit site.  After arriving at the hit site the shot turned out to be more of a 30 yard shot at a quartering deer with a decent amount of blood at the hit site with no other visible blood anywhere.  I got Hoss on the hit site and gave him the command to begin tracking. He started out and appeared very confident even though we could not find any visible sign.  He led us to a dry creek bed that contained a tremendous amount of deer sign/traffic, we followed this for about 15 yards and then I could tell he lost the track.  

Since there was no sign to confirm he was ever on the right cold track I took him back to the original hit site about 60 yards away.  He went right back on the same track he initially followed, but this time I slowed him down tremendously in hopes we both would not miss anything.  I ended up locating 3 drops of blood about the size of a pencil eraser over a span of about 50 yards which made me very excited to know he was on it.  We ended up back at the dry creek bed but this time he very eagerly climbed the bank.  He led us to a nice healthy doe about 15 yards beyond the bank of the creek.  Hoss and I were very excited and he made claim to the deer by tugging at it very aggressively.  After tying up the dog and then examining the deer, we found a high and little far back entry wound with no exit wound, which explained the lack of blood.  The slug was later found in the right rear leg by the hunter during the skinning process.  I am very happy to see my pup reap the rewards of a lot of dedicated training this spring/summer.  We absolutely cannot wait for our next Ohio tracking experience… 

Hoss' first recovery. Restarting him was critical to the final outcome.

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