by John Jeanneney
Yesterday was the first day of our bow season and my first day of tracking at age 79. I have total confidence in my tracking dog Tommy, but I confess that I was a bit concerned about my own agility in the woods. Jolanta was even more concerned and went along so that she could call in the EMS helicopter if necessary.
I was almost relieved when I met the hunter. He was slightly younger than I am, but in considerably worse physical shape. I knew that no one was going to laugh at me in this situation. It turned out that he had brought along his own daughter/caregiver, who got along just fine with Jolanta.
Fortunately Tommy Tracker was the one who really had his act together. The start was complicated because there were no markers, and the hunter could not find any blood to verify the line. We ended up going to the "point of loss", which is not the ideal place to begin. Here there was a confusing pattern of muscle blood that had been walked over by the hunter. Tommy figured the mess out and took a line. Blood... Blood.... Then a long stretch with no blood, but I could see that Tommy was confident. "Trust your dog."
The deer was a big doe, shot quartering away with a Rage expandable broadhead. We had hoped for a one-lunger at least, but had seen nothing but muscle blood. As you know, Rage broadheads have been know to deflect along a rib cage. The doe never laid down, but after a quarter mile in very dense cover, I could tell by Tommy's body language that he had jumped her. The hunter also found a drop of blood, which laid any doubts to rest.
We were on the line.