This little girl, Mossy is addicted to tracking wounded deer. We received a call yesterday from a hunter who had wounded a deer 5 hours earlier that morning. There was blood at the spot that the deer was shot and an occasional drop for approx. 100 yards. Mossy tracked from the initial blood and then continued on strongly after the point of no blood. She was tracking off leash on this occasion.
She was 100 yards in front of us when she started yipping. I told the hunter, Rod, that we had to hurry to her as she had just jumped the deer. When we got to the yipping, there were two bucks trotting slowly with Mossy behind them. Rod was about 10 yards to my right and both deer stopped. The deer in the lead and the larger of the two had a broken front leg. I knew that this would be our only chance to have a shot at the wounded deer and Mossy was not close enough to be in danger, so I told Rod to shoot the one on the left. He shot and immediately said I got it. I responded, no you didn't, the wounded deer just ran off.
From Rod's view 10 yds from me, he never saw but one deer and did not understand what I saying about two deer. He did kill the 8 point in the picture, and was quite proud of it, but was upset about having wounded the other deer. We loaded the deer he killed and got it out of the area. I explained to Rod that it would be very unlikely that the wounded deer was anywhere near and that it would more than likely live with the wound I saw.
I again asked Mossy to find another dead deer. There was no blood, but I knew the direction the buck had run. It took Mossy 10 minutes to straighten the track out, but she then started strong on a track. She trailed for 600 yards at which time I called her back. I explained again to Rod that this wound would not be lethal and the deer could travel miles on 3 legs. Craig had a hunter at the plantation wound a deer last year in the same fashion. The deer was killed out of the same stand 3 weeks later. The front leg was completely severed except for being attached by hide on one side. Basically, the deer was carrying a necrotic leg which was a burden to him, but he was alive and working scrapes.
So the deer in the picture was not the wounded deer, but for some reason was with the wounded deer. Mossy took us to the wounded deer, so I consider her as having done her job. It was me who did not control the situation at that point as I should have. I have learned from this experience that in the woods 2 feet can change a persons view and that should we run into this situation again, the hunter should be very close to me.
Off leash tracking is definitely different from tracking on leash. Had Mossy been on leash I do not think that we would have ever seen the wounded deer. I think that the deer would have detected humans and would have immediately left when we got close to where it was bedded. Because of Mossy's small size, she does not intimidate the bucks and most wounded bucks do not run from her. They stand their ground and look at her. She is a distraction to the buck and the hunter is usually presented with a shot. I had the same experience with Bear due to his small size also. Mossy is intelligent enough to know that the buck could hurt her and always keeps her distance when baying, which I am very thankful for. Bear would get a little closer to the deer than I have observed with Mossy. Don't know if this is a male/female --testosterone--issue or just the difference in the two pups.
I will continue to learn from every tracking experience that Mossy and I have. I counted this as #23 as Mossy took us to the wounded deer even though the hunter shot the wrong deer. I have never tracked a wounded buck that had a healthy buck with him.
Hope you don't freeze the next few days. We are getting weather that is very cold to us, but probably considered warm by you.