Sometimes the most memorable tracks do not produce a dead deer or bear at the end. These are two examples of such tracks that were also very long. A big thank you to Chris and Pete for sharing them with us..
Chris Barr from Indiana tracks with Gerti (Gwen von Moosbach-Zuzelek), who is a 5½ year old daughter of Billy and Gilda, and the track is a direct quote from his email:
I wanted to tell you about my most recent track with Gerti which occurred this past Tuesday evening. The hunter shot a small buck at 9:00 in the morning with a head on facing chest shot. He had blood and bone fragments at the hit sight. He tracked for approximately 150 yards before losing the blood. I arrived at the hit site at about 7:00 that evening and put Gerti down at the hit. She took off immediately with no re-starts necessary. She pulled me down to the point of loss very quickly. I had not seen any blood since the first 50 yards or so but she was pulling very confidently. We continued for several hundred yards with no blood. I called back to the hunter, who was doing a great job of keeping up, that the rope “felt” the same as it had since the hit site but that I was dying for some confirmation. (I have a bad habit of not trusting Gerti sometimes). Well I finally saw some blood and I felt very confident that I could pretty much blindly trust her from that point forward.
It ended up being a 3.5 mile track where we caught up to the deer twice and I even got a shot at him the second time. He only let me get about 30 yards away. The cliff-notes version is that we were in Yellowwood State Forrest. We had no cell signal and we had to rob the batteries from my portable radios for my GPS as it had gone dead. We kept pushing the deer because I just felt (and I checked with 2 experts) that it was the right thing to do. To this point, I had never had a track where I had seen the deer and not eventually recovered it.
We finally had to make the hard decision to abandon the track. We recorded last blood with GPS coordinates and he was going to try to come back. I was honestly starting to get a little freaked out when everything battery powered we had was dying. I was concerned that if we lost our lights that we may have a long night in the woods in front of us. Temps dipped into the 20’s, and as you can imagine, we’d worked up quite a sweat.
This was without a doubt Gerti’s best track of the season. I give her credit for a “find” because she found him twice! I believe shot must have glanced down and along the brisket and hit the shoulder. I think we could have eventually walked him down. I hated to leave him.
We’ve had a frustrating season. This was only our 10th track total. We are usually in the 20’s by now. I haven’t had the local calls I’m used to and many of the UBT calls have just been too far with me working and hunting myself. This was our 3rd find and possibly Gerti’s best track ever. The total distance from the truck back to the truck was 5.5 miles….and suffice it to say there were no fields and the hills of Brown County can get steep.
When we made it home around midnight Gerti ate supper and then disappeared under a blanket with my daughter’s fiancé. Not a bad life…for me either.
Pete Martin from Kiamesha Lake, NY, wrote recently about one of his tracking adventures with Lisa von Moosbach-Zuzelek, a 9½ year old daughter of Billy and Gela.
What an unbelievable bear call on Saturday night of November 15. Took up track Sunday morning @ 7:30 am, 11 hours later. Bear was shot with .270 @ 50 yards by a 17 year old hunter. It was in Ulster County, on state land in Voor Nuy Kill area outside Ellenville.
The hit site showed moderate blood and hair. As we proceeded to track it was obvious that the bear was bleeding profusely. The hunter, his dad and uncle did excellent job tracking bear 400-500 yards, zig-zagging up and down side of steep mountainside. We passed last marker and blood. Lisa was on this track like nobody’s business. Straight down mountainside to small wet swampy area with good blood all the way.
Here comes the LONG TRACK made short. Next 4 miles up mountainsides, down steep hills, flat open hardwoods, blowdowns, streams, mountain laurel. You had to crawl on hands and knees. Lisa showed us every little blood spot you could possibly imagine, It wasn't too long, maybe one mile, I realized and explained to tracking crew we were pushing a wise old bear. We saw fresh wet blood. At start of track blood was plentiful and dark. This bear couldn’t have been that far ahead of us but just far enough we couldn't catch up. Lisa was totally vocal which indicated to me she was on very fresh scent and blood.
There were two very tough checking spots for Lisa to figure out but after 12 minutes or so she took us off in the right direction to more blood. Amazing. Some blood drops were 75 to 100 yards apart. I could not believe the strength and persistence of this bear. This bear did everything you could imagine Circled, went up and down same but different hills more than once, back tracked, bedded. Near the end blood was getting watery and weak but Lisa was right on it. The tracking crew and hunter could not believe it. At one point close to end of track someone behind me said "you have a million dollar dog -never saw anything like this before. These were experienced hunters.
Lisa never quit pulling, nose to the ground so focused and vocal. She wanted this bear so bad and knew it wasn't that far ahead of us. Still had small drops of blood going up yet another hill. Hunter’s father and uncle decided we were not going to catch up to bear, and they called off track after 4½ hrs. Everybody was completely exhausted, myself including. My only regret is that we didn't take a long break and continue to track as I thought the bear must be at his end. We were almost to the Roundout Reservoir.