Mossy's recovery #29 for the season took place on Sunday night, the last day of hunting. As it turned out it was not her last track of the season but we will have another post about that. A big thank you to Judy Catrett, Mossy's owner and handler from Georgia, who reported:
The hunter had shot a doe quartering to him and had found blood and hair, 3 foot diameter area, at the site of the shot. The most hair I had ever seen at a shot site. Mossy tracked the blood trail easily into the woods and through a swamp for 200 yards with visible blood being seen by me as we tracked. She then tracked for another 600 yards, total of 800 yards, with me seeing no blood the last 600 yds. Craig was with us on this track, having stayed at the truck, so I called for him to pick us up and let Mossy start over. She again tracked 200 yards, but at this point went in a different direction than our initial track and within 100 yards, I began seeing blood again. She tracked for 300 more yards into a clear cut with thick briars.
She jumped the deer which I could not see, but could hear. We then tracked very fast thru the briars which were chest high, with me seeing blood the entire time. I had shortened her leash to 6 feet so that she would be in no danger of again coming up on the deer without me seeing it and being hurt by the deer. Within 100 yards, the deer had bedded again and was unable to jump up and run. I was able to dispatch the deer with my pistol.
This deer had sustained an open wound to the left side of its abdomen and had run 600 yards per GPS from the shot site with its stomach and intestines hanging out. I really had empathy for the suffering this deer had already endured and was so glad that Mossy had found it so that its misery could be shortened. Evidently, no major arteries had been hit and the deer could have lived for a while longer had we not found it. The deer had made several turns, so I am not sure how far she actually was able to run with this massive injury, probably 700-800 yards as GPS showed 600 yds straight line. Deer are very tough animals, being able to exert this type of energy with this injury.
There were 5 other deer in the field when this deer was shot, and I assume that Mossy, in her haste to find the wounded deer, took the track of one of the other deer initially after 200 yards. I knew after 800 yards and no blood that we were probably on the wrong track, so we tried again and she straightened herself out. She is still very young in her tracking career, and things of this type are to be expected. She continues to excel in her tracking abilities.
The picture is not pretty with all of the blood involved and Craig burst out laughing when he saw me in the picture. He said I honestly looked like I had been dragged through a swamp. Mossy was the only one who endured this track without any change of her looks. She is always rewarded with the tongue once she finds the deer. She swallowed this tongue whole, but is doing fine this morning. Could not believe that she just gulped it down as she normally chews them. She also supplied heart for supper for herself, Pache, Tiny Tink, and Buddy. Her sibs love having her around so that they can all feast on heart when she comes home from tracking--something they have come to expect when we get home from a track.