Search This Blog

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Chuck Collier's mission to change tracking regulations in Michigan

We wrote about Chuck Collier from Hillman, Michigan a year ago. Chuck, who is a State Trooper and member of United Blood Trackers, has been working hard to change tracking regulations in Michigan. As it is now no weapons can be carried, day or night, during tracking. Tracking is allowed at night but only with lights that can be carried in the hand. No tracking of elk is allowed with a dog. Chuck is trying to modify the regulations, and today there was an article on these issues posted at click here. We wish Chuck good luck as his battle is not over yet.

Wildlife officials consider plan to help hunters find mortally wounded game

By The Grand Rapids Press

January 31, 2010, 7:25AM
Victor Skinner | The Grand Rapids Press
LANSING -- State wildlife officials might adopt changes to how wounded deer, elk and bear are tracked in a move designed to recover more wounded animals.

The Natural Resources Commission soon might allow hunters to use licensed trackers and their dogs to help blood track deer, elk and bear to put down the mortally wounded animals.

The commission has reviewed and amended a proposal raised by State Trooper Chuck Collier, a professional tracker, several times and is expected to take action on some form of the measure next month.

“The main reason we do this is to recover the meat from the animal and put the animal out of its misery,” Collier said. “I’ve had a lot of support from people, even anti-hunters.”

He said other states, including New York, have similar laws that allow professional trackers to help hunters recover game animals, and his proposal loosens rules that restrict the use of weapons and lights.

State regulations allow the use of leashed dogs to find wounded animals, but those tracking cannot carry a gun while doing so.

The new blood tracking measure would allow pros to help hunters find mortally wounded game using dogs and allow hunters to carry a gun afield to finish the animal, during the day and at night.

The new regulation also would ensure trackers pass a state-approved test, contact area law enforcement before and after each track, pass a criminal history check, possess a concealed weapons permit and abide by other safety measures, Collier said.

Collier said permitting only the hunter, not the tracker, to finish a wounded animal complicates tracking efforts, especially after dark, but added he is “thankful that we are allowed to have some means to put the animal down” under the proposed regulations.

Collier, whose 2-year-old dachshund has helped recover 26 deer and three bear, is one of about 10 professional trackers in the state, he said.

NRC member John Madigan said the regulation change specifically would benefit older or younger hunters who have a harder time tracking wounded animals.

The NRC has mulled the proposal for several months, Madigan said, and likely will take action on it at the panel’s Feb. 4 meeting in Lansing.

The commission, however, still is studying the proposal, including when a hunter can load his or her weapon while with the tracker and the definition of a “mortally wounded” animal.

“The commission is very concerned we have qualified people (tracking) and it’s not misused by poachers,” Madigan said. “That’s why we are taking our time and drafting these regulations carefully.”

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What do tracking dachshunds do in winter?


Hunt rabbits (Billy)

Snooze (Mischa)

Take over their owners' bed (Chris Barr's Gerti)

Take over their owners' treadmill (Robert Rubie's Mirabel)

Look for gators in Florida (Susanne Hamilton's Buster)

Socialize (John with Joeri, Elli and Billy)

Have puppies

Enjoy snow


Get a lot of rest! (Joeri and Elli)

Friday, January 29, 2010

January track for Andy and Ruby

Andy Pedersen from MD writes:
Ruby was too enthusiastic when I tried to start her on this doe - she went trailing another deer that was in the group. After the correction, she locked on. The track was not difficult, but it was good to get her back onto the real thing...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A nice buck recovered by A.J. Niette and his tracking dog Jake

The picture shows A.J. Niette from Alabama, his tracking dog Jake and the buck they have recovered. Jake is a Kemmer Cur/Treeing Walker cross. We wrote about A.J. Niette before, and you can learn more about this highly successful bloodtracker on his website.

A.J. wrote:

"This is an Alabama buck that we found yesterday afternoon. The deer was shot Monday at 7:30 a.m. and we got there around 3pm. It took Jake 45 mins. to find and bay him. This is a nice deer for Alabama. Don`t know how old this deer was but it had to be 5 years was a big deer."

Monday, January 25, 2010

The dog who learned to be brave - Sherif du Bellerstein 1981-1995 "Max"

by John Jeanneney © 1995

Max, my principal tracking dog from 1984 to 1994, died on June 24, 1995, after a long and productive life. He was a dog of many misfortunes, and one of these was to work in the shadow of his predecessor Clary von Moosbach. Still he acquitted himself well. He found 51 deer and was a back-up dog on many more. He grew in character throughout his life. Perhaps, his greatest strength was to never stop growing. He taught me how much I did not know about dogs. When dogs are concerned, there is no rule that does not have its exception. The greatest tribute I can give Max is to tell the story of his life.

* * * * * *

Max was born in Alsace, an eastern province of France that has a strong Germanic tradition, particularly when it comes to hunting and hunting dogs. His breeder, Hubert Stoquert, who was a leading blood tracker in France, took one of his good bitches, Pensee du Bellerstein, across the Rhine and bred her to Gebrauchsieger Cyrus von den Breitenbacher-Alpen, a stud who had been awarded the title of best working dachshund in the Deutscher Teckelklub for 1980. Max, or Sherif du Bellerstein as he was registered, was a big puppy who threatened to grow oversize by Deutscher Teckelklub standards. I like big dogs for blood tracking in the United States, which is one reason why M. Stoquert sent the puppy to me.

Max came off the plane from France in fine shape, a good-looking, friendly pup, five months old, with a gray, salt and pepper coat that would just get him by in the stern judging ring of the cocklebur patch. Max looked like he would make a good working dog, and that was what I wanted him for. It turned out to be a long wait for that working dog, but finally he became a true "Gebrauchshund", literally a useful dog. If anyone had told me how it would happen, I would not have believed them.

I drove Max home from the Kennedy Airport, and then had to leave almost immediately again for Long Island to teach my classes. Max seemed so much at ease and at home that my wife of the time, Mary Lou, opened the back door and let him out for a stroll up the hill and into the woods with Eda, another of our dachshunds. After about twenty minutes Eda returned -- without Max. Darkness came and puppy Max was still out. By this time I was roaring back up the parkway to Dutchess County. I spent the whole night in the woods, checking every hole and every thicket for a mile in every direction. There were several old farm dumps in the area with massive foundations, which contained everything from tractor tires and truck carcasses to bed springs and broken toilet bowls. I heard only one little sound which might have been Max. There was really nothing to go on, nothing to justify bringing in heavy equipment to dig or move tons of heavy junk.

Max should have shown up somewhere, but he didn't. Forty-eight hours after losing this puppy, I was eating a very solemn breakfast after a second night of listening in the silent woods. There was a whimper on the back porch; I opened the door and Max tumbled in, beside himself with fear and confusion. He rolled on his back peeing a cascade of humiliation all over himself and the floor. From then on Max's puppy good cheer was gone. When approached, he cowered and urinated in abject submission. Puppy Max would go for a walk, but he stayed closely at my side. Later he began to trail cottontails, but at the first heavy cover or possibility of getting lost, he would quit and come back to me. Any experienced dog person would have said that something was wrong, genetically wrong. There was basis for such a judgment. The whole situation should have been avoided, but a psychologically strong young dog should have been able to survive the experience without being emotionally shattered. As I worked with Max I hoped for the best, but hoping did not help very much.

At 12 months we tried blood tracking training. Max wanted to follow me on the tracking leash instead of taking the lead. Later, when he had made some faltering progress, he still found it overwhelmingly difficult to make a decision, to take responsibility. At a check on a training bloodline, a right angle or a fork in the trail, Max would turn and come back to me. Placing his paws on my knee, he would ask with his eyes, “Now what do I do?" Max was not the confident, take charge dog that I wanted for blood tracking. Fortunately, during those years I had such a dog in Clary who was winding up her career in a blaze of glory.

But when Clary was gradually disabled by mini-strokes in 1985, it was Max who somehow had to be moved up from a distant number two spot to take deer calls. He was the best dog that I had, and he had a very good nose, but I knew that he lacked the concentration and strength of will to handle the tough ones. I propped him up emotionally and we did the best we could. On two occasions I had to call in a better dog to find the deer. We did find some deer; we got lucky with easy calls, and we lost other deer that I knew a top dog would have found. We survived, but it was not until Max was seven that the breakthroughs began to come, and Max began to succeed on the tough ones in spite of himself.

Success, arising from our sheer dumb persistence more than anything else, began to transform this dog. At the age of eight, long, long after most unsuccessful dogs are "culled off" to pet homes, Max began to take pride in himself and the deer that he found. His submission wetting finally stopped. For a half hour he would hammer away at a check, a difficult gap in a wounded deer's trail, never gambling, never moving out until he was absolutely sure of where the deer in question had gone. He seldom looked brilliant; he tended to made hard work out of whatever he did, but he got the job done. His confidence now permitted him to use his intelligence. He began to pick dead-end backtracks where the deer doubles back and then leaves the trail. Capability on this sort of check is one of the distinctions between the good and the very good blood tracker.

Strangely, progress in blood tracking did not make him a better field trial dog. Max evolved into a good field champion who won two Best in Trials in 1984, but he did this before he "arrived" as a blood tracker. I have no good explanation for why his field trial performance declined as he reached his blood tracking prime. Generally, a very good blood tracker will be a very good field trial dog, but Max's whole career seemed the exception to sound generalizations.

Max did become lost again in December of 1991. He survived for eleven days outdoors in bitter cold temperatures before we found him in good physical and emotional condition. That is another long story, but he probably lived on the carcass of the deer that he was tracking.

What reflected even more clearly the rise of Max's self-esteem was the belated rise of his courage. Max came out of his puppyhood trauma a cowardly dog. When he was two years old and weighed twenty-five pounds he confronted a ten pound possum in a brush pile. Possums growl and gape, displaying a mouth full of fearsome teeth, but possums are all hollow bluff and collapse like a chilled soufflé if stressed. Max barked and bluffed back at the possum, but he was the one to lose the bluffing contest and withdraw.

Now any informed dog person knows that canine courage is largely innate and genetically programmed. It can be modified to some degree by environment, but once a dog is an adult, his character and personality are pretty well fixed. However, Max did not know anything about these well established rules of canine psychology. In a sense, Max learned to be brave. He was able to learn to be brave because pride in his work swallowed up his fear.

His first challenge occurred when tracking dog Max found himself alone in an oil drum with a raccoon almost as large as he was. The oil drum, with entrances cut at each end, had once been a rabbit feeder at our beagle club. It had been bulldozed into the middle of a pile of stumps, and there Max, who may have thought he was chasing a rabbit, found himself face to face with a raccoon in a position where I could give him no assistance. In the oil drum it sounded like pure hell, but after five minutes it was the raccoon that fled from the drum and climbed a tree. Max came out of the vet's office with 28 stitches.

The next incident involved a rabid raccoon which Max encountered in the open in broad daylight. The French call rabies "la rage", and this coon was demonic in its fury. He would not tree and kept attacking Max as they fought down a long hedgerow. When I arrived at the scene of the uproar, Max and the coon were fighting head to head and there was blood everywhere. We put the coon away together.

The third challenge means the most to me because it involves our blood tracking. I was three weeks out of the hospital after an operation and not too sure of how I would hold up on a long, tough call. Max was twelve, but certainly in better shape than I was on that warm, sultry November afternoon. After long labors we located the buck, got him out of his bed, and the race was on with the bowhunter and his bow right behind me. It was not a very fast race; everyone was tired, and then the brewing storm broke and the rain lashed down. At last we could drink, but I could not see a thing with the rain driving into my glasses. We were crossing an overgrown field, and suddenly there was the buck. I could not see him down right in front of us until Max grabbed his haunch and the buck gave Max a terrific whack with a hind hoof which rolled him several yards. Then the buck was on his feet, and Max was also right side up and following. There are dogs that would have quit at this point. The deer went down twice more in a half mile and at the third down we ended it.

Max had remained a puppy for a long time, but he made up for it at the other end as he lived to the age of fourteen. He was still a useful dog in the field at thirteen, doing honorable back-up work and finding one deer that was too difficult for the younger dogs. His last years were his finest with the steep decline coming near the very end. This is a dog I admire and will remember. We try to make our brave dogs part of us.

Max's last deer

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mike and Tank are off to a great start!

We got this report from Sian Kwa, who is a breeder of Tank, the puppy owned by Mike Monroe. Mike lives in Florida but he hunts in South Carolina. It is great to see dachshunds being taking seriously by hunters!

Mike and Tank with his first recovery

In Mike's own words:
"On September 24 or so I picked up my puppy from Sian Kwa, he was eight weeks old. The next week I took him to my hunting club in South Carolina; 'Tank' was nine weeks old then. An older man in my club came to me saying he had a deer down and requested help in tracking him.

I went to the shot site and found a small amount of blood spatter. A very sparse trail from that. I went back to my camper, picked up 'Tank' and took him to the site. After a few minutes of calming him down he picked up the trail. After about fifteen minutes he had located his first deer. Keep in mind he was nine weeks old.

The next week there my hunting partner shot a large doe near the spine. We had no blood and it had started to rain slightly. I looked 'Tank' in the face and told him I had nothing to work with. He looked at me as if he understood what I had said. I put him down where the shot had been made. Tank nosed around about a minute then started working in a semi circle fashion. My partner said the deer had gone that way.

We let him work for a little over a hundred yards and into some very thick gall berry brush. It was so thick that I had to crawl behind the dog. In about fifteen yards, we found the fletched 1/3rd of the arrow. We quit the trail to give the deer time to die. We went back the next morning and trailed the deer until I decided the deer had not died quickly or was still alive.

The first week end of December my wife and I went back to my club to hunt the end of a storm front. At about 5:30 pm I shot a doe, which was quartering to me. I got about twenty inches of penetration. The deer left with my arrow. About ten minutes later a second doe walked in. I shot this one full broad side, with a complete pass through. I had good blood and some gut material at the site, however, I had no blood after that. My wife does not like to search after dark, and with the gut material present I decided to back out and wait til the next day.

I went back to the site at about 10:30 am and put 'Tank' down where I last saw the deer. We had a NW wind of about 12 mph, so we cross winded that. Tank went down a well used deer trial for about forty yards, made a hard right turn and walked right to the downed deer. Keep in mind; I had no blood whatsoever to start him on.

My wife started walking the edge of the swamp the second deer went into. She located three drops of blood. I put 'Tank' on that. 'Tank' started toward the first deer site again due to the wind. When I realized what he was doing I picked him up and went back to the blood.

This time; 'Tank' went into some brush following a lightly used trail. We had gone about eighty yards. For some reason 'Tank' stopped and made a circle to his left, went through the same brush as before, walking right to the downed deer. This is a twelve week old puppy! He had found two deer that had been shot fifteen hours prior. All I can say is 'Thanks for a champ of a dog'.

We are now one week from Christmas. I shot another large doe, with a compete pass through. I had good blood at the site, and fairly good blood initially, but it was spread out after that due to the speed with which the deer left when shot. I went back to camp for 'Tank' and some help. We were in a swamp about a fourth of a mile from my truck. I put 'Tank' down and let him start to work. In just a matter of a few seconds he was off at a rapid pace. We found the deer in about fifteen minutes or less. I probably could have found the deer, but it would have taken at least an hour and a half to do it.

The next day, one of the men in the club who trains bird dogs came to me and said " I have been in this club for over twenty years, and have seen a lot of people bring in what they call trail dogs. But, that dog of yours is the best I have ever seen. He truly loves what he does".

As of now January 10th, 2010 'Tank' has found seven of the deer I have put him on. One I did not go into, and one did not die or walked until she did, the third involves inexperience on my part and 'Tank's'. He is now a little over five months old. I can only imagine what he will do in a couple of years."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Upcoming blood tracking workshop (UBT Trackfest) in Michigan

United Blood Trackers will hold its Trackfest 2010 on May 15, 16, and 17, 2010 in Marshall Michigan. Marshall is 35 miles north of the point where Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana come together. On Saturday and Sunday there will be both classroom presentations and field work. Monday will be reserved for those individuals wishing to test their dogs on the UBT I or UBT II. Further details will be coming out soon.

John and I are co-founders of United Blood Trackers, the organization dedicated to promoting resource conservation through the use of trained tracking dogs in the ethical recovery of big game. UBT supports recovery efforts afield, the education of hunters, the training and testing of dog handlers and their dogs, and legislative efforts to promote blood tracking.

UBT fulfills its mission by:
  • Making hunters and future handlers aware of how a good tracking dog can reduce the loss of big game.
  • Providing support to handlers training their dogs.
  • Encouraging our members to assist hunters with lost game recovery afield.
  • Sharing information and advice with those who seek to establish the legal and ethical use of tracking dogs in their own states.
  • Sponsoring testing opportunities for those who would like to document the capabilities of their dogs.
  • Organizing blood tracking workshops as a means of promoting excellence and encouraging fellowship among members.
Check out United Blood Trackers website at To see pictures from previous events go to

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Upcoming workshop in North Carolina

On March 12-14, 2010 the Fun Follows Function workshop will be held in the Raleigh area, North Carolina. This is going to be the third workshop of this kind. I attended the first one in 2008 and found it highly educational and entertaining too. According to the organizers ( Sian Kwa-Hopfensperger her husband Matt, Donna and Hal Schafer) "the workshop was initially set up in 2008 with the idea of promoting and preserving the hunting Dachshund or Teckel by offering information about the breed in English from the most knowledgeable and experienced sources. We have been inviting European hunters who did an outstanding job presenting the different tasks of hunting Dachshunds in Europe. These tasks were explained further through the outdoor exercises and training with the dogs". More about the mission of the workshop is given at the workshop website at

The schedule is listed as follows:

Friday March 12, 2010 FOX DEN TRIAL

DOG TRAINING & TEST DAY focused around hunting in fox and badger dens with earthdogs. Practice and test are open to all earthdogs: Terriers and Dachshunds.

Saturday March 13, 2010 AFTER THE SHOT how to successfully recover shot deer

In order to be a successful team in recovering shot deer with a tracking dog, it is imperative to gain knowledge regarding tracking deer in general. We recommend for all blood trackers to attend the Saturday seminar prior to the dog training on Sunday.

SEMINAR DAY covering the tricks of the trade what deer hunters need to do after the shot, in order to improve the chances in finding shot deer.

Sunday March 14, 2010 BLOOD TRACKING with dogs

DOG TRAINING DAY entirely dedicated to the blood tracking practice with dogs for recovering large wounded game. The training is open to all hunting breeds.

For information about instructors click here.

You can see pictures that I took in 2008 at

Attendance highly recommended!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Zeus' first real tracking experiences

Zeus is a wirehaired dachshund puppy owned by Patrick McCaffrey from Columbus, Ohio. He was born on September 9, 2009, so now he is four months old. His parents are Perfect Tiller owned by Jeff Springer and our Billy.

When Zeus was 13 weeks old we got this e-mail from Jeff:

"Just got off the phone with Pat McCaffery about Zeus's first deer track. Pat has been working Zeus on deer liver tracks successfully. One of his friends called to ask for some help tracking the deer he had shot. So he decided to take Zeus but almost half apologies about bringing a 13 week old pup out. Anyway Zeus got on track and went the wrong way. Pat was now getting real embarrassed, but his friend said he's going right back to where I shot the deer. OK, they now get Zeus head the right way and he takes off. Good blood sign runs out and Zeus is still on track but no deer. Pat feels that they missed the trail and takes Zeus back to the last sign. What do you think Zeus does...goes on the same trail. Now Pat picks him up and the two of them start a grid search, not finding anything. They decide to check out where Zeus was headed in the first place and there is the deer within 25 yards of where Zues was picked up Twice!"

Last week Pat sent few pictures with this report:

"I have been training my 4 month old dachshund, Zeus to track deer. We have done basic obedience training and several liver and blood lines. He is a quick learner on the things that matter to him. For example, he hasn't completely mastered potty-training, but he can follow a scent trail with little difficulty.

We were hunting Ohio's January muzzleloader season. I got a call from Matt, a new hunter, who was hunting with me on my farm that he had just shot at a doe at "over 150 yards" and that he thought he'd missed, because the deer "ran out of the field with its tail up." He said he had a good steady rest, and I knew the gun was accurate as it belonged to me and I had sighted it in. I told him to wait twenty minutes until I got there with my dog, Zeus, and we would look for signs of a hit.

There was a foot of snow, which would seem to make tracking a breeze, but there were new and old deer tracks all over the field. We cast around with the dog looking for fresh tracks or blood, but could not find any. At one point, Matt asked me what all the hair on the ground was from. I looked to where he was pointing and told him it was cut deer hair probably from his deer, as no other had been shot in this field. The distance was 86 yards from where he shot. Still, there was no blood and the tracks were confusing.

I led Zeus to the hair and off he went. This time, I let him lead the way without any input from me. Within 30 yards, I saw sprayed blood on both sides of the track, so I guessed a double lung shot. Zeus led us into the woods and a dead deer. He was so intent on the track that he bumped into the deer before he saw it. Zeus is an extraordinarily well-socialized and friendly dog, but he was going to bite Matt when he tried to touch "Zeus' deer." I let him lick and chew the deer for about 10 minutes and then we packed the deer out. We would have found this deer on our own, but I can't believe that this little peanut of a puppy is able to do it already. Obviously, his dad, Billy and mom, Tilly, have given him some wonderful genes.

After I carried the deer back on my four wheeler, I had to chase after Zeus for the next two days because he was so set on following the dripping blood trail left from carrying the deer on the atv. It's amazing to me how competent this dog is at doing his job, even as inexperienced as I am as a trainer. The book has been my Bible. Thanks so much to John, Jolanta and Jeff Springer."

Pat, I am so glad to hear that Zeus is doing well. This puppy is getting great experience in the field. Hope to meet you one day!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Randy Vick, Lil' Brown and Annie - a tracking team from Georgia

Few weeks ago Randy Vick from Georgia sent us a nice letter along with pictures. We wrote about Randy before . His two tracking dogs are Lil' Brown, a Bavarian Mountain Bloodhound, and Annie, a Kemmer Stock Mountain Cur.

"Dear Mr. John and Ms. Jolanta,
Here are some pictures of Lil' Brown and Annie. They are both doing great, though they have completely different tracking styles. Brown is as laid back as they come, almost doesn't need a lead. He's pretty good in the water (lots of flooded timber and creeks here). At the age of 3, he has several 16-18 hr successful tracks.

My Kemmer Stock Mountain Cur, Annie, (Osteen's Yellow Anne) is 5 years old and is the star tracker now. She pulls hard on track and can handle 6-8 hour old tracks. She will wind a deer exceptionally well and when released will bay a live or dead deer and stay with it until you arrive.

The picture of Brown was a "practice" track that turned into a four hour adventure. We jumped the deer on an island in waist deep water and later found it floating in the river. It score 158+ B.+C. points. The guys were proud of Brown, who swam along and came out of the water right on the trail.

Lil' Brown with Randy Vick and Larry Williams (hunter)

The pictures of Annie (below) are from a six hour old track that was 1.25 mile of going down the creek and looping back across his own track (3 times), picking up another deer to run with (when the deer split up, Annie stayed with the right deer) across open fields and grown-up cut-overs, until finally we found the deer in this swampy area. Needless to say, Charlie thought Annie was the greatest.

Have taken about 50 calls so far and recovered 21 deer. I try to split calls between dogs and still have 2 weeks in Georgia and 2 months in Florida."

Charlie Hester with Randy Vick's Annie

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Iowa Bill allowing the use of leashed dog to retrieve a wounded deer

Below you will find the the text of the House Bill #2009 introduced in the Iowa Legislature. Iowa is a big deer hunting state, and it is a move in a right direction. For the Bill history click here.

House File 2009



1 An Act allowing the use of a leashed dog to retrieve a wounded
2 deer and providing a penalty.
TLSB 5061HH (8) 83


1 1 Section 1. NEW SECTION. 481A.56A Retrieval of wounded deer
1 2 by leashed dogs.
1 3 A person having a valid hunting license and a valid deer
1 4 hunting license who has wounded a deer while hunting may use
1 5 a dog to locate and retrieve the wounded animal. The hunter
1 6 or any person in the company of the hunter shall not possess a
1 7 firearm or bow while using a dog in this manner and shall have
1 8 control of the dog by leash at all times during the search.
1 9 The commission shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 17A to
1 10 implement this section.
1 11 Sec. 2. Section 805.8B, subsection 3, paragraph c, Code
1 12 Supplement 2009, is amended to read as follows:
1 13 c. For violations of sections 481A.6, 481A.21, 481A.22,
1 14 481A.26, 481A.50, 481A.56, 481A.56A, 481A.60 through 481A.62,
1 15 481A.83, 481A.84, 481A.92, 481A.123, 481A.145, subsection 3,
1 16 sections 483A.7, 483A.8, 483A.23, 483A.24, and 483A.28, the
1 17 scheduled fine is twenty=five dollars.
1 19 This bill creates new Code section 481A.56A to allow a hunter
1 20 with a valid hunting license and deer hunting license who
1 21 wounds a deer while hunting to use a dog to locate and retrieve
1 22 the wounded animal. The hunter or any person in the company of
1 23 the hunter shall not possess a firearm or bow while using a dog
1 24 in this manner and shall have control of the dog by leash at
1 25 all times during the search. The natural resource commission
1 26 shall adopt rules pursuant to Code chapter 17A to implement
1 27 this provision.
1 28 A violation of the new provision is punishable by a scheduled
1 29 fine of $25.
LSB 5061HH (8) 83
Support the Iowa Bill allowing blood tracking with leashed dogs. I am reposting John's message from a year ago about most common objections raised about the legalization of blood tracking dogs.

In the states where it is still illegal to use tracking dogs for the recovery of wounded big game, the following objections are used most often:

Complaint: The availability of dogs to find wounded deer will encourage hunters to take long and irresponsible shots.

Reply: No one ever argued that the use of retrievers would encourage duck and goose hunters to take long, “sky-busting” shots.

Complaint: The use of tracking dogs will terrorize deer and drive them out of the area.

Reply: The dogs work silently on a long leash and they are trained to track only the designated wounded deer. Guides and outfitters use tracking dogs successfully on their leases when they have much to lose if they spook deer out of the area.

Complaint: Dogs and deer hunting don’t mix. The use of tracking dogs violates our hunting traditions.

Reply: Tracking dogs are not used to hunt deer. They are brought in after the hunt to find wounded deer that would otherwise be lost.

Complaint: It is the responsibility of the hunter to find his own wounded deer, not rely on a dog and handler to do it for him.

Reply: Are you really saying that it is better to leave a wounded deer to suffer, die and be wasted, than to use a tracking dog when there is no blood sign to follow and eye tracking has failed?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Great tracking season for Greg Accardo and his two dachshunds

We got these GREAT pics and report from Greg Accardo who tracks wounded deer with two wirehaired dachshunds - Ariel and her son Axel. Ariel was bred by Andy Bensing and Axel vom Feliciana is out of Greg's breeding. Greg and his two dogs are having a fantastic tracking season. Congratulations Greg!

Greg wrote:

"The pic with the three bucks was taken on 1/03/10. The big buck to the left was shot on Friday, 1st of 2010. The other two bucks were shot on Saturday, 2nd. Hunters called me on the 2nd and was not able to get there until Sunday, 3rd. We tracked all 3 bucks that morning with Ariel and Axel using the Garmin Astro.

The last pic (below) with me and the dogs was taken last Sunday, the 10th of January. That was a 24 hour old track where the buck was shot in the rear of the gut with very little sign. On top of that, the ground was frozen solid due to a hard freeze the night before. But again the dogs locked down on what scent they had and went right to him about 200 yds away. This club is archery hunting only. They called me out 4 times to track 6 different deer and we found 5. So far this year we have 9 finds, 3 still alive and bayed up by the dogs, and we still have 3 weeks of deer hunting left.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Deer Search and the 2nd Amendment Advocacy Day in Albany, NY

Today is the 2nd Amendment Advocacy Day in the NY State legislature in Albany. Deer Search has a booth at this event, and John and several Deer Search members are attending the event. For the last two days I worked on getting two display boards ready.

The first board is on Deer Search

The second board message deals with the issue of firearms and this is what the text on the board says:

"The Deer Search experience has revealed another reason why firearms, and especially handguns, are a necessity in modern, civilian life. Deer Search has a reason to reject the theory that today the Second Amendment on the right to bear arms refers only to the descendants of a “well regulated militia”.

When Deer Search handlers are called upon to tracked wounded deer and bear, quick, reliable shots are occasionally needed to stop an aggressive wounded animal. The photos show what can happen when a handgun is not accessible.

At all times Deer Search handlers are ready to shoot a mortally wounded deer to end its suffering and secure the meat for the hunter."

Pictures at the bottom of the right panel show what can happen when a wounded buck charges a tracking team. In this case it was John and Sabina who were injured, and you can read about this incident in the second part of the article on Sabina

Saturday, January 9, 2010

On the Scent: Missing dachshund turns itself in at lost-and-found

This story was posted few days ago on Spiegel Online International website:

Homing pigeons can famously find their way home over long distances, and there have been many reported instances of lost cats turning up at their owners' houses. But one dachshund in Bredstedt, a small town in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, showed herself to be even smarter than those animal navigators. She turned herself in at the local lost-and-found office.

The exhausted dog, who bears the somewhat aristocratic name of Druse vom Höllengrund, entered the municipal building where the lost-and-found office is located just after it opened for the day and lay down in front of the elevator, local officials told the German news agency DPA on Tuesday. A receptionist alerted staff from the lost-and-found office to the pooch's presence.
A local hunter who happened to be in the building recognized the clever canine, which had apparently got lost during a fox hunt on Saturday after losing the quarry's scent. Druse was reunited with her owner soon thereafter.

It feels good to be appreciated

Eddie Wiliamson made our day yesterday by sending us this e-mail:

"Dear John and Jolanta,

I just wanted to drop a line and tell you I appreciate all your efforts in promoting tracking. Your book and blog are wonderful teaching tools. Last September I contacted several of people on your blog that had litters and they were all very helpful, and after several conversations I decided I wanted a bigger dog. Being a Pastor and a Christian I truly believe it is our job to steward and take care of to the best of our ability Gods gift of animals therefore, the reason I became interested in blood tracking and the reason I took on a stray walker hound a veterinarian that attends our church had come across. After reading and rereading John's book and numerous blog posts and exercising patience Kaiah is starting to really get it. Thanks again for all of your efforts. Eddie

Eddie and Kaiah

And just few days ago we received this nice message from Jack Kale, who is also a Pastor.

"Jolanta and John,

First of all, thank you for the years you have put into this amazing book and sport. I just got the book in the mail yesterday and haven't been able to put it down. I bought a puppy from Barb Wills (at your reference) about six weeks ago. I have done one line trail with him each week and I am having more fun that I ever imagined. As a bowhunter, I think developing a tracking dog/relationship is as fun as learning to shoot a bow.

Secondly, I appreciate your insights into the condition of the hunter who can't find his/her deer. In Chapter 15, pg 246 you said "Hunters, who have wounded and lost a deer, are not in a "normal" state of mind. Be tactful. Don't lecture or preach." That simple tidbit spoke to me in a deep and personal way. I am a pastor in the United Methodist Church, and have found your insights to be very pastoral and personal. Thank you.

Thirdly, as an educated man, I appreciate that this book is filled with history and practice that is well written and erudite. Thank you.


There is no deeper sense of satisfaction for me than the knowledge that what we do matters and contributes to other people's lives in a positive way. Both the book and blog were created mainly for educational purposes so it is good to know that we are on a right track. Thank you Jack and Eddie!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Blood tracking adventures of Ryan and Oskar (standard smooth dachshund) from Indiana

I saw Ryan's post about Oskar on one of the archery forums and asked for permission to post it here. He agreed and actually expanded it. Thank you Ryan! And congratulations to awesome Oskar!

In Ryan's words:

"Thanks for letting me brag on Oskar a bit - he has been all we hoped for and more. Getting into a tracking dog has been a work in progress for us - I think I bought John's book 4-5 years ago and have read through it at least 3 times. Our research into the right dog for us has taken the last couple of years, and we couldn't be more happy with the outcome.

Oskar is a standard smooth coat dachshund from Sian Kwa's July 2009 litter. We brought him home from North Carolina to Indiana at 8 weeks old (Sian had started the pups on short blood tracks at 6 weeks) and began our serious training with him right away. We used a combination of techniques from John's book and advice from Sian to direct his training. We were very pleasantly surprised with his progress (this is our first experience training a blood tracking dog), and he was soon working artificial lines up to 300 yards long with several 90 degree turns.

Oskar at 9 weeks

Oskar tracked his first deer at 12 weeks - a doe I harvested in the early Indiana archery season - and took to it like a champ.

Throughout the fall/winter he has tracked a total of 12 fatally wounded bowshot deer (with 12 recoveries), 6 of which were easy tracks - 30-70 yards long, 4 were moderate difficulty - 200-300 yards long, and 2 were difficult - 500 and 800 yards long. The last two deer would likely not have been found without the dog. Not bad for a 5 month old pup!

He also tracked one non-fatally hit deer (brisket shot) and was pulled from the track at 200 yards upon confirmation of the non-fatal injury. One unknown track was attempted for a gun hunter that did not know hit location and had 2 small spots of visible blood and only minimal knowledge of the flight path of the deer. This track was a non-starter.

Oskar's final track of the year was a real eye opener for me with 25 years of serious archery experience and participation in probably 80-100 blood trailing situations without a dog. I shot a good sized doe - hit looked good, maybe just a tad back, but a solid passthrough shot in the ribs with a big 160 grain Snuffer on a 7 yard broadside deer. Gave her a couple of hours to be sure, then went back with a two helpers and Oskar. Figured this would be a simple 75-100 yard track in the snow, then load her up and bring her home.

We started the track at approx 10 degrees F in several inches of snow and a very high deer traffic area about 3 h after the hit. Tracking went well with moderate blood for the first 75 yards, then got into a tall (3-5 ft) grass field and things became interesting. Two hours later we had found 6-8 wound beds with decreasing blood and covered around 450 yards of trail in the grass field before the dog took me across a county road. After the first approx 150 yards in the grass the blood was very spotty, even in the snow. After crossing the road I heard the deer jump and go off - keep in mind I had watched the (shaving sharp) Snuffer tipped arrow go through her ribs several hours before this.

Oskar started tracking hot at this point and we took her another 200 yards and came upon her bedded down 10 yards away, still alive. We are not allowed to carry a weapon when tracking with a dog so at this point things were at a dead end. After 20-30 min the doe jumped up and ran into the timber. Assessment of the wound bed showed only a couple of spots of blood and no visible blood on the flight path.

I decided to back out at that point, and my helpers convinced me that I had a non-fatal hit (shoulder or back) and that the deer would live. I was very pleased with Oskar's performance on this track considering that my previous working dog experience (beagles) has convinced me that scenting becomes problematic around 10 degrees F and below. He also maintained focus and drive for the entire track of several hours in these temperature and snow cover conditions.

That night I kept thinking about the situation and I was convinced that this deer was mortally wounded - I knew what I saw at the hit. I went back in the morning with Oskar and put him in the deer's last bed. There was an additional 1-1.5 inches of new snow, so there was no visible trail, but he tracked directly to the dead deer approx 75-100 yards further into the timber. The coyotes took one hind quarter, but I salvaged the rest of the deer and got closure for myself (and Oskar) on the track.

This is a virtually unbelievable situation to me - the deer was hit 3-4 inches forward of the diaphragm through the chest and there was a visible broadhead hole through the back lobe of both lungs. I can only attribute this deer living so long (around 5h) and travelling so far (approx 800 yards) to very bad luck in evidently not striking a major vessel/artery in the back of the lungs.

The top picture is the entry wound, and the bottom is the exit wound.

We are extremely pleased with Oskar and he is becoming a great tracker as well as a great pet and gets along well with our other dogs (rat terrier, beagle, and basset hound). The only caution I would give to prospective owners is that these dogs are definitely hunting dogs, not couch dogs, and someone expecting the stereotypical American dachshund might not be the best fit for one of these dynamos.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bill Yoder's traveling zoo includes his wirehaired dachshund Daryl

It was good to read today that Bill Yoder and his traveling zoo are doing well. I enjoyed the story posted here. Daryl is our Billy's littermate, and he has been living a very adventurous life with Bill. One of the adventures is posted at

Barry Wensel, Bill Yoder and Daryl

Friday, January 1, 2010

Congratulations to Bill Smith and Nevada; spotlit for tracking at night

This New Year Day started with e-mail from Bill Smith who reported that his wirehaired dachshund Nevada found her 45th deer today at 8:15am. The number of Nevada's recoveries is mind boggling as she is just 2.5 years old. Bill hunts and tracks a lot, and his hunting season in Virginia is very long (his Urban Archery Season goes until March 27), but still his tracking record is very impressive. Bill donates all the venison Hunters for the Hungry Program. By the way, Nevada v Moosbach-Zuzelek is a daughter of Buster and Emma.

In our recent correspondence Bill raved about the small light that he clips on Nevada's collar when she tracks at night. Susanne Hamilton loves the light as well. It is called Spotlit and is manufactured by Niteize

I picked up the light at Cabelas (search for Spotlight LED Pet Light), but you can get it at other places such as Battery Barn.