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Saturday, December 31, 2011

A walk in the woods on the last day of 2011

Today I have been reminiscing about the year that in seven hours we are going to saying good-bye to. I looked at the pictures taken exactly one year ago and felt some sadness. Two dogs are no longer with us. Our beagle Rip died last May. The picture I took of him a year ago on December 31, 2010, is still one of my favorites.

Quenotte is no longer living with with us as she is with the Wilson family. Her life is to be envied - she has a chance to track wounded deer, but she is also loved and showered with affection.

How different this day is from the one a year ago! No snow and the temperature peaked today at 47F (around 8C). For me this has been the first quiet day in a long time. Our tracking/hunting season ended just 11 days ago. And then there was Christmas, which is always a busy time of the year. It was great to see family and friends that we don't get to see very often.

So today I made two trips to the woods - first with our two oldest dachshunds Asko and Elli, and then with the youngest - Summer.

Our pond today -  a little bit of ice on the surface.

FC Asko von der Drachenburg is 12.5 years old, and his age is starting to show.

FC Elli v Moosbach-Zuzelek SW is just over 10.5 years old, but she was diagnosed in Jan 2010 with congestive heart failure. Unfortunately her condition has been worsening lately.
Are you going to be with us on December 31, 2012 Elli?

Summer was born on August 4, 2011, and she is Asko's great-great-great granddaughter. Full of spunk and energy, she really enjoyed her solo walk in the woods.

Wishing Everybody a Very Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Craig Dougherty's terrific review of Dead On! on OutdoorLife blog

This year we got a really nice gift on December 23 as this is when Craig Dougherty's great review of John's book Dead On! was published on OutdoorLife blog under the title "New Book Suggests Revolutionary Approach to Blood Trailing Deer". Thank you Craig!

The review starts:

John Jeanneney tracks more wounded deer in a season than most bowhunters do in a lifetime. He is widely respected within the hunting community as one of the top trackers and blood trailing dog breeders. That’s why his recently released deer tracking book Dead On! raised more than a few eyebrows.

The book covers blood trailing and tracking from top to bottom, but one of Jeanneney’s most interesting points is that he encourages bowhunters to re-think the conventional wisdom of waiting (at least a half hour) after the shot to follow up on a deer. No more automatically sneaking out of the woods to let bowshot whitetails “lie down and stiffen up.” No more coming back after supper to pick him up.

Jeanneney admits that his “don’t wait” advice flies in the face of conventional bowhunting wisdom. Wisdom that is still taught in bowhunting education classes. But he has solid reasons for his recommendations.

To read the rest of the article click here. To purchase the book click here.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Last Day Find

by Gary Huber

Standing in my driveway, exhausted from the hunt on the last day of muzzleloader season master handler Dale Clifford said he got a call from a friend whose friend had shot a nice buck nearby.  Dale gave the call over, he needed some sleep. 

I called the hunter to see what he had. It sounded good because he had “jumped” the buck off its bed 80 yards out. The hunter begged me to come that night because he had lots of coyotes around. Who doesn’t now days?  I then called new handler Tim Pence who needed one more sortie to become a Deer Search certified handler. He agreed to meet me in the morning as soon as he could; he works third shift. We met the hunter around 11:00 am. This time the weather people where right. They said heavy rain by 7:00 am. And boy where they right, it poured hard.  The hunter was upset with us because now it was raining and all sign was gone. I told him “rain or shine”, the deer needed some time. If we came in to soon we would have pushed the deer to the next county.

The trail from the night before was marked nicely and we worked in some mature hardwoods. I chose my Dachshund “Kita’’ for the job as she is the senior dog, and Tim is used to working with Dachshunds. Tim took the trail at the hit site and handled Kita just fine. When we passed the last blood marker we hit a deep ditch. Then Kita went cold on us and started doing circles. She took on a false line for 80 yards. I decided to have Tim pick her up and go back to the marked line and give a try again. This time Kita went more to the right to the edge of the 18 mile creek gorge. We carefully walked the edge looking into the gorge. I noticed a steep deer trail going down with kicked up leaves. Well that could be from any deer traveling last night.

I scanned the river below and its banks when the hunter said to me, “doesn’t that one rock in the middle look like a deer”? Where? I asked .“There, the middle”. I saw what he was looking at and called Tim over. Tim said “it kind of does”.  I could just make out an ear sticking out of the water rushing over its body.  I asked then the hunter “I thought you said the deer you shot had a huge rack”?  I don’t see a rack! But the head is under water. It might be another deer, perhaps a doe. The hunter had bad knees so I looked at Tim. Tim said “don’t look at me, I am scared of heights and water”! So I guess it’s going to be me going down too see. I put together a rope and my tracking lead, and headed down the cliff. I had to see if that was the deer. At the bottom I had Tim yell down which way to wade across to the deer under the water. The current was getting stronger and deeper as I approached the deer. Still I could not see a rack. Standing now over the sunken deer I could make out a bullet hole. I reached under its head and lifted it up and out. “It’s a buck"!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The girl in our logo

In case you ever wondered about identity of the dog is in our logo and what happened to her - it is Wynona von Moosbach-Zuzelek. She was born on April 5, 1998, and her parents were FC Zuzelek's Gold-digging Gita SW and Upton von Moosbach-Zuzelek. The logo was done by Marilyn Wood based on Danny Horner's picture. Below is one of the latest pictures of Danny and Winnie. It is a fantastic photo - thank you Danny!

Danny Horner and a 13.5 year-old Winnie

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Gusto's track and recovery: a nine-pointer that bedded four times

Another excellent tracking story from Bob Yax, a member of Deer Search in the Finger Lakes Region. His tracking dachshund Gusto von Moosbach-Zuzelek was nine and a half years old when he did this track. Thank you Bob!

Hunter (Steve) called into the Deer Search hotline at 1:40 PM Wednesday of  November 2.   He had hit an 8 – 10pt Buck at around 8 AM that morning  from a tree stand.  He had a complete pass thru, but couldn’t find the arrow after it deflected off a rock on the other side of the deer.    Steve described the hit as a broad side hit,  low in the lung area -  a few inches behind the front leg and 4 to 5 inches up from the bottom of the deer.  With the distance and tree stand height,  it would have been a pretty level hit on the deer.   After hitting the deer,  Steve backed out immediately .  After a 3 hour wait he followed a decent trail of dark blood about 150 yds and then jumped the buck from its bed.  After finding the bed, he went a little past it and noticed that the deer was continuing to drop a little blood.  He  then backed out again and called Deer Search.    
        After hearing Steve’s call into the Deer Search answering system,  I called him back at about  5 PM on Wednesday.  After he described the circumstances,  I thought that this might be a deer we could recover.  The fact that the buck had bedded pretty quickly and that the deer was still bleeding  when he was jumped up 3 hours later,  offered some hope.   Steve not pushing this deer past the 1st bed also meant that the trail beyond would not be mucked up with the hunters' bloody boot prints.   I was concerned however that this might have been a 1 lung hit,  which in the past have proven almost impossible to find.   I had semi planned to take a vacation day on Thursday to hunt and or track, so I told Steve that I could meet him at 8:15 Thursday morning after dropping my daughter off at school.
         After meeting up with Steve Thursday morning at the Geneva Thruway exit, we drove a few miles to the farm near Phelps.   It was a cool clear morning as we walked the half mile through cut soybean fields to the hit site just inside the hardwoods.  Once at the hit site Gusto followed the dried blood trail about 40 yards to the edge of the woods and then about 75 yds across a cut soybean field.  At this point we entered a thick wooded/ brushy area where the deer had first bedded.  Gusto took us across the first bed and then past it till we came out to another cut soybean field.  On the other side of this open field was a 10 acre brushy and swampy area surrounded by standing corn and more cut soybean fields – it looked like the perfect place for the Buck to bed again.  Steve said that the area hunters treated this thick, swampy  patch as a sanctuary.    Once Gusto got about halfway across the 2nd open field he changed direction and headed to the far corner of the sanctuary where it met up with a huge standing corn field.   Since we had left the 1st bed, 100 yards behind us, I hadn’t really noticed any more blood, but once we began tracking along between the standing corn and the sanctuary, we began to notice drops on the ground and smears about 2ft up on some of the corn stalks – Gusto was definitely still on the trail! 
        At one point he did a 50 yard loop into the cornfield, but then ended up back where he started at the edge of the corn.  He continued along the edge of the sanctuary, which now became a grassy swamp.  Gusto was sometimes paddling through water about a foot deep and other times back into the grass along the edge of the swamp.  It seemed like the deer was just skirting the edge of the swamp and not going directly into it – lucky for us.  Just before we got to a thicker brushy area along the edge of the swamp the blood trail started to pick up.  The blood up off the ground was dry, but the stuff on the ground looked fresh in the wet grass.  At this point Gus started heading straight into the middle of the swamp, but then stopped and backtracked about 10 yards.  After a little searching in the area, he continued along the edge of the swamp heading to the thicker brushy area.  We again found blood going in this direction so I knew Gus was back on the trail again.  
       A few moments after entering the thick brush Gusto started barking wildly and we heard crashing.  I was behind a large bush, but Steve saw the flash of the Buck as it took off ahead of us.  We were less than 10 yds away when he jumped up.  Gus continued pulling and barking wildly as I crawled on my hands and knees to get to him in the heavy cover.  Not far ahead,   I found the 2nd bed with a little blood in it.  It was about  9:30, 25 hours after the hit, and we were about 300 yards from the 1st bed.   Gus followed the trail for another 40 yards or so until we came out on the far side of the sanctuary area into another large cut soybean field.  We continued another  few yards along the edge of the open field and could see the bucks tracks in the soft dirt,  we didn’t see any more blood after the deer got up from this 2nd bed.   Straight ahead of us now was nothing but cut soybean fields for 200+ yards.  The brushy part of the sanctuary to our left ended about 50 yds ahead of us.   It seemed that the buck either has made a left back into the sanctuary or it continued along the brush and then made a left around the end of the brushy area 50 yds ahead of us.  
        At this point I told Steve that we should just stop here and give the Buck more time to die in its next bed.  I told him I would come back at 4:00 that afternoon to continue on the trail.  We hung some flagging tape on a bush at the edge of the field then proceeded to take an escape route that led us around the area we thought the buck went to.  When we got far enough into the open field to see around the end of the sanctuary,  Steve spotted  a brown patch in the middle of the open soybean field  - it was our buck laying on the ground in the open field about 150 yds from us.   The edge of the hardwoods was about 50 yds ahead of him, but it seems he couldn’t make it to the woods.   He had traveled about 150 yds from the 2nd bed that we just kicked him out of.    I told Steve that we’d stick with our plan to come back at 4:00.  With any luck he’d be dead in this 3rd bed.   To keep from spooking him up,   we headed  further out on a path that would keep us out of sight as we exited.  About 5 minutes later, when we were about 250 yds from the Buck,  we peeked  back at him again just in time to see him get up and walk slowly into the hardwoods ahead.  With any luck,  we’d find him dead at 4:00 just inside the hardwoods.
        To kill time until our return at  4:00,  we took another call in Avon.   It was a not too promising shoulder / one lung type hit.  I just hoped that it wasn’t too brutal of a call that it wiped out Gusto for the day – he needed to be on his game when we came back at 4:00. As it turned out, this call could not have been worse!  As soon as we got on the trail, Gus stopped and started plowing his face into the ground – what the hell was he doing ?  When I checked him out,  I found that his face was covered with burdocks!  He had one clump that totally covered  his eye.  I tried pulling them out,  but it was hopeless.  It seemed he couldn’t  go 5 eeft without picking up more.  For most of the next hour on the trail he was either plowing his face into the ground or biting at his legs trying to get them out.  Tracking this deer was the last thing on his mind.   We made a big sweep around the area that the deer should have bedded in the hopes that Gus would have winded the dead deer if it was there.  With no sign of the deer and little hope that it was a fatal hit, we finally got out of there after the worst hour and a half of our tracking career.  Now I was just hoping I could get Gusto somewhat back to normal so that he would be on his game at 4:00.  I stopped at Walmart on the way back to Phelps to get a pair of scissors and then tried to cut out as many burdocks as I could.  By the time we were ready to track again at 4:00,  the burdocks that were still buried in his fir didn’t seem to bother him.
          After I had met up with Steve again, we made a plan to have him post at the back side of the woods that we saw the deer enter earlier in the day.  Meanwhile I would circle around and get back on the trail as it headed toward the bed in the middle of the open field.  If Gus and I pushed the deer out of the woods Steve could at least see which way it was headed – hopefully the deer wouldn’t be going anywhere.   As soon as we began our hike back towards the last bed,  we were passing the far end of the woods that the deer had last entered.  At one point Gus  stopped and stuck his nose up into the steady wind several  times.  The wind  was coming directly from the area that the deer had entered the woods about 150 yards down wind.   I was pretty sure that he was air scenting the deer.  After I pulled him along a bit,  we continued back towards the last bed with no more air scenting. 
      My plan was to try to pick up the trail in the cut soybean field at the corner of the sanctuary, where the deer had turned to head to the bed in the field and then continued onto the woods.   The corner was about 100 yds from the bed and I hoped that Gus could find the trail again and follow it to the bed and then into the woods.  When we got near the corner of the sanctuary, Gus again started air scenting wildly.  I quickly figured out that the 2nd bed, that we had kicked the deer out of earlier, was about 75 yds up wind of us – Gus was again air scenting our deer.   I led him along the path I figured the Buck had taken and he quickly picked up a line that headed toward the bed.  Along the way we began seeing deer tracks heading toward the bed, but no blood.  I was hoping we would be able to find where the deer had bedded, but was totally surprised when we came upon a patch of blood the size of my boot.  Gusto spent a few seconds licking the bloody dirt and then continued onto the woods, 50yds away.  Amazingly, after the deer got up this 3rd time, he again began laying down a blood trail.  We were soon at the edge of the field heading up a trail into the woods.    Just 5yds into the woods there was a  4th bloody bed,  but no deer.   Before I had a chance to consider what might lie ahead,  Gusto headed to the left and there 10 ft ahead of him was the dead  9pt,  just 10 yds from the 4th bed.   I yelled up to Steve and he quickly made his way down  thru the woods to check out his prize.
        The wound on the Buck was just about where Steve had thought -  about 6 inches behind the front leg and about 5 inches up from the bottom.  The entrance and exit wounds were just about directly opposite each other.  When we checked out the internal organs, we found that 1 blade had put a 1 inch long 1/8 inch deep slice on the heart near the small end.  There was also a cut through the edge of 1 lung.  Neither the liver or stomach was  touched.

 Steve Hurlburt & Gusto  - Thursday 11/3/2011

Related posts:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tracker Barbie spreads her wings!

If this video does not make you smile, I don't know what will!  It is obvious that Barbie has had some serious experience in the field. Many thanks to Willette Brown! You made my day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Paulene Eggers, a Deer Search handler from the Finger Lakes region

What a great article on Paulene Eggers and her wirehaired dachshund Braylee, a Deer Search tracking team from the Finger Lakes region. Paulene said on her FB: " The article had some incorrect how many deer she has recovered. She has been on 16 calls with 6 recoveries, not all 16 being recoveries! It is a great hobby and just as much fun as hunting and fishing!"

Paulene Eggers with Braylee.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sally Marchmont and a wirehaired dachshund Petey from Vermont

One of 11 deer that Sally and Petey recovered in 2011
It was a treat to get this e-mail from Sally Marchmont, who is a licensed deer tracker in Fletcher, VT. Sally tracks with Petey (Matthias v Moosbach-Zuzelek), who is a son of FC Keena v Moosbach-Zuzelek and Susanne Hamilton's Buster (FC Clown vom Talsdeich). Petey at the age of four and a half is getting into his prime, and this is what Sally wrote:

Hi Jolanta and John -
I see you've been following
the Facebook page, but it's been a long time since you heard from me and I thought you'd like to hear a little more about Petey.  We just finished our best season yet, as far as numbers of calls (33) and finds (11)  as well as the work Petey has been doing.  We had a couple of impressive 24-hour finds with little to no blood, a few frustrating tracks where we didn't get any further than the hunter, and then everything in between.  Petey has not lost any of his enthusiasm and still puts out a lot more energy than he needs to, but his eagerness doesn't seem to interfere with his thinking process as much as it used to.  He's very focused and intent on his tracking.  He's become much better at figuring out the difficult spots and it may not always be quick or graceful, but given the time to work it out on his own, he usually will.  I think he's learned a lot from my interfering with him less and giving him the time he needs to do his work.  I understand his body language a lot better now and I trust what he's telling me, though it's not easy to convince the hunter that Petey's right when we aren't seeing any blood, and sometimes finding that one drop is almost as good as finding the deer.  

We found our first bear last year and he took to that without a problem.  I had to use my gun for the first time this year and in a classic case of beginner's luck, I hit the deer just right and it died almost instantly.  I didn't like it one bit, but this deer would have suffered and died anyway and it had to be done.   We had a warm season and only just got snow a few days ago, which might account for the higher number of calls this year.  Over the last couple of years I've been getting more calls from people I've tracked for before or their friends and family, so the more calls we take, the more calls we get and I'm hoping for even more next year. 

Petey is a very healthy, active dog, full of quirks and an absolute pleasure to live with.  We both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves this season, learned a lot and we're looking forward to many good years ahead.  Hope you both had a safe and successful tracking season.

I'm attaching a couple more pictures - the bear was from last year but it's one of my favorites. Petey was the proudest I have ever seen him when he found that bear. The other one is an 8-pointer we found on opening day this year. All the blood had been rained away, not too difficult for Petey but impossible for the hunter.

Related posts:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

More blood tracking stories from Louisiana: Mike Martien and his dachshund Waldo

We received a very nice report from Mike Martien, a United Blood Trackers member from Monroe, LA. Mike's tracking partner, a seven year-old Waldo was bred by Laurel Whistance-Smith from Canada, and his parents are FC Lutra von Loewenherz and our FC Asko von der Drachenburg.
On October 23rd, Waldo recovered/tracked a live deer that stood up to fight when Waldo approached it. It was a doe that had been gut shot by a young boy (Seth), that had been jumped up afterwards by a lab (that was tracking it), and shot again, this time resulting in a broken leg. The Lab that was tracking it is a very good, accomplished tracker (named Sandy), but she was pregnant at the time and lost interest in tracking the deer after jumping it, and we think it was due to her being pregnant and tired. Shane (Seth’s father and Sandy’s owner), hunts with me on the same lease, so once he saw that Sandy was losing interest, he called me and asked me to bring Waldo. I started Waldo from where the deer had been jumped, and he trailed it into a very thick pine thicket that is overrun with briars. While trailing, we came upon a massive wall of briars that I had to crawl underneath in order to stay with Waldo. As soon as we emerged out the other side, Waldo made a 180 and went back along the side of the briars that we had just come through. Surprisingly, Waldo soon began barking and pulling hard on his lead. When I got positioned to where I could see him, the doe stood up and started trying to paw Waldo while he was biting her on the nose. Luckily Waldo was on lead, and I was able to hoist him out of the way so that my brother could dispatch the deer. Waldo was unscathed, but very possessive of the deer, as he didn’t want Sandy anywhere around it. LOL

On November 20th we were called out on a track after church. This was an interesting track as Waldo was able to go on another track with Rudy, an up and coming one year old semi-smooth WHD that a good friend of mine (Jody McKoin) was able to get out of Pennsylvania. Watching these two dogs work together was pretty impressive. There had been a good many other hunters in that camp that had gone out trying to recover this deer and needless to say, the scent trail was littered a good bit from them stepping in the blood and scattering it. We determined that the deer was possibly hit high (as it dropped immediately after the shot) on a quartering away shot and we had no hair or evidence of a pass through on the bullet, and very little blood. After approximately 3 hours of watching the dogs struggle and seeing the lack of sign, we decided to pull out and call it quits.

On November 28th, Waldo was called out to a 17-hour-old track that was the remnants of approximately 5 people and a blood hound that had attempted to find the deer with no success (they stayed out there for approximately 3-4 hours, the night of the shot, walking around, dispersing the scent, and trying to locate the deer). Needless to say, it was difficult to get Waldo going, but fortunately, my brother (Claude) jumped the deer and we were then able to verify that we were on the right trail, and the tracking was on. To make a long story short, the blood sign picked up after the deer left it’s bed (and the scent was fresh) and we were able to track it 2 miles to its next bedding site, where we dispatched the deer and recovered it. The greatest part of the recovery was Russ being able to call his 12-year-old daughter, Callie, and tell her that her trophy had been recovered!  I’ve attached two pictures of Callie’s deer: one of Waldo with the deer, and another with me, Waldo, and Russ – Callie’s father.

Mike with Waldo,and Russ, Callie's father.

On November 30th, we were called back out to my lease by another good friend of mine (Chad), which has had Waldo recover a couple of deer for him and his son before (you might recall the picture of a young boy with Waldo and his dad earlier this season). Chad shot this deer at approximately 200 yards while it was running a doe, and we believe that his shot was low, because we found fragments of leg bone along the track and the deer was seen carrying its front leg. We had good blood for the first half of the track, and jumped it out of a bed twice while trailing. We trailed this deer 3,370 yards (or 1.9 miles) before giving up. We were able to get two more shots at the deer, but it wasn’t the most opportune chances, as one was a shot while it was running through thick cover, and the other was with a pistol at over 100 yds. Based on the sign along the track and the way the deer had stopped bleeding and was moving, we firmly believe that this deer is still alive. Hopefully someone else will see the deer and be able to take it.

So basically, the last month has been filled with deer that were still alive, yet we did manage to recover two of them. I’m surprised how slow the calls have been coming in, as we usually have a high volume of calls during this time of the year. Hope that all is well with both of you!

Mike Martien

Saturday, December 10, 2011

One more calendar!

One more calendar to consider as a Christmas gift! To see images in this calendar click here.
To order the calendar go here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fresh snow, magical winter light, and first coyote tracks

Last night we got 4-5 inches of fresh snow, and this morning I took a walk in the woods. I saw a lot of coyote tracks, and some of them were pretty large. Now I know their route on the edge of our property.

The sky was pretty dramatic - some sun and blue sky, and some dark clouds. The sunset was magical. I love living here on the top of our hill. I grew up in a big city (Warsaw, Poland) with a lot of traffic and noise so living in the Helderberg Hills is like being in heaven.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Congratulations to Fred Zoeller and Rommel!

Fred Zoeller's seven-month-old Bavarian Mountain Bloodhound Rommel with his 17-hr-old find (156 lb. 9 pt.).

Monday, December 5, 2011

Rosette is an accomplished blood tracker at a young age

Some of you might remember that Rosette is Joeri and Gilda's 18-month-old daughter who lives with Lynn and Anne Pierce in Cut Off, LA.

Recently we heard quite a bit about Rosette's accomplishments.

December 5

We really had fun with the kids this weekend-- two older ones are not in the picture -- playing in the woods somewhere.. :) . Rosette had a great track on the doe that is in the picture, which traveled about 100 yards, but no blood in food plot except for the spot the arrow landed. Rosette tracked the doe about 60 yards before we saw blood again at the edge of the woods.

Rosette then tracked in the open woods about another 40 yards, which was an easy track because the doe really started bleeding a lot and left a great blood trail. She really made it easy for us and recovered the doe quickly so we could go see the second half of the LSU / Georgia game.

I wish we would have missed the first half they were terrible, but came back strong the second half. Rosette is doing great and loving the hunting and camp atmosphere.

Thanks for your emails and have a blessed week.

Lynn & Ann

Geaux Tigers....

November 29

A friend of mine gut shot this doe at gut-busters, the hunting camp, on a dark, cold, windy, and rainy night.. the brush was very thick and Rosette found the doe quickly. It was not a long track but it took us about an hour to get in and out of there. Lots of thorns on all of us...Rosette handled it very well and made it a whole lot easier for all of us. It would have been rough going if we would have had to search for the doe in the blind with no blood trail. It made my friend and all of us very happy that were helping in the search. :)  We are having lots of fun with Rosette.

November 28

I hope y'all had a great Thanksgiving. Not sure if I sent this pic or not.

It was a nice track about 16 hours old and the deer was gut shot and no blood at all. It was open woods and we could see far into the woods so I let her off leash.. it was fun watching her work... She is doing great,

Also, Rosette did a night track in a misty rain in very heavy cover, it was another gut shot with very little blood. She went right to the doe and she got us out of there quick as the weather was getting really bad. It took us about hour to do the track it was so thick. Our boys need to work on their shooting...

This is her 4th gut shot deer, but she found all of them...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Axel, a blood tracking dachshund from Louisiana

Greg Accardo from St. Francisville, LA, reported that "this 12 pt was gut shot yesterday morning, Saturday, around 9 am. The hunter knew the deer was gut shot and he determined it was best to back out and leave the deer alone. He called me around 4 pm Saturday while I was out of town. We both agreed to meet about 12 noon today, Sunday, and pick up the track from the hit spot, which put this track at about 30 hours old. The buck traveled roughly 300 yards where Axel found him lying dead flat on his stomach. As a side note, this it probably the biggest buck I've tracked with my dogs in 6 years of tracking, and good trophy."

Congratulations to Greg and Axel!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hercules' training is on a right track

We got a nice e-mail from Johnny Walker, who found John's book useful:
John: After reading you book several times and about four different tracks using bottled blood and liver and a green hide over the past three weeks I finally got a chance to track a buck on the farm tonight. The buck ran about a hundred yards in real thick stuff( heath) with a very faint blood trail. I am not sure that it could have been followed by eye. I gave it about one and half hours to settle down and not sure about how hard the buck was hit. A light ran came as we waited. I went back to the barn and got the hound and loaded him in the ATV. I stopped about a tenth of a mile short of the spot where a saw a drop of blood near the location where the buck was shot. I lead the dog with the rope and collar we had been working with as described in your text. He picked up the trail at the point of impact and we took off into heavy cover. I could see no blood and slowed him down and got on my hands and knees as we went and I cannot express the joy when I saw a tiny droplet of blood on a leaf, with a boost of confidence we continued for a distance of about a hundred yards in thick tall grass and brushy trees to find the six pointer laying dead. At first the hound (Hercules) acted surprised to see an animal at the end of the track but in short order was licked the wound and worrying the carcass a little. I made over him as never before and fed him a tiny piece of liver. He was as proud as it he had found a bull elephant and I must confess so was I. Thanks for putting all the information in your book that I was able to work with Hercules on to achieve this goal.

Thank you Johnny and congratulations!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ohio bucks recovered by blood tracking dachshunds

Both handlers, Ben Byington and David Bell, are United Blood Trackers members and live in Ohio. They also own litter mates Quella and Quint (Buford), who are now 18 months old.
Ben, who lives in Sandusky wrote:
I got a call from an Ashland hunter (hour and 20 minutes away) to track a deer he shot the night before. We started the track at 11:30 the following day and Buford struggled some but he managed to take us up over a hill a couple hundred yards and there the buck was laying. The track lasted only about 20 minutes until Buford found the buck.

Just wanted to touch base and let you know how well he is doing.Thanks!

A nice buck recovered by Ben and Buford
David Bell who lives in Hamilton, Ohio reported on his blog:
This buck my dog found was for a man and good friend who took me out several times to hunt on some real nice whitetail property, in which I was fortunate enough to take two nice ten pointers in just a handful of times going. In return, when I got his text about his unfortunate shot that was too far back, it was a no brainer on what to do. I left my deer stand to track up his lost buck, something I will only do for my very close friends and family.
My buddy was nervous about finding the deer on the phone, but I told him," If your buck is down, Quella will find him". The blood trail was non existent after 30 yards until we got several hundred yards or so, into it the track. My dog only made one error on the track, but that was because the dog was following blood from the hunters shoe, but it was easy for me to read her and know that she was off the track. Once I restarted her on last blood, Quella dropped down real low and started to dig into the ground with her over sized paws, but as usual I slowed her down, so she wouldn't overshoot any missed scent. I knew from here that she was locked on this buck from her soft whining that she always does. 500 yards into the track and through a lot of thick honeysuckle, we walked up on another monster buck. I was short on time on this track also, because I had to work in less than two hours, but we ended up having the buck tracked, field dressed, and back at his house sitting on ice in less than 1.5 hours. I even had time to squeeze a meal in before I went to work.
Quella with her buck.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One Tough Buck by Bob Yax

Elli is recovering well, but it will be a while before she heals completely. Due to her surgery and my bad cold, I am running behind. If you sent us an e-mail recently, we will respond as soon as we can. This is the busiest time of the year for us, and your patience is appreciated.

As you know Bob Yax's Gusto was killed recently when he got loose and was run over by a truck. Bob shared with me a couple of stories that he wrote up this year on more interesting recoveries. Thank you Bob!

One Tough Buck

by Bob Yax

Hunter (Eric) called into the Deer Search hot line late morning on Sat 10/29.  He had hit a big Buck Friday evening at 6:00 from a tree stand.  He was using RAGE broad heads and had a complete pass thru.  He said the arrow had solid dark blood on it, but no food particles.   He described the hit as a broad side hit, about halfway between the front and back legs and about halfway up, top to bottom.  It sounded like a possible liver hit.  After hitting the deer, Eric and his hunting partner Todd, backed out immediately and planned to come back on Saturday morning to track – (exactly the right thing to do for a liver / gut hit).  On Saturday morning,  Eric and Todd followed a decent  150 – 200 yard blood trail until the blood stopped.   After that they did a visual search for awhile in the direction of travel.  They then backed out again and called Deer Search.     

After Gusto and I arrived at 1:00 Saturday, we inspected the arrow and found that it was covered with a thick layer of dark blood.   It also contained some small food particles and some white hair (it looked like a liver & stomach hit with the exit wound  low on the deer).  On an anatomy chart, Eric indicated a hit more than mid way up the deer from top to bottom and slightly further back than a liver would be located – I worried that the hit may have been to the intestines & stomach only – that may have explained why they hadn’t  found the deer in its 1st bed after the overnight  13hr wait.   We put Gusto on the blood trail at the hit site and he was off.    He breezed through the first 200 yards where there was an easy to follow blood trail.  Once the blood ended, he continued on through the open hardwoods heading downhill at quick pace – he definitely was on the trail.  After a hundred yards or so in the open hardwoods we hit a row of Posted signs.

At that point we hit the brakes and Eric made some calls to find out who owned the land and if we could get permission to continue tracking.  Gusto wasn’t at all pleased with this sudden stop.  He tugged at the leash and barked continuously.  I’m sure he thought “ hey ! - what’s the deal – he’s getting away”.   Well, after waiting about 5 minutes we got the permission we were hoping for.  I let up on the leash and Gusto was off again heading down hill through the open woods.  We ended up going about 100 yards into the posted land and soon after found ourselves coming back out of the posted area.  By now we were at the bottom of the wooded hillside walking just inside the woods on a straight / level path towards a large field.   All along so far, Gusto seemed to be hot on the trail, very confident of where he was going.  Once we broke out of the woods, we had a large / thick goldenrod field in front of us.    Probably 300 yards long and 150 yards continuing down the hill.  Gusto jumped into the field and started downhill.  The goldenrod was about 4 ft high and very thick.  Gus had a hard time getting through it at ground level especially with the 25 ft leash trailing behind him.  He continued to make his way downhill through the goldenrod by burrowing under it or jumping over it.  He often put his nose high in the air, trying to air scent the trail / deer.  This is always a great sign that something “interesting” is ahead.   Several times during the 15 minute trip though the field I thought “he just wants to get to the woods on the other side”.  We finally did make it through the field and he headed straight into the brushy wooded area that continued downhill ahead of us.

After 5 yards into the new area, now on my hands and knees, I said to myself “now we’ve got the rosebushes – we always end up in rosebushes!”   This hillside was thick with blown down trees interspersed with rosebushes and brush.  Gus was still hot on the trail and I was amazed at how long he had been so hot on this trail – probably a half mile so far.    Now that we were about 10 yards into the thick stuff, Gus turned and started heading parallel to the bottom edge of the goldenrod field.  I was just trying to keep up with him – he can go under and through the blow downs and bushes while I have to go around and over them.   Not long after I thought “this would be a great place for a deer to bed down”  the sound of a breaking branch caught my attention.  I looked up ahead to see a tall rack with the backside of a deer under it taking 2 jumps before disappearing in the brush.    The Buck got up only 30 yards ahead of us and was gone just about the time I started bringing up my side by side 20 ga.  Something in the way he ran said he was hurting.  Meanwhile Gusto was barking and running after him.  Luckily I had a good grip on the leash.  Eric, who was up above me, along the edge of the field heard the commotion but didn’t see the deer.   After  going about 25yds past where the Buck had jumped up,  I stopped Gusto, who was barking wildly, and said to Eric, “now we’ve got  a decision to make –  keep going after him, or to back out till later”. 

It had been 20 hours since the hit and the deer was still able to get up and run, but he still let us get within 30 yards of him.   At this point I was thinking it had to be a gut or intestine hit and the deer could possibly survive another 12 hours, especially if it was intestine only.  I told Eric our best chance to recover this deer was to back out till Sunday morning and to avoid pushing him any further away.  He totally agreed, but wasn’t looking forward to another sleepless night.  At that point we marked the trail where we had stopped with some orange tape and I pulled the still barking Gusto off the trail.  We also put some tape along the edge of the woods before entering the big  goldenrod field.   Luckily we found a 4 wheeler trail to easily get back up through the thick field.  Immediately after we started heading back up the long hill to the truck, Gusto was out of his “tracking mode” and was just casually walking back with us.  It amazed me how he could suddenly turn off the excitement of the past hour and I was wondering what was going on in that head of his – did he somehow know that we weren’t finished with this deer yet ?   Once back at the truck  (2:30 PM) we arranged to meet again on Sunday morning at 9:00 – 39 hours after the hit.  He should definitely be dead by then, but how far away would he be ? And how well would Gusto pick up the trail again ?

On Sunday morning it was 29 F and clear.  I met Eric in Cohocton, and Gus and I drove in his truck with him back to the Avoca farm and then the mile through farm fields back to his stand location.  There, we met up with his hunting partner  Todd and his 15yr old son Zack.  It was a beautiful, crisp, calm and sunny morning as we headed back down the hill through the open hardwoods and then onto the 4 wheeler trail through the goldenrod field.  Along the way, I pointed  out to Eric and Todd how casual Gus was as he headed down to where we ended on Saturday.    He wasn’t yet in “tracking mode”.  The previous day Eric had asked me “how do you know when he’s really on the trail and when he’s not” .  Gusto was about to demonstrate the difference.  

When we got near the point we marked the previous day,  I put Gusto on the trail about 20 yards back from where we ended on Saturday.  I prayed that he would regain his previous enthusiasm for this deer.  I wasn’t disappointed.  He immediately got hot on the trail again and blew by our last piece of flagging tape.  After about 25 more yards in the thick brush he came out into the open  goldenrod field again for  a short time and then headed back down the hillside into the thick stuff.  It was hard keeping up, and at one point after letting go of the leash, I found myself running to catch up.   Gusto was getting close and he wasn’t waiting for me.   Then something caught my foot and the next thing I know,  I’m sliding face first on the ground reaching for the end of the leash.   To my surprise,  I caught the end of the leash and didn’t hurt myself.  Gusto was not happy with the brakes being put on, and once I picked myself up,  we were back in pursuit. 

At this point Gus was pulling, jumping and air scenting with his nose high in the air.  We were now in a patch of 4ft high goldenrod within the brushy woods. Just ahead I saw a small flattened clearing in the goldenrod.  When we got closer, I peeked into it and saw a half a rack poking up from the ground.  I stopped Gusto about 10 ft from the clearing and yelled up to Eric, Todd and Zack  who were 30 yards uphill - “So how big did you say this buck was  ? “  - Eric said “about 140” – I said “well you better get down here and score it “.     After a short confused pause, Eric came running down the hill in a flash.  The high fives and celebration ensued.   All toll, we had traveled only about  150 yds from where we had jumped the buck the previous day.  He must have been hurting pretty badly to only travel this short distance after being jumped.   The Buck sported a very high 8pt rack that we estimated at  130 – 135 inches.  The arrow entered about halfway back on the deer and about 8 inches up from the bottom.  It looked like it could have been a liver hit, but I didn’t think that was possible since he was still alive and running 20+ hours after the hit.  When Eric gutted it, however,  I was shocked to see the clean pattern of a Rage broad head right through an inch thick section of the liver  - Amazing!!! -  You learn something new on every track.

This was one tough Buck ! -  that led us on a memorable adventure.            

Bob Yax, Eric Zastawrny & Gusto  - Sunday 10/30/2011


Monday, November 28, 2011

Update on Elli. Calendars by Jolanta.

So far the news about Elli has been good. She made it through the surgery! Apparently the whole thing was more complicated than they anticipated. Elli turned blue at the beginning of surgery, but when they repositioned her she got better. The hernia was big and tricky to repair. She is staying at the vets overnight. She is doing OK, but I don't think she is out of the woods yet. I would like to thank everybody who e-mailed or called with concern about her your support means so much to both of us!

For the last two weeks I have been working on a new project, and finally it is completed. When I signed up for Facebook I started to post my pictures there as picture sharing is extremely easily done on FB. Here on the blog I can only post a small sample. I got a really good feedback from my friends, and they encouraged me to publish some of the pictures in the form of calendars.

I came up with two calendars, which are going to be printed and sold through cafepress. The first is on wirehaired dachshunds.

To see images from this calendar click here. To order it from cafepress (it is $20.99 plus shipment), click here.

The second calendar shows the beauty of nature in the Helderberg Hills, NY  (this is where we live). This is a cover:

To see images from this calendar go here. To order the calendar click here.

If you order them, let me know what you think. I have never done anything like this before, and hope that people enjoy my photography and that the quality of printing is good.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Beware of fraud!

I have come across this discussion on Georgia Outdoor News. Since our blog is involved as a source of stolen images, I thought that a public warning is justified. Read carefully.

A big thank you to NGaHunter for recognizing images!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pat McCaffrey and Zeus, a blood tracking team from Columbus, Ohio

This picture comes from a very nice article on Pat McCaffrey and his wirehaired dachshund Zeus published by the Colmbus Dispatch. To access the article click here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Elli in trouble

Good thoughts and prayers are needed for Elli, a ten and a half year old matriarch of our dachshund pack. At the end of January she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and she was put on medication. She has done really well on the meds and has had a very good quality of life. She is slowing down, no doubt about it, but she still runs rabbits almost every day, and is always ready for more.

About three months she got a small inguinal hernia, which last night got much larger and now needs a surgical correction. But because of her heart condition Elli has only 50% chance of surviving surgery. Today she was checked by our vet Kevin Baldwin, and he was impressed with Elli's attitude. Clearly the heart medications have been working. The heart still sounds awful but her lungs are clear, and she feels good. She walked into to the examination room wagging her tail.

Kevin tried to reduce hernia by pushing the "stuff" back but did not succeed. Elli is going to have a surgery on Monday morning, but if she gets worse in the next two days, he is going to do the surgery on the weekend (bless his heart!). Right now she acts normal, eats, her temp is normal, so I just hope that things stay this way until Monday.

Below are some pictures of Elli taken this (Friday) morning.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to All of You!

Classic Deer Behavior from a Classic Poor Shot Selection

by Andy Bensing
November 13, 2011

Here is the story of a track I had that encompassed many valuable lessons about blood tracking with a dog and hunting whitetail deer in general.  When the call came in the hunter reported having arrowed a mature buck from 20 feet up and at the close distance of only 5 to 8 yards.  When I got to the hit sit the distance was actually even worse.  It was only 4 yards at best.  To make matters even worse than that, the buck was facing directly towards the hunter when he shot.  In that configuration, there is absolutely no chance of double lunging the animal and only an extremely very low chance of hitting the heart.  This is a shot that never should be taken with a bow.  The hunter did not see the arrow hit the deer but he reported a bright red blood soaked arrow with short gray or white hairs on it. 

At the shot, the deer barely reacted and walked away 10 yards and stood wobbling for 20 seconds then walked another 15 yards away and lay down behind a tree in some brush.  The deer laid there, with no window for a second shot, for 45 minutes with its mouth wide open panting.  After 45 minutes the hunter reported the deer staggered to his feet and wobbled away out of sight without offering another shot opportunity.  The deer left a solid 2 inch wide strip of bright red blood from a few yards past the hit site to the place it laid for 45 minutes.  After it got up from the 45 minute bed there was not a single drop of blood found by the hunter or my dog the next day over the course of the whole track as seen below.

After hearing the hunter's account of the deer's behavior after the shot, I assumed he had hit back farther than he had aimed and gut-shot the deer.  When I got to the hit sight I quickly discovered that the deer had been single lunged, not gut shot.  There were 2 oak leaves in the 45 minute bed filled with coagulated blood still showing the typical hundreds of bird shot sized bubbles often seen in blood gurgling out of a deer from a lung shot.  From that point forward there was not a drop of blood found.

In retrospect, what likely happened was the razor sharp arrow cleanly slipped between the ribs and pierced one lung without touching any bone and the deer barely knew anything happened other than a sudden shortness of breath and sick feeling.  He walked over, laid down to rest, the lung collapsed and therefore stopped bleeding as Mother Nature had planned.  Mature bucks are masters of conserving energy.  They rarely panic.  That's how they get to be mature bucks.  Once the bleeding stops and the deer has been lucky enough to not go into shock (as a result of not panicking and running off all crazed and losing too much blood too fast) now all you have is a tired anemic deer with one lung.  No different than a person who just came out of surgery after having one of his two lungs removed.

When I started my dog Eibe on the 24 hour old track she had a bit of difficulty getting going.  I am guessing that with all the massive blood the first 30 yards the area was flooded with scent and she had a hard time figuring out what the deer himself smelled like.  We knew what direction the deer had walked out of the bed but I let Eibe take 4 or 5 trial runs in several directions for 30 or 40 meters each until she finally locked into the deer's individual scent.  There was no blood to be seen and she started poking her nose down into the fluffy oak leaves and checking hoof prints in the soft underlying ground.  Once locked into the correct buck we tracked bloodlessly for 1000 meters through open forest and field and up a steep hill to a briar and laurel thicket.  The trail went about 100 meters into the thicket on the top of the hill and then began to hook back. 

At that point I said to the hunter that I believed we were about to find a dead deer or jump him still alive. This deer had shown typical wounded deer behavior.  He had rested till he got his wits about himself and then headed efficiently back to a safe bedding area to hold up.  Deer will often make a button hook, as indicated on the map above, before bedding down.  This allows them to watch their back trail and see predators coming and slip away before the predator is right up on them.  And that is exactly what this buck did.  After hooking back 100 meters and laying on the edge of a bench 70 meters off to the side of his back trail, this buck saw/heard us coming and slipped away before we saw him.  Eibe got stuck for about 5 minutes at his bed in the button hook I assume because of the abundance of scent there from being there all night.  Once she got that worked out she shot off like a rocket and I suspected then we were on the buck's hot trail but could not be sure as there was no sign except for the classic pattern the track had been taking. 

After 500 meters on the hot trail with no confirming sign I was starting to worry that maybe we were not on the correct deer's trail.  Most of the hot trail showed no hoof prints or sign at all except I had seen some small fresh tracks that went with some very small, warm to the touch droppings.  Not a good sign as these could not possibly have been from our buck.  The small prints eventually disappeared and the trail then began to curve around to begin to make a circle and large prints from a running deer appeared on the line.  I believe the buck initially just walked away from his button hook bed but we eventually got closer and he began to run and therefore started making easily visible tracks. 

I still wasn't absolutely sure Eibe was on the correct deer but when I saw the path of the deer on my GPS circling back to his original trail from the day before my confidence level began to rise.  What are the odds that some other random other deer would take this course?  Not very high in my estimation.  I told the hunter that if the deer we were following continued to loop back towards the button hook bed then we could be pretty darn sure it was the buck we were after.  Deer, just like rabbits and other prey animals make circles back over their previous course of escape to confuse their pursuers. 

Well this buck did not use that strategy but used another strategy that I have seen before.  When he got to the place I expected him to circle back to the button hook, he instead ran right through an overgrown field filled with deer paths everywhere but took the exact course through the field that he had gone the day before but in the opposite direction for 250 meters.  Clearly no coincidence.  If I had had any doubts, they were gone.  This was the correct buck that had been shot the day before through one lung.  The other thing I was pretty sure of was that he was too strong to catch up to with a tracking dog on a leash.  I forgot to mention the other strong, evasive maneuver he used that worked pretty well for him. 

I am sitting here typing this out with my arm in a sling because at one point when he started the 250 meter retrace in the field, it appeared he purposely avoided an easy crossing of a 7 foot deep by 4 foot wide ravine and jumped across the ravine at an awkward spot.  Well, his pursuer, me, fell into that ravine when a log he used as a bridge broke!  But I am pretty tough too so I handed the leash to the hunter for awhile and hobbled along till I got my wind and could take the reins again.  The buck continued back right past the original hit sight and eventually got on the back trail of the trail he had followed before he was shot.  At this point I considered all the following information I knew about the deer:

1.    One lung hit that collapsed and stopped bleeding.
2.    Hole out bottom of chest but not really that much blood likely lost.
3.    Was willing to go up a very steep hill within one or two hours of being shot the day before.
4.    Never let us get close enough to see or hear him even in some very open hardwoods after chasing him
1½ miles after the button hook bed.
5.    Appeared to be able to run through the forest at will without struggling 24 hours after the shot.
6.    Made a very large 500m circle and had enough wits about him to throw in a 250 meter back track.
7.    Tried to kill his pursuers (and almost did) by setting up a booby trap at the ravine :-)

I decided to give up the trail.  As long as this deer can fight off any ensuing infection, this deer has a good chance to recover from his wounds.  I hope my shoulder heels as quickly!

Just another day in Remi's life

Justin sent a picture of Remi with this caption: "Just another day at the office - 3 cow elk, 3 men and one Dog all stuffed in the Polaris Ranger."

I have been actually asked by some of you how Remi is doing. He is doing really well, but Justin has been very busy with guiding as he is short of staff. He has not done as much tracking this year, but I am sure that we will hear more about Remi when the hunting season is over. Justin will be adding another wirehaired dachshund to his tracking team in 2012.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sad news about Deer Search's dachshund Gusto

Yesterday we received a very sad e-mail from Bob Yax, a member of Deer Search of the Finger Lakes. Bob reported that his tracking dachshund Gusto von Moosbach-Zuzelek got loose and was run over by a truck. Gusto was a son of FC Asko von der Drachenburg and FC Sabina von Moosbach-Zuzelek, and a brother to our Gilda. He was born on March 27, 2002, and initially was sold to a couple from Massachusetts. When about three years ago they had to move to an apartment, they wanted to place Gusto in a new home, and this is how Bob and Gusto were brought together.

Bob wrote about his tracking partner:

Gusto had always had a very “feisty” personality. He was not afraid of anything. He’s been known to attack vacuum cleaners, weed trimmers (while running!) and the tires on moving vehicles – that’s what happened on Friday.

This tracking season was another successful one for Gusto. In 24 sorties this year, Gusto had 6 fine recoveries (see photos attached). He went into every call with the excitement of a pup and could maintain it for many hours in difficult tracking conditions. We had a few weekends where he handled 5 calls with enthusiasm - although after that he spent a lot of time passed out on the couch!

These past 2 years, we had really matured as a tracking team. I had finally learned to correctly read his behavior in most cases. There were still a few instances where I mistakenly decided to trust the hunter rather that what Gusto was showing me. Eventually, Gusto would show me how I was wrong and together we were constantly improving. I was looking forward to a few more good tracking years with him. Gusto’s personality, was always a source of entertainment for our family – he was an interesting / funny little guy.

With a very heavy heart we are saying good-bye to this talented dog.  Our deep sympathy goes to Bob who suffered a great loss. Rest in Peace Gusto!