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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Winter hawking with Teddy Moritz: multispecies interaction

This picture of Teddy's Harris hawk was taken at field trials in New Jersey in October 2012. It was enhanced to show the maximum of details and vibrancy of colors.

The below excerpt from Teddy's recent e-mail is particularly interesting to me as it speaks about interaction between her hawk and mini dachshunds.
Hawking has been good particularly since the weather has been open and fairly mild till this cold snap. There's been no excuse not to go out.

This Harris's doesn't take the cold as well as my others did. I don't know why but he starts shivering when the temps hit the low 30's. I used to fly my other birds down to the teens, if only for an hour. The wind is a factor here in Delaware also, making the cold harder on the bird. I've even brought him into the garage these last few nights. Carl keeps the garage at just above freezing to keep the water pipes, paint, etc. from the cold.

Anyway, the hawk is doing well. He is very gamey, meaning he hunts hard, watches the dogs like a hawk, shall we say, and the best part is he leaves the dogs alone. The last two birds I had would hit the dogs in frustration if we weren't putting up game. That is something I find hard to tolerate. The dogs aren't seriously hurt but it demoralizes them. They don't understand why they are being punished. After a few hits they'll just follow me through the fields, watching the hawk and not hunting. Fortunately this bird is very keyed to the dogs, more so than to me. If I yell ho ho ho when a rabbit gets up he may or may not look at me. If the dogs put up a rabbit he's right over them and after the rabbit. I can deal with that.

He's also decided my red stud dog, Bane, is the one to watch. He shadows Bane as Bane hunts. Sometimes Bane works out further than the other dogs. If I lose track of the bird I'll call Bane in and when he comes, so does the bird. When Bane is on a rabbit the hawk stays right with him, rather than looking at the other dogs. It's not that the bird doesn't watch the rest of the dogs if I don't take Bane, but if Bane is out, the hawk is with him. My previous female hawk eventually did the same thing, figuring Bane was the one to be near. Bane is a good dog but so are some of my others, particularly Fitz, the little one. And to my surprise, Bane, at 5 and a half, recently started running in on the hawk when the hawk caught a rabbit. The squeals of the rabbit are very enticing but my dogs are punished early for trying to take the rabbit from the bird. It's one thing when they simply anchor the other end of the rabbit, which some of them do, but it's another thing when they grab the rabbit and take it away from the hawk. Bane did that three hunts in a row. One time he got the rabbit and held it, one time the rabbit got away, and one time I managed to corral the rabbit when the hawk and Bane lost it. I was rather unhappy with Bane so he got to wear an e-collar for the next few hunts and I was able to remind him of his manners. I don't know what his thought process was as he hasn't run in on a bird since he was a pup. He's a rock solid, reliable hunter and produces plenty of game, but he has to leave the bird alone.

I'm out almost every day with the hawk and dogs so we've been having good sport. I like finding new spots especially and only take one or two reliable dogs when I check out a new area. Delaware cover is thicker than in north Jersey, vines being the biggest challenge. The little dogs can snake through the tunnels under the vines, just as the rabbit does, but the hawk can't always see the rabbit in the vines and it often moves way ahead, losing the hawk. Then the dogs make it move again and we start over. Much of Delaware is ditched or there are old tire tracks in the woodlots. That much of a dip in the ground is enough to give the rabbits a runway, then when the vines, greenbriar, Japanese honeysuckle, poison ivy, trumpet vine, etc. grow over the tire track or ditch, the chase becomes one of tunnel running. And because the weather tends to be milder, the vines don't get pushed down by snow or ice and they continue to provide cover. The honeysuckle really doesn't even lose its leaves so it almost always provides a hiding spot. Sometimes when I put the dogs down they disappear completely under the variety of vines and briars and I don't know where they are until one opens and the hawk takes off after the rabbit. And a dog has to face water to hawk here as many ditches, deep and shallow, have water in them.
There are also woodchuck holes to contend with. In these hedgerows the dens can be very tight, despite the sandy soil. The tunnels go through the maze of roots and the dogs sometimes can't get as tight as the rabbit. I don't usually bother to dig because I'd spend more time cutting roots than actually digging. However, my smallest dog, Fitz, at barely 6 pounds, can almost always make a rabbit vacate a den. She's provided many a chase for the bird this winter. She's nine and a half and I hope I can breed or find as small a dog to replace her.
Enough about me....I always look forward to reading your blog and enjoy seeing all the deer the trackers have recovered. Andy has good stories with plenty of detail. I know you work hard on the blog, so thanks!


Monday, January 28, 2013

A tracking dachshund Gerti finds her buddy Oscar when he gets into trouble

Last weekend brought this interesting e-mail from Chris Barr from Indiana, and the story will put a smile on your face. Chris owns Gerti , who is going to be four years old in April (Gwen von Moosbach-Zuzelek, a daughter of Billy and Gilda)). He also has a younger adopted black and tan shorthaired dachshund Oscar.
Chris writes:
I hope your new year is off to a great start!
Gerti and I made the February edition of The Gadabout. Page 6. In the January issue they reported on the large buck taken by Todd Wallace. It was a liver shot and Gerti and I tracked it 10 hours after the hit. .52 Miles. The author of the article wanted to do a quick article about Gerti for the next edition. Follow the link:

I have to tell you a quick story. Yesterday Gerti, Oscar and I were on a run. As you know, when off leash Gerti wears a GPS collar as she’s always on “the hunt”. Oscar is really good about staying within eyesight and he checks in frequently, so I’ve never equipped him with one. Well Gerti had just run a rabbit under an old barn and lost it. We started out across an open field and I started to call for Oscar. I realized that it had been about 5 minutes since I’d seen him. I continued to call thinking I’d see him any second. I was starting to get pretty concerned at this point. I was calling Oscar pretty feverishly when Gerti came around. I looked at her and said, “where’s Oscar?”. She looked at me like she knew exactly what I’d said. Very firmly I said, “Gerti find Oscar”. The command “find it” is what I always use when putting her on a deer or rabbit. Well she spun on a dime and ran on a sprint across the open field about 150 yards to the barn where she’d lost the rabbit. I followed her across the field and into the barn. There was Oscar in an old corn crib. Somehow he’d gotten into the crib, but it was about a 3 foot jump to the ground and he didn’t want to make it so he just stayed there. Gerti knew he was there the whole time. I had not seen Oscar when Gerti was running the rabbit. The last I’d seen him he was not near the barn so I did not expect him to be there.

So I’ll add that to her resume…”tracks black and tan adopted dachshunds”

Take care,

Chris and Gerti…….and Oscar.
Joe Walters and Chris Barr with Gerti

Friday, January 25, 2013

Should tracking and hunting dogs be spayed and neutered?

by John Jeanneney
Full Cry, 2010
Jolanta was in our vet’s waiting room the other day, when a woman asked her,“Why do you have a girl dog that hasn’t been fixed?” “I’m a breeder”, my wife said. There was a long silence. Then “Oh”. Another silence, “Why do you do something like that?”

There is a suburban world out there, and population-wise it’s much bigger than ours. It's filled with people who have no idea that some dogs are  bred for a purpose. If they ever gave it a thought, they would become convinced instantly that a Cockerpoo would serve  just as well for coon hunting as a Bluetick. But of course they would be against coon hunting too. The problem is that ignorance and misinformation about bred-for-a-purpose dogs doesn’t end in the vet’s waiting room. All too often it extends right into the vet’s examination room.

I’m not writing about our own veterinary group; they are country vets with a farm animal practice and good common sense. But the people we sell tracking dog pups to often select another kind of vet, the suburban, 9 to 5 type of “practitioner” who makes the bulk of her or his income from giving shots ($40) and of course a mandatory physical  examination that goes with the vaccination, another $40. Neutering and spaying fees also help them cover their large overhead expenses.

We vaccinate our own puppies and dogs, but when our pups leave at about 12 weeks of age they usually need one or two more puppy shots. The new owners take their pup to their local veterinarian, and then the trouble begins. In a stern authoritative voice comes the word: “This puppy should be spayed (or neutered). When can we schedule the surgery?” One justification given for this pitch is that millions of dogs are put down in rescue shelters every year. The solution to the problem, many suburban vets believe, is to spay/neuter everything and encourage people to take rescue dogs. The shelters will always have dogs from trashy folks who still let their dogs breed. The other argument for spay/neuter is that it’s better for the health of the dog. More on this later.

Those of us who breed dogs that are needed, dogs that are bred to do a job, are never going to change the prevailing suburban mentality, but we can take precautions. One of these is to prepare inexperienced puppy buyers for the propaganda they are likely to encounter at the vet’s office.  Buyers with a promising puppy should not be pressured into spaying or neutering right away. They should be encouraged to wait and see how the pup turns out before they make any irrevocable decision about the breeding future of their dog.

 A couple came up from North Carolina last weekend to buy their second pup from us. Their first wirehaired dachshund, “Jackson” is now ten years old, and they wanted a successor to continue blood tracking work. As a pup Jackson had been a very good looking prospect, and he developed into an outstanding worker. Over the years a number of people from the Southeast  asked us about the right stud dog for their good tracking bitches. We referred them to Jackson until we learned that he had been neutered very young at the hands of an over-enthusiastic vet. At present wirehaired dachshund bitches with tracking talent in the Southeast  have to travel out of the region to get together with an appropriate stud.

In our opinion, about one male dog in ten is truly of breeding quality, and then of course not every good stud dog is good  for every bitch. You shouldn’t double up on physical  faults, and on top of this there is temperament and working style to consider. If a tracking bitch is a bit hyper and too fast and rough on the scent line, you don’t want to breed her to a dog of similar tendencies. Breeding strategies differ from breed to breed, but in my own  breed, wirehaired dachshunds, it requires careful planning and research. Early in the years of Deer Search a group of us tried winging it with any “teckel” that came from Germany. I discussed the results in “Breeding Disappointments”.

For the good of a breed, quality dogs have to be available for breeding in different parts of the country. This can’t be done if some of the best dogs and bitches are being castrated or spayed. Buyers of your good pups should be encouraged to realize that they have a  responsibility to maintain the quality of the dogs they admired when they came to you.

As readers of this magazine know, breeding good dogs is not like breeding pet rabbits. Not every first-time buyer realizes this. We get quite a few calls from people who want to buy a “breeding pair” of pups. They figure that any two pups, male and female and not brother and sister, are all that’s needed to make some easy money. We don’t sell to these folks.

Breeders of hunting dogs should prepare puppy buyers to reject the suburban vet’s advice: “spay/neuter/adopt from the pound”. This is not too difficult! But some vets use another argument. They claim that spaying and neutering is healthier for the dog, and some of them may actually believe this.

The health aspects of spay/neuter are complicated because it varies from breed to breed, and from disorder to disorder. Thousands of pages of scientific studies have been written on the subject. Fortunately there is a very good digest of this research available, but even this paper is 12 pages long. If you are interested, read “Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay/Neuter in Dogs” by Laura J. Sanborn. Her article is posted at is

Sanborn states that in bitches the risks of eventual mammary cancer increase with each heat cycle up to the age of thirty months. If an owner waits for a couple of heat cycles to evaluate his bitch before he decides to spay, the risk of mammary cancer does increase but very little. In the case of most other disorders of intact bitches, they are healthier if not spayed. In any case, the risk of gender-related diseases is very low to begin with.

With dogs the reasons to neuter for health reasons are even weaker than for bitches. For example prostate cancer is four times more likely in neutered dogs. Keep in mind though, that prostate cancer is much rarer, to begin with, in dogs than in humans.

As I said above the health implications of spay/neuter are complex; these two paragraphs of summary can’t do justice to the subject. Just prepare your puppy buyers to resist the vets who lean on them with “professional authority.” Most of us would prefer to deal with others already in our country world of hunting dogs. In the new reality, where most people live in Suburbia, we can’t be that exclusive. We have to communicate our values and our point of view to some people who didn’t grow up in the country.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A 12-year-old hunter gets his deer thanks to Darren Doran and his tracking dachshund Theo

On January 20 Darren Doran shared with us his latest tracking experience with Theo, a nine-month-old son of Paika.

Just wanted to let you know that I had another good training line with Theo today. It was 880yd, 23 hrs old and I used about 5 oz of blood. The line was made with tracking shoes with feet of a doe fawn shot in September.

It’s been windy here the last few days and we had a little problem crossing the power line and again in the open hard woods 200 yds from the end. The scent had been blown pretty far off the line, but Theo finally got it and never quit looking.

I was packing up the skin when the phone rang. It was a guy named Dave and he was asking about a tracking dog. His son, twelve years old and also named Dave had shot his first deer last night and was wondering what a tracking dog could do and if I was available to help. I gave him a little background about the dogs' general ability and after a short phone interview, I decided to come down with Theo and give it a try.

Dave and his Grand Pa (also named Dave) had been hunting at the back of their property in a double ladder stand. The shot was right at dark with a cross bow and he couldn’t see the arrow hit. At the hit site they found the bolt covered in blood and the lower half of a deer’s tail.

Grand Pa Dave is color blind and was no help tracking the deer. Young Dave hadn’t had much experience tracking, he did find some blood but lost it at beginning of a mucky creek about 50 yds from the hit. Dave’s dad looked for more blood in the morning and advanced the line about another 50 yds before losing the blood at what looked like a bed. It was real thick there and after searching around finding nothing, he called me.

I started Theo at the tail and let him sniff the bolt. He started searching around the lawn and was having difficulty finding the line. I asked Dave to take me to the first blood he had found. From there Theo tracked to and across the creek and to the last blood. From here on I did not see any more blood on the line. As Theo was tracking I would ask him “do you have it?” and he would continue on with his nose on the ground. At one point Theo actions changed and when I asked him if he had it he would change direction and start looking again. At this point I picked him up and brought him back to the last blood. He restarted and was tracking the same way when he unexpectedly left the line and circled back to within 20 yds of the last blood and restarted on his own. He continued back towards the spot I picked him up at, only this time he went straight instead of to the right. I asked him “do you got it?” and in another 50 yds we were on the deer.

The bolt hit the deer high back by the last two ribs on the left side. The expandable broad head must have deflected off a rib and came out the opposite hind quarter cutting off part of the tail as it exited.Theo did real good on this track and I especially liked the way he went back to a part of the line he knew was right on his own and re started. We’ve been training regularly, but haven’t had a real track or a find in a long time and it sure felt good today.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ike, a mini longhaired dachshund, proved his versatility at a quail hunt

A big thank you to Tina Hinckley who shared pictures of the recent hunt with her mini longhaired dachshund  FC Wingover I Like Ike ML.

The pictures were taken January 20, 2013 at the Treasure Coast Hunting and Fishing Club in Palm City FL. Bob Hinckley and two friend hunted  with a pointer, a griffon and Ike. Ike got more than his share of the birds and "cleaned up" all the cripples. A good time was had by all. All dogs cooperated, and Bob's friends were quite impressed with his 11 pound hunting dog.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A great tracking season for Tim Nichols and his Bavarian Bruno

Tim Nichols from Granville, NY, a member of United Blood Trackers and Deer Search, went on 97 searches and recovered 38 deer (while holding a full-time job). Huge congratulations to Tim and his tracking partner Bruno (a Bavarian Mountain Bloodhound)! This is just first part of his pictures.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

This was not a routine track for Andy Bensing and his dachshund Eibe

By Andy Bensing

Cold, late season hunting draws very few hunters in MD and NJ where I do my tracking so a January 16th call in the snow was a pleasant surprise.  Maybe because it had been 3 weeks since my last track, but I got great pleasure from this call, and there were quite a few interesting aspects to it.  The doe was gut shot with a 20 gauge slug from 180 yards the night before.  The amazing report from the hunter started like this,
" I started tracking the deer 45 minutes after I shot and to my amazement I found her just inside the woods 50 yards from where I saw her leave the field and she was just STANDING there wobbling in some thick stuff.   I stood there 15 feet away for a few minutes in amazement that she did not run off and expecting her to fall over and die.  When she didn't, I made my way up to her through the thicket and decided to try and push her over.  I actually touched her and when I did she just kind of wobbled away into the dark.  I went home, waited 2 hours and went back with my wife to hopefully find her dead a short distance away.  We tracked a fairly easy blood trail about 100 yards past where she had been standing but the blood ended and that was it."

Here is a photo the hunter took with his cell phone while he stood there before he touched the standing deer.

When  got the call that night I decided to wait until morning before tracking.  I expected a pretty easy find of the gut shot doe. The hunter reported he got an excellent look at the location of the hit when he walked up to the standing deer. I doubted she would travel very far if she did not even want to run off when the hunter approached.  Well, for some reason when I started my dog, Eibe, she had a very difficult time picking up the line through the 4 inches of heavy wet snow that had come down during the night.  I knew there was good blood under the snow as reported by the hunter but Eibe just could not lock in at first.  I actually restarted her 3 times at the hit site in the first 45 minutes.  She could not even make her way all the way down the path the hunter had tracked visible blood the night before.  On the 3rd restart, I had the hunter dig down under the snow and find some visible blood. 

Eibe had tracked in the snow maybe a dozen times in the past and I never had to do that before but I gave it a try and it worked.  Getting a good nosefull of that blood seemed to set things in motion, and we started to make some progress.  We got to the hunter's point of loss with a little steering help from me and then Eibe picked her way along independently in a logical direction.  She would lock in and zip along for 50 yards or so, then the scent would seem to dry up, and she would search a few minutes, pick it up again and zip right along for another 50 yards or so.  Four or five places along the way I was able to see a comforting blood smear on a branch or a dot or two of frozen blood coming up from the disturbed snow off Eibe's footprints. 

After Eibe finally was able to lock in on the trail it took her 45 minutes to find the deer dead about 500 yards past where it had been touched by the hunter the night before. The deer took one last jump across a creek and died on the other side.  With the snow partially covering the deer, I thought at first she was just a rock but when Eibe dove into the frigid water, grabbed her tail and yanking, the snow fell off and there was no doubt.

When I got to the deer I could see the bullet sticking out her side, and it looked like it smacked into her, mushroomed but never entered her.  What the ??????  Further investigation revealed that I was looking at the exit side of the shot.  The 20 gauge Remington slug had mushroomed nicely and tumbled around in the deer as it passed through the guts on a 45 degree angle from back to front. It had just enough energy left to punch the tail end of the bullet through the deer's skin but the lip from the mushroom hung up in the skin and prevented the bullet from exiting.  I have seen arrows clog an exit hole but never a bullet doing the same.  Not amazing but pretty interesting to see.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Darren and Theo resume training on artificial lines

Darren Doran's Theo von Moosbach-Zuzelek is a full brother to our Sky and Tuesday. He was nine months old on January 6, and at 19.6 lbs he has a perfect weight and size. Darren is very happy with Theo, and recently he has shared his training experience with us. Thank you Darren!

Training Line

Training line was 880 yards made with tracking shoes with doe feet and tarsal gland. 3 oz of blood were used and all materials were from the same deer. The training line was put out while I was wearing Elimitrax over-boots for added scent control. Blood was put every 10 to 20 steps. There was a 70 yd power line crossing and numerous 90-degree turns. Some turns had a blood squirt at them, some were just made walking with the shoes, and some had an article of skin and hair left at them. There was one wound bed with hair and extra blood in it.

 Training Goal      

The goal of this line was to work on asking commands “is that right”, “find the blood”, “get back on the line”, “is that it you got it”. I wanted to also wanted to observe Theo’s check work and see how it was progressing. I was tracking with the 50ft fishing line and had decided to follow Theo (with in reason) with out stopping his progress on the track to see how he would work and correct. I also wanted to look for signs of adolescence.

Actual Line

The line was 20 hrs old and ran at about 11am. There was a skiff of snow overnight but by the time I was able to run the line it had melted. The ground was not frozen and the vegetation and forest floor was wet from the snowmelt. Blood found at the hit site and wound bed was puddled up in the leaves.

Theo started a little rough. We train in areas with a heavy deer population, and I saw deer putting out the line, and I think he was on fresh deer. I really wanted to get out there while the snow was on the ground. It wasn’t enough to hinder the tracking, but it would have showed fresh deer tracks nicely. He was paralleling the line and I let him go about 100 yds until he passed the first turn and it was apparent he hadn’t locked on to the track. I picked him up and brought him back to the hit site. I held him there and let him smell the hair and blood. This time he started better and was over the line. He wanted to drift off again before the first turn and I asked him “is that right” he looked at me but kept going. I then said very sternly “get back on the line and get to work”. He quit following the wrong line and came back to the blood track and made the turn.

We then tracked to the power line. The line angled across it, and Theo had no problems with it.  As soon as we got in the woods the line made a 90. Theo tracked past the turn about 10 yds before he started to circle. As he was coming back to the line towards the turn, 3 deer busted out in front of us and ran right across the line about 70 yds from where we were. Theo didn’t see them but I expected some problems from them very shortly, and of course they ran into the wind and their scent would be blowing back to us for a while.

By this time Theo was locked into the track. He tracked right to the wound bed and stopped for a second to sniff the skin and hair article. He continued on to the next turn, which he made very easily. We were now on the straightaway headed to a turn by where the deer had crossed. As we got near the spot, Theo wanted to track backwards the way the deer came from. I let him go a little, then he just circled left then right and came back towards the line. I could tell that he could air scent the deer as he lifted his head a few times but he continued to search and he hit the line after the turn and tracked like nothing was bothering him. He never opened or showed the interest in the deer that I thought he would.

The next turn had a skin and hair article in it. He tracked to and made the turn perfectly, and crossed a woods road to the next turn. This turn was just a walking turn and blood was about 10 steps past the turn. Theo tracked past it but checked in a few yds and made the turn. This part of the line was in tops blown down from Sandy and another good deer hangout. Theo tracked fine to the last turn that paralleled the power line. This area was kind of brushy. Theo made the turn and at this point the wind was quartering from Theo’s front right shoulder to his left hindquarter. He was on the downwind side of the line slightly and tracked past the skin then did a hard 90 to it and got his meat reward.


Theo tracked this line very well. I forgot my phone so I don’t know how long it took. I would say that he has not entered adolescence yet. The entire time on this line whenever Theo would hit the breaks and bury his nose on the line I would ask him “You got it? Is that it?” and when he would resume tracking down the line I would praise him hard. I believe the places where he buried his nose were blood squirts, and it was confirming to him he was right and it gave him more confidence on the track. 

I’m going to continue this type of training. I think using all the same parts from the same deer along with the tracking shoes with minimal blood is accelerating Theo’s training. Most of my tracks this year have had minimal blood so this is a good thing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Was this a right judgment call? Coyotes find the buck that was left overnight in the woods.

Ray Holohan, a UBT member from Illinois, wrote:

I got a call the other evening from a friend who had just arrowed a buck and was concerned about the hit. He came over with the arrow, which was covered with blood, but he had not seen where he hit the deer. He thought he had hit a little far back. I looked at the arrow - the blood was bright red and did not have any smell to it. The buck had ran a good 1/4 mile through a frozen chisel plowed field over to a adjacent hedge row where he lost site of it.

We discussed all the reasons why and why not we should go after it, from property line issues if we bumped it, up to coyotes if we let it set til morning. We finally decided to let it sit til morning. We went to the hit site first thing in the morning and could not find any blood on the heavy frost since it was 6 degrees. We decided to start the dog on the other side of the field near the hedge. We started Razen walking parallel to the hedge hoping to cut the trail. After a short distance we found a deer tail, then we saw a lot of hair at this point we looked into the hedge row seeing what was left of the buck, "not much". The coyotes had done their job. I apologized for making the wrong call. But after further examination  we noticed that the entrails were still steaming and the carcass was still warm, we noticed a wound bed about15 ft. away full of blood. I think the coyotes had got to the buck in the early morning hours and jumped him from his bed and finished him off. We were able to see the exit of the arrow and it was pretty far back, making me believe we might had made the right call.

We were able to save the head and cape for mounting, but while moving the head around for pictures the antler popped off. Had the buck had one more day he probably would not have got shot. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

This Georgia workshop provides an opportunity to train and test your blood tracking dog

4th Annual Eastern Lacy Fun Day (ELF day)   
LaGrange, GA
March 15-17, 2013   9:00am till 6:00pm
We are back for our fourth year!!!  Come share the fun with a great group of Lacy enthusiasts and our dogs.  Activities will include introductory, intermediate, and advanced blood tracking and training, evaluation for United Blood Tracker (UBT) certifications, working cattle and more.  Silent auction on Saturday. The workshop is endorsed by TLGDA and UBT.

Although this event started as a Lacy dog event it has morphed onto all breeds being welcome to participate in the UBT testing. 

Entry to grounds - $5 per person, or $10 per carload.    Super Special!!   $20 for admittance and access to all training events for one handler and a group of dogs. 

We are very fortunate to have two UBT certified judges for this event.  Marlo Riley from Texas and Alan Wade from Louisiana will be joining us again this year.  UBT evaluations will begin on Friday, March 15. UBT evaluation fees are:  UBT 1  $50; UBT 2 $75.   Lines for UBT 1 are aged at least 2 hours and UBT 2 evaluations have to be aged at least 8 hrs or overnight.  Therefore, due to limited space and time constraints, pre-registration and payment are strongly encouraged.  Please contact Rebecca for registration forms and info.

Thursday afternoon, March 14 is the set up day/check in for cabins;  Friday, March 15 is registration and UBT testing;  Saturday, March 16 is registration,  UBT testing,  blood track training and practice tracks. Experienced blood trackers will be on hand for one on one instruction.  Sunday is clean up.

If you can come early i.e., Thursday afternoon/evening to help or socialize, we will be glad to have you.  Breakfast will be provided on Friday and Saturday for $3 each day.  Potluck dinner on Friday night.   Please bring something to share.  Cookout on Saturday night.  Bring something to throw on the grill!!!

Limited overnight accommodations are available for $15/night per person in the cabins (kids are free).  Please register early if you plan to stay overnight.  Please bring your cooler full of some favorite non-alcoholic beverages and lawn chairs.

All dogs must be under direct control of their owners at all times.  Please bring a leash and crate along.  A tie out might also be handy.  No dogs in heat and no alcohol allowed on premises!!  For more information please call Rebecca Ferrell at 850-508-6981 or email at  or Kathy Presley at 404-408-4216 or email at

The pictures were taken at previous ELF workshops.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The UBT promotes the use of tracking dogs to recover wounded big game

A big Thank You to Joe Walters and Raymond Holohan for representing the UBT at the recent Gotcha Outdoors Adventure Show. Ray sent this short report:

 Here is a picture of our booth at the Gotcha Show this past weekend. We had many people stop by, full of questions wondering who we were and what we did, and what the UBT was about. We did our best to educate and enlighten them on the uses of tracking dogs. As always it was a lot of fun telling our tracking stories and letting them pet our dogs. I have to wonder, what the problem is in the states that don't allow it. It seems that the public is all for it, not a bad word against it. Tracking season will be ending here on the 20th, time to start thinking about next season.

That’s all for now Ray, Claudia, Rosco and Razen.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

When the tracking dog was right and the handler was not

Harold Barry, a UBT member from Florida, sent us this picture with a note: "Trust your dog! Trust your dog! Trust your dog! I tracked this fine buck a few days ago for a close friend of mines daughter. She shot the deer with a .223 and from the deer's reaction, it was definitely hit. I tracked for 600-700 yards with "Marley" and my tracking partner David. At no point from shot site to where we called it off was there any blood evidence. Marley showed extreme confidence, but I as a human didn't trust or believe in what I couldn't see, no blood. I've tracked too long to let my human instincts come in the way of my dog's extremely talented nose and mind. A couple of days later, my friend returned to where we stopped and found this magnificent buck about 50 yards passed where we stopped. Moral of my story, "The nose knows!".

Occasionally we hear this kind of story, usually with the conclusion "Trust you dog!" or "The nose knows". However, the other kind of story is rarely shared by handlers - when a handler was taken by a tracking dog on a wild goose chase. Remember that even tracking dogs have their limitations; an experienced dog can make a mistake or have a day off. And this is especially true for young dogs. So trust your dog but don't trust your dog blindly! Examine the evidence, keep looking for that speck of blood to confirm your trust. And read your dog.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

UBT at Gotcha Outdoors Adventure Show

The United Blood Trackers is being represented at Gotcha Outdoors Adventure Show Saturday Jan. 5th from 9am - 4pm and Sunday Jan. 6th from 11:30am - 4pm at the Kankakee, Illinois First Church of the Nazarene at 1000 N. Entrance Avenue in Kankakee, Illinois. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 ages 7-16 and kids 6 & younger are free. Drop by, say hello, meet handlers and their tracking dogs.

Ray Holohan, a UBT member from Illinois, with his blood tracking puppy Razen Kane.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A great first tracking season for Jeff and Gracie from Michigan

A UBT member from Michigan reports about his first tracking season:

 I’m Jeff Karoly from Michigan, and I thought I would share a tracking picture to you. I am new to tracking, this is our first full year of taking calls to track. This track here was one of the hardest we had this year, this deer was shot at 4:00 pm opening day of our gun season; the hunter made a high gut shot leaving very little blood. What blood we found was watery and some blowing out of its nose. The hunter walked out, made a call, we let the deer go for about 6 hours and started tracking at 10:00 pm. We found the deer a little after 1:00 am, the deer traveled about a half mile in a thick cedar swamp.
We had our doubts and Gracie made a quick turn and there it was. And we had a very happy hunter. Gracie is a pup from Gary Huber's litter. Gary has answered a lot of questions about tracking. Reading John’s book four times helped us learn to train Gracie, she is coming along well. We had fourteen calls this year, took eleven and found eight deer. Some of the tracks were easy but all and all we had a great time tracking. Thank you so much for being there for us trackers.
Jeff & My Son Tyler


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A perfect ending to a not-so-perfect year

Before we go back tomorrow to posts on blood tracking, I'd like to share some pictures taken on the last day of 2012  I saw a lot of deer tracks during my walk. They were especially heavy where John planted food plots, which now are buried under a very thick snow cover. Deer must be getting really hungry because they even munched on the junipers on our front lawn, not too far from the house. And it is only beginning of January! I really hope that this winter is not too tough on the wildlife.

This picture was taken by the pond, and all these tracks were left by the deer trying to get to winter wheat under the snow.
In another part of the field John planted some brassicas, and here you can see turnips dug up by deer.
A half-eaten frozen turnip must be hard as a stone.

The walk ended with a a beautiful sunset. It was a perfect ending to a not-so-perfect year.

I grew up in a big city (Warsaw, Poland), but now I could not imagine living without a constant and direct contact with nature. May your 2013 be nature rich too!