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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

As we are approaching Thanksgiving celebrations we’d like to let you know how much we appreciate you and your dogs, and we thank you for being a part of our community. John and I are very thankful to be a part of your life, and we wish you and your loved ones Happy Thanksgiving.

Urgent call for help! Support legalization of blood tracking dogs in Pennsylvania now!

These are just few pictures of many that show deer recovered by Andy Bensing and his tracking wirehaired dachshund Eibe this fall. Even though Andy lives in Pennsylvania these deer were tracked in Maryland. Andy loves helping hunters recover deer that they are not able to find by themselves but unfortunately the use of blood tracking dogs is illegal in Pennsylvania. Read more what Andy posted on Facebook today:


I and many of my friends have been working for 13 years to change a hunting law in Harrisburg to legalize the use of leashed tracking dogs to help recover deer that a hunter has shot and has not been able to locate himself just using his eyes. Our current bill is very close to becoming law. If you would like to help please read the rest of this message and send a few emails to Harrisburg ASAP.
Thanks in advance,
Andy Bensing

Recent developments in Harrisburg make it urgent that you email or call to all the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee Members immediately. Please contact them yet tonight or tomorrow. Send your email on Thanksgiving day if that is all the sooner you can get to it but PLEASE get it done.
Chairman Alloway is considering putting HB451, our Blood Tracking Bill, on the agenda for passage next Wednesday, December 4th, but it will only happen if the other committee members express their support for HB451 to Chairman Alloway in advance. That's why you need to contact all committee members right now and ask them to support HB451 and request it be put on the agenda.

Get any of your interested friends and relatives to write as well. The more the better. With enough hunter interest and support this may actually happen finally this year.

Here is a list of all the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee email addresses. Just address your email, "Dear Senator" and BCC copy it to them all.
Write your own letter or use the Sample below but please just write and do it immediately. There is no time to waste.

Sample letter:
Dear Senator,
I am very happy to hear that Chairman Alloway is considering putting HB451, the Leashed Blood Tracking Dog Bill, on the December 4, 2013 Senate Game and Fisheries Committee meeting agenda for passage out of committee. I support the legalization of leashed blood tracking dogs here in PA and I hope you do as well.

I ask that you let Chairman Alloway know that you are in favor of HB451 and you would like to see it come up for a vote at the upcoming committee meeting.

The legalization of the use of leashed blood tracking dogs for the recovery of wounded deer and bear has been rapidly spreading across the country for the last 10 years. All the major PA sportsman’s clubs (PFSC, UBP, NWTF, USP, QDMA) support HB451. The PGC has supported HB451 with a resolution and Governor Corbett on the advice of the Governor's Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation supports the bill as well. With all this support I hope now will be the time to finally pass this bill. I hope you can help.

Monday, November 25, 2013

2014 Calendar with wirehaired dachshunds

A 2014 calendar with our wirehaired dachshunds is ready and can be purchased at Enjoy!



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A memorable tracking season for Pete and Lisa: three bears recovered so far

I again apologize to those who submitted their pictures and have not seen them posted here. All the pictures get posted promptly on Facebook. It takes a while for us to post stories and pics here on this blog as due to the high volume we need to group them.

This post is dedicated to Pete Martin, a Deer Search handler from Kiamesha Lake, NY, and his tracking dachshund Lisa. Lisa was born on April 9, 2005, so now she 8.5 years old. Her parents are FC Billy von Moosbach-Zuzelek and FC Gela von Rauhenstein. Over the years Lisa proved to be an excellent tracker of wounded bear, and this year she has recovered three of them.

The first bear was recovered on October 13, and Pete described the circumstances:

What a day full of coincidences. I was invited to attend a bow hunting educational course in Yulan N.Y. Sullivan Co. When I pulled into the deli next to the fire house I ran into an old friend I haven't seen in 7 years. While I was participating in the bow education class representing Deer Search, a fellow inquired about a bear his friend had shot the night before. They were still looking for it. I advised him to call hunter out of the woods so he could come and talk to me. I interviewed the young hunter and his father at the fire house around noon. The call didn't sound good for several reasons. My biggest concern was that he arrowed a sow with two cubs by mistake. No arrow. No blood. I decided to make the best of the situation. It was only a couple miles up the road. Second weird coincidence. As I was making out paper work a truck pulls up and it turned out to be one of my best friends from High School. I haven't seen him in 30 years.

Off we went to track the hunter's bear. From the hit site nothing, at 75 yds. we had minimal blood. 100 or so more yards and  Lisa showed me  a wound bed; 50 yds. further another wound bed. Then 30 yards more and there was a dead bear. I think Lisa knew where this bear was before we started to track. Total time was about 20 minutes.

Took the bear back to Yulan Firehouse to show students and instructors what Deer Search can do for hunters. What an incredible day. I have you John & Jolanta to thank for this pleasure.

First bear of the season
On November 4 Pete wrote:
Again Yulan Firehouse - Sullivan Co. on Saturday afternoon, 18-hour-old bear track. Hunter trailed bear 80 yds Hunter shot the bear at 5 pm and he looked until 11pm. He trailed the bear for 80 yards. Next day the hunter and friends looked for bear all morning. We arrived at firehouse around 11. Trail was not marked. Very little blood then nothing. Lisa was very confident.  Showed me more blood 100 yards later. We found wound bed 50 yards further. Lisa made an extremely  intelligent and focused trail, She checked herself twice before going another 175 yards or so straight to a very large dead black bear.  As usual I stick around for the field dressing to see the true evidence of the shot placement and blood collection. It was a perfect liver shot. What a day! Lisa is the best I have ever seen tracking. Awesome!

Third bear of the season
 November 16 brought another e-mail from Pete who wrote:
Received a call from a hunter that Lisa and I tracked for three years ago for yet another bear. It was in Orange Co. on Tuesday Nov. 12. Arrow recovered, minus three inches. Very little blood on the ground, no blood on arrow. Shot at 4:30 pm. Took up track at 1:45 pm. next day so it was a 21-hour-old trail. Hunter tracked bear about 80 yards. Lisa was very focused on her job at hand. She made no checks on her way to the bear at least 500 yards away. No blood whatsoever. She was very vocal. Took us to live bear 10 yards away from him. Bear was dragging his hind legs in front of me trying to get away. Right away I knew obviously it was a spine shot. I had to catch up to bear to dispatch. Large male bear. Lisa is the best bear tracker ever! I don't even think she likes deer anymore (just joking) Third bear this year! Thank you again for an awesome tracker!

Well, Lisa proved Pete that she likes to track wounded deer too as few days ago he wrote back:
I received a call from a young hunter who shot his deer on Saturday morning at 7:15. (I tracked for the hunter's friend last week and that deer was found alive in its wound bed.) week. We took up track at 9 am Sunday morning.

Weather conditions were foggy, mild, calm. Pete says: "Walking to the hit site I could tell Lisa was already on to the deer. From the hit site the hunter marked the trail 70 yards or so. Off we went along the logging trail. One hundred yards or so Lisa took an immediate sharp right turn. There lay the deer, 10 yards off the trail. The hunter and his friends walked past the deer looking for it 5 or 6 times. They never saw it. Nice spike buck.

Hunter and family are very grateful for meat on the table this holiday season. I am so proud of Lisa and the work we do in the name of Deer Search."

Pete Martin with Lisa and a deer they recovered recently

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Two different deer tracking strategies produced different results

Thank you to Ken Parker, a UBT member from Georgia, for the report on two tracks he did with Mirko and Baby, his Bavarians.

Tuesday morning around 10 AM I got a call from a hunter stating that he had shot a big buck around 8:30 with his crossbow but backed out when he realized he had gut shot the deer. I advised him that we needed to wait 6-8 hrs after the shot before we took up the track. I was going to try to get off around 2:30 to head his way.
Well around lunch I got a second call of a deer down that could not be found. The hunter could not find any more blood after a few hundred yards and he had spent the morning walking the woods looking for his deer. We talked some and I told him that I should be able to get to him between 9 and 10 that night.  He said that he had someone coming in a few hours and they were going to be looking some more.

I was not able to get off until 3:30 so that would put me getting to the first track around 5. We were able to get in and get started quickly. Mirko, my male BGS, was the one who was up for this track. He quickly worked the line out to the hunter's stopping point and out into an old grown up field. The wind was swirling some and he kept putting his head up like he was winding the deer. He finally picked a line and off we went down into a swamp. There was so much deer sign it was hard to to tell if he was on the right deer or not.

I decided to pull him off the track and restart him to see if he brought us back to the same spot. In the meantime I also got a call from the second hunter stating that they had found a wound bed and were going to bring in a bloodhound. If they did, would it be an issue for my dogs if I was till needed? I said no problem, go for it.

Returning to the hit site I restarted Mirko and he took us right down to the same opening and started working with his head up again. Off we went down the same trail again for about 50 yards, then we turn left, OK, new spot, lets go. Mirko took me across the old field and over near the road and power line. Here he turned up toward an industrial building. At this point I was just letting him drag the lead around as I did not want to crawl into the thicket he was in. That is when the world came alive.

A big deer came barreling by me and I knew right away we had the hunter's deer up and moving. It was now 6:30 and it had been 10 hrs since the shot. We decided to give the deer some time and went to move the trucks around to where we were now. Boy I did not know it was going to take us so long to get started again. As I was getting ready to go back in the woods I realized I did not have my GPS tracker for the dogs. I must have dropped it when we were getting back in the trucks. So off we went back to the other side but no gps. Now I was mad as that was a lot of money, then it hit me. The controller beeps when the dog trees so we could check if we heard it.

I started to think when the last time was when we had it. So we went back to the spot where the deer about ran me over and started our search. Sure enough, we heard the beep so it was close but where? We spent the next 30-45 minutes walking in a 20 yard circle hearing the beep but not finding the unit. Finally, we all agreed that we were within 10 ft but still could not find it  because of very tall briars. Then Derek looked down and low and behold we had been standing on it in the trail.

Back to work - did the deer go to the swamp or cross the road. Mirko was so ready that when I hooked him back up and told him to "find it" that he about pulled my arm out of the socket going after the fresh track that was now a little over 1 1/2 hrs old. Well this is the lucky hunter as we came up on the deer in about 150 yards as it was taking its last breath. When it got up and ran that was the last bit of energy it had.

So back to what we all knew would be the unlucky hunter. I gave him a call and told him that I could be there at 9 PM if they had not found the deer. They did not find it and wanted us to come. I got there at 9 and we got down to the hit sight. As it turned out the hunter had waited only 20 minutes before he started to look for his deer. That is when we heard a large pack of coyotes off in the direction I was told the deer had gone. I wanted to start at the beginning of the track since they had spent the better part of the day looking near the point of loss and later another dog had been on the track.

This time it was Baby's turn to track. She is getting old and is easy to follow so I just let her drag the lead instead of holding onto it. We quickly worked the line out to the point of loss and then out to were the hunter's friend had found a wound bed. Baby was slow and steady and not only showed us the wound bed but the other two wound beds also. So we kept going and the deer turned and went under a fence. I was told that the bloodhound did that too but he turned and went back down the fence the way we came. Baby ignored this and went straight across the open area into the next wood lot. Here things got a little weird and we lost the track. I decided to work her around the field to see if we cut the track or could wind the deer in the field.

We worked all the way around the field and came back to the track at the wound beds. But this time I spotted the fourth wound bed. There were 4 in 50 yards. This deer was hit hard to keep getting up and moving like that. So again under the fence and into the woods but this time we took an immediate right just inside the woods. It was now getting close to 11 and the hunter's was about to drop from being so tired and worn out from looking all day. I was also getting tired. But that is when we noticed, more blood. So here we were with new sign to guide us. Baby continued finding a few more spots and then took me out across this wood lot into another field across it and into the next section of woods that holds two house and the road. Well this was where the track ended for us. The deer crossed the road and went where we could not go at that time.
The difference in recovering and not was pretty straight forward.
  •  The first hunter recognized he gut shot and backed out following my instructions not to go back in there as he might push the deer. Second hunter only waited 20 minutes and searched all day walking and disturbing the woods.
  • If the deer runs out of sight wait at least 2 hrs. If you even think there is a chance of gut or liver wait 6 hours or more if you can. I know weather plays a big factor in how long you can wait.
  • If you go more than a few hundred yards and have not found the deer, back out and wait a while.
  • If you do jump the deer wait another 4 hrs.
  • None of this will guarantee a recovery but it will increase your odds. It will also be less likely that you have to call in a tracking dog. But if you do and have done everything right, then hopefully your deer will be found within a few hundred yards instead of a mile or more because you were in to big a rush and pushed the deer.

Here is Derek Snyder and his boy with Derek's perfect 10. This was a very tall and heavy racked 10. Not a lot of spread on him but a very symmetrical rack.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A neck-shot deer recovered 20 hours after the shot

Claudia Holohan and her wirehaired dachshund Razen seem to be on fire. This is one of their latest finds as reported by Ray, Claudia's husband.

Razen and Claudia found another nice buck. The hunter called the night before that he had shot a buck in low light and was not sure of the shot placement. When he found only a few drops of blood he decided to back out and call us.

We decided to wait till morning since we weren't sure of the hit. Next morning we packed Razen and Ruff up and drove to the area. I brought Ruff along hoping it was going to be a easy track and I would let her run after Razen located it. Claudia started Razen at hit site and it wasn't long before she found the blood and was tracking a relatively easy trail with moderate blood from single drops to cluster of drops. She tracked it out of the timber where I took over across a cut corn field to a 2 acre swamp low area with lots of cover.

At this point she continued by the swamp along a standing corn for about 300 yrds where I turned her around and headed back to the swamp since I haven't seen any more blood. Once we got back to the swamp I put her on last blood where she worked it out and headed into the swamp. Once in it I was picking up blood here and there and she was making a number of checks. We found a wound bed that had a moderate amount of blood.. As I worked my way through the swamp I noticed the blood wasn't dried blood but really bright and fresh looking. As I got out of the swamp there was a few more clusters of fresh blood, I told the hunter that I think we blew him out of there and he agreed. We decided to give him some more time and backed out.

Claudia came back with Razen 3 hours later and put her on last blood. It didn't take long before she wanted to jump the fence and go into the standing corn. She went cross the rows about 60 rows and found the buck. The hunter was one happy camper hugging Claudia and smiling from ear to ear, first comment was "how the hell am I going to get him out of here".

To Claudia's surprise was that the buck had been shot in the neck and just expired after being shot 20 hrs before. If the hunter had told me a neck shot I probably would have told him that if he hadn't found it that we probably wouldn't either. The hunter was using two-bladed blood runner; this is a twin razor blade that expands even further on contact to 2 1/2". The arrow had broken off and I think was working on him when he was moving causing more damage and keeping the blood flowing. So I think I will have to reconsider the next neck shot track and at least take a look.

Thank you Ray for the informative post and congratulations to you, Claudia, Razen and Ruff on such a good recovery. As John said in his book the neck is not a good target for bowhunters. If the spinal cord and the major blood vessels are not disrupted, the deer is likely to keep going and soon will stop bleeding. It looks like what you encountered was a special situation.

Help find Bella, a blood tracking dog from Claremont, NH

Update: Bella has been found!

Rob and Diane Richardson from New Hampshire are looking for their blood tracking dog Bella. In Diane's words:

We were doing a wounded deer track on 11/14/13 at 379 Jarvis Hill Rd, Claremont, NH and just as Rob was reeling her in to call a halt to the track and the night, Bella somehow got off her gear and zipped off still tracking the buck. We searched all night and never found her. She ALWAYS comes to Rob so this is very unusual.

Bella is a Southern Black Mouth Cur (looks like pit X Lab mix to some people) red/yellow/tan. about 50 lbs. 23-24" at shoulder and last seen wearing a green nylon collar that has her name, license (Unity), Rabies tag and Microchip tag.

She is people and dog friendly. Traffic naïve and will run in front of autos without thinking. She is a trained (licensed by NH Fish & Game) Blood tracking/Wildlife recovery dog and is trained to track wounded deer. She may still be in pursuit of or with the buck she was tracking - do not shoot her! Bella has SEVERE food allergies and needs a specific diet!!!

If found in need of medical care transport immediately to her vet Claremont Animal Hospital.

$100 reward for her safe return no questions asked.

Diane & Rob 603-542-7344 or Claremont Animal Hospital 543-0117 or the Claremont Police Department.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Women as handlers of blood tracking dogs

by John and Jolanta Jeanneney
updated November 13, 2013
Many women love to work with dogs, and we  have long wondered why they have dominated the field of Search and Rescue but rarely became involved with dogs for tracking wounded big game. Now the old pattern  is beginning to change, and some of the most active "blood trackers" in the USA are women. Some of them are taking calls and finding deer in numbers that any man would be proud of.

For male hunters it may come as a surprise to learn that the majority of female trackers are not hunters themselves. So how did they become involved in blood tracking in the first place? And what keeps them going? We asked the question some women handlers who are very active in the field and included their answers below.

For some women their starting point was a deep love for their dog. They tried to honor and realize their dog's full potential. Willette Brown, who is not a hunter, described it well in her post about Trackfest when she said: "I have this totally awesome dog, and when I watch her work my pride is bigger than all of my misgivings or fears, and all I want is to understand her more deeply and help her become the best she can be."

Later the challenge of  finding the game might motivate the women trackers even further. Males who hunt can well understand and appreciate the psychology of this.  Tracking together in cooperation with a  dog is important for these hunter/trackers too, but they also find that tracking becomes, in a way, an emotional extension of hunting.

Let's make it clear that the new wave of  women can't be boxed into a single category as non-hunters. Some women are passionate hunters, like most men who track. Pam Maurier, Paulene Eggers and Lee Behrens are good examples. They  hunt and track with passion.

So let's hear what the women said themselves.

Susanne: I originally got a dachshund from Germany just because I loved the breed.  Little did I know that this dog would change my life for ever! I got involved in blood tracking when Buster was about six month old. My friends from NY, the Jeanneneys, convinced me I had an awesome dog, who was born to track and I got hooked.
     Blood tracking is unbelievably complex. You never know where you end up, what the terrain might be like, what people you meet, and what the circumstances of the hit are until the track is over and you have put together all the many pieces of the puzzle...  does that make me an adventurer??
Perhaps yes, but for sure none of this would pull me to go out there at all hours, at night, early cold mornings, or wet and windy days or getting stuck waist deep in swamps, except that watching my little dogs work is the most amazing and rewarding experience and it fills my heart with pride and joy.
     Over the 11 years I've been tracking wounded game, I have met the most amazing people in my journeys and I've made many friends for life!  I have had some incredible mentors who never tire to give me information when I ask them about something I have not encountered before! John Jeannenay, Tom Di Pietro and Troy Wallace are largely responsible for helping me understand "the game" so much more every year.
     While I am still learning something from every track, I have started mentoring a new generation of Maine trackers and hope to pay it forward.
     What keeps me going when I'm tired or cold or the weather isn't inviting is compassion for the hunters out there who search for days and days for a deer they think is laying dead. To me putting them at peace of mind is almost as important as finding the deer.

Pam: My passion for hunting got me into it and knowing there was a better chance out there to help with recovering game. I am all for helping my fellow hunters and I love meeting new people. Seeing Tucker doing what he loves most and the amazing work he does, and seeing the reward at the end of the track - it can't get any better. Just love helping out as much as I can.

Judy: I must say that I got involved with blood tracking only by coincidence years ago.  I used to be an avid deer hunter and I had a JRT puppy named Bear.  Bear would go hunting with me -- staying in my vehicle for the couple of hours I was in the stand.  If I ever shot a deer, I would always go and get Bear to go with me to find the deer.  With time and repeated trials, Bear seemed to understand what was to be done and became more and more efficient at finding deer.  His love for doing this along with my enjoyment of it have kept me motivated.  Also, finding deer for a hunter who has been unable to track the blood has been very rewarding. I love being in the woods and love to have a companion (Pup) enjoying it with me.  The communication that Bear and I have in tracking wounded deer has continued also to keep me motivated.   I talk with Bear as we try to find the deer--his vocabulary and understanding me--makes this a team effort.  Don't really know why, but I had rather track a deer these days than hunt a deer myself.

Joanne: I have always loved hearing my friend Susanne's stories about tracking. Tracking was legalized four years ago in New Hampshire. I attended a UBT clinic in Laconia. It was very interesting and the speakers shared passion, adventure, technology and enthusiasm. I came home and started laying lines. Angie loved following the lines and I so enjoyed watching her. It was fun and games. Our first track was a success on many levels and I never looked back. You can't make these stories up! Nobody mentioned the waist deep swamps.

Paulene: I saw an article in the outdoors news about five years ago about a Deer Search member 
who was a woman and had a long haired dachshund. I saved the article as I was so fascinated with it. I mentioned it to Laura my partner and she then gave me a 10-week-old WHD puppy with John's book as a Christmas gift. That was a year later. I was hooked completely after attending a Deer Search competition in Campbell. I only went there to observe and did not even plan to try Braylee out as she had such minimal training but the FLC members encouraged us to try to certify her. She did wonderfully and was certified before I was even a member or certified myself. What keeps me going is how much Braylee loves to go tracking and how thrilling it is to have a recovery. Often times it is overwhelming and very exhausting but I love it.

Claudia: I am married to an avid hunter and tracker. Listening to Ray's tales about his tracks made tracking sound interesting. After we bred Rosco we decided to keep one of his pups (Razen) knowing that I would be her handler. There is lots to know about tracking, every track is a learning experience for both myself and Razen. Ray and I keep each other going hoping to find that deer? We also have our tales to tell whether we successfully find the deer or not. What keeps you going back for the next track is knowing that you are going to find that deer (hopefully) and if you do, seeing your dog with its prize and seeing how excited the hunter is seeing his hunt completed. You meet  a lot of nice, friendly people along the way. Besides having a tracking dog you have the best friend and companion you could ever ask for.

Sally: My motivation for getting involved is pretty simple.  Dogs and being out in the woods are two of my favorite things.  About 8 years ago, a friend of mine told me how he had someone with a dog find his deer which was the first time I’d heard of dogs tracking wounded deer.  Of course, the person who found his deer was Tom with Musket.  To me, there’s nothing better than being out in the woods with a dog, and the thought of doing that with a purpose really appealed to me.  
     I’ve never been interested in hunting, so that part of it doesn’t interest me at all.  In fact, the hunting part is actually something I struggle with.  We only get called with things go wrong, and it can be pretty ugly.  It’s difficult for me to see what sometimes happens to these animals, and it stays with me for days.   As you can imagine, having to shoot a deer myself is not my favorite thing, but the alternative is worse.   At least I can do it now without my hand shaking.  
     As far as what keeps me going, most of it is the sheer fun of working a dog who loves his work.  It drives me nuts how some people treat their dogs like spoiled children.  Dogs are happiest when they’re allowed to be dogs, and when Petey tracks, he is a dog doing what he is supposed to be doing.  It’s very satisfying to me and just seems right.  
     The challenge of it also keeps me going.  If we found every deer we tracked, it would be boring and not nearly as meaningful.  Even though it can be pretty frustrating, I stubbornly keep at it because you never know – the next track could be that epic find you’ll be talking about for years.  It’s kind of like gambling – the jackpot could be just around the corner.
     I also like meeting and working with the hunters.  This came as a surprise to me as I’m not much of a people person.  Talking deer and dogs with someone I just met is so much easier than making awkward small talk at a party.  It gives me a comfortable way to interact with people and actually enjoy their company.  
     Of course, when you find a deer, it’s like winning a gold medal.  The hunter is happy, I’m proud of my dog, and Petey and I get to be heroes for the day.  You can’t beat that.
     One last thing that makes tracking fun for me is being friends with Tom and Chris.  I called Tom out of the blue when I decided to get into tracking, and from the very beginning, they’ve been nothing but helpful and friendly.  Tom can talk tracking for hours, and he’s always been more than willing to answer questions and give advice.  We talk every few days during tracking season to swap stories, complain about bad calls, etc.  They’re a lot of fun to be around and don’t take themselves or tracking too seriously, and they definitely make tracking more fun for me.
Chris: The original motivation for tracking was to spend time with my husband, Tom, who loved tracking more than hunting.  I love to be in the woods and he would always ask me to go with him, so I would go and help him spot blood.  I also love a working dog and truly enjoyed watching Musket unravel the puzzle to find the deer.  My motivation to continue is to train our newest tracking dogs, Scout (WHD) and Addie (BMH) and to help the hunting community find their deer.  It is very rewarding to find a deer that the hunter could not find him/herself. My favorite weekend to track is our Youth weekend.   It makes you feel so good to help a young hunter find his/her very first deer.  Other motivations are that it keeps me in good health and you meet so many interesting people.  I remember my first years of tracking, I would be so exhausted.  Running up & down mountains and through swamps and thickets is very tiring.  Tom and I started training for sprint triathlons to keep us in shape for the "tracking" season. Just another thing we could do together.  Now I can track for hours and still get up the next day and do it all over again.  The hunters are very appreciative when we come out to help them and we have made many friends through our tracking connections.  I love the time I get to spend with Tom, in the woods with my dogs.  It's my favorite time of year.

Pictures are presented in alphabetical order according to women's first name. Names have links to websites or more info about the women's tracking services.

Barbie Wills from Concord, NH, tracks with wirehaired and shorthair dachshunds.
Claudia Holohan lives in Ashkum, Illinois and she tracks with a wirehaired dachshund Razen. 
Cheri Faust and her dachshund Danika live in Madison, Wisconsin. Cheri is a Secretary and Board member of the United Blood Trackers. 
Chris DiPietro lives in Jericho, VT and she her husband Tom track with 
wirehaired dachshunds and a Bavarian Mountain Hound.
Joanne Greer from Chester, NH tracks with wirehaired dachshund Angie. 
Jolanta Jeanneney from Berne, NY, usually tracks with her husband John and their wirehaired dachshunds. She is on the Board of the United Blood Trackers.
Lindsay Ware from Ellsworth, Maine, tracks with her black Lab Gander.
Louise La Branche from Maricourt, Quebec, has imported four wirehaired dachshunds from Germany. She uses them for tracking and breeding.
Pam Maurier from Manchester, NH is part of Lightning Mountain Outfitters and she tracks with a wirehaired dachshund Tucker.
Paulene Eggers from Syracuse, NY  is a member of Deer Search Of Finger Lakes
and her tracking partner is a wirehaired dachshund Braylee.
Sally Marchmont from Fairfax, VT tracks with a wirehaired dachshund Petey. 

This is Shannon Smith's from Fowlerville, MI, first deer tracking season.
Her black Lab River has been in training since January 2013.
This is a first tracking season for Sherry Ruggieri from Mantua, NJ, and her wirehaired dachshund imported from Hungary Niya. What a great first recovery! 
Susanne Hamilton from Montville, Maine tracks with two dachshunds, Buster and Meggie. She is on the Board of the United Blood Trackers and is a recipient the Maine Bowhunters Association Award. 
Willette Brown from Union, Miane, tracks with wirehaired dachshunds Quilla and Bridger.
Be safe in the woods and keep on tracking!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The use of blood tracking dogs is growing: two recent articles

There are so many blood tracking dogs working in the field these days that it is impossible for us to include all the reports we have been getting. I have never thought that a day like this would come! For John, who for decades has been promoting the use of dogs in recovery of wounded big game, this spread and rising popularity of canine trackers have brought a lot of satisfaction. Just recently he wrote an article that has been published in the October issue of NYS Conservationist under the title given by the magazine editor: "Born to Track: The Dogs of Deer Search". You can read it on DEC website or download it from click here.

No doubt there is much to be done as big deer hunting states states such as Pennsylvania and Kansas have not legalized the use of tracking dogs yet. However, it is just a matter of time. One of the best articles on this subject has been published by Scot Bestul on his Field and Stream blog "Finding Lost Deer: It’s Time For Tracking Dogs To Go National, where he writes: "We should all strive for close, lethal, and ethical shots on game. But the reality is that, if you deer hunt long enough—whether you shoot a bow, crossbow or firearm—sooner or later you’re going to hit a deer in a spot that makes finding it difficult. And sometimes rain, snow or dense cover can complicate the picture. In situations like these, using a tracking dog is not only logical, there is no more ethical option."

Of course the rising popularity of blood tracking dogs creates new challenges such as recruitment and education of new handlers, dog training and testing, and so on. We will try to make our blog as educational as we can and from now on some posts will have "themes". They will take more time and we won't be able to post daily (especially during hunting season), but in the long run it will be more informative, educational and enjoyable. For example we can write posts under themes such as training on the job, first recovery, liver-hit deer, versatile dogs, multiple finds, adolescence problems, tracking with older dogs and so on. There are many possibilities. Right now we are working on "women handlers".

We are ending this post with reports from calls that ended up with recoveries by two brothers, Theo and Thor.

Darren Doran from New Jersey who tracks with Theo von Moosbach-Zuzelek wrote:
I received a call from a hunter who had shot a deer around 12 noon on the 5th. He had tracked the deer with blood about 150 yds. and then lost it. He had gut material on the arrow and had searched all around the area with no luck.

We would be tracking south of my home in Colliers Mills WMA. This is large tract of mature oak, pine and green briars surrounded by oak scrub. This land scape is mostly flat and looks pretty much the same. It is broken up by various fire trails through out. We arrived about 9am 21 hrs. after the shot and proceeded to the hit site. I told the hunter to locate the blood trail so I could start the dog. He had no marks and looked around for a while with no luck. I was beginning to think that I had been misled and was starting to get a little frustrated. I told the hunter to stop and I would do a controlled search with Theo to find the line. I put Theo down and asked him to ‘’search here’’ and within seconds he had the line and was showing us blood.

We tracked the first 150 yds. with ample blood to the hunters point of loss. At this point Theo continued on another 150 yds. showing an occasional drop of blood. We came to a spot that had an oak leaf with a quarter sized drop of blood on it. This was the last blood we found. At this point I had the hunter mark this spot and stay there. Theo continued on and we hit a sandy opening in the brush. He worked around in here a while and I wasn’t sure if he had it or not. I brought him back to the last blood and put him down. He immediately took the same direction and flew down the line. I called to the hunter and followed.

In the next 200 yds. I didn’t see a drop of blood. It was pretty thick here and Theo was tracking hard at the end of a 50 ft. lead and I couldn’t see him. All of a sudden the line when slack and I knew he was on the deer. This track took less than 30 minutes and the hunter was amazed at this. He knew would have never found the deer without the dog. This was Theo’s 9th find and one of our longer tracks that ended in a find. This makes up for the 2 hours we spent yesterday in a nasty swamp coming up empty.

Darren Doran with Theo

Bob Yax, a member of Deer Search of Finger Lakes, owns Thor von Moosbach Zuzelek (Theo's littermate) and last weekend this team recovered three deer. This is one of them. The buck laid down about 75 yds from the hit site. The hunter snuck up on him and shot another arrow at him. He missed, but the buck jumped up and went 10 more yards before laying down again. The Hunter then backed out for a few hours, but when he came back the Buck jumped up and ran off out of sight, looking pretty healthy again. The hunter called us and we came in next morning. I was thinking it was a liver hit. We found the deer dead about 150 yds up the trail, probably 300 yds from the hit site. Not sure how long he was alive at that location. The arrow caught 1 lung and put a 3 inch long x ¾ inch deep cut in the Heart. You can see the entrance wound in the other photo. The exit was out the bottom of the deer.

Bob Yax with Thor

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Update on Tommy

On Saturday Tommy was injured while he got away from John and followed a wounded buck. Today he had a surgery to repair his abdominal wall. His injuries proved to be more substantial than our vet initially had thought, and today Dr. Montario had to stitch through 5 layers of muscles. On the top of it, as it turned out, Tommy had a sharp plant piece stuck in his right eye, very far, almost behind his eye ball. Only when Tommy was sedated and his eyes thoroughly examined the problem was discovered. 

Tommy's recovery will take several weeks, and for the next two weeks he will be confined to a crate. We'll give him a lot of TLC, but I am sure he'd rather be tracking than staying in the house by a warm stove.


First season of training and tracking for this promising Bavarian puppy from Germany

Matt Wilkes from Georgia shared these pictures with us:

In anticipation of the arrival of my new BGS pup, I read John's book Tracking Dogs for Finding Wounded Deer several times. Ken Parker brought Beyla back from Germany on September 11, while he was over there training as an apprentice judge. Once she got settled in to her new home I began training her with John's techniques. The Georgia archery season started the following weekend. I was able to kill two does, both of which died in site of my stand. I let Beyla track both deer for practice and she made quick work of both lines.