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Sunday, November 29, 2015

A busy Thanksgiving weekend of deer tracking for Judy and and her dachshund Mossy Brooke

Mossy has had a busy week again this past week.  The only problem has been that most of our tracks have ended up with no dead deer being recovered, much to Mossy's disappointment.  The majority of these have been after a front leg shot, having found bone consistent with an upper long bone of the leg at the sight of the shot.  The areas these deer were shot were so thick that Mossy on leash dragging me could not move fast enough to catch the deer. And, at this point in Mossy's career, running off leash is just not yet an option.  We are getting closer to that point, but this will probably take a few more seasons of tracking. She is too vulnerable at this age to the dangers she has no idea exist, and she can move too fast.  When I was tracking off leash with Bear, he could make a deer with a leg wound move fast enough that it would usually bed down or stop and stand to defend himself once Bear had run it a mile or more, giving me time to get to them and dispatch the deer. Same scenario on a couple of occasions last year when Mossy ran off leash. As she became older and more sure of herself, she would venture further away and I am now concerned about her safety--highways, coyotes, wild dogs, snakes, etc--so on leash she will be for a while longer.

This young man, Jason had been deer hunting on several occasions, but had never had the opportunity to shoot a deer.  I have a stand that I take kids and have had a camera on it, but deer were coming by only during the night with an occasional doe during the day.  I explained to Jason that we could go and if we were lucky, we might see a deer. And, so we did.  After being in the stand for an hour with Jason sitting perfectly still and quiet, this 8 point walked out.  On the way to the stand, I had gone over the things we should and should not do to keep from spooking the deer.  His actions in the stand were those of a young man who had listened to everything we discussed and then followed through with them. I was very impressed.  When the deer was broadside, Jason took the shot. The deer hunched as if it had been hit.  When we walked to the site of the shot, my heart dropped when I saw bone--thinking--oh NO, another leg wound.  On closer inspection, the bone did not resemble a long bone.  So, I called Craig to bring Mossy as we could find no blood or the deer.  Mossy to the rescue.  She immediately picked up the trail--going in a direction in the woods I knew the deer did not go--but I allowed her to continue to track.  Glad I did because she had found Jason's deer very shortly. The deer was hit low in the brisket, but caused enough damage for the shot to be fatal. 

So, Mossy's and my Thanksgiving weekend turned out perfect.  A young man with his first deer and Mossy finally finding her reward at the end of the track. Life does not get any better for a WHD than this.  She guarded this deer with her entire body, but allowed Jason to act like his was his for a few minutes. 

Mossy Brooke received another call this AM.  The hunter had shot the deer 3 hours previous, had found blood for 50 yards and then had lost the trail of blood.  He and his buddy had walked in the woods for 2 hours searching for the deer.  They then ran into another hunter up town who told them about Mossy. We arrived and after talking with the hunter found that the deer was quartering toward the hunter who had made an app. 150 yd shot with the deer going down on his front legs, then jumping up, crossing a fence, and running off. The hunter had gone down to the site the deer was standing when he shot and found blood.  He heard a crash about 75 yds to his left and assumed this was the deer.  

Mossy started on the blood trail, went directly uphill and then to the right. The hunter advised me the deer did not go that way--he heard him crash to his left.   "When will she ever learn?"--were Mossy's thoughts at this point I am sure as I pulled her off the track and took her back to the area of the crashing noise. She appeased me for a few minutes and then we were off on Mossy's track again. 

Within 100 yards, I began seeing large pools of gut shot blood, then thru a thicket losing my glasses, and across the creek.  Now, Mossy is pulling hard, I have lost my glasses and cannot see very well, and the hunter has gotten behind. I am calling him to catch up so he can be my eyes and shortly Mossy is standing over the dead deer.  Thank goodness the deer was dead as without glasses I did not see the deer until she was touching it. Three blows from the whistle and the hunter comes running to us. Mossy is awesome, awesome, awesome. And, I have learned that along with extra batteries, flashlites, etc., I will have an extra pair of glasses.  Another awesome morning with my little Mossy Brooke.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Shot analysis by Bob Yax on the two deer recovered by his tracking dog Thor

These two bucks were recovered last weekend by Bob Yax and his tracking dachshund Thor. 

The Pittsford buck was hit low in the chest with a bow on Sunday morning. See entrance photo attached.   Also, check out the kid wearing shorts while he was tracking with us! Ouch!   We  jumped this liver hit buck twice, 6.5-7 hrs after the hit.  In its 3rd bed, the kid was able to put another arrow into it.  We found a 1 inch deep slice thru the edge of the liver when he gutted it. That was a long survival for a liver hit!

We jumped the Honeoye buck 17 hrs after the 7 mm hit,  from its 1st bed, about 700 yds from the hit site.   Up till then we had only found a few spots of blood to confirm Thor was on the bucks trail.  At times, I was really wondering since Thor took us close to 2 houses and across at least 200 yds of cut lawn and a main road with no blood.  After jumping up from a very bloody bed, the buck ended up  (luckily!) in a deep ravine 100 yds further up the trail.  The hunter was able to shoot  it a 2nd time from about 40 yds as it tried climbing  up the far side of the steep ravine.   The 7 mm hit was really low in the front of the chest and hit the top of both front legs – see entrance and exit photos attached.  The buck was quartering to him a little.   Not really sure what vitals he hit (maybe low lungs?) but I know he missed the heart entirely, since after close examination, it’s now in my fridge.  I’m going to check out the rib cage after the guy finishes butchering it to see if the bullet did make it inside the chest cavity. 


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mossy Brooke finds a doe completely covered with pine needles and leaves by a bobcat

On Sunday we received this tracking report with some pictures from Judy Catrett. Judy is tracking with Mossy Brooke, an 19-month-old daughter of Tommy and Tuesday.

Mossy Brooke has been very busy these past several days. She has made several recoveries and we have not been able to catch up with several wounded deer. We have had two leg wounds, with bone fragment at the site of the shot.  We were not able to catch up with either buck even though she tracked with all of her might. The blood trail finally ran out on both, and after 1/2 mile with no blood and briars so thick, I could take no more, I stopped Mossy.  

Unsure as to whether I made the right decision, I came home, picked up John's book, Tracking Dogs For Finding Wounded Deer, and read the chapter on leg wounds. I often refer to his book when Mossy and I have failed to recover the deer, and usually I am reminded of things I could have done better. I am convinced that it is at times impossible to catch a 3-legged deer.  

We have had one buck shot high in the upper, anterior aspect of chest with an arrow.  Basically, same story as above. Tracked blood for 1/2 mile and then another 1/2 mile with no blood thru briars so thick Mossy had difficulty getting thru. She finally asked me on this track if I would carry her. This let me know that she had not had scent of blood in a while.  So, she definitely was ready for a reward at the end of her tracking.  No big bucks, but to Mossy a dead deer is a dead deer.

She has found 3 does this weekend. Fairly good blood trail on all 3 and better than anything for her, a dead deer at the end of the trail.  One of the does had been dead for only 1 1/2 hours when Mossy found it. It had been covered completely with pine straw and leaves as I have seen Mountain Lions out west do.  We left part of the deer and put up cameras---this was done by a large bobcat, not a Mt. Lion, much to my relief.  Mt. Lions in this area have not been documented.  

Mossy is one happy and tired tracker today--she is napping in hopes of being able to track again later today.   WHDs--Trackers, they are.

The last deer recovery for the old tracking dachshund, Ari von Moosbach-Zuzelek

This is a bittersweet story submitted by Walt Dixon of Ari's latest and most likely last recovery. Ari was born on March 11, 2003, and she is an older sister of our Billy. Her heart disease has been getting worse recently. 

I wanted to share this with you. Old Walt (with my back problems) and old Ari (with her heart problems) found this big buck for a bow hunter this morning. Although the gun season is open, they only bow hunt on this private property. The buck was hit at 3 PM yesterday, while I was at the Vets with both my dogs. Ari was being analyzed and now treated for a UTI in addition to adding Vetmedin to her other heart meds. Dachs was only in for a regular checkup. After the Vet listened to Ari’s heart she said she would not take her tracking any longer. 

Friends called me after dark to ask if I would bring the dog to try to track their deer if needed and since both dogs received shots and meds I said no, not until this morning. The hunter and friends tracked this deer until 9 PM with flashlights, before giving up, and it never laid down in about 500 yards. They marked their last blood and called me about 9:30 PM to ask if I would track in the morning.

This morning, after calling the hunter’s info into DEC law enforcement, I thought about which dog to take. We needed to move slowly and carefully in this bow only area, so as not to chase deer out to where the gun hunters sit. After some soul searching I decided to take Ari. When we got to the hunter’s last blood she immediately got a little too excited and began panting like she was not getting enough oxygen so I sat down with her and calmed her down. Once calm, the old girl started tracking and never wavered over 150 yard trail through tall swale grass and into a thorn apple thicket to recover this 130”+ buck! She was visibly possessive and proud of herself! The coyotes had eaten the entire deer, but the hunter was extremely happy to know this buck was not still wounded and on the loose.

So, all’s well that ends well. I really felt that if she went slowly she’d be okay, but also that if she passed away with a heart attack on this track she would die a happy and honorable death doing what she was bred to do. She’s a happy girl resting downstairs right now. The Vet felt Ari’s health could worsen any time. This is likely Ari’s last recovery. As you know, it’s sad to think of her aging. She and I have traveled many miles and recovered many deer over her lifetime. Her old eyes look up at me wondering where we’re going on our next adventure. The love and companionship a tracker and dog share is special! We’ll keep her as healthy and comfortable as we can as  she approaches her 13th birthday and beyond, Lord willing. I thought you’d like to hear this story and see a picture of Ari!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Darren Doran and his tracking dachshund Theo recover a deer 55 hours after the shot

By Darren Doran

A local hunter that I know called me Monday morning of November 16 after he had shot a good buck. He thought he had hit forward, and after the shot he just snuck out of the woods. He was going back after lunch to look for sign. I told him I would hold a spot for him in case he needed Theo.

He called me back and said that he tracked to a bed about 50 yds from the hit site and then he found another bed very close. The blood was wet in the second bed, and he thought he might have bumped the deer. He backed out. We discussed the hit and our options and decided that the hunter would look again the next morning and give the deer more time.

In a lot of places in New Jersey the properties are very small. A pushed deer, especially a mature buck, can cross many properties, all of which we need permission to enter before we can track. I always tell a hunter to give the deer time as if he’s dead he’ll be right there. If he’s pushed too soon and knows he’s 
being tracked by a man, the recovery can get very difficult.

The hunter called at noon on Tuesday and said he had advanced the line to another bed but thought the deer might have crossed the railroad tracks to another property. He marked his last blood and gained permission to enter the property just in case. I got there at 3:30 pm, 32 hours after the hit.

We went to the hit site and I looked at the arrow. There was white hair at the hit. The hunter described a hit forward with what looked like a long gash on his side. The shot was 32 yds from a stand about 22 feet high.

I started Theo and he circled the hit, took the trail the buck came in on, then turned around, tracked through he hit site and took the buck’s line. We tracked to the first bed and on through to the second and continued on. Theo was tracking with the intensity that usually accompanies a recovery, and he was extremely focused. The hunter pointed to his last blood as Theo tracked about 20 yds to the left and straight past it. Theo continued on and I marked another drop of blood and soon we were at the railroad tracks and on across. We tracked to a sandy deadfall, and Theo located 3 more beds. The hunter had never tracked to this point and had no idea the deer had gone this way. Theo then worked the line back to the tracks and across once again and back into the woods we just left. Theo tracked to the hunter’s last blood mark and past. It became evident that the hunter during his searching had found this blood by accident and cut of about 200 yds of the track.

We continued on paralleling the railroad and crossed a water filled ditch into some briars and swampy brush. Theo marked another bed with dried blood and then started out of the briars back to the tracks and across once more. We already had permission to enter so we just kept tracking. In a short while I heard a deer get up in front of us. I hadn’t seen any blood since the last bed and this was a typical deer bedding area. I wanted to make sure we were tracking the right deer and was holding Theo back and telling him EASY. He was barking and I had him close. All of a sudden the hunter says “I have blood”. I asked him to bring it to me and sure enough it was blood. I moved forward with Theo and soon we were on the deer’s bed. Theo was hot now and the deer started to bleed again. I also noticed a strong smell of rotten gut. The hunter could also smell this. We tracked about 300 more yds and started to lose the light. We decided to come back next day and restart the track. I marked the GPS and flagged the spot.

We started Wednesday afternoon about 3 pm and picked up where we left off. Theo started right away and we had gone about 100 yds when we ran into a large flock of about 25 turkeys. Theo jumped up on a log and looked at the birds flapping and yelping in front of us. I told him in a stern voice to “get back on the line and find the blood”. Immediately he forgot about the birds and resumed tracking. We had gone about another 100 yds right through the turkey distraction and started to turn to the left. I was familiar with this property and knew the deer was going to turn to get around the corner of a deer fence that went around a large nursery. We came to the corner of the fence and there was a T shaped water filled ditch that followed the corner and went out into the woods. Right at this spot the deer stopped for a while and there was a hand sized amount of blood. The deer has never lain back down since we jumped him yesterday.

Theo worked this check for a good while. He checked the banks of the ditch on our side. He went across and checked the other side. He came back to the blood a few times. Eventually he took a line into the woods away from the fence and in about 20 yds we found the deer next to a log.

This deer was finally recovered about 55 hours after it got shot, and would have never been found without a dog team. The arrow actually hit low on the left side just above the sternum. The arrow somehow bruised the left lung but never cut it. It went between the sections of liver and out the gut. That counts for the strong rotten smell we had when we put him up the day before.

Theo is now 3 and a half and is maturing into a very honest and efficient tracking dog. I love handling this dog and watching him work. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

When you track wounded deer with a dog in snake country: safety tips

By Jerry Gregston

Recently there was a question posted on the United Blood Trackers Facebook Group from a prospective buyer of a dachshund puppy. He is located in nothern Texas and was concerned about getting a small sized dog because of possibility of running into a snake.

Jerry Gregston from SW Oklahoma wrote this article to address questions that had been raised raised. Thank you Jerry!

First of all, the disclaimer. I am neither a veterinarian nor a herpetologist, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night! I am just a guy who dearly loves his tracking dog. A snake bite is something that could happen where we track, and I didn't want to get caught off guard. So, I did something anyone could do, I began to research, ask for info, and quiz those in the know. Any information contrary to or in addition to the following, I would very much like to hear, as this is again just a layman's perspective.

In our area (SW Oklahoma) poisonous snakes come in the form of rattlers (Western Diamondback), water moccasins, copperheads and coral snakes, and unless you are very lucky, these, plus or minus a few indigenous to your particular area, can cause a big time bump in the road that leads from the hit site to that prized animal the dog/handler team is trying to find. There are several weapons in the anti-snakebite arsenal. I will touch on some, and ultimately each handler will need to pick and choose what seems most reasonable and affordable for their needs.

Snake Clinic/ Avoidance Training: This is a training that actually can stop a bite before it happens. No treatment can compare with not being bitten in the first place. The use of a shock collar when the dog approaches a de-fanged poisonous snake leaves a lasting impression. Finding a clinic in your area can be a problem, and it can be a little tough for the handler to watch, but this is a "tough love" decision that has to be considered.

Anti-Venom Injection: This is given to the dog in the event of a bite (usually when arriving at the vet), and in actuality, the dog will likely get several of these injections depending on the severity of the bite. The downside here is, yes, you can carry it with you to administer immediately, but the drug is expensive and short lived (it will be out of date by next season). Note: if purchased online be careful of expiration dates and on dosage as there are different strengths and dosage is dictated by the size of the dog.

Snake Vaccine: There is available now, a snakebite vaccine. This vaccine does not prevent problems from a bite, but makes symptoms less severe.  Although vet opinions here varied, it was described to me as being as if the dog has had one injection of anti-venom when the bite occurs. Obviously that would be a worthwhile thing and would buy some time as you headed for the nearest vet. There are several drawbacks to the vaccine. It's expensive and not permanent (boosters are necessary). It is snake specific. Right now the vaccine is aimed at the Western Diamondback, so it does not protect against all poisonous snakes.

Kevlar Vests: I researched and purchased a Kevlar vest which is used mostly to protect terriers from hog cuts. It fit my Cletus (wirehaired dachshund) fairly well, and it covers the chest and most of the body. Most bites seem to occur on the face and legs, and  while these bites look almost instantly terrible, the consensus of opinion is these are bites a dog can get over, but a bite to the chest or body is much more serious/deadly (there is good info on dog size related to use in snake country in John's book). I was assured that it would stop a snake bite or an errant antler although to date we have experienced neither. We used the vest in place of the harness (has a large D ring in middle of back) in the warm months when snakes were more active. Downside here is that while it is adjustable, it seemed a little cumbersome or restrictive for Cletus and it was hot to wear in the already hot weather.

Snake Bite Protocol for Dogs: OK, we're tracking down that buck of a lifetime and the dog gets what? Consensus is stop tracking and give the dog 25mg of benadryl and 5mg of prednisone (20 lb dosage, and the anti-venom if you are carrying it) and get to the vet ASAP. Carry the dog if possible and keep him as calm as possible. Note: a great thing to know ahead of time when you are out of your neck of the woods is the nearest available vet.

Snake Bite Protocol for Handlers: OK, we're tracking down that buck of a lifetime, the dog just makes the snake mad as he goes by and the snake takes it out on the handler (or hunter) what? Try to remain calm and remove any jewelry or tight clothing. Position the bite below heart level as much as possible. Do NOT cut or flush the wound and do NOT use a tourniquet or ice. A photo or detailed description of the snake is very helpful, but don't try to catch it. And, no, do Not take your dog's benadryl and prednisone! Now get to an ER ASAP! You know where the nearest ER is.....right?

Decide what meets your needs according to the level of threat where you will be tracking and what your budget will allow. Make yourself be prepared for something you hope never happens.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Deer Search tracking team finds a heart-shot deer still alive 23 hours after the shot

Today we got two tracking stories from Bob Yax, a member of Deer Search of Finger Lakes. He tracks with Thor von Moosbach-Zuzelek, who is now 3.5 years old. So far in 2015 this tracking team has recovered 18 deer for local hunters.

The first story was labelled by Bob as "interesting", the second one "incredible", so tonight we'll post the latter one. Bob writes:

The evening of November 9, I got a call from Shawn.  I had tracked a deer for him a few years back and he remembered how Thor had stayed with that buck for multiple hours and multiple miles until we had to turn back due to posted property, we jumped that buck 6 times.
      Shawn had hit a 6pt buck at 9:30 that Sunday morning, Nov 8th.    He explained that he had shot the buck with a  crossbow while standing on the ground.  The buck was facing him with just a slight quartering angle.  His bolt hit the buck low in the front of the chest.  After hitting the buck, it turned and ran, leaving the entire bolt shaft, with the broad head and insert missing,  just a few feet down the trail. (Note, this is always a bad shot to take.  The front of a deer’s chest is like armor, and even if you get through it,  you’ll very likely end up with a marginal / unrecoverable 1 lung hit). 
      The bolt only had about 6 to 8 inches of blood on it.  The initial blood trail was really good with pretty heavy rich, but not dark, blood.  Shawn waited 2 hours to take up the track with a friend and was then able to easily follow it till he reached an empty bed in a mowed trail about 100 yards from the hit.  They then continued to follow a dwindling blood trail till finding a 2nd empty bed about 250 yards from the hit site.  After leaving this 2nd bed, the light blood trail led up the side of a pretty steep ravine.   Shawn and his friend continued to track till they got to the top edge of the ravine, but after not seeing any sign of the buck ahead in the open woods, they decided to turn back and to call Deer Search.

After hearing Shawn’s story,  the fact that the buck had bedded twice had me very interested.  To me, the only explanations for the buck's behavior would be a nicked liver (if the arrow got back that far) or a nicked heart.  If only the lungs were hit, it’s very unlikely that the buck would have bedded like it did.  Since the arrow hadn’t penetrated very much,  my best guess was a nicked heart.  We’d already found 2 this year with a shallow slice across the outside of the heart. One of them we jumped twice after 8 hours before I was able to shoot it in its 6th bed, about 500 yards from the hit site.
        I arranged to meet Shawn and his friend the next morning at 8:30 – 23 hrs after the hit.  We started down the blood trail and Thor was hot on it the whole way.  The blood looked pretty dark,  but not like liver blood.   We easily got through the 1st and 2nd beds and then headed up the pretty steep side of the ravine.  At the top, where Shawn had backed out, Thor was still showing me small spots of blood.   For the next half mile or so Thor was still hot on the untouched trail.  We were seeing periodic, widely spaced, spots of blood.  Finally after about 20 minutes of tracking at a fast pace, Thor began jumping and looking wildly ahead – a sure sign that the dead buck was close by.  A few seconds later, Thor circled a brush pile about 5 yards ahead of me, that’s when I saw it, 3 feet in front of him – The Buck was looking at me!   A second later the buck was on its feet with Thor jumping at its tail.  The buck fell down then got up and fell again.  Shawn was yelling “Shoot it”.   After clearing the brush pile a little,  I was able to put a 20 ga slug in its back & liver.   I couldn’t believe that buck was still alive 23 and a half hours after the hit.  But it was about to get even more unbelievable….
      Being totally into deer anatomy/CSI, I couldn’t wait for Shawn to gut the deer and see what he had hit.   The bolt had definitely entered low in the front of the chest.   The lungs were untouched, so the broad head never made it back to the liver. The only sign of arrow damage to the internal organs,  was to the heart – major damage!  

The hole in the heart was massive and deep and showed the 4 blade pattern of the Muzzy broad head.  It entered, but did not exit out the other side of the heart.  There is no doubt that it penetrated into the chambers of the heart.  I could put my finger into the hole and out the main artery (aorta?) at the top.  Three of us were there to witness these events. Three other neighbors saw the heart shortly after.  I’m still trying to get the ribcage to examine the entrance hole.  I’m really hoping to someday talk to a cardiologist about this. It seems that the broad head only penetrated about 2 inches into the chest cavity – those 2 inches were into the heart.  My only guess as to how this buck had survived so long, is that the front wall of the chest acted as a backup wall for the heart and held in enough blood to keep the deer alive that long.

Tracking wounded deer across river yields some surprises

By Darren Doran

I had a track today for a hunter that I tracked for last year. Last year we tracked his deer to a river that we didn’t have permission to cross. It took the hunter 4 days to get permission, and he found his deer 75 yards on the other side with his head cut off.

This year permission to cross had been secured just in case. Anyway the hunter shot the deer at 45 yards with a crossbow, and only had a split second to observe the deer through the foliage before it was gone. He thought the shot was good. He got down and didn’t find his bolt or any blood at the hit site. He didn’t search any further and called me.

I started Theo where the hunter thought the deer had been hit and Theo took a line. We went down into the bottom and started hooking around and heading behind the hunter. I hadn’t seen any blood and we had gone far enough. I told the hunter I wanted to re start and went back to the hit site.

Theo restarted and took a different line and the hunter thought that this was the way the deer had run. After some distance I marked a drop of blood and knew that: 1) the hunter actually hit the deer and 2) we were on a right line. Theo tracked into the bottom and to a bed. I had found about a shot glass of blood to this point and the bed was blood free.

We continued on and I knew the deer was heading for the river. Sure enough we tracked in ankle deep water and muck to the river’s edge. I sent Theo up and down both banks as far as we could go in the mud to make sure the deer didn’t turn but it was evident it swam across. This river is not real wide but too deep and muddy to get across. I flagged the spot and marked the GPS, and we went back to the trucks to drive around. The hunter called the landowner and told him we were coming on his side.

Once on the opposite side of the river where the deer crossed, I noticed a gas pipe line across the river. The weeds and brush along that bank were mowed about 30 feet wide where the pipe went under the river. I restarted Theo and he was checking all around. He was sniffing the grass and all the weeds along the edge on our side.

When Theo can’t find the scent he is looking for he will circle and go back to a spot he knows he had it. Today was no different. He jumped into the river and swam back to the side we had just left. Here’s where a 50 ft. lead comes in handy. I was able to wade out some with the water below my boots and give him enough lead to do his thing. He checked around on the bank by my flag and satisfied the deer crossed he swam back.

The river in this spot made an S bend and Theo then swam out to the belly of the S. He was standing in the water at the bank sniffing the weeds and grasses at the edge. Here’s where it started to get a little messy. I didn’t have enough lead to let him get up the bank and this was the way he wanted to go. I had to wade out to my knees to give him enough lead to get up the bank. Theo’s really pulling now and I’m stuck I can’t go any further forward. I told the hunter that we need a boat.

The hunter called the landowner and just so happened he had a jon boat. It took about 20 minutes to get the boat and the whole time Theo wants to go. In my training with Theo I’ve trained an EASY command. What this means is that I’m coming but you have to give me time. I use it a lot when I’m crawling and snipping my way through briars or navigating dead falls. I told him EASY and he just stood slightly pulling on the lead. We got into the boat and paddled across and Theo took of down a run on the ox bow of the river. We were tracking along on a run in about ankle deep water. I hadn’t seen any blood and suddenly he turned right into some thick swamp grass and brush. Next think I know all hell is breaking loose. I thought for sure the deer was getting up and I yelled to the hunter there he goes. Only thing it wasn’t a deer it was a giant gobbler that flushed out. I’m not used to seeing turkeys in a swamp like that and that was the last thing I expected to see.

I corrected Theo and continued to search the rest of the ox bow for the deer or sign while the hunter paddled down the river looking. Theo wanted to go back down the run he was on before he got side tracked by the turkey, but the water was getting too deep and muddy to get through. I do believe the deer went that way but I also believe the deer was still alive.

The hunter didn’t track or attempt to pursue the buck the night before and I believe him. We should have found the deer in the first bed or another one very close if he was mortally wounded.

I called the track, got in the boat and we went back to the pipe line. I searched the rest of the river bank and brush back to the bridge at the road just in case we missed something.

And so it goes I told the hunter if he finds the deer or sees him alive to give me a call.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Mossy Brooke, a tracking dachshund, recovers a deer for newlywed hunters in Georgia

Judy Catrett from Georgia owns Mossy Brooke whose registered name is Viola von Moosbach-Zuzelek. Mossy is a 19-month-old daughter of our Tommy (FC Tom vom Linteler-Forst) and FC Tuesday von Moosbach-Zuzelek. This is Mossy's second tracking season. She gets a lot of tracking opportunities at a hunting plantation managed by Craig, Judy's husband. I get a lot of pictures and stories from Judy (thank you Judy!) and will try to share some of them here. This one came yesterday.

Mossy and I have been so busy tracking wounded deer this past week, I have had very little time to email. She has recovered 15 deer so far this year and most of these have been for hunters in the area who have heard about Mossy Brooke. The majority of her recent tracks have been more difficult--ranging from several hours to 24 plus hours old. 

The buck in the picture was several hours old.  This young lady was just engaged 2 weeks ago, was shooting her new rifle given to her by her future husband, and could not find the buck she had shot.  Mossy Brooke to the rescue.  Mossy was shown the site at which the buck was shot, and she immediately picked up the track and started through the woods.  The lady told Craig that she did not think the buck went the way Mossy was tracking. Craig assured her that Mossy should be allowed to track the direction her nose was leading her.  Mossy continued with confidence and I began seeing blood. Mossy tracked to the edge of a beaver pond, which I knew we could not cross due to the depth of the water and I could not see a floating deer anywhere near.  Mossy then turned and began tracking up the edge of the pond.  Within a few minutes, Mossy had found the buck. Craig had already told Stephanie that 3 blows from the whistle meant that Mossy had found the buck.  Craig said that when they heard the whistle, Stephanie began screaming with joy and dancing. They made their way into the woods to Mossy and me.  

After some celebrating and pictures, Craig asked Stephanie's fiancĂ© to help him pull the deer out of the woods.  Stephanie immediately interrupted and informed Craig that she would help him pull the deer out.  As it turned out, everyone had a turn pulling the deer.  This makes mine, Craig's and Mossy's day.  We helped load the deer on the 4 wheeler and then left the newly engaged couple in the woods celebrating. To make things even better, Bubba, Stephanie's fiancĂ© had killed a buck that morning--much smaller than Stephanie's.

We have had about 5 tracks that we have not recovered the deer during the past week. Mossy tracked and worked hard, but after going about 1/2 mile without blood, I stopped her. I continue to learn from other trackers posts and definitely from John.  We plan to be quite busy this weekend as Craig has hunters and our little town is full of hunters right now.   I think Mossy has had 8 tracks this past week.

Mossy sleeps on pillow beside me every night like a little human pup. We love her so much. Thank you again for choosing us as Mossy's family.


Some of Mossy's recoveries from 2015.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Start tracking wounded deer at the hit site

By John Jeanneney

After a stretch of calls where we could not catch up to the deer, our luck has changed. Tommy and I have had three challenging finds in a row. Our find this morning confirms an important principle. Start at the hit site.

The 10 point buck was gut shot, and Dan, the hunter, had done an amazing job of tracking it a good quarter mile on very sparse blood. Finally he ran out any blood and backed off.  Dan didn't want Tommy and me to come and track at night in that god-awful swamp of bush and briars, so we scheduled the search for the following day. When we started, the scent line was 26 hours old.

Now the easy and attractive option would have been to avoid a quarter mile of brush and brambles by beginning at the point of loss. We could have driven right to it. But my 40 years of experience told me to begin at the hit site.  Then Tommy would gain a clear recognition of the buck's individual scent, while we had a few drops of blood to confirm that we were on the right line.

It took us about 40 minutes to work over the line tracked by Dan. It had taken Dan several hours. It was slow going in the thick stuff. When we finally came to the well-marked point of loss, there seemed to be no scent left. Tommy worked for 15 minutes through the deadfalls before he became positive on a scent line. He never would have been able to recognize and pick up this line, after that long check, if he hadn't memorized the scent over that first quarter mile.

We moved on wondering whether Tommy really had it. Then Dan found a drop of blood, and a few moments later Tommy found the buck, dead. Trust your dog! And start at the hit site.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

John Jeanneney, a passionate tracker, recovers another wounded deer with his dachshund Tommy

John turned 80 years old in April, and I did not anticipate that he would be tracking this season. I should have known better! It seems that I tend to underestimate his drive and passion for tracking wounded game as this is what he lives for. The story was written by him and describes the track that ended with his 4th deer recovered this year. It was also his 302nd recovery through lifetime.

Brambles and grapevines are a great mix to keep an old man agile and active. The necessary dodging, ducking and crouching does more good than any workout at the gym. Each call I take is tougher than the last, but my legs get stronger to meet the challenge.

The call I took on Tuesday, November 11, taught me a few things. It was a big bow-shot buck, hit “too far back" at 8 AM. The hunter and his buddies had tracked it about a half mile. Then the blood sign ran out, and I was called in at 2:30 PM. There was plenty of scent, and it was no problem for Tommy to start and follow. After only a hundred yards we jumped the buck, and he made a tight circle in a thick swamp with a deep creek flowing through it. When you get wet, you stay cool.

And I was happy to see that the buck was staying close in thick stuff. He won't go far, I thought. Ha! After that tight loop, he lined out through the briars for over a mile. The creek meandered back and forth so that we could cool off several times. The steep clay slopes had me on my hands and knees coming out. I envied Tommy's four legs and claws.

We crossed a harvested corn field. blood, but I could see the big splayed hoof prints on into a stretch of open hardwoods. Much easier going. Then we found a bed with a few smears of blood. But the buck was gone, and we tracked after him as fast as we could go, which wasn't very fast.

Now it was getting dark. The hunter and I agreed that we wouldn't catch up any time soon, and we had no lights with us. I marked the scent line as it came out of another creek, and we slopped our way out to a road where we were picked up.

Our plan was to pick up the line the next morning and track to the buck that should be dead or very weak. That was the plan, but what are plans in the passion of the hunt?

The next morning, as I was getting ready to leave for the track, the hunter called. He hadn’t been able to sleep, and he had worried about the coyotes. At 1:30 AM he had gone back to my marker and searched ahead for a 100 yards. There was the 10 point buck, dead.

Because I tracked it 1 1/2 miles without blood, I'm claiming it as a find for Tommy. But Tommy never got a chew.

This was John's 4th recovery this year and 302nd lifetime.

The other two pictures show deer recovered by John and Tommy in October.