A couple of fun tracks

Discussion in 'Blood Trailing.....OPT IN>>>>>>>' started by doctorbrady, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. doctorbrady

    doctorbrady Doctorbrady

    90
    Oct 21, 2013
    SW MO
    Recently, I had some time off and was able to take a few tracks. Better yet, my wife wanted to tag along. The first track was a hunter located just over 3 hours from me. He was down hunting from Wisconsin, where he tracks for other hunters. He had come down without his dog, but had arrowed a nice buck "pretty far back," and knew that a dog would increase his chance of recovery. The buck was shot "halfway between the ribs and rear leg" according to the hunter. He had watched the deer bed down 75 yards away and remain motionless for over 45 minutes. Thinking the deer dead, he climbed down from the stand, only to watch the deer bolt from the area. With little blood to go on, he got out of the woods, went to the hotel, and started looking for a tracker.
    I wasn't able to arrive until the next day, putting the track age at about 28 hours when I arrived with two of my dogs in toe. The fact that this guy tracks with a dog, and was an experienced hunter was a big bonus. Rarely do I get a call from a hunter who hasn't totally adulterated the track by tearing up the woods with all of his buddy's for over a day before we get the call. In this case, we essentially had a virgin track. The hunter had to be going out of his mind, waiting in the hotel room for an entire day until I could show up.
    Arriving at the hit site, we jumped a couple of deer from near the stand. There was little blood at the site of the hit, but Echo, the newest addition to my tracking team, made short work of getting started on the right track. He took the track right to the first bed, showing me typical gut blood along the way. There was moderate blood in the wound bed, then very little exiting the area. The trail led from the thin woods into a tall grass field where the hunter was unable to see the deer exit. 100 yards further into the track, I began finding small spots of blood and kept each speck marked on my GPS as we progressed. Another 100 yards into the track, and no further blood. Echo seemed a little distracted and took a hot line with no sign of the dead deer. We restarted a couple of times, and finally moved the track to a small trail along the edge of an osage and cedar thicket. Echo took little interest in any of the small trails entering the woods, so we walked along the woods edge scent checking each possible entry. He would take a sniff at each area, but seemed uninterested. Finally, he stopped at one trail, and moved into the woods. I looked down to see a small drop of blood. We were on! We moved into the thick cedar glade, crawling as we went. 75 yards into the woods, I saw the great buck. Sweet Victory, and one of our biggest bucks to date. The only one more excited than me was the hunter, and he only slightly more than me.
     

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    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015
  2. doctorbrady

    doctorbrady Doctorbrady

    90
    Oct 21, 2013
    SW MO
    On our way to that track, I had received a few other calls, of varying interest to me. The most interesting was from a couple of guys who had both shot bucks that morning. One was shot at 7 yards with a bow, broadside "right behind the shoulder" with "a lot of lung blood for 50 yards." The arrow was recovered and was described as having a few bubbles. The other was shot quartering towards, also "right behind the shoulder," but the arrow was never discovered, nor was any blood. Since both were shot on adjacent properties, I accepted the track, but had to wait until the next day to head out for another 3 hour trip.
    Once we arrived, the tracks were aged at about 30 hours. We decided to start with the track with blood first. I took Echo out of the crate first, and took him to the hit site. He tracked the first 75 yards easily, but there was minimal blood visible. The blood that was visible looked too dark for lungs and I couldn't find any bubbles. The known track moved straight up a hill towards an open pasture with another hardwood ridge, 75 yards beyond. The dog moved to the field edge, but was not interested in crossing. a 30 mph wind was blowing directly into his face, and he kept raising his nose to scent the woods beyond. 6 deer eventually bolted from the woods, including two really nice bucks! Due to Echo's lack of interest, I restarted him at the hit site. This time he moved along the blood track just as quickly, but then made a 150 degree turn back down the hill towards a large pond below the stand site. Shortly into this new track, he jumped a rabbit which took his interest momentarily. He was easily called off the rabbit, and then retook the track. He led me down to the edge of the pond where he became transfixed on a large branch sticking up from the pond's edge. Eventually he started around the pond's edge, but with no sign, I had sincere doubts about his accuracy, and pulled him off. Eventually, I forced him across the field at the edge of the woods, and into the hardwoods on the opposite side. He never settled in on a track. After another restart, and another trip down to the pond, I took him back to the truck, and brought out my veteran tracker, Caliber. Caliber is a 6 year old wachtelhund with dozens of recoveries to his credit. Calibe took the trail easily, and continued up the hill to the field's edge, just as Echo had. After testing the strong breeze a few times, he turned and headed down the hill to the pond. He began moving around the pond, but didn't seem overly convincing, so I redirected him much as I had Echo. The hunter had mentioned that they had searched the woods along the pond thoroughly without any sign. After a couple of restarts, I was becoming frustrated, and told the hunter than I was going to work Caliber in the woods across the field. If it was dead in that woodlot, we would find it. I left the hunters and my wife talking in the field, and headed off with Caliber. After about 30 minutes, and no sign of the deer we headed back with the bad news. When I arrived back at the field, my wife informed me that a neighbor had found the other hunters buck while looking for a deer that they had gut shot. At first, it sounded as if the neighbor had shot the same deer, but eventually the story cleared, and the only arrow in the large dead buck was the hunter in the group I was tracking for. One less track for us, but a recovered deer for the hunter none the less. As a last ditch effort, I decided to take Caliber around the pond to a small wooded area in the direction both he and Echo had tracked towards. He excitedly drug me into the woods, lengthening my lead arm the whole way. As we made our way up the ravine, the wind strongly in our face, I stopped the dog and asked the hunter if he smelled a deer because I did. That's when the hunter noticed a dark spot along the hillside. I allowed Caliber to finish the track to the deer where he excitedly tugged at the tail. The "lung shot deer" had a nice hole right through his liver, but at the end of the day was a recovered deer.
     

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  3. doctorbrady

    doctorbrady Doctorbrady

    90
    Oct 21, 2013
    SW MO
    Here is a photo of the nice buck that we were unfortunately not able to track as the neighbors recovered it by chance before we could get to it.
     

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  4. archer66

    archer66 5 shots 1 kill

    Jun 21, 2008
    Really interesting tracks.....I enjoy reading about your interaction with the dogs as the handler. Really highlights the need for a handler to know his dogs and how to "guide" them along the trail. The dog's nose is incredible but someone still has to make rational decisions. That's something I didn't realize until I started reading stories from guys like Paker, ArmySGM, Woodshed and yourself.
     
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  5. doctorbrady

    doctorbrady Doctorbrady

    90
    Oct 21, 2013
    SW MO
    On the way home, I received another call from a Wounded Warrior hunt going on not far from home. I had already told them that I would volunteer my services to track if the need arose. They said they had an iffy track on a deer shot at 300 yards. Several people had combed the woods for several hours with only a few drops of blood being discovered. We said we would give it a go since it was for an American hero. On our way back, another hunter called, stating that his father had shot a monster buck, and had been unable to find it. The shot was "right through the lungs" from a ground blind. Again, there was "lung blood everywhere" which disappeared after about 100 yards. The hunter assured me that they had only spent a short time looking for the deer, and hadn't disturbed the area much. I described my other obligation, but as they were on my way back, I told them that I could give them a couple of hours. They agreed, and we made a small detour to head to their location. The hit site did demonstrate some dark blood, but nothing that resembled lung blood. Echo took the track very well, and covered the 150 yards of known blood without a hitch. After that he stayed confident, and took me into a cedar thicket where I had to crawl to follow. Another 150 yards or so, and still no more sign. He had taken a pretty big turn, and I was concerned that we were no longer on trail. Worse yet, there were broken limbs everywhere from where the hunter and his son had canvased the scene. Hardly the story that I had received. I was just about to restart the track when I looked down and saw a wound bed with two scant patches of blood. We followed the trail for a while longer, but no further sign. A few restarts, and nothing more. I changed out to my other dog with no other advances, at least verified by sign. After canvasing the area with my older dog, I had to call of the track, about 2 hours in. The hunter was not happy that I was stopping the track, despite me clearly explaining the circumstances prior to agreeing to the track. After several attempts to get me to stay the night, leaving my kids home alone and my Wounded Warrior promise undone, I finally had to just say "Listen, it's not going to happen." Worse yet, they were not too keen on paying the price that we had agreed upon. To settle the issue, and get on the road to the next track and hopefully home before midnight, I cut the price significantly and got the heck out of there. Two days later, I received a text with pictures demonstrating that the same buck was caught on camera ALIVE.
    Unfortunately, the WW hunt deer was a wash with only a few drops of blood being found. We worked the dogs and the area well until I was convinced that the deer was not going to be recovered. My wife and I hit the driveway at just before midnight. She kept all the tracking money for a "project" that she has, and I kept the memories :).
     
  6. doctorbrady

    doctorbrady Doctorbrady

    90
    Oct 21, 2013
    SW MO
    Good observation. I frequently get calls from hunters wanting a trained tracking dog. I say "No problem, but who is going to train you?" Tracking requires a team effort between dog and handler, and each dog is different.
     
    Huntingfuul likes this.
  7. Vector

    Vector VECtor Custom Calls

    Feb 11, 2003
    N/C MO
    Thank you for sharing DB. I have to be honest, the folk type from your third story has waned my interest greatly in tracking for others. I ran into a BUNCH of them in just a couple years. :(
     
  8. doctorbrady

    doctorbrady Doctorbrady

    90
    Oct 21, 2013
    SW MO
    I hear you man. I just make my intentions clear up front. Time has proven my dogs to be good at recovering deer that are dead. I no longer feel the need to prove myself. I am up front with recovery percentages and honest about my thoughts on the likelihood based on each hunter's description of the shot. If we find them I am as tickled as they are. If we don't, then at least we did due diligence to the animal. They can like it or not. Doesn't ruin my day any more. I used to track for free, and had many more ungrateful hunters then than now If you can believe that. Funny how you spend your time and money to help someone else who made a crap shot, and they are ticked at you for not recovering the deer they wounded. A thorough interview process usually weeds those out for me now. The man in that story leases 6000 acres along with his son and daughter in law! No other hunters. They fly in from Tx to hunt and have a house nearby as well. I am sure the $50 I knocked off the price they had agreed to helped them to sleep a little easier...lol.
    I would think the folks you tracked for would be on their best behaviors given your position. I never understand what makes some peoe tick, though.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
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  9. killmode

    killmode Deplorable member

    Good stuff Doc!!
     
  10. Hooks

    Hooks Well-Known Member

    Aug 20, 2010
    Down the bayou
    Very informative. Thanks for posting up, Brady. Nothing worse than people sometimes.
     
  11. radioactive

    radioactive Active Hunter

    Jan 25, 2012
    Good read on the stories and some great success for you and the dogs!
    I can only hope I never need a tracker and dog, but if I do, you are pretty close by:wave:
     
  12. doctorbrady

    doctorbrady Doctorbrady

    90
    Oct 21, 2013
    SW MO
    I don't track crossbow deer...just kidding. Happy to come out should the need ever arise :)
     
  13. Hawk

    Hawk Well-Known Member Sponsor

    Oct 15, 2009
    How does it work when someone wants to utilize your services?
     
  14. doctorbrady

    doctorbrady Doctorbrady

    90
    Oct 21, 2013
    SW MO
    Hawk, I take the call then take a detailed history of the shot. This helps me decide whether or not it is worth the time and money to use the dogs in it. Even with dogs, the recovery chances are only increased 30-50%, as many of the deer hit do not die. This is sometimes hard to convince a hunter of when they are seeing moderate amounts of blood. If the track seems workable, we work out the price which is based on distance and time required plus a recovery fee. If I am unavailable to track, but the track sounds promising, I try to get them referred to another tracker.
     
    Huntingfuul likes this.
  15. Deeraholic

    Deeraholic Great White Buffalo @*%!

    Thanks for posting these up Dr.!