Dog Tracking Wounded Game

Discussion in 'Whitetails General' started by Army SGM, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. Army SGM

    Army SGM Mid-Missouri Gun Dogs

    618
    Jan 5, 2013
    Auxvasse, MO
    Now that the weather has finally cooled down a little, I am thinking things will pick up around here and more of you will get off of the couch/keyboard, out of the A/C, and into a stand or blind.

    Even though "most" of us practice in the pre-season and strive for that perfect double-lung shot and a quick kill, that is not reality because deer don't often stand broadside and perfectly still waiting for us to shoot them like the stationary targets we practice on.

    Not recovering a nice deer is no fun, but I am guessing many of us have been there before. My best recommendation to you is to have a plan before you ever get in the stand of who you are going to call and how you are going to call since cell phones don't work everywhere. Most deer that are not recovered do so because of bad decisions made after the shot.


    Here is an article from the United Blood Trackers website of things to do or not to do:

    Mistakes Hunters Make Before Calling In A Tracking Dog

    Posted on: June 24th, 2013 by admin No Comments
    These are things that I have run into over the last few years. This is not an all inclusive list of mistakes as I am sure I will continue to see new things the more I track.

    The most common mistake is that hunters walk down the middle of the blood trail. Then when they get to were the blood runs out they start walking all over the place. This transfers blood from their boots to places the deer did not go. When the dog gets there to track and gets to this point on the trail they have to spend a lot of time unraveling this false blood trail that is now laid out. There is not a good solution other than to try to be careful and walk to the side of the trail were possibly.

    Mistake number 2 is that the hunter does not visually or physically mark where the deer was standing when they shot. This point can be very important to a tracker in that a lot of information can be gained by looking at the color of hair at the hit site along with any bone that might be there.

    Mistake 3 is that they do not know who their neighbors are or how to get in contact with them in case the deer travels across property lines. In many states it is illegal to cross property lines without permission even to track a wounded deer. A solution is to go ahead and make arrangements with your neighbors ahead of time just in case. This will help when late at night you come to a property line and you are trying to find out who owns the property. You will be very disappointed when the tracker and his dog call it quits, so get permission ahead of time.

    Mistake 4 is not being prepared for tracking at night. A pen light works fine for walking into the woods but when you need to see the minutest sign you need a very good bright light. Bring several good lights just in case your batteries die or a bulb blows.

    Mistake 5, not marking their progress along the track to the point of loss. Marking the trail helps the tracker to see that their dog is following the right blood trail to the point of loss. If the blood trail is very light the handler may not see any blood as they will be watching their dog’s reaction. By marking the last spot of blood the handler will know that at that point there might be a lot of false trails, see mistake #1.

    Mistake 6 pushing the deer. If the deer travels out of site after the shot give it 30 to 45 minutes. As soon as you start tracking and see that the animal may travel a great distance or that it is a poor shot back out and give it at least 4 hrs if the temperature will allow and you are not worried about coyotes. If there are signs of a gut shot wait 6 to 8 hrs before begging to track again. Most mortally wounded deer will try to lie down within 200-300 yards. But if pushed out of the bed can travel great distance before expiring.

    A few misconceptions about tracking dogs.

    It has been raining so a dog will not be useful; actually a light rain helps to hold the scent. Some dogs are even able to track after heavy rains it is always better to call as soon as possible but if you can not get a tracking dog until it has been over 12 hrs then do not worry. A lot of people think that a dog is only good if the track is under a few hours old. Actually a well trained dog will be able to follow a scent trail 20 even 40 hrs old. The meat may not be any good if the weather is hot and the yotes might have got to it, but if you want to recover your trophy do not be afraid to call in a quality tracking dog. Another misconception is that a tracking dog will always find your animal. A tracking dog greatly increases your chances of finding a wounded animal but it is by no means a guarantee. Dogs have bad days just like people do.
     
  2. beanpile

    beanpile just a no body

    Book marking this thread.. Thanks SGM!
     

  3. Army SGM

    Army SGM Mid-Missouri Gun Dogs

    618
    Jan 5, 2013
    Auxvasse, MO
    Unfortunately there are not a lot of trackers with dogs in MO though the number is growing. For pretty much all, tracking is not their full time gig, so the closest tracker may or may not be available. There are at least three here on MWT. We try to network as much as we can and if one can't take a track, we may be able to assist you with contacting someone who can.

    Speaking for myself and probably most of the others, the more knowledgeable that you are, and by that I mean the fewer mistakes mentioned above that you make, the more likely I will be to respond. I don't take every call I get. Few trackers will. They will "interrogate" you in an attempt to determine based on the info you give them, the chances of recovery.

    Here is a list of trackers with dogs that cover MO. I would contact them ahead of time if you have questions about their coverage area, fees, etc. I would recommend having at least two trackers in your contact list.

    http://www.unitedbloodtrackers.org/find-a-tracker/?state=mo
     
    trailblazer75 likes this.
  4. Army SGM

    Army SGM Mid-Missouri Gun Dogs

    618
    Jan 5, 2013
    Auxvasse, MO
    Some trackers have websites that you can contact them through. I will try to add some of the ones that I have into this post for you guys to favorite on your smart phones. Remember though that data coverage will bite you when you need it the most so put a number in your contacts.:

    Here is mine. And coincidentally there is a post which includes video of the track from start to recovery of an awesome deer recovered this morning down near Rolla. Based on the story the hunter backed out immediately and contacted a tracker. The track lasted all of 5 minutes because the track was clean (not tracked over by hunters) and the deer was not pushed.

    https://www.facebook.com/SchweisshundTracking/


    This is Doug Fink's webpage out of Jerseyville, IL (north of St. Louis) he is the tracker in the video I shared that recovered the deer down near Rolla:

    https://www.facebook.com/NonTypicalDeerRecovery/


    Brad is a member here on MWT from down in Fair Grove, MO:

    https://www.facebook.com/Brushpile1/


    Doc Brady(Hesington) is a member here and sometimes posts in the tracking forum. I don't have a website for him, but he is listed on the UBT tracker page and is in the Springfield area.
     
  5. angus

    angus Member

    922
    Oct 17, 2005
    Salem
    Great thread.. lots of important info. If a hunter has to call in a tracker... how much does tge service cost? I'm sure each is different? But is there a typical rate? Or rate plus mileage?
     
  6. Army SGM

    Army SGM Mid-Missouri Gun Dogs

    618
    Jan 5, 2013
    Auxvasse, MO
    I am not sure what others charge but for me I would say $100 is a starting point. Depending on drive time, tracking, an average track takes me 4-6 hours. If you figure the cost of a dog, training, vet bills etc., I lose money doing this. For me it is something I enjoy. I have done several tracks for free. Depends on situation.
     
  7. FiremanBrad

    FiremanBrad New Member

    I'm glad to see a tracker listed in my neck of the woods!!! Reckon I need to meet the guy, just in case I need to call him one day!!!
     
  8. Army SGM

    Army SGM Mid-Missouri Gun Dogs

    618
    Jan 5, 2013
    Auxvasse, MO
    PM me if you talk to him. I tried to refer a few calls to him, but I don't think he ever accepted any so I am not sure how many tracks he does.
     
  9. beanpile

    beanpile just a no body

    that sounds about right
     
  10. Army SGM

    Army SGM Mid-Missouri Gun Dogs

    618
    Jan 5, 2013
    Auxvasse, MO
    doctorbrady likes this.
  11. bowbender

    bowbender Well-Known Member

    Thru the years I have been fortunate enough to have close friends with track dogs.
    I have witnessed some of the most amazing finds that you can imagine.
    Unfortunately all three dogs have now passed on.