I’ve been tracking wounded deer since the early 70s during that time when my bowhunting mentor “Tracker” Thomas introduced me to the art and science of blood trailing. Over the years, I’ve learned a few things but had to “unlearn” some as well. Much of my “unlearning” came with the help of my tracking dog Radar who taught me more about following wounded deer than I could have ever hoped to learn alone. Radar came to me through John Jeanneney who raises wirehaired dachshunds with his wife, Jolanta. Jeanneney has tracked more than 1,000 deer over almost 50 years, and is unquestionably the most knowledgeable deer tracker in the country. The pair have contributed much to what we know about tracking deer. John, is a former college professor and a scholar and has written two outstanding tracking books: Dead On and Tracking Dogs for Finding Wounded Deer (find them at: www.born-to-track.com).
Unfortunately, wounded deer tracking is as much myth as reality. Here are some of the more popular myths that you can live without, or at least question. Every track is unique in it’s own way and every track demands that you apply every clue you can to solve the mystery and recover the animal.
Story Behind the Video:
At 7 a.m. on Thanksgiving, Carmen Bombeke shot at a buck near her home, in Camden, Maine. The deer was walking at about 60 yards, and she saw it kick and run but was unable to get a second shot into it. She texted her husband, Terry, and when he arrived two hours later, she left her stand and went with him to investigate.
They found hair and blood, but there was paunch matter in the blood and the trail was spotty. They decided to back out and call Susanne Hamilton, a state-licensed blood tracker whose wirehaired dachshunds have been used to find deer, bear and moose. After asking a series of questions on the phone, Susanne determined that the odds of finding the deer were good, and she showed up with her 14-year-old dog, Buster, a two-time national-champion field-trialer.
Here Buster gets a Thanksgiving treat: to track “a nice paunch hit.”
For more information about tracking dogs, visit the website of United Blood Trackers, an organization “dedicated to promoting resource conservation through the use of trained tracking dogs in the ethical recovery of big game.” The organization’s Facebook page is filled with great pictures, stories and videos.