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 Post subject: deer tracking
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:04 pm 
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Lucy and I got our first call of the season to track a wounded deer this afternoon. The guy called and asked if I could come out and when I asked him where, it was just a little ways down the road. So, we got in the truck and Lucy was all excited, knowing that she was going to work. We had a little of a bad start, but when she got to past that, she did really good. It was a long track and I would wonder if she was still on track and about that time, I would see a spot of blood, or someone behind me would call out that they saw a drop. We didnt find the deer, but she had a good track. The guides were impressed with her and said that they would call us again, which made me feel good.

The thing that was so neat about this track was who it was that shot the deer. We were tracking for the chief of police for New York City!! He flew down in a Lear jet and his pilot was staying in a motel in San Angelo while he and his buds were hunting. He seemed like a nice guy, for a New Yorker!! He definitely had that NY accent!!

I sure wish that we had found the deer, but we got a little more experience and every time Lucy does a good job, I get more confidence in her and me.

Betty

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 Post subject: Re: deer tracking
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:22 pm 
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Good job, Betty. If you went a mile or more, And the deer had 2 or 3 hours to expire, I bet that it is still alive. Its pretty amazing how hardy those critters are.

No matter what, your not going to find them all. In fact, I think that 25% is a damn good track record if you take every call indiscriminately.

The only real reason that people like Roy Hines and Matt McWilliams have such a good success ratio is that they do a thorough interview with each caller. They only take the track if they are fairly certain that it will end in recovery. In my book, that's almost cheating but I guess that when your in that high of demand, you can afford to be choosy.....

Steve

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 Post subject: Re: deer tracking
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:48 pm 
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When I get to the point that I am not so excited to get a call, and can remember to ask some questions, I will do that!! LOL!
When they called, I just said ok, I'll be there! On the way, I thought, gee, I didnt even ask ONE question!! When the guy called the first time, he said that they had been looking for 4 hours, so I thought that it was fairly fresh. I found out later that the trail was 12 hours old! So, I thought that Lucy did really good. Because of the time and the lack of blood, the guides and I were sure that the deer was still alive.

I know that you are supposed to question and take the dogs on trails that they will have a good chance of success, but I also know that Lucy and I need experience and I cant get that without going on calls. Even tho I train her at home, I think that she needs to find a real deer at the end of the trail and I cant do that until we actually go and find some deer! We take her to every kill that gets out of the feeder area, even if it is real short so that she gets some actual experience.

Lucy has been on 3 tracks for other people and found one deer. Then, she tracked for one of our hunters and we didnt find the deer, but it was my fault. The deer doubled back and I wouldnt let her go back, thinking that she was making a mistake. The next morning we found the deer and had I let her go where she wanted, she would have found it. So, I learned a little on that deal!! Hopefully, we will get more jobs this season!

Betty

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Maya Angelou

"You have enemies? Good, that means you stood up for something in your life!"
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 Post subject: Re: deer tracking
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:15 am 
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Good to hear you and Lucy are getting to work. It sounds like she's getting her part of the job done and that's what matters. She'll be so excited when one day there is a big buck at the end of that trail!

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 Post subject: Re: deer tracking
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:02 pm 
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I think it is very important to question individuals prior than going out to track a deer. Questions that I ask are: When did you shoot the deer? Bow or rifle? Have you already tracked the deer? How far? How many people with you? Any other dogs with you while you tracked (your hose dog maybe)? Are you high fenced or low fence? If you are high fence, do you have any snares or poison for coyotes out? Then you have to consider the weather conditions, windy, hot, dry, rain, etc....These factors are very important when taking a track. It is very frustrating on a handler to show up and find cigarette butts on a track because the hunter didnt want to get lost while tracking the deer...or 100's of human tracks stepping all over the blood and trampleing it all over the place. Your dog is going to be lost. Your dog needs positive reenforcement at the start, they need to find the deer so they will identify what they are doing. Getting a certain collar on with a bell, following a track and getting a snack at the end.....

I think you are one step ahead due to feeding raw deer meat, the dogs identify the blood with the food. If you keep going out and not finding deer the dog can and will eventualy loose interest. Its fun watching your own dog that you trained work like a champ!!! Keep at it sounds like you have a good one in the making!!


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 Post subject: Re: deer tracking
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:57 am 
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Lucy is a bang up good blood tracker. She has tracked on a 3 day track when it was dry, the hunters had been all over it and the ragweed pollen was awful. We were covered in pollen when we quit. The hunters had marked the blood trail until it disappeared and Lucy followed the blood trail no problem. But, she lost it at the same place.

Lucy loves to track and altho she is showing some interest in the deer when she finds them, she mostly wants to go on and trail some more. We found one deer last year that she got possessive of, but the with the deer that she has tracked this year, she has just had lack luster interest in. But, she always wants to go on.

I appreciate your help, Jerry. I dont hunt, so that hinders me in knowing deer habits and in not knowing about what happens when a deer is shot where. I refresh myself on Johns book, but it usually goes in one brain cell and out another. I learn much quicker and retain much longer from experience. I just need a LOT more experience. Whenever you have time and anything that you want to post, I would appreciate.

We think that Lucys pup, Abe is going to be really good too. He puts his nose to the ground and just goes. He is cleft palette and we had the cleft fixed and I dont know why it would make a difference, but he seems to work on track even better now.

Our hunters will be out here this weekend and they always manage to shoot a deer that they cant find, so hopefully this year it will be the same!! Here on the ranch is where Lucy gets the most experience! And, that is the main reason that I got her!! I hate to lose a deer and then find its carcass later on when I am out walking!!

Betty

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"You did then what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did
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Maya Angelou

"You have enemies? Good, that means you stood up for something in your life!"
Winston Churchill

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bjleek/


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 Post subject: Re: deer tracking
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:02 pm 
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I will post on here when I get the Lacys on tracks, I have been working some new pups (crosses, not Lacys) and am putting alot of time into these dogs. My #1 dog at this time is still a Lacy. If you have hunters that work with you have them call you on the easy tracks also. What I do when I get to a buck is cut the testicle sac and let the dogs eat them up...better than having them eat a back leg, dont think the hunters would like that. Good luck and keep them on the ground


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 Post subject: Re: deer tracking
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:05 pm 
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One thing that Jerry is a proponent of, but he has not mentioned, is positive reinforcement.

Its hard to make a great tracking dog when every track they go on was too difficult for the hunters to follow. You want to keep their success rate high so take them on every track that you can, short or long, hard or easy. The more success that they see, the more driven and successful they will be on those long hard tracks.

If I had to guess, Id bet that Jerry runs upward of 100 tracks per year but I bet that only about 20 would go un-recovered without the assistance of a dog.

Steve

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Remember the dog wags the pedigree and the reverse is not true.

16, intelligent and articulate, I'm a fan!


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 Post subject: Re: deer tracking
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:22 am 
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Steve is correct, I run alot of tracks with my pups or young dogs. I also try and get my started older dog to begin with easy tracks at the beginning, just to freshen them up. This year that was not the case. First track was very difficult bow shot deer, after getting on the track for a few hours we backed out. I knew this deer was still alive. We caught him on a trial cam 5 days later. The second track was a rifle shot deer and we tracked him for approx 1 mile. I honestly didnt know if the dog was on the track since he had not been worked for the summer and there was no blood, he also lead me to the top of a hill which is not a norm. After stopping for a while to orient myself on the hill, I look down and spot a tiny drop of blood, ahhhh you should have seen the smile on my face. We didnt recover that deer and I assume he is still alive or we would have found him. We went a long way and looked for birds in the area for at least 1 week.

After the first season of tracking deer (that is all I track the first year with new dogs) I will have them track hogs/exotics during the off season.

Big believer in positive reinforcement...


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 Post subject: Re: deer tracking
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:18 pm 
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Steve and Jerry,

Thanks for all the info and keep it coming, please, whenever you have time.

Jerry, I felt a little better after reading your last post when you were questioning whether the dog was on track or not. Made me feel a lot better that there are times when I dont know if Lucy is on track.

Lucy rarely really puts her nose to the ground. When she is on track, she is not air scenting, but not on the ground either. Thats another reason that I dont always know if she is on track. When I tell her to find the blood, like when we are just starting out and I am pointing her on the blood, she just gets close to the blood and then away she goes. I am lucky that we live in a rocky area, as I am not good at seeing the blood, unless I just happen to see it on a rock. Part of that, of course, is my age, as my vision is sure not as good as it used to be.

Betty

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Betty

"You did then what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did
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Maya Angelou

"You have enemies? Good, that means you stood up for something in your life!"
Winston Churchill

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bjleek/


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 Post subject: Re: deer tracking
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:49 pm 
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On another note, at the end of last year I knew by Diggers body language that he was on track, he would work an area and stop look back at me and as I approched he would keep working at times standing on his hind legs and smelling a bush real hard and then put his nose down to the ground keep on track. It is easier in the day time when you can see the dog than at night when you dont have anything to see or follow. This year i was worried since he had not been on any easy tracks but he remembered his job and did it well. There is a difference between a line that a dog takes and casting for a track or sign. When they are on a line, they are working one track, you will eventually know that they are on a solid track. If you see her casting back and forth she has probably lost the track and is looking for it, be patient at this time, back up, and give her the command you use like "hunt it up" or "find it" once she gets back on the line stay with her.


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 Post subject: Re: deer tracking
 Post Posted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 1:35 pm 
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Lucy turned 3 in Aug. and as she gets older, I can tell how she is maturing in her tracking. Last night we had a hunter out and she was nervous here in the house. I finally figured out why she was so nervous! She was wanting to go track! She just amazes me with her desire to track. She likes to herd the cattle, but she LOVES to track! Not that I'm comparing Lucy to Digger, but how old is Digger?

I will try cutting off the testicles to see if that makes her more interested in the found deer. Like I said before, she doesnt show much desire in 'owning' the deer. I know that in some ways that is good. I have heard stories of dogs that wouldnt let the hunter near the deer!! But, I think she should have more interest in the deer when she finds it, not just want to go on and find more.

Didnt you have several lacys last year, Jerry? Seems like I remember you taking on some that needed homes. Or, was that Andy? Just curious.

Betty

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"You did then what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did
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Maya Angelou

"You have enemies? Good, that means you stood up for something in your life!"
Winston Churchill

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bjleek/


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 Post subject: Re: deer tracking
 Post Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:02 pm 
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Digger is 2.5, he is one of the dogs I took in last year. He is doing good, put alot of time into him, only negative is the way he was brought up, he is dog agressive. I had him at my house but he growled at my wife when she was going to the back yard and I was not here. Since then he has gone to live at the ranch in the kennels. Had another dog that was doing great but sold him to a freind of mine, he wanted him for tracking and we worked out a good deal. I am only using one Lacy for bloodtracking and working 2 other pups. We caught a live buck last night, hunters had it on film and they said it was a great shot so I hit the brush without my rifle. Then I heard Digger start barking and I knew the deer was alive. Quick trip back to the truck and dispatched the deer. I will post story and picture later.


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 Post subject: Re: deer tracking
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:21 pm 
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Jerry, I agree...there is no substitution for experience.

Do you mind if I ask what kind of success rate you have on recoveries with dogs? Ours is only about 50% and I would like for it to be more like 70%...or do you think that's asking too much? Of course, my dogs only get a fraction of the practice yours do.

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 Post subject: Re: deer tracking
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:39 pm 
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Last year we were probably 75% on our call outs. Steve may call it cheating, but I want to put my dogs in a situation where they are going to succeed. I ask questions and if I think the hunters messed up the area by contamination or that they ran their pet on the track I wont take it. Gut shot deer or deer shot in the legs with bone on the ground..that were not pushed by the hunter you should find within the first few hundred yards.

In my opinion, the more archery shot der tracks you take, your non recovery rate will increase. I think there are too many variables in bow shot deer. You are a bowhunter, you know where they can be hit and survive. Also wounds close and open leaving less scent unlike a rifle shot deer. Some trackers wont take archery calls anymore.


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