Last week I received a call from a fellow tracker asking me if I could take a track. The timing was good for me so I called the hunter and did a quick interview. The hunter said that he shot a buck about 90 yards away. The rifle he was using was a 45-70 which shoots a really big bullet. He said he knew he hit the deer solid because he was looking through the scope and saw water fly off the buck's fur when he shot. The hunter and two friends attempted to track the buck but they only found two smears of blood on grass almost waist high. There was no sign at the hit site. Their hunting camp was about 45 minutes away so I loaded up Tasha and headed out.
When we drove up to the camp there were four hunters waiting for me. I got out with Tasha and the laughing started. It was pretty funny to see their reaction. They were expecting a tracker with a lab, pit bull or maybe even a cur dog but instead they saw a fat man and a dachshund get out. One of the hunters asked....are you serious? On the way to the shot site, we passed a guy that could have been an enforcer for Hell's Angels. Instead of black leather he was dressed in camouflage complete with a camouflage bandana. As he passed by the truck on his four wheeler he looked in and saw Tasha standing up looking out the window. If you could have seen his face, you would have hurt yourself laughing.
We arrived at the hunter's stand. When I put Tasha down at the shot site, she put her snout to the ground and started hunting. After a couple of minutes she pointed out two spots of blood. One of them looked to have some lung in it. These spots of blood were 20 yards from the hit site in the opposite direction. Tasha meandered around hunting but she never really seemed to lock on to a scent. The cover was a very thick pine cutover consisting of waist high grass and briars growing between small pine trees about six foot high. There was a breeze blowing from the cutover toward us. After about ten minutes Tasha had still not taken a definite line and started tracking like I am used to her doing. She seemed rather unfocused. I even asked her if she was going to hunt. Tasha kept putting her nose up into the wind and took her time sampling the air. I never saw her do this before. As the three hunters and I began to lose faith, Tasha started easing me into the cutover. She never took a direct line but weaved back and forth. Tasha brought me about 50 yards into the cutover directly to the dead buck. He was tucked into some really thick brush. The buck was dead about 70 yards from the hit site. I called over to the hunters.....hey guys, your deer is over here. One of the hunters said...and I quote.... "You are shitting me!" I assured him that I wasn't and they came over to investigate. After a round of high fives,we dragged the deer out and took a few pictures. The hunters could not believe that the deer had been found there. They assured me that they had more than thoroughly searched this area at least four times. The shot had been true and struck the buck as he was quartering toward the hunter. The big 45-70 bullet entered at the shoulder and lodged inside the hide at the opposite hindquarter.
At the cleaning rack the hunters took the bucks measurements. I'm sorry that i didn't write down their names. We laughed at their initial impressions of Tasha. I asked the foursome of hunters to take their picture with Tasha and the deer. They were more than happy to oblige. We even got a chance to talk to the Hell's Angels enforcer and confirmed that his thoughts were just what his expression had conveyed.
This was deer number eight for Tasha and she continues to learn. She wind scented this deer which was unlike anything we have ever practiced. As Tasha has adapted and learned new techniques she has taught me to be flexible, keep my faith in her and above all pay attention. She lets me feel like I am an important part of the team. I never told Tasha, but I really saw that deer before she did!
Seven month old Tasha has been doing some terrific work on deer! This deer call took place on December 19 when Cliff sent a short email and a photo. Here is the full story on that track. It is a very great post to begin the new blog year!
Ha ha! Thank you, Cliff, for a great report!