This weekend was youth weekend in Louisiana. Donnie, a good friend of mine who also has a younger tracking dog called me last night and said his son had shot a doe pretty close to dark. When he went to mark the spot he heard the deer get up and run. He marked the spot and backed out. There was also a shot made on another doe but it was not known if it was a hit. The hunter tried a head shot and said that their deer ran around in a circle right after he shot and then ran down the road into the woods. It was cold last night in South Louisiana so we decided that we would track together in the morning.
We had talked about tracking together but we were not sure how the dogs would tolerate each other. Donnie's dog is a Blue Lacy. Ruby is three years old and was started when Donnie got her last year. He never really had a chance to track with her so he was wondering how she would do. Ruby runs practice lines with ease. We were also concerned if Ruby would think that Tasha was something to eat....there is a difference in size. We met up at The Spillway Sportsman at 6:30AM and headed over to the hunting lease. We were able to drive the truck almost to the shot site. After we unloaded we let the dogs meet each. Ruby didn't even think about eating Tasha...what a relief. Both the dogs had their tracking collars on and knew it was time for business. We decided to start Ruby on the track while I let Tasha check out the road where the other deer was shot. As soon as I got there with Tasha, I looked over to see Donnie and Ruby on the road. I headed over. Ruby had found the deer on the way in. I took Tasha to the start of the short 30 yard track and without incident she tracked to the deer. The deer was 8 feet into a briar thicket. It was so thick that I couldn't even see Tasha at the end of her 12 foot leash. Ruby and Donnie came back where we could get the deer out. I heard a threatening deep guttural growl and I knew Ruby was growling at Tasha. Ruby was between me and Tasha and if I pulled on Tasha's lead it would force her to pass right next to Ruby. I told Donnie that Ruby was growling hoping he could help me protect Tasha. Donnie got down on his hands and knees where he could see up in the thicket. He said, Pal, that is Tasha growling....not Ruby! I have never heard her growl like that before. I am glad that Ruby didn't take it seriously because Tasha would have only been a bite or two for Ruby. We got the doe out without incident.
We took the dogs over to the road where the other deer had been shot at. We worked the entire area where the hit would have been and the open section of woods where the deer had run. I looked at my GPS and it had a fine looking grid where we had searched. I am impressed with how good the dogs worked together combing this area. The scenting conditions were great, a cool 47 degree morning with dew all over the grass. With two dogs and two handlers working the area, I am convinced that the shot was a clean miss. We had a great morning, spent some time in the woods with the dogs and even recovered a deer. This is one that would have been easy to find without a dog but I'm glad that we got a shot to work it.
Tasha and I have been working on her obedience training. A day in the woods tracking just kills leash training. In the woods, Tasha's job is to lead me around. At home, I am supposed to get to be the boss. It is a challenge to get her to walk with a loose leash. She tries to keep her nose on the ground and take me for a 4 block long track! She can be stubborn but so far I have hung in there with her. Everything else is coming along just fine with her obedience training and I'm overjoyed with her tracking.
Cliff and Tasha
Sent somewhere from woods or water in South Louisiana