January 11, 2013

Deer Tracking a Liver Shot Deer with a Trained Tracking Dog

The following is Harv's testimony of using a deer tracking dog.

     I was sitting in a peninsula of woods that jutted out into a swamp in the Holly area.  I had seen 8 or 9 does but I was waiting on a buck. I have been hunting for 15 years and I have taken several smaller bucks but never a buck that I felt was big enough to mount. I was about to get a chance to change that situation.
     At about 9:15 I looked behind me and saw a flash of white. Finally, a big buck! He walked through my shooting lane and I thought he was gone. I stood and faced the tree, backed down two steps and rested my Remington 870 .12 gauge shotgun topped with a Leupold 3x9 scope on the arm rail of my ladder stand. Unbelievably the big buck walked back into my shooting lane. I quickly put the crosshairs on the vital area and pulled the trigger. I saw the buck hunch and jump straight up. He then trotted into thicker brush. I waited for a while and then got down from my stand to look for blood. I called my brother in law Butch who lives nearby and he joined in the search. We quickly found blood and it was easy to follow the trail out of the swamp, through a small patch of woods, and across the road into a neighboring property. Butch said the people who owned the property were anti hunting and may not let us onto the property. What a sinking feeling that was! We went to the door and the property owner was very gracious. What a huge relief! We followed a good blood trail for about 350 yards and then it abruptly stopped. It went from a great trail to no trail almost instantly. After 350 yards I was getting the feeling that I had hit the buck too far back. The dreaded gut shot. We continued to look for any sign of the buck for another 15 minutes and then I remembered a story I had read about deer tracking dogs. I had even put the phone number of a deer tracking service in my phone. I called Jared Tucker of Midwest Blood Tracking Dogs while I stood at what appeared to be the end of the line.
      Jared picked up right away and asked me about the shot. I told him that the deer had hunched up and was probably gut shot. I told him what our blood trail looked like and how far we had gone. He said as soon as he finished the tracking job he was on he would be there. It would probably be a couple of hours. He told us to leave the area and not to look for the deer anymore. Spreading the scent around could make it more difficult for his dog Chloe to find the deer. Hunting deer with dogs in Michigan is illegal. Tracking wounded deer with a dog is completely legal. Tracking dogs must be on a leash and you may not take a weapon along on a deer tracking event unless accompanied by a state certified tracker.  And then, the weapon is not to be loaded during the track.
     I went back to my sister Barb and her husband Butch's house to drink some coffee and wait. It was one of the longest 3 hours of my life. My wife Lori brought me some lighter weight clothes and boots for tracking. At 1 o'clock Jared pulled up with his tracking dog Chloe. Chloe is a 14 pound 3 1/2 year old European dachshund. Jet black and full of energy! We discussed the shot and went right to the site of the hit. Jared explained that Chloe worked on the scent emitted from the interdigital gland located in between the toes of the deer hoof as well as the blood from the wound. Chloe memorizes the scent and follows it with a joy that is incredible to watch! We quickly covered the 350 yards of good blood trail and when the blood stopped Chloe didn't even slow down. She just kept going on the invisible trail. Jared would occasionally point out a tiny dot of blood along the way. We only saw it because Chloe was on the trail. We went through a large stretch of woods and then into a nasty swampy area. We were traveling down game trails that seemed impossibly small for a large antlered buck. At about 600 yards Jared spotted hair on the trail. It was gray hair from the side of the deer’s body. The buck had also bedded down 6 times. These were good signs. We kept thinking the buck would be piled up just ahead, but we kept going. I was starting to wonder if I had made an even worse shot than I had originally thought. 
      At about 1200 yards Chloe started to pull on her leash and yip. Jared said that this was a sure sign that we were closing in on a deer that was still alive. I couldn't believe it. Jared said we had to get out of there and come back the next day. He quickly marked the spot on his GPS and we backed out. Jared said he would be back at noon the next day to find the deer. Jared was sure the deer would expire over night and that we would find him the next day.

Still Alive - Clio, MI

This was a very exciting and somewhat frightening track.  The buck had been shot the previous day and the blood trail had became very sparse and then nothing at all.  I arrived and we had a little trouble at the hunter's point of loss.  The area had been slightly tracked up, causing some confusion for Chloe.  We worked past last blood and Chloe decided to go across a plowed dirt field.  I could see a buck's hoof print and was reassured because Chloe had not stopped working.  We came to a very thick hedgerow where I had to crawl on my hands and knees.  I could tell by Chloe's working style that we were coming up on a live deer.  I was attempting to keep up with Chloe and remove some wild rose thorn that was pulling on my eyebrow.  I yelled to the hunter that I thought we were getting close.  This was enough to startle the wounded buck and he decided to jump up right in front of me and next do my dog.  I could only hope it did not come my way because I had no room to move.  It ran into the corn and I thought I heard a crash.  When the hunter caught up, we were able to locate the deer.  I went to put the dog in the truck and the hunter went and got his gun and was able to go back and finish the deer off.  This buck was hiding without a blood trail in a spot that noone could have guessed.
Jared Tucker

November 22, 2012

Blood Tracking Dogs in Ortonville Michigan


Rex shot this deer in Ortonville Michigan.  He said the shot was slightly quartering towards.  He was using an expandable broadhead.  He watched the deer go down at the top of the hill.  He thought that was it but when he went to trail his deer it got up and took off.  With no blood to follow, he backed out and called in a tracking dog.  This is a perfect example of how easy a well trained dog can follow a scent line if it has not been disturbed.  Congrats on another successful hunt!

October 29, 2012

Tracking Wounded Deer in Caro Michigan

We recovered this buck approximately 20hrs. after the shot.  The shot entry was high behind the shoulder and below the spine .  The buck was quartering toward causing the path of the arrow to enter one lung and liver.  When I arrived I soon realized we were dealing with a difficult tracking situation.  The buck had entered a thicket and bedded trying to remove the arrow.  He was thrashing and stumbling everywhere.  The broadhead was in his liver and he ended up breaking most of the arrow off.  This thicket had his scent everywhere and we were dealing with high winds.  We kicked up at least 3 live does to add to our problems.  I restarted Chloe several times and could not get a lock on a line.  Our last effort before calling it quits we crossed his exit route and Chloe marked on blood.  After we found his exit, the track became very easy and we went straight to the buck.  This is his largest deer to date and made one very happy hunter.  Congratulations on your trophy and continued hunting success >>---------->
Jared Tucker

October 27, 2012

Deer Tracking with Dog in Mason Michigan

This is a link to the video that displays the end of this track.


This was a wonderful recovery that we were able to make in Mason Michigan. The hunter called first thing in the morning. The buck had been shot the previous morning. The hunter could see that the buck had quickly turned out of the shot, causing a far back entry. The exit ended up being in the hind leg. He immediately backed out for 9hrs. Upon returning to look for the buck, they kicked it up and watched it walk away. There was light rain in the forecast. They backed out and called first thing in the morning. This is an absolute perfect tracking situation where the hunters did everything right and did not contanimate the bloodline that was invisible to us but very easy for the dog to smell.  Congratulations on a great trophy and continued success in the field!
Jared Tucker

October 24, 2012

Michigan Deer Tracking Service

This right here is why we train all season long. Rick called earlier in the day and said he had shot a deer and wanted to inquire about our deer tracking services. He said it wasn't the biggest buck, but the first antlered buck he has got with a bow. He ran out of blood due to a gut shot and thick terrain. I decided to come out after finishing up some work.
On my way over, he called and told me not to come because they had just got a heavy rainstorm. He did not want me to drive the hour and not have any scent to work with. I thought about it for a minute and called him back and said I would like to take the track anyways and see if she locks on to the scent. We have never bothered tracking after a downpour, but this was soon after and I wanted to try.
We arrived 23hrs. after the shot and in between thunderstorms and took up the track just before dark. Chloe worked through the shot sight and into a field where they had marked blood the day before. She then crossed into a thicket passed where the hunters had searched. Her intensity levels while working told me that this deer was dead and she was determined to find it. Without any blood to see, we started to get alot further than I thought the gut shot deer should have went before bedding down. I was beginning to have my doubts about the deer, but my dog was reassuring me with her work. Soon Rick spotted a  large clump of blood that was the only confirmation that we were on the track. After a little over half a mile, we arrived at his trophy. Rick was completely in disbelief of everything that had just happened. The feeling of lost hope had just been shattered and he was holding his trophy. He couldn't have been happier and said this is a memory that he will be telling his grandchildren. Congratulations to Rick and thank you for letting us be part of the hunt!
Jared Tucker

October 15, 2012

Blood Tracking Dogs in Millington Michigan

This shot was high and far back entry with a center liver exit.  We had good blood at the shot sight but soon the buck clotted up and we were not able to confirm any more blood.  This is why we sometimes need a dog and Chloe loves tracking as much as we love hunting. She covered the rest of the track without straying off course.  I could tell that we were on because she was marking scent with her nose that we could not see. In the end, both the hunter and Chloe were very happy to have a nice buck on the ground.
Jared Tucker

Deer Tracking Dogs in Grand Blanc Michigan

This buck was shot through only the guts. There was only one drop of blood when Chloe was tracking this deer.  It was a very thick track over a couple hundred yards. It would have been very difficult to recover, even if there had been a good blood trail due to the terrain. Chloe is very happy to bring another hunter to their deer and save it from going to waste.
Jared Tucker

October 5, 2012

Monroe Michgian Deer Tracking Dog

This was his very first buck ever taken and it was with a bow.  He could not have been happier!  Chloe strolled through this one fairly easily without much blood to follow.  The hoof scent was still only 4hrs. old.  The shot was quartering toward and punctured one lung and liver.  The arrow did not exit completely, but there was an exit hole.  The intestinal matter was preventing any blood from coming out.  He and his friends stated they would have never found this buck without Chloe.  This is a memory we will never forget.  Congratulations and continued hunting success >>------->
Jared Tucker

October 3, 2012

Michigan Opener, Deer Tracking Dog

Chloe is helping out hunters the best way she knows how, recovering wounded deer. This buck made it 2 miles on a perfect shot. The bottom pic is actually the exit wound and entry was only a couple inches back. It was shot from a ground blind. The buck was barely still alive and we were able to back out so the hunter could get his bow and finish the job. The buck somehow clotted up and was able to make it this far, leaving no blood the last 500 yds. It would have been impossible to find without a leashed blood tracking dog. These bucks can be tough!

Jared Tucker

September 24, 2012

Boris and Larry - The New Tracking Team

Larry and his dog Boris have been training very hard in the off season.  This is their first recovery for Michigan's early doe season.  Boris is a German Jagterrier from KniteHunt Kennels.  He has been running 24-36 hr. mock lines with ease.  Looking forward to the upcoming season and success with our new tracking team.
Jared Tucker

September 20, 2012

Chloe's 1st Recovery of 2012

Chloe's year round training has paid off early this season!  We tracked this Missouri buck 7 hrs. after the shot. There was no sign of a bloodtrail to follow. This deer would have been very difficult to find without the use of a blood tracking dog.  The deer turned as the shot was made at 40 yds from a ground blind.  This caused the entry to be further back than preferred.  The exit was much better connecting liver and arteries.  The buck only made it a couple hundred yards.
The hunters backed out and made the call for us to come track the deer.  It was best to take up the trail in the timber at night, while the deer were out feeding in the fields.  This is one of the benefits of using a deer tracking dog.  You can get in and out without disturbing your hunting property.
Jared Tucker

August 20, 2012

Blood Tracking Training 48 hrs.

This is Chloe celebrating after completing her 48 hr. practice blood line.  We encountered multiple distractions including fresh deer beds throughout the track.  Her focus is very intense and she is looking forward to the upcoming deer season.  If you ever need a tracking dog, she is ready and willing!
Jared Tucker

August 17, 2012

They Can Run but They Cannot Hide!

With the season closing in you are practicing with your bow, setting up your stands, and scouting new properties. Everything that you can do to increase your odds at the moment of truth, you are doing. Looking at the Cabelas catalog page by page, just to make sure that you didn't miss something the last time through. Always updating your gear to the max that you can afford. It is a passion!

I have bow hunted whitetails for as long as I can remember. The craving never goes away. Every year we prepare ourselves for that one shot at that trophy that will provide a lifetime of memories. The one aspect of hunting that we cannot practice for regularly is blood tracking our deer. We have tag limits and seasons that prevent us from preparing for this aspect of the hunt. Consequently, we are often very unprepared for this task. Often, blood tracking is not very difficult and a clear bloodline points you directly to your trophy. It is when you run out of blood that things can become difficult.

I personally know the feeling, having lost the largest buck that I will probably ever arrow in my lifetime. I spent three days crawling on my hands and knees through thickets, ditches and cornfields. My hunting group deemed me temporarily insane. I analyzed all the aerial photos and topo maps again and again, trying to think like a wounded whitetail. I even went to the closest sporting good shops, to see if I could find a local deer tracking dog. I went home without that buck and will never forget the sick empty feeling of having to leave that deer behind.

The use of leashed tracking dogs to recover wounded deer is becoming more and more popular as hunters become aware of their availability and their practicality. A trained dog has amazing capabilities. They can distinguish the individual scent of a single deer and stay true to that one line throughout the entire track. They are seasoned to ignore fresh game and trust that there will be food at the end of the old cold line. The harder the line, the more focused the dog becomes. It is a challenge for them that they love. We are addicted to harvesting whitetails and they are addicted to finding them. The problem solving abilities of a highly trained dog are very unique. They can figure out when a buck back tracks, leaving two bloodlines close to one another. They know which direction the deer went at all times and also seem to know how badly wounded the deer is. A great dog will use all of it's scent resources combined. Very often, the blood will run out but there will be hair and sweat and guts. Not to mention, they can tell the age of the ground disturbance and stay on an individual track, also using the scent given off by the interdigital gland. When they run out of one scent they will use the next available, all the meanwhile making sure that it is the same wounded deer that they are pursuing.

The old methods of grid searching with as many buddies as you can round up is very invasive to your hunting property. Many of the smart bucks will leave for quite some time after you scour their sanctuary. A trained tracking dog can cover a bloodline in minutes that would take a human several hours. They stay on a leash and do not bark. Many handlers are using small breeds and these seem to be less offensive to deer. It is a very efficient way of recovering your trophy so that you and your buddies can get back to hunting. By all means I am not suggesting that you do not look for your deer.
Just remember that you have the option of calling in a trained expert if things become difficult!


August 2, 2012

2012 Deer Tracking Updates

Be sure to check in throughout this season for daily updates of our tracking experiences.  This will be a daily journal of the highs and lows of tracking wounded deer.
Jared Tucker

July 31, 2012

Chloe Loves Tracking Deer

We are getting ready and training hard for the upcoming 2012 hunting season.  If you run into troubles locating your trophy, give us a call.  Trust the best when it is a buck of a lifetime on the line. Remember to try not to walk all over the blood trail.  It could be the difference between bringing home the prize or forever remembering the one that got away. Look us up on Facebook at Midwest Deer Tracking Dogs to keep updated on all of our recoveries.       Good luck this season and shoot straight    >>--------->

Jared Tucker

April 5, 2012

Hometown Hero

This buck was shot very close to where I live.  It was the notorious single lung/liver hit.  The deer made it 1.5 miles before expiring and left no blood.  I was called in and tracked it almost 30 hrs after the shot.  It is a 13pt. with 5 points on the one browtine.

Gun Season Guts

Shot was a little far back and there was very little visible blood.  The deer was tucked in a hole in the swamp and impossible to spot without the dog.

Rocky the Rockstar

This was basically a practice line that he did suprisingly well on.  The weather was right to let the deer lie and he had no problems making the 150 yd. track.

Big Things Come in Small Packages

This was a track for a very young hunter.  He put a bad shot with his bow but was determined to do everything he could to find his deer.  I am very proud of him and this is one track I will never forget.

A Great Tracking Team

Another Big Thanks goes out to Ryan and Katia.  They are two wonderful people and have an amazing dog named Oskar.  They found this deer in Southern Indiana for a good friend of mine.

No Exit Wound

This deer didn't make it 150 yds..  I love these tracks, easy and rewarding :-)  The hunter placed a very good shot but did not have any blood to track.

April 4, 2012

My Calendar Girl

This buck was also shot in the guts with blood only at the shot sight.  I arrived approximately 16hrs after the shot and we luckily made short work of this one.  This is one of my favorite photos of my tracking partner.

Michigan State Land

This was a mile hike back into state land just to get to the shot sight.  2 blade rage in the guts = No blood after 150 yards.  We were able to find this one after struggling for a moment to get past the point of last blood and then it became easy for Chloe to go the remaining 200yds.  This was a 24 hr track and approximately 350 yds. total.

Chloe Taking a Break in the Off Season

Big Buck Down

This was a 24hr old line and the buck made it 1 1/4 miles before dying.  It appeared to have been pushed by the coyotes.  What a dandy!

Still Alive!

The hunter was on the ground,15 yards broadside with a 2-blade rage.  The entry hole appeared to be a double lung.  What happened was when the broadhead expanded, one of the blades encountered bone and the other did not.  This caused the arrow to deflect into the center of the deer going toward the rear end (all guts and intestine).  We tracked this deer the next morning when the hunter ran out of blood.  When we got close, the deer lifted his head and looked at me.  We were able to back out and the hunter was able to go in and finish the job.

Chloe Sporting a Sweater

Conditions were cold and there was a fresh blanket of snow covering the bloodline.  The hunter knew this deer was mortally wounded but thought that it needed time to die, so he backed out.  Overnight, the tracks and the blood were completely covered up.  This did not stop Chloe from plowing through the fresh snow pulling the well preserved scent from underneath.  She led us straight to the deer about 200 yds. from the shot sight.

One Happy Girl

No, He is not a woman.  She was at work while her boyfriend and I were tracking her first bowshot buck.  Congratulations to her!

48 Hrs. Later

This call was a definate gut shot.  The deer had been tracked and kicked up still alive the following day of the shot.  I was called in as a last ditch effort.  We tracked with just about 3 drops of blood for 3/4 of a mile and hit a dead end.  I tried for about 3 hrs. pulling the dog back about 200yds and restarting in attempt to find out where we had missed a turn.  It was looking like the end of the road when I decided to take her way back to the creek crossing.  Come to find out, the buck had doubled back on his own run and then V'd off.  Chloe caught the turn this time because I brought her back far enough and took us to the nice 8pt.

Never Give Up!

The title fits almost all tracking situations but this one stood out amongst them.  I recieved a call from an old friend while I was already booked up with calls for the day.  I ended up taking the call expecting a possible gut shot.  I did not arrive until well after dark.  After speaking with the hunters (Brent & Ben), we found the general area of the shot sight.  Chloe worked in large circles as if the area had been disturbed pretty bad.  The good thing I noticed was her intensity and the fact that she was determined to figure this one out.  We covered all the ground that the hunters had been searching and this took quite some time.  Meanwhile Ben had already walked back to the house.  Soon I noticed Chloe's working style change and she was finally on a line.  Her speed picked up and we went straight to where the deer had expired.  Seeing the buck ahead, I said to Brent "Well, what do you think?"  He replied, "It is not looking very good is it."  I said, "From over hear it looks like a pretty nice buck."  He was in disbelief and very excited to finally have his trophy.

40 Hr. Tracking Shoe Test

This was the end result of the German style tracking test in North Carolina.  It was a line that was laid with deer hooves and aged 40 hrs.  The line was just over 1000 meters long.  Very little blood was used (about 3 oz.).  The main scent to track is the interdigital gland from the hoof of the deer and ground disturbance.  Chloe did a stellar job and earned a first prize!  She is, to my knowledge, the only dog in the U.S. to recieve a prize 1 in the tracking shoe test.