tracking

  1. Von Tierspur Blood Tracking Puppies WikiReports I

    The following reports are parts of the correspondence that we have received from the new owners of the 2010 von Tierspur puppies. We are always delighted to hear about their progress. All six puppies went to devoted tracking and hunting homes, and there will definitely be more of their tracking adventures in the future. For right now we are going to begin with their first learning experiences. Some of their owners have kept us updated more than others, but we know that every one is busy with hunting and tracking nowadays, and the puppies are too young yet to have a lots of tracking stories to tell. By now they are 18 weeks old and as you will read below they are all doing great in the first steps of their tracking careers.

    Abby (Blue) von Tierspur first two deer

    by Bob Davidson on Nov 23

    Beth/Gentian,

    I hope you are both well and that the girls are having fun tracking deer this season. Here are a couple of shots of Blue’s first two recoveries. These were shots my friends took. Unfortunately most of the still photos I took were on my camcorder and there was not a memory card in it. I have still not had time to upload and edit the video. I plugged the camcorder into the TV and watched the video and it looks like I got some decent footage.

    Blue’s second deer was one that the hunter could not find. At three months old Blue found the deer 40 hours after it was shot by tracking it for 350 yards. I am leaving this story for right now because it will be a separate post with some great video footage of Blue working the line.

    Artie (Buck) von Tierspur finds his first deer

    by Fred Perna on Nov 11

    Gentian,

    Buck went off a couple of times to play with the apples under the trees. I had to pick him up and put him on the blood but he did it. At first he wasn't sure if he could take a bite of the deer and after Dave dragged the deer over the rock wall and into the open area Buck didn't want to get off the deer.

    Blue's Third Find

    by Bob Davidson on Nov 26

    Beth/Gentian,

    Blue had no trouble finding this doe that I shot this evening. It was well hit and travelled less than 100 yd. She found it like she had been tracking for years. These critters are simply amazing!

    Blue with her third deer

    Aldo with his first tracking experience

    by George Inge on Nov 28

    Last night Aldo found his first deer. Aldo helped track last weekend and got close but Molly finally found the doe. It only ran about 60 yards but still exciting. He and Molly play and play all day long!

    Alfie (Archie) Von Tierspur Finds Three Deer

    by Kevin Lutz on Dec 4

    In hopes of putting Archie on some easy tracks, we took him to three calls with us for the archery and shotgun season. We downed two easy does and one buck and put Archie on the easy trails(each trail was about 50 yards.) With some help he had little trouble in finding the deer. Once he found the downed deer he went right for the wound hole and started tearing at it. Archie loves dead deer, he wound not leave it alone. He showed a lot of interest in the line and I think he has good potential to be a great tracker some day .Once again thank you for giving me the opportunity.

    Kevin

    Archie, the hunter and Kevin

    Ace (Arrow) von Tierspur with his second deer

    by Ben Barth on Dec 2 Arrow at work. One hundred yard track over stream, with no blood and heavy rain. This deer was harvested locally, live weight estimated at 185 lbs,  score 109 3/8 BC. Ben
    [/caption]

    Ava’s First Deer

    by Jesse Reece on Nov 23 Hey Beth and Gentian, Ava found her first deer last Sunday. I shot a 7 pointer and it dropped.  Well there wasn't an exit wound so me and David drugged the deer about 80 yards with no blood waited a few minutes and went and got Ava and she found it in about 5 minutes she stayed right on the trail and once she got to it she started barking and the whole time I was skinning the deer out she barked.  Anyways I was well pleased with how she did. Thought I would give you an update.  She went to the vet yesterday and had some shots and she has to go back the 13th of December.  She is getting a lot bigger and getting more wiry on top of her back.   She is really getting into everything now dragging out stuff and chewing on everything she can get ahold of.  I am really enjoying her company and she is getting addictive. Anyways that's the update I am off Thursday an Friday so maybe she will get a chance to track another deer.  Y'all have a happy thanksgiving and I will talk to you soon. Jesse Thank you very much every one. We are very proud of all of you and the work you do with the puppies. By getting this updates we are assured once more that our hard work hasn't gone unnoticed! We are eagerly awaiting more news from all the von Tierspur puppies. Enjoy the holidays!
  2. Introducing a Puppy To Blood Tracking: How to do a liver drag.

    We have put together this video so that we can help new blood tracking dog owners to train their dogs. Some of the breeders that you are getting the puppy from may have done this training part already. The video is more than instructional in itself, but still I am going to list here what tools you need, some do's and don'ts, and some comments. First lets start with the materials/tools you'll need and then move to some of the common mistakes one should avoid. Tools:
    • Liver
    • String
    • Marking Tape
    • Deer Blood
    • Bits of Liver (optional)

    With beginner dogs start simple. Make the first couple of lines short and easy. As the training progresses increase the length of the line and the difficulty by aging it more and adding turns. Gradually stop using the pieces of liver as a reward by week II-III and move on to blood. The puppy should by itself, after a couple of training lines, have the motivation to track and find the liver or deer hide at the end of the line. Beth says on the video that it is important for the puppy to finish the line and get to the deer liver, which is true. However, if the dog shows no interest on the line what so ever, sometimes it is better to not finish the line and pick the puppy up and go home. That is because you cannot reward them for not trying to find what's at the end of the line. If "you" do most of the work and get them to the end of the line without the puppy trying, then it becomes a bad habit. It becomes a rewarded behavior, for not working very hard, and of course rewarded behavior is likely to reoccur. What to do and what not to do with the puppy: Do
    • Keep Training
    • Keep Talking to Encourage
    • Increase Line Length
    • Add a Turn
    • Choose the Right Time of the Day (morning or evenings are preferable)

    Don't
    • Don't Make the Line Too Long
    • Don't Keep Doing Liver Drags Forever
    • Don't Use Another Animal's Liver (other than what the dog will be tracking)
    • Don't Discourage the Dog (dogs have bad days too)
    • Don't Stop Training
  3. Blood Tracking Success Depends On?

    The deer season is here and we have been in eight calls so far, seven deer and a bear. In all the calls our dogs have tried really hard to find the wounded deer or bear but with no successes, except in one call that we found one deer. Being a bit discouraged I thought  I’d share my tracking experiences and some of my opinions with our Doxielink visitors. What is for sure is that there are no excuses and we could have done better. Nonetheless, I am delighted to hear stories that other trackers have done a great job so far during this season. They serve as an inspiration to me.

    On the opening weekend we had two visitors from New Jersey in our house. They were Rich Stollery and Darren Doran who are both trying to become Deer Search certified handlers. In order to become certified, Deer Search requires that a handler goes through an apprenticeship program where you are assigned a master handler. Their master handler is Beth’s father, John Robinson. Due to time restraints for our guests we took any call that came in that weekend and ended up going in three calls where we did not find any of the deer.

    We have been in another five calls which one of them was a bear in Wallkill, NY. That day was Mariel’s turn to track and Beth came with us too. Sometimes, when we take a call we decide to use both dogs. Because Beth is four months pregnant and we are expecting our first baby, this time she did not handled Mae but she rather just followed us and spotted for blood.

    Mariel tracked the bear for 4.5 miles, from 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Due to the length of the track, distance wise and time wise, it was a tough one to keep Mariel focused but she did a great job staying on the line all the way. By  5:30, it had started to get dark and the anonymous decision was that the bear was alive and there was no way we could catch up with it.

    The next call was Mae’s turn. She did great and tracked a non-visible 20 hour blood line for almost a mile until the deer was spooked. After that point we continuously found intestinal matter and tracked the deer for another mile. Then we gave up because it got dark again.

    On Sunday October 24th, I got up at six in the morning to go at a hunters assistance. When I got there the blood trail was about 30 yards long and past that point there was no visible blood. The worst part was that Mariel was trying to take us across the road and that’s when I found out that we had no land owner permission to track any further other than that one and a half square mile that we had already covered.

    Last Sunday, John Robinson and I went on two calls with Mae and Ace. The first call was in Woodstock, NY and the second one was in New Windsor, NY. The first call was about 28 hours old and it was a gut shot spike. After tracking it for about 500 yards with intermittent blood, Mae took us in somebody's back yard where the deer was laying dead.

    In the meantime John handled our 12 week old puppy, Ace, as a back up dog. Bringing Ace with us we wanted to condition him and see him gain some experience on a blood trail with a real deer at the end of it. Once we found the deer we didn’t bring Ace down the hill to see the deer at all. We tied him to a tree at first until we made sure the deer was dead and then Ace got to track the blood and have his first encounter with a real deer. As you see he wasn’t scared at all and happily started to chew and play with it.

    The second call that day was 32 hours old and Ace stayed in the truck this time. Mae worked really hard to find the deer but no luck. The terrain was very difficult. We searched for about two hours but we never found any blood besides the last point that the hunter had marked. In Mae’s defense I have to say that she never gave up. Beyond the point that the blood stopped it was really swampy and she had to swim most of the time and I had to follow her with my boots full of water.

    I guess  Mae and Mariel and I could have done better so far.  When I hear of, and talk to other trackers that have done well this season I am a little disappointed of myself and my dogs in the same time, which leads to the subsequent conclusion that there's room for improvement. Part of it is the fact that I have been a deer hunter since November, 2007 only, and in my case it is harder to judge a call. It has actually happened that from interviewing the hunter it sounded great and when I got there he could not find a single drop of blood.

    This season I have taken almost all the calls that have come in. After having interviewed a hunter over the phone I can understand their frustration and I feel bad to tell them that we cannot make it. Yet, by doing so I understand that there could be another call coming in where this hunter’s case could have very good, or much better chances of finding his deer when compared to the previous one.  What I have realized though is that other trackers thoroughly screen the calls they go to. In most cases if the call does not sound to use the term “very positive”, justifiably other trackers will not take the call at all.

    From now on I have decided that I will be very careful and very picky with the calls that I will be taking. I wish we could help all the hunters out there because we all know what it feels like to loose your deer, but in our Deer Search chapter for example there aren’t that many active trackers. Hoping I haven’t forgotten anybody, there are thirteen of us, namely: John Jeanneney, Jolanta Jeanneney, Me (Gentian Shero), Roger Humeston, Mark Niad, Peter Martin, Bill Siegrist, Louis Dibiase (Long Island), Mike Petrillose, Tim Nichols (Vermont), Tim Ryder, Sue Orlick, Alfred Zoeller (Cooperstown Area). We are required to cover a vast area and quite often hunters get upset because their calls go un-responded and there is no tracker available to come to their assistance. And I often tell them that if they see this problem being repeated year after year they can do something, and they should do something. If they hate leaving their wounded deer suffer and die in the woods they should consider joining Deer Search or any other blood tracking organization out there. They should consider getting a blood tracking dog and thus help other hunters in need too.

    Concluding, from the hunter’s descriptions for me is very hard to judge which call sounds the most promising.  It is always a hit or miss situation. Besides having a good dog, in my opinion it is not just how the call sounds but it also has to do with “LUCK” too. For now I will be working on my ‘over the phone interview skills‘..... and better luck to me next time. If Mae and Mariel could read I wonder what would they think of me badmouthing them?
  4. Tracking a Bobcat with Mariel

    I wrote the following article a couple of months ago and it was first published at http://borntotracknews.blogspot.com. Being a rare and successful tracking experience I thought it would be nice to re-publish it on our website. There we go:

    It was a Saturday morning on November 8th when Beth and I decided that we would go on a deer call that day. We let Barbara, the Deer Search dispatcher, know that we were available for the day. After half an hour the phone rang.

    On the other side we heard Barbara’s voice all exited and anxious. She was exited because the call was for a bobcat, and nobody from Deer Search had ever searched for a wounded bobcat in the thirty-two year history of the organization. She was anxious at the same time about what the results from the call would be. It is to be said that we were surprised and did not know what to make of it, but after talking to the hunter we decided to take the call.

    We got our stuff together and off we drove the old Range Rover to the hunters location right outside Rhinebeck, NY. When we got there the hunter told us that he had used Deer Search before and we could tell that he was happy to see our little dachshunds get out of the truck. We have two dogs, and we try to be as fair as possible with them. On every call we go we use one dog at a time. That day was Mariel’s turn.

    The hunter told us that the previous day when he was deer hunting he saw the bobcat. Sitting in his tree stand he did not miss the rare chance and took a twenty yard shot. He thought he had gut shot the animal.

    The conditions were almost perfect. It was 60 degrees and the sky was full of scattered clouds. When we got to the spot where the bobcat was first shot Mariel reacted like I had never seen her before. I don’t know what it was but as soon as I put her down to smell the blood from the wounded animal she just froze. She stayed at the same spot where I put her down initially for about 25-30 seconds and smelled the blood from the bobcat. She did not react like that a week or two before when we tracked a bear, which we did not find. With deer, as soon as I put her down and put the tracking collar on her she would go crazy and start tracking right away.

    Not this time though. I don’t know why she was behaving in that particular way, but from reading her I could see something I had not seen in her before. I could tell that she was a bit intimidated and cautious from the scent she was smelling and the animal she was about to track. Maybe because she knew that she had to deal with a formidable predator.

    After her initial investigation of the area where the bobcat was shot Mariel got started. At first, there was a continuous flow of blood. After the first 20-30 yards the terrain became very difficult. There were tons of briers and dead trees laying ahead of us. Still, Mariel was advancing slowly and cautiously. Her hair on her back was up at times. In a way, seeing her like that kind of scared me. As mentioned I had not seen her like that either when I tracked a deer or when I would go rabbit hunting with both our dogs. A thousand things were going through my mind.

    What if the bobcat is still alive and attacks my dog? What if it jumps out of nowhere and attacks me? With these thoughts on my mind we had gone about 70-80 yards into the briers. Beth and the hunter were following behind me. At times the briers were so thick and there were so many thorns that I could not get through where the little courageous dachshund was going. I would have to wait for Beth to catch up with me and then hand her the leash until I could get around the briers and grab the leash on the other side.
    At one point Mariel’s body language completely changed. There was no more blood. Mariel now was not cautious as before, and was much faster. I kept following her, and left Beth and the hunter at the last spot we had seen blood. After a couple of minutes I realized that Mariel’s body language was telling me that she was after a deer, her favorite passion.
    I  stopped and picked her up, tried to calm her down and told her “no deer”; this is what I tell her every time when we are not hunting, but just walking in the woods. After getting back to the place where we had last seen blood, Mariel calmed down and right away she concentrated on what she was tracking before. The briers got even thicker as we went ahead. By now we had tracked the bobcat for about 45 minutes and covered about 200 yards. There was not much blood to go with anymore, except a spot here and there. In the last 50 yards I had not seen any blood but Mariel’s body language was telling me that she was working hard and that she was right on it. Suddenly, she stopped and she would not move. She was looking ahead of her and was growling at something. Right away I realized that the bobcat was behind that tree. The question now was: Is he dead or alive?
    I waited for about two-three minutes while Mariel was by now barking and her body posture was aggressive. I handed the leash to Beth and once more went around the briers, so that I could see what was in the hollow tree that the dog was barking at. When I got there I saw that the bobcat died inside the hollow trunk of the tree. I can not describe how I felt at that moment. The bobcat looked majestic. In a way I felt bad and I apologized that we had taken his life. On the other hand, we had reached our goal. Once more we had recovered another animal for a hunter that we did not know. Another wounded animal that was not wasted in the woods. On our way home Beth called Barbara to let her know that our sortie was successful.

    I was very proud, as every tracking team out there would be!

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