Had an interesting hunt the other day. I shot a good sized doe - hit looked good, maybe just a tad back, but a solid passthrough shot in the ribs with a big 160 Snuffer on a 7 yard broadside deer. Gave her a couple hours to be sure then went back with a couple of helpers and our Dachshund pup Oskar that we've been training to blood track. Figured this would be a simple 75-100 yard track in the snow and load her up and bring her home.
We started the track about 3h after the hit and tracking went well with moderate blood for the first 75 yards then got into a CRP field and things became interesting. 2 hours later we had found 6-8 wound beds with decreasing blood and covered around 450 yards of trail in the CRP field before the dog took me across a county road. After the first 150 yards or so in the CRP grass the blood was very spotty, even in the snow. After crossing the road I heard the deer jump and go off - keep in mind I had watched the (shaving sharp) Snuffer tipped arrow go through her ribs several hours before this. Oskar started tracking hot at this point and we took her another 200 yards or so and came upon her bedded down 10 yards away, still alive. We are not allowed to carry a weapon when tracking with a dog so at this point things were at a dead end. After 20-30 min the doe jumped up and ran into the timber. Assessment of the wound bed showed only a couple of spots of blood and no visible blood on the flight path. I decided to back out at that point, and my helpers convinced me that I had a non-fatal hit (shoulder or back) and that the deer would live.
That night I kept thinking about the situation and I was convinced that this deer was mortally wounded - I knew what I saw at the hit. I went back in the morning with Oskar and put him in the deer's last bed. There was an additional 1-1.5 inches of new snow, so there was no visible trail, but he tracked directly to the dead deer approx 75-100 yards further into the timber. The coyotes got one hind quarter, but I salvaged the rest of the deer and got closure for myself (and Oskar) on the track.
This is a virtually unbelievable situation to me - the deer was hit 3-4 inches forward of the diaphragm through the chest and there was a visible Snuffer hole through the back lobe of both lungs. I can only attribute this deer living so long (around 5h) and travelling so far (approx 800 yards) to very bad luck in evidently not striking a major vessel/artery in the back of the lungs.
The deer may have been found the next morning closer to the hit site, but I would not generally give a chest shot deer more than 4 hours before tracking regardless.
This is the strangest thing I've personally ever witnessed on probably 80-100 blood trails, and certainly would have never found this deer without the dog.
This is my first year tracking with a dog, and Oskar (5 months old) is 12 for 12 on mortally hit deer this fall. I'll never be without access to a blood tracking dog from now on if I can help it.
The top picture is the entry wound, and the bottom is the exit wound.
Awesome!! I just got a little 5 month old Dachsund and am very interested in these types of posts. Any help training him would be very much appreciated! Great job on stickin with it!
Posts: 190 | From: Fayetteville Arkansas | Registered: Aug 2009
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Ryan, do you think the cold weather helped slow down the bleeding? I saw a neck shot doe lay with its neck pressed into the snow get up from its bed and leave a minimal blood trail. The trail to that bed was, however, impressive.
-------------------- Advice from The Buck:"Only little girls shoot spikers!" Posts: 6321 | From: Hesperia, Mi | Registered: Dec 2005
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Great story and pics! I've got a Jack Russell I've been training this year. Looks like Oskar's gonna be a good one!
Posts: 1520 | From: Batesville, Arkansas | Registered: Apr 2006
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Nice doe.... Its amazing how some deer will leave blood a blind man can follow and then others leave pin drops...even when they are hit good.... My guess is that you clipped a lung and she was going down, but got pushed a tad...a little extra adrenaline kept her going..... Way to stick with it and congrats on your trophy.
-------------------- TGMM Family of the Bow
"There's a race of men that dont fit in, A race that can't stay still; So they break the hearts of kith and kin, And they roam the world at will" Robert Service Posts: 3506 | From: dansville ,michigan | Registered: Jan 2007
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Great job Oskar- did he worry the deer a lot when he found the doe? I had a wiener dog (easier to spell) and when he found dead deer he was crazed and would attack the tail and butt area, eyes rolled in the back of his head and ready to kill anyone who touched his deer.
Posts: 1854 | From: Syracuse NY | Registered: Aug 2005
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Certainly the cold could have slowed things down - it was around 10F that night. The chest cavity was pretty full of clotted blood, but the Snuffer holes through the lungs did not have the red/slimy/clotty appearence that they usually do - more of a pink, bloodshot appearance - due, I guess, to not hitting a major artery. There was an obvious 3-blade hole through both lungs. The broadhead was definitely sharp - I only carry 3 sharp heads and a judo in my quiver, and I touched up the heads that day. The entry hole was definitely sealed off (the hole through the fat layer was offset to the hole through the meat layer, and there was an inch or more of fat over the ribs) and the arrow zipped right through. Having the hole through the fat and muscle layers offset is pretty unusual with a large 3 blade head, in my experience. I didn't skin out the exit hole. I think the doe died on the run after I jumped her or shortly after as there was no bed nearby, I think if the coyotes had killed her they would have run her farther.
The pup loves to pull hair out of the rear end of deer he finds, he started on the faces, but we got him broke from that. I have jumped 2 wounded deer with him when tracking and he goes nuts then - doesn't bark while blood tracking or on a jumped deer (which is proper according to the breed standard) but pulls HARD and whines. As far as cold goes, so far, so good. He has tracked up to 4 hours in a night at below 20F temps without problems. The breeder said that temperature tolerance will have more to do with prey drive in a tracking dog than size or coat type. We had to search around quite a while to find a hunting bred Dachshund, and it was worth the trouble.