outdoorstom

Luna's Tracking Journal 2017

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I received a call at 3:00 this afternoon from a hunter that shot a doe at 9:00 this morning. He reported hitting the deer back by the last rib and very low with white hair found at the hit site. I told him we should give her 8 hours, so I'd meet him at 5:00. He said she had gone into a very thick area which bordered a large swamp, where he had marked last blood and backed out. He doesn't think he pushed her at all.

 

Luna was all over this one. She took us down the trail the doe had gone, and after a couple of self corrections, took us to last blood. We continued into a very thick area that was extremely hard to get through. Once in the thick area we started seeing fresh blood as well as dried blood, but never found a bed. The blood was just a drop here and there, with large gaps between sightings. Luna at one point started to get very excited and was giving little yips, so I believe we were close to the deer but we never saw her. We backed out after unsuccessfully trying to catch up with her. The hunter has to work tomorrow morning, so that's the end of this one.

 

I got home and a minute later had a call from a guy I've tracked for in the past. He was hunting the public land across the road and had a question about the recently installed gate the town put in to stop truck/car access to the property.  He had shot a doe a short while ago and watched her drop about 75 yards away. He was wondering if 4 wheelers were still allowed back there. I told him yes and that I'd be happy to take him back in my side by side in exchange for letting Luna track the doe for the experience. He happily agreed to that. It was a short track, but not easy due to the windy conditions and the doe running across an open field. Luna had to work for it, but found her and of course got to chew on the leg as a reward.

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This was one of my favorite threads last season. Glad Luna's back in action! Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to following your journeys...


I'm all thumbs when using Tapatalk

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Luna and yourself are picking up right where you left off last season! As an awesome tracking team! I too look forward to following this great thread! Wishing you two a very successful and safe season! Go Luna and Tom!!!

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Thanks everybody!  Glad you enjoy the stories. When I started tracking I decided to keep an electronic journal to document all of our tracks. It's very easy to cut and paste!

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9/28

 

I received a call from a hunter telling me he had shot a 7 pointer at 6:00 this evening. He said he was shaking so bad he didn't have a clue as to where he hit it. The arrow was found about 40 yards down a trail and had bright red blood on it. The light sporadic blood trail started about a 100 yards later and lasted about 50 yards. The area beyond there had been heavily grid searched by the hunter and his friend.  Luna was definitely more interested in one trail than the others, so we followed it 300-400 yards until we hit a property line. We hadn't seen any blood the entire time, so we went back to last blood and worked circles around it, hoping to find even just one drop to show us the direction of travel.  We didn't find any more and eventually pulled the plug after walking some more trails. I'm hopeful he sees it again or gets a picture of it on his game camera.

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35 minutes ago, outdoorstom said:

9/28

 

I received a call from a hunter telling me he had shot a 7 pointer at 6:00 this evening. He said he was shaking so bad he didn't have a clue as to where he hit it. The arrow was found about 40 yards down a trail and had bright red blood on it. The light sporadic blood trail started about a 100 yards later and lasted about 50 yards. The area beyond there had been heavily grid searched by the hunter and his friend.  Luna was definitely more interested in one trail than the others, so we followed it 300-400 yards until we hit a property line. We hadn't seen any blood the entire time, so we went back to last blood and worked circles around it, hoping to find even just one drop to show us the direction of travel.  We didn't find any more and eventually pulled the plug after walking some more trails. I'm hopeful he sees it again or gets a picture of it on his game camera.

dang! this is why i encourage a lot of people to use lighted nocks. lets you really follow through on your shot and see the hit.

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8 hours ago, Hock3y24 said:

dang! this is why i encourage a lot of people to use lighted nocks. lets you really follow through on your shot and see the hit.

I had that exact discussion with him as we walked out of the woods.

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9/30

 

I received 3 calls within minutes of each mid morning. One was for a bear, one a gutshot buck, and the other a gutshot doe. All had been shot that morning. I took the bear call first to give the deer time to expire.

 

The hunter was at the base of his tree getting ready to climb up when he heard a noise. He turned around and saw a large bear coming across the beaver dam straight to him. He had to dig the release out of his buttoned pocket and then nock an arrow before making  the 35 yard shot. He hit the bear behind the front shoulder, but high, and missed the vitals. He and a neighbor tracked decent blood for about 75 yards then lost it. They looked a round a little, then called me. At the point of loss Luna took us up over a large rock ledge where we found some blood. We were following sporadic blood trail when the hunter saw movement up ahead and we realized a coyote was on the trail too. We only saw the coyote once, I'm sure he vacated our area after seeing us. We ended up at a swamp where Luna showed us a spot of blood on a cattail leading in. It was narrow at that point so we managed to get across.  We came out right to a ladder stand, with fresh cut limbs laying around. It turned out that after the neighbor helped track earlier he went to his stand  to clear shooting lanes. (which was a long ways from where the bear was shot) It was here that Luna clearly lost the track. I don't know if the neighbor had blood on his boots and spread scent all over the area or if the bear saw him and backtracked. We checked all the trails that weren't too deep, checked trails coming out, backtracked, everything I could think of, but never got back on him. Total frustration! We tracked 1.18 miles per my gps.

 

On the second track Luna easily took us past the hunters point of loss. About 100 yards further, we saw a deer run off out of a thick area. We couldn't see the head to tell if it was the buck or not, but went in search of it's bed. We found the bed and there were a couple drops of blood in it. I had to decide at this point whether to pursue or back out and give it more time. I decided to continue, but if we bumped it again without getting a shot at it, we'd leave and come back later. 50 yards further I saw him bedded again, about 20 yards in front of us. The DEC likes the hunter to finish the job using the weapon of the season., so although I could have finished him with my pistol, I had the hunter make the shot with his bow. He made a nice shot and we recovered the deer a short distance away.

 

After meeting my wife and friends for dinner, we headed out to the third track. The hunters arrow was broken in half with stomach matter on the front half, with clean fletchings on the back. This track never went anywhere. We never found any blood or sign after circling the area, following trails, etc. I'm at a loss as to why not, but it certainly wasn't from lack of effort. 

 

Luna certainly got her exercise yesterday. My wife had taken her for a three mile walk first thing in the morning. We're not going to do the walks anymore during tracking season. I did carry Luna out of the woods in a new backpack after the bear track.

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First time I've seen this thread. Very interesting stuff. I've used deer search a couple of times with both good and not so good results. Not the fault of the dog, just me being a young spastic hunter. Thankfully it's been years since I haven't been able to find a downed deer by myself or with the help of friends.  I give a lot of credit to the handlers, you guys are very dedicated to helping other hunters. It takes you away from family for a long time. Probably daily this time of year! 

I look forward to following this thread, keep up the good work!

I just looked up to see where Waddington is, You a Sens fan or Habs? 

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Hunt when I can.. ;)

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Yes, keep us posted on your travels. I especially was interested in hearing in your opinion what the reasons were that deer were not recovered as well, just so I don't make the same mistake if needed

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10/1

 

Luna and I had a busy day with 4 tracks today. Our first one this morning was for an eight pointer that had been shot last night. The experienced hunter was sure he had made a killing shot. He actually heard the buck crash and called in some help for the drag. He waited about 5 minutes and went to get his buck. To his dismay, the buck jumped up and ran off. He and a friend tracked for a short distance and then lost blood. They searched the area with no success and backed out for the night. They were back at first light and searched for a couple hours with no luck, then called me.  Luna took us quickly to last blood, then worked the area until she showed me a drop about 30 yards away. Off we went for an 800 yard track. At the end of the track we found the buck, minus any meat. A bear had found him overnight and eaten every bit. The hunter gets bear pictures all the time on his game cameras, and had heard a bear as he sat in his stand last night. I didn't know this, but bears will pull rocks off of rock walls to get at apples the squirrels and chipmunks hide in there. He had heard rocks being moved around last night. The hunter was disappointed at losing the meat, but happy to have closure.

 

The second track was for a big buck, according to the hunter. He shot him last night and was able to track him for a good distance before losing blood. He went back this morning with friends and grid searched for quite a while before calling me. We had a hard time getting past the hunters point of loss, but eventually did. This whole area had been logged off 2 years ago. We advanced the track about 150 yards before coming to an overgrown thick area full of tops left from the logging. This large area was too thick for Luna to walk through, so I carried her. We worked the other side of this area trying to find where the buck had come out, but were not able to find any sign. I think there's a chance he died in there and you'd have to practically step on him to find him. 

 

On the third track the hunter said he had hit a 5 pointer, but had no idea where. He had followed a few drops of blood for a short distance and lost it, then grid searched. We went to the hit site, which was in the middle of a dense thicket. I have no idea how he got an arrow in there. It hit a limb before hitting the deer. We had no luck at all advancing this track.

 

The fourth track was for a doe that had been hit in the left side of the rump this morning. The hunter tracked her through the woods for a while, then backed out while still on blood. He called me, and while we were on the phone he spotted her bedded down in an adjoining alfalfa field. As he was watching her she got up and with some difficulty walked into the woods. At this point he didn't realize exactly where she had been hit. We decided to wait until early evening to go look for her. We started at the hit site to give Luna time to gather as much scent information as possible. She took us beyond where the hunter had tracked, then a short distance later started her high pitched bark, which indicates a live deer. Off we went, but didn't see the deer or evidence it was the deer we were tracking. We stayed on the track for a while but eventually lost it. I decided we should go to see if we could find the bed in the alfalfa field and start over there. We located it and followed the track back into the woods. We were led into an extremely thick area. The hunter had his young son with us and we decided he should be taken home. We only had about an hour of daylight left, so he was going to bring flashlights back with him. I continued on the track and he was going to catch up. A few minutes later as we continued, Luna started her barking again. Shortly after that the hunter called me and said she had walked back into the field and bedded down a couple hundred yards away. We were able to locate her in the field and finish her. If he hadn't seen her in the field, who knows how much longer it would have taken to figure this out.

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Love this annual thread! Great job


"The sportsman lives his life vicariously. For he secretly yearns to have lived before, in a simpler time. A time when his love for the land, water, fish and wildlife would be more than just part of his life. It would be his state of mind."

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Wow Luna and you have been busy !! Enjoy your threads a lot. That's a neat Luna pack lol.


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10/2

 

Today was a 3 track day. I received a call from an anxious dad....his son had shot a spike last night and he was requesting some help. We agreed on meeting at 8:00 this morning due to not knowing how good (or bad) the shot was. We started at the hit site and Luna quickly took us to where the hunter and his Dad had backed out last night. They did everything right by marking the blood and getting out of there. A dream call. Luna took us through a small area of swamp grass, then into some tag alders. Roughly 100 yards into it, we made this young hunters day by finding his buck. It was actually an emotional moment. Carter turned 12 on September 28th. 3 days after becoming old enough to hunt, he had his first buck. Talk about a proud Dad! It turns out the shot was a little high, but angled down enough to catch lung.

 

Our second track today was another example of how it should be done. The hunter shot a buck last evening and watched for about 40 minutes as it stood in the area. It finally got dark and the hunter climbed down, saw evidence of a gutshot on the arrow and backed out. He went back this morning and followed blood a short distance, lost it, marked it, then backed out and called me without grid searching. Luna quickly took us to the edge of a very thick swampy area where we found a bed with dark red blood in it.  Luna took us into the swamp and appeared to be on the track although we weren't seeing any blood. We went in a few hundred yards, crossing a couple deeper beaver runs. As we kept going it seemed like Luna was no longer on it, so we fought our way through the tangled mess back to last blood and did a restart. Sure enough, a few yards into it she took a different trail. We were a hundred yards into it and I spotted a dropped of blood on the swamp grass. This pleased me. We continued on another couple hundred yards and Luna started her high pitched bark. A few minutes later we heard the buck take off, only 20 yards away. It was way too thick to even see him. The hunter from his angle could see the grass moving and said it stopped right on the edge of some tag alders. I had him hold Luna and I circled around with my handgun, hoping to get a killing a shot. The buck had given us the slip so I put Luna back on him and off we went. We were really hustling trying to catch up, just about running when the terrain allowed. He went into the woods and repeatedly went into a rocky creek trying to give us the slip. Luna was having none of it and stayed right on the track. The buck eventually left the woods and crossed a meadow. Luna took us through the meadow to a six foot fence and was pushing, trying to get through. At this point we decided that if the buck still had the strength to jump that fence, we better back out and give him some more time. I headed out to my third track, promising I'd come back later.

 

My third track was a low shot on a doe, made last night. The hunter had tracked her for a couple hundred yards before losing blood. He looked around some, then backed out and called me. Luna quickly took us to the point of loss, then went in the opposite direction the hunter thought the doe had gone. Luna knows best! We went a short distance and Luna started her high pitched bark.....another live deer. We were seeing fresh blood as we tried to catch up with her, but ended up with property line issues and had to quit.

 

Two hours after leaving the second track, I was back. We took Luna to the opposite side of the fence, expecting to see blood after the jump the deer had made, but now Luna wanted to go back to the other side of the fence! We went around and sure enough she showed me a spot of blood inside the edge of the woods and started pulling hard. Back into the woods and into the creek we went, this time going uphill. After a couple hundred yards we found him still alive, laying in the creek, so I finished him.  This was 20 hours after he was shot yesterday.

 

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