a registered VDD kennel
840 yards later...
On Nov. 21, 2013, we had the opportunity to put our training to good use. A hunter near my camp in upstate NY had shot a deer early in the morning but couldn't find it.
Driving straight up a mountain just out of town (Delaware County NY is ALL vertical), we (the shooter, myself and the land owner) hiked back into the stand on the back side of the hill. Shooter confessed to hitting the buck too far back while it was on the run (obviously not a bird shooter!!!). No matter. He had tracked the blood for about 100 yds where it started into heavier cover. At 11:45, Olaf took the track right away and pulled steady to the first wound bed which was still tacky. In another 100 yds, another wound bed. Finally the shooter admitted he went wandering around too soon trying to find his deer, which pushed the deer off these initial wound beds. With the big splashes of blood, I figured this would be another easy exercise for the young dog. But the blood started to dissipate and after another 200 yds and none of us could find blood. Olaf was pulling steady and showing confidence in the track so we went with it. At one point, I could see Olaf go downwind and raise his head. I put him down and went upwind and finally found two small flecks of blood. I brought him to the line and told him “blood”. The last 400 yds was a straight confident pull, steep downhill in the direction of the East Branch of the Delaware River. I could see the river below us and thought we would either find the buck at the water, downstream on the river bank or maybe have to go to the other side
Over the last 400 yds I could see no blood but the ground disturbance wasn’t that old and I felt the dog was on “our” deer and hadn’t switched up on another fresh track. After sliding down the last 30 yds to the river’s edge, the dog waded out in the water looking at the far shore. The water was only 2-3 feet deep at this point on the river (I’ve fished this stretch) and I wasn’t looking forward to wading it in my 8” boots. The shooter glassed the far shore with his rifle and thought he saw his buck. HE waded the water and found it dead 10 yds up on the opposite side. Later a GPS showed we had tracked 840 yds…sure wasn’t a flat 840 yds!!!
This was great experience for young Olaf. I could see Olaf's confidence and concentration improve as we went along and when the deer was dragged back over the water, his tail was going a mile a minute. A successful track....and saving another deer from the coyotes feels good.