Frequently Asked Questions
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- Where can I buy a dog for tracking?
- I am interested in a book on the subject of deer tracking and training dogs. Could you advise me on reading material?
- What dogs would you recommend for tracking wounded game in Mississippi? Would wirehaired dachshunds be suitable?
- Are all dachshunds good in tracking wounded game?
- When you collect blood for training, how do you store it and how do you keep it from coagulating?
- I’m going to be in the market for a hunting/trailing dog in the next 6 months. I have narrowed it down to two types of dogs – labs or coonhounds (blue tick or black and tan). My question is what type of dog will take to blood trailing better? My thoughts are that the hounds would have a better nose but the labs might be a little smarter. Which is the most important trait?
- Would a Beagle be a good prospect for a tracking dog?
- How can I train a Labrador Retriever for blood tracking?
- Can I use a different type of blood for training, or does it have to be deer blood?
- Is your service free or does a hunter have to pay?
- I need a list of searchers. Include the name, address, phone number. This would be handy if traveling and hunting to find assistance.
- Where can I buy a dog for tracking?
Deer Search Inc. does not endorse any particular breeds, breeders or bloodlines, but you could check availability of pups with Deer Search members:
We do not recommend buying a wirehaired dachshund from bloodlines that have not been selected for working ability. In the United States most dachshunds are bred as show or companion dogs and they do not undergo testing for tracking ability the way it is done in Europe. It does not mean that it is impossible to find a good blood tracking dachshund bred from “show” lines. They certainly exist, but you would be increasing your chance of getting a good tracker, if the parents of your puppy were bred for the purpose of tracking wounded game. In Deer Search the most successful tracking dogs have been bred from German, French and Czech working bloodlines. If you need more information, send your inquiry to email@example.com.
- I am interested in a book on the subject of deer tracking and training dogs. Could you advise me on reading material? John Jeanneney, co-founder of Deer Search, published a book Tracking Dogs for Finding Wounded Deer, which is based on his 30 years of experience. This book came out in October 2003 and is available directly from John at www.born-to-track.com/book/order-info.htm
- What dogs would you recommend for tracking wounded game in Mississippi? Would wirehaired dachshunds be suitable? It is doubtful as to whether any kind of dachshund is the best choice when you are working in snake cover. A dachshund is going to be hit in the head neck or body and won’t have much of a chance. We have had a good experience with Southern Black Mouth Curs. They have less nose for old, cold ground scent than a good European dachshund, but they are fine on lines that are three or four hours old. They take heat extremely well and they are very good about staying on the right line and avoiding healthy deer. A dog like this would be our first choice for working in the Delta and in snake infested areas, but dachshunds of the type used in Deer Search might be all right in upland areas.
- Are all dachshunds good in tracking wounded game? No, they are not. The wirehaired dachshunds we use in Deer Search for blood tracking are descended from European stock bred especially for this kind of work. Generally they are higher on the leg and not so long in the body as the American dachshunds that you see. It is hard to find American smooths that have been selected to do this kind of work, but there are some in Germany. The majority of working dachshunds in Europe are wirehaired.
- When you collect blood for training, how do you store it and how do you keep it from coagulating? We collect deer blood from the deer that we find by dipping it into a gallon Ziploc bag. Then we put that bag in another bag as insurance. When we get home we put it into half pint containers like plastic margarine tubs and freeze and keep it in a freezer until needed. If you use a little sponge on a stick to lay the line then you don’t have to worry about coagulation. You use the clots, stomach contents and all the other junk that is in the blood.
- I’m going to be in the market for a hunting/trailing dog in the next 6 months. I have narrowed it down to two types of dogs – labs or coonhounds (blue tick or black and tan). My question is what type of dog will take to bloodtrailing better? My thoughts are that the hounds would have a better nose but the labs might be a little smarter. Which is the most important trait? I think that you sized up the advantages of the two types of dogs. One of the very best tracking dogs that I ever saw was a beagle/lab cross that combined the hound nose with the intelligence of a lab. You are also probably aware that in parts of Texas cattle dogs like Catahoulas, Black mouth curs and Blue Lacys are used. I have a black mouth cur who does not have a great nose for ground scent if you compare her to my wirehaired dachshunds. However she wind scents very well and finds wounded and dead deer on very windy days when the dachshunds find that it is difficult to find ground scent. She is also very good about discriminating between a wounded deer and the others. One thing that you DON’T want is a hyper hound that just wants to run the hottest line and doesn’t much care what the handler wants. Some of the tree hounds that are bred for competition hunting have this tendency.
In answer to your question I would rather have an dog with a B nose and A intelligence, than have it the other way around. How a dog uses its nose and its line sense is very important. If you get on the line of a wounded deer in two to four hours, a dog does not have to have a super nose. Also, if you track at night scenting conditions are better.
- Would a Beagle be a good prospect for a tracking dog? Beagles certainly have enough nose for the job, but the problem is that many of them do not want to stay on an old cold line when there are hot lines of healthy deer to follow. Most beagles are not as interested in pleasing the handler as are black mouth curs, labs or a dachshund of the right breeding. Tim Nichols uses a Beagle of hare hound breeding up in Vermont and this dog has become reliable to follow the right line.
- How can I train a Labrador Retriever for blood tracking? Begin training by combining the two methods described on page dedicated to dog training. Be sure to give the dog lots of praise when he finds the fresh deer skin or the easy deer that has been tagged and left in the woods for the lab to “find”. In parts of the South where dogs can legally search off lead, you can gradually begin letting the long leash loose to drag behind the lab once he is well settled into the line. As a rule labs do not have as much line sense as a hound, but they combine working ground scent with quartering and using wind scent. They can do this either off lead or on the long lead as circumstances and legalities require. The more experienced the dog the more you will be able to rely upon him to stay focused on old, difficult lines while off lead. The labs that we have seen do not stay on the line as well as hounds, but they do find wounded deer in their own way. There are a number of hunting preserves in the South that have used labs on a regular basis for this kind of work, and they have also been used successfully to find roe deer in England.
- Can I use a different type of blood for training, or does it have to be deer blood? We much prefer deer blood to the domestic animal alternatives. If you carry a couple of gallon zip-lock bags and a 1/2 pint margarine tub in your hunting coat, it is easy to dip the blood out of the body cavity of the deer you shoot. Put the blood in one zip-lock and then put that bag inside of a second bag to avoid a mess in your hunting coat. Deer blood stimulates a dog to track because it smells like game. The smell of cattle or sheep is not going to have much appeal to a dog that has been raised around livestock. We keep deer blood frozen in small containers like margarine tubs.
- Is your service free or does a hunter have to pay? Deer Search’s tracking services are free of charge. However, we accept donations, which are used to reimburse handlers for mileage. Some handlers drive as far as 100 miles to help hunters find wounded game. Deer Search is a non-for-profit organization and hunters’ donations are tax deductible.
- I need a list of searchers. Include the name, address, phone number. This would be handy if traveling and hunting to find assistance. It is our policy not to release our membership list to non-members.
If you want to use a squeeze bottle to lay the training line then you have to strain the blood and remove the coagulated blood that may have been in the deer already when you first opened him up. You can prevent fresh blood from coagulating by adding potassium citrate (I got mine from a big pharmacy) or heparin (I got that from someone who worked in a blood bank).
For simplicity I find that it is simplest to use a one inch square of cellulose sponge screwed with a washer to the bottom of a stick. Even better is a chuck of the same sponge material lashed with monofilament to the forked twigs (clipped short) at the top of a whippy branch or wand.