Every year a great many animals are struck by either bullet or arrow, and even though mortally wounded, are lost and wasted as the hunter cannot find the creature. In order to prevent this type of loss, District Conservation Officer, George Fischer, has been very supportive of the promotion and use of specially trained blood tracking dogs in the state of Idaho.
These specialty dogs are not just house pets that like to run around and lick blood off of wounded deer; highly specialized K9s are selectively bred and trained blood tracking athletes that are prepped from birth to do only one thing. These dogs require 45 minutes to an hour of daily exercise and once a week they need to be taken on a 200-to 300-yard blood tracking exercise. The ultimate test, of course, is to take them on a real life track wherein all of their acquired conditioning is tested.
Good tracking dogs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but the breed type that I own and train, are the extremely popular blood tracking dogs known as Teckels. These diminutive creatures are the Germanic ancestor of the American Dachshund. They weigh in at around 20 pounds and about 19 ½ of that is guts and heart. These little guys are literally born to track and do not resemble the standard Dachshund in either manner or appearance.
On Nov. 15 of this year I got one of those rapid fire phone messages wherein the urgency is readily apparent in the tone of the caller. “Hey Edd, George, we need you and a dog really bad. A hunter from Florida has shot a nice white tail and has been searching for it for five hours with no results. Call back quick.”
I had hunters at the time and had just one hour previous had my lead dog, Chui, on a 300-yard successful blood track. I still had a hunter out and couldn’t go but offered to let George take Chui on the track. I had never done this before but Chui knew George and I thought it would be OK.
By the time George and Chui got on scene about seven hours had passed since the shot was fired. After one look at Chui the Florida sportsman looked as if they were giving up all hope. “What the heck is this thing? We thought you were bringing a real dog!” What is this miniature lap dog going to do except maybe run in circles and yip at its tail?” George proceeded to explain that this wasn’t a bad joke.
The hunter wasn’t convinced but did placate George by pointing the direction he thought the deer had gone, which was to his right. At that time Fischer put the little dog on the spot of blood and gave her the seek command.
Chui immediately made a hard left turn in the exact opposite direction that the hunter had indicated. She then, with nose to the ground, started churning her seven inch legs on the microscopic trail. Of course, about now the hunter and his buddies were in open rebellion as the dog was “obviously going in the wrong direction.”
About the same time that George managed to quell the early stages of the riot, Chui made a dramatic “hey boss look here” gesture and showed the nonbelievers the new spot of blood she had found. From that point on the doubters became converts and followed the little dog in silence.
One and a half hours later after numerous zigs and zags and stream crossings, plus negotiating a couple of pretty significant hills and two steep canyons, Chui made her final lunge into an almost impenetrable thicket and immediately attempted to drag the dead buck out of the briar patch. The cheers and jubilation reached the crescendo level as the now total believers hailed Chui as the absolute queen of all trackers.
In George’s own words: “This was a near impossible feat. No two-legged team of trackers could ever have pulled that off.” Chui then responded with “all in a day’s work boss.”
Edd Woslum of White Bird is president of an Idaho firearms manufacturing firm, a 40-year competition shooter, an outfitter, a staff writer with Precision Shooting Magazine, and field editor of African Hunter Magazine.