Luna's Tracking Journal 2016

I'm a big fan of Luna. Elkie has sores under both eyes from tracking in brush. Elkie needs a helper, but finding a WHD is no easy task!
11/15 - On the 1.5 hour drive home from a track today, a hunter called and reported shooting a buck at last legal light last night. He was not sure where he hit it. He and a friend were in the woods tracking when he called, and said they were having a hard time advancing the track. I asked him to mark last blood and back out, which they did. Luna made quick work of the trail to last blood, which was only 100 yards. Luna had a hard time in this area, and I restarted her 4 times due to her acting uncertain. Finally she went in a different direction and was acting more confident and we found a drop of blood 150 yards further on. We came to a narrow deep stream and Luna dove in and swam across, which I was happy to see because in the past she's been reluctant to do that. I had the hunter hold her leash while I walked a short distance to a log which I crossed over on. Luna impatiently waited for me, then off went. A short distance later in this thick area, I found a drop of very fresh blood. Luna was pulling hard, but never opened up so we weren't right on top of it. We hustled through the area hoping to catch up with him, but never did. After 1.5 miles we pulled the plug, but I'm calling this a successful track.
I’ve been reading posts on this site this morning, and questioning why I drifted away from it. Lot’s of great info here. Since I last posted about Luna, I’ve got a second dog and his name is Kunox. I’ll be posting their tracking adventures here this coming season.

Picture test.....
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Having a relaxing morning and thought I’d post a few memorable tracks from last season.

I received a request for help as I was on the first track. This was for a 14 year old hunters first deer. Can’t turn those down!
The hunter was in a tree stand this morning, and his 30 something year old cousin was in a stand a few hundred yards away. A great looking 8 pointer walked by his cousin, but when she pulled up to shoot her scope was fogged over. What did she do? She pointed her rifle at the ground next to the deer and shot, intentionally chasing it toward her cousin. How cool is that?? It worked and the young hunter took a shot. Unfortunately, he hit the front leg. He and his Dad got on the track shortly thereafter, which is the perfect strategy for a leg hit. They ended up pushing the buck out of a bed after a couple hundred yards. They backed out at that point. Luna and I arrived about 6 hours post shot. She quickly took us to the bed, then continued past. We ended up at a very swollen creek and Luna wanted to cross. I had noticed a wooden bridge back aways so I suggested we go use it. I hung a ribbon at the crossing so we could find it from the other side. Luna went hot shortly after we crossed and we found two more beds and the chase was on. I told the hunter to stick close to me, but don’t chamber and shoot until I say so. Luna took us to another creek and dove in and started swimming. In we went into the upper thigh deep water after her. We got to the other side and Luna went about 5’ then said oops, my mistake. Back in we went and she got back on the buck on the other side. We finally spotted the buck bedded on the side of a hill, but he took off before we could get a shot. We saw where he ran into an overgrown field and I sent the hunter up ahead to see if he could see it and get a shot. He shot, but the deer kept running and ended up next to a road. The hunter was still ahead of us and showed great judgement in not shooting with the buck close to the road, as he had an easy shot. The buck panicked and ran into the road at this point. It was like slow motion as I watched 2 pickups coming, one from each direction. I heard heavy braking, then a thud as the deer was struck by one of them. The buck got up and ran into the ditch where it bedded down. We were able to end his suffering there after 2 miles. What a great buck! Hugs everywhere. I love my job.


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Tom, I was excited to read your worthy report. I applaud you for what you do and the results you achieve. You give a lot of yourself to help others so willingly. Congratulations on your recoveries.
I'm glad to find this forum running again. I put a short message on the "Recreating a Deer Woods" thread with a reference to our mutual and sorely missed friend "Chainsaw".
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Tom, I was excited to read your worthy report. I applaud you for what you do and the results you achieve. You give a lot of yourself to help others so willingly. Congratulations on your recoveries.
I'm glad to find this forum running again. I put a short message on the "Recreating a Deer Woods" thread with a reference to our mutual and sorely missed friend "Chainsaw".
Thanks Lynn! I’ll check out that thread! Dave is gone way too soon.
Luna and I headed out to track another buck, about a half hour away. I’ve tracked for this family in the past and it’s always a pleasure. Matt Miller and Greta tracked this buck for 450 yards last night then backed out after determining it was still alive. Matt wasn’t available to go this morning so we went. Matt had sent me coordinates in the swamp and Luna was working toward them when she seemed to not turn where I thought she should have to get to where Matt had been. I decided we’d go out into the swamp to look around, but that was not productive. I picked Luna up and we went back to last blood for a restart. She again went in a different direction so I let her go. She was pulling pretty good when one of the grandsons with us spotted the dead buck up ahead of us. The buck had backtracked 100 yards before dying. Sorry Luna….when will I learn?? The buck had been gutshot and a second shot grazed him under the eye.


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I was contacted last night by a guy who’s girlfriend had shot her first deer and it was a gutshot. He knew exactly what to do…..back out so you don’t push it. I let Luna take this morning’s track since she didn’t get to chew on a deer yesterday. It was 62 degrees when I left the house at 6:45 this morning. I can’t remember ever wearing a short sleeve shirt while tracking in November before. I expected this would be a slam dunk track, but it was not. The buck was all over the place which makes me think coyotes had been after it. We ended up in a swamp with Luna swimming down a beaver run as I was in mid thigh deep water following her. We didn’t see any fresh sign, so we went back about 300 yards to last blood for a restart. She brought us back the same way, but at one point she clearly was air scenting, but then continued with her nose to the ground. I told the boyfriend to mark our location on OnX because we may be coming back to look around, which did happen a little while later. We searched the thick swamp grass area while the hunter kept Luna there since she hadn’t shown any interest in going in there. We didn’t find the buck or any sign. We went for another restart and this time when we got to that area Luna began air scenting again and started pulling on the leash and pulled me into the swamp grass. She showed me a bloody bed not too far away which I examined and then called the hunting party over. I stood up and 5’ away I saw the buck laying there dead. It was very windy this morning and it was swirling in the swamp, which was definitely a factor. So happy for this young hunter. Nice 6 point for her first ever deer.


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Last night Luna and I tracked a buck that reportedly had been hit at least twice with a 6.5 creedmoor. The young hunter and his Dad had waited a while, then started tracking him and bumped him from a bed in a tree line at 250 yards and backed out. We arrived and Luna quickly took us to the bed and continued on, showing us light sporadic blood as we went. We were in a clearcut when the buck allowed us to get within 10 yards before moving off. I left Luna with the hunter and his Dad and moved up to see if I could get a shot, but the buck disappeared. I decided to keep going since he had let us get so close, I figured I would be able to get a shot off. We caught up to him two more times, but he was in thick stuff. The second time I watched him slowly walk off, looking back as he went. We backed out at this point after 726 yards and went back at first light this morning. I put Luna down where we watched him walk off last night and she locked right back on. About 2 minutes later the hunter spotted him on his feet and moving away. Luna and I stayed back while the hunter moved up to get a shot with his rifle. That didn’t happen, the buck gave us the slip. Luna started pulling hard, saying c’mon, he went this way. We ended up going 600 yards before the hunter was able to finish him. The initial shot was brisket.


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I woke up this morning to a text that was sent late last night. It was from a hunter that shot a 12 pointer in the front shoulder with his muzzleloader. He tracked it until bumping it out of a bed after 150 yards, then backed out. As he was leaving, he found more blood but resisted the urge to follow it. We discovered today that the deer had, unknown to the hunter, ran the same way the hunter left the woods and he had been pushing it. Kunox and I arrived at sunrise, met the hunter, and drove back onto the State land he was hunting. The area had been logged within the last year, and the buck had been shot in a clearcut. The hunter has hunted this buck exclusively the last two seasons, so you can imagine he was a little stressed over the turn of events. Kunox got locked on and we got to the hunters point of loss pretty quickly. The bloodtrail was adequate to follow without too much difficulty for a while, then stopped except for an occasional drop every now and then. Kunox went hot a few hundred yards after last blood and the hunter caught a glimpse of a body and a tail. He thought the deer looked smaller than his buck, but we followed until we could confirm that yes, the track was too small. We went back to last blood and Kunox took us in a different direction this time. We went 200 yards with no blood, then we started to see fresh blood and knew we had the buck on its feet. Rifle season started today, so I had told the hunter to bring his. When we started seeing fresh blood I told him to stay close in case he gets a shot, and I also shortened Kunox’s lead to a couple feet. We continued and Kunox eventually took us to a trail that had blood right at the waters edge of the Deer River. Kunox quickly jumped in and acted like he wanted to swim across, but after 20’ (he was on a 30’ leash) he turned around and came out of the river onto the next trail over, shook off, and proceeded away from the river. When we had gotten to the river, I told the hunter to walk the bank downstream to see if he could spot the buck either in the water or near the bank, so the hunter was at least 50 yards from me when I spotted the buck bedded down in some thick stuff. I had the hunter come back toward us and see if he could get a shot. As he came back, the buck jumped up and crashed through the brush out of sight, and it was obvious he was hurting. From this point on the buck opened up good and the bloodtrail was extremely easy to see. Kunox was super excited as we hustled after the buck, and I was thankful I wasn’t being pulled by a bloodhound. We jumped him 2 more times before the hunter was able to shoot him. The track was 2.1 miles long, and the initial shot was in the left front leg.


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Luna and I had our first track of 2023 today! I was called this morning by a hunter I know that shot a bear at dusk last night. He and his friends tracked it for a little over 100 yards, then a very small grid search when they lost the track. We arrived in St Regis Falls at 12:45 this afternoon, made our call to the DEC, then followed the hunter to his lease. As always, impatient Luna barked continuously at me until I had my gear on and was ready to roll. The hunter and his friends found that quite amusing. We started at the hit site and quickly got to the hunters point of loss. Luna continued on and took us to the edge of a swamp where we found some blood on the ground. She took us into the swamp, then circled back out. She was not acting sure of herself, so I picked her up and took her back to last blood. This time she turned around and took us back towards the way we had come in. Not too far away we found the bear in a water filled depression. The bear had circled back around when it left the swamp and had only gone 205 yards from where it was shot.

Love this time of year!


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Cant wait to hear stories from this season! Watching a track on video would be awesome. YouTube is free to upload to.