The adventures of Elkie


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This is Elkie the deer tracking dog. Elkie is a Wirehaired Dachshund with German parentage, and she was born to track deer. In fact when I Google "Born to Track", I see a pic of a Wirehaired Dachshund with a deer.
Elkie's training began when she was 8 weeks old, and she could have recovered a deer, on a short 100 yard track, at 12 weeks. This is Elkie doing a river crossing.
Often hunters can't recover their deer because rain washed away the blood trail, but that's not a problem with Elkie. Yesterday I laid a 300 yard trail using only 3 ounces of blood. This morning it poured rain (1.5 inches). The trail was both rained on and aged 24 hours when I put Elkie on the track. In less than 5 minutes, and without error... SUCCESS!

Elkie also follows the track when there's no blood, just the scent from the interdigital gland in the hooves

This will be Elkie's second season, and she's ready! The culmination of last year's season is the buck in my avatar that I'm told scored 220; that said, Elkie is just as happy to recover a doe.
Go Elkie!

Looking forward to watching the progress this year. You have worked so hard with your little 4 legged friend

I'm hoping to see Luna recover a Moose!
Now that would be a super hero shot with the small little dog in a photo with a racked moose and the Brush Master himself.

That might just rival the B&C Buck recovery last season - state tuned folks - video to follow.

Seriously I wish I had a shirt with the B&C Buck. That dog's value quadrupled in one recovery in my eyes.
Man what a pleasure to read these threads. Great ride along.
A big part of tracking is understanding deer anatomy. When I receive a call from a hunter I ask where the deer was hit, how the deer reacted to being hit, and a number of other questions that help me to understand and make a determination to track or not to track. As I was questioning one hunter he said he was a registered nurse and another was a doctor, so I assumed they understood deer anatomy. Both the nurse and the doctor spine shot their deer... I spine shot a 16 point buck myself, but reasoning goes out the window when a hunter arrows a deer!!! Elkie can only recover deer that are down, not deer that fled the country!

In my opinion, most hunters select the wrong aiming point which, as all hunters know, is behind the front shoulder. In reality, that's a heart shot, and the heart is a small target on a moving animal with a bow. If the heart is missed high, the chances of recovering the deer are slim, if the heart is missed forward the chances of recovering the deer are slim, if the heart is missed low, the deer is missed or has a flesh wound.

The best place to aim with a bow is for the lungs. A double lung shot deer will run as far as a deer can run without breathing, which is about 60-100 yards. This is a buck I shot last Fall through both lings.

As a source of pride, most hunters would say that the shot is too far back, and it actually is higher than I aimed. Had the shot hit near the end of the handle, the deer would have likely survived. The shot placement was through both lungs, which is what I was aiming for, and the buck was recovered about 70 yards from where it was hit.

The inside of the body cavity tells the story! My objective was the rib cage and I had ribs to spare.

The point I hope I've made is that the lungs are a big target and a double lung shot is fatal, while a heart shot is best reserved for gun season. I'll add that a bow can be shot accurately out to 60 yards at a stationary target, but a deer isn't stationary!

In the backwoods of Missouri I tracked for a hunter who told me that grandpa used to live in this cabin, and I was later able to chat with grandpa who was still healthy.

Elkie runs 2-3 training tracks a week, with deer liver for her reward at the end. Elkie would much rather find a deer, and is just as happy finding a doe as she is when she finds a buck..

Brush, you are a dedicated and determined trainer, and a good pupil :). Your Marine Corp determination (stubbornness) pays off in your habitat management and dog training. Elkie is one of the most naturally gifted dogs that I have seen, and you are turning her into a first class tracker.