Coopers 2021 Deer Recovery Thread

flathead977

Ten Pointer
I got a call last night, buck had been shot with a rifle, the hunter and friends attempted to track but bumped the deer just 50 yards into the woodline. They backed out, came back a couple hours later, tracked 100 yards or so past that bed and couldn't find anymore blood so they backed out again. They stated it was shot with a 270 at 225 yards and was broadside. They noted bubbles in the blood. Immediately I'm thinking a 1 lung hit, I think very high likelihood we jump the deer alive in the morning since it was uncomfortable enough to bed that soon. I know it's not double lung or heart since it lived until they tracked. So I tell them we will likely jump a 1 lung tomorrow and deer will live for awhile unless pack of coyotes get it.

So we start 16 hours later at the bed the deer jumped from since the field it was shot in had a ton of burrs. 100 yards later Cooper is figuring out the contamination at last blood, the hunter advises they walked through the area ahead of us all the way to a pond. Cooper circles and eventually finds the deers trail and heads straight through the contamination 80 yards to a food plot, the hunter finds blood behind me as we enter the field. 100 yards straight across the plot the hunter confirms blood behind us as we enter the woodline. The blood is still dry, so we keep moving up a hill and Cooper works around a junkpile 80 yards into the woods to the right now past the pond on the right another 80 yards and into another foodplot. 100 yards across this foodplot and we are in the woods again weaving through it but taking a similar trajectory. We haven't had blood in 250 yards but Cooper is tracking very confidently. 150 yards into those woods we drop down edge of a dry creek, and going up the other side we see white deer hair. Cooper finds a freshly eaten front shoulder/leg soon after. Now we know the deer is dead. In the past, I've had a similar situation with the dead deer being 75 yards from where the yotes carried it's leg. I hung the leg in a tree and went back to the white hair at the creek crossing and gave Cooper the track command, at that time Cooper realized we had unfinished business and he ignored the deer leg. It was clear there was a ton of scent in the area and Cooper eventually found the beds the deer was likely bumped from by the yotes. The 4 beds were 50 yards after that creek, the deer must have been uncomfortable and pulling hair out around the wound. I give Cooper a break, water him and we work from the beds down the hill into a bamboo bedding area. Cooper works deep into the bamboo but I suspect he is too far from where I believe the deer would be from his shoulder/leg. We loop back and head into the scent cone. We found the deer just on the edge of the bamboo, it was clear the deer put up a good fight against the coyotes. You can see where the deer backed up against a tree to fight and protect his backside, the dirt was tore up. It's bittersweet. The yotes we're quick last night, but without them, I believe we would have bumped this deer alive this morning and likely would not have been able to recover it at all with a leashed dog. In that case, it would have been caught by yotes later but too long after the shot for a tracking dog.
View attachment 81230
Dang, they didn’t leave much.
 

lasttombstone

Kinder, Gentler LTS
Contributor
You have had some tracks in really thick yote country lately. Sounds like they are not good places for marginal shots, no matter what the shooter thinks.
 

bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
You have had some tracks in really thick yote country lately. Sounds like they are not good places for marginal shots, no matter what the shooter thinks.
This happens more in late season. I think they have less variety to eat and during the rut they had a lot of deer. Now a lot less roadkill and less hunters has them hungrier and on the move.
 
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bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
A short story, after 100 yards of tracking, it got very difficult in the briars for the hunter. There was lung blood and what turned out to be rib bone at the hit. Fortunately the deer only went a short distance past last blood because it was slow goin through the briars and it hurt. It was a mature buck with some serious mass that they had history with. Some other predator pulled that hair out overnight.PXL_20211220_144708263.MP~2.jpg
 
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bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
Ran a track this morning and could not recover the deer. Once finished, I returned a missed call, deerslyr30-06 had put a gentleman in touch with me whose daughter had shot a deer last night. They tracked dark blood for 80 yards, that night, then came back this morning and dad, daughter and friends grid searched the cutover that had last blood, NOT GOOD to do before the dog. We started at the hit site at the 20 hour mark, quickly we reached the cutover, it was pretty easy to navigate but with all the contamination it took Cooper almost 10 minutes to pick a line and go confidently deeper into the cutover from last blood. We followed and he hit another tough spot in the middle. He worked hard here another 10+ minutes and I watered him. I restarted him here, even with no blood to confirm since I liked his work up to this point. Unfortunately I could see ahead of me the landowner standing in the dirt road slightly left of our trajectory. Cooper tracked past his feet but I didn't see any buck tracks in the mud there, I did see 1 scuff mark, not a deer though. I'm thinking Coopers curiosity pulled him to the landowner but we continued a similar trajectory through the cutover and eventually through a milo field 400 yards from last blood. We hit the wood line and 100 yards in, a river, Cooper works right but eventually loses the track. At this point, it's starting to rain, to get that far was 1 hour of hard work. We walk back to the hunters dad. He asks what I thought? Should we call it? I said, the grid searched cutover was very difficult for him, I said it's only fair to give Cooper 1 restart. So we head 400 yards back to last blood and I restart Cooper. He takes the same track but never struggles, no distractions and we are soon to the milo field 400 yards away but we enter the woodline 30 yards right of our initial path. 75 yards straight into the woods Cooper leads me to this buck. 550 yards total, no blood after 75 yards.
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bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
Cooper was able to find a buck for Jeffery and the North Carolina Handicapped Sportsmen this morning. After the shot last night, the blood became very spotty and eventually too difficult to follow. The hunters thought after 100 yards of tracking this deer needed more time, and they were correct. My friend Josh passed the track to me and Cooper did his job. We started the next morning. First blood was 50 yards from hit but we started at hit anyway. In short time Cooper figured out what deer he wanted and we were passing the markers, eventually paralleling a creek and reaching last blood. Cooper worked this out, which included a circle left and back to last blood, eventually taking a straighter line into a thicker bushy bedding type area. We crossed a deeper creek and up the other side. In short time, we could see what looked like a white belly 75 yards in front of us in the pines. Coopers tracking speed suggested there was very very little blood or scent on the ground, he worked at a good speed but slow for most fatal deer tracks. Cooper worked right to the buck 200 yards from the hit, it was a great experience. It was Jeffery's first deer. Helping others who help young hunters is a great feeling. FB_IMG_1640803257619.jpgFB_IMG_1640803249529.jpgFB_IMG_1640803246405.jpgFB_IMG_1640803223943.jpg
 
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bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
Sorry its grainy, but this is the first 50 yards where no blood was found, where Cooper figured out this is the deer he wants, 16 hours after the hit. Hard quartering away shot, small bullet, no exit, entry was ham. This is a 30 ft biothane type lead, I'm close to dog only for our initial track from the hit at corn to first blood, I'm essentially communicating by holding the lead short what deer I want him to track. He's experienced enough, very little convincing is needed, but I'm not going to give the dog freedom in this initial "no blood" section when I know where deer went.

 
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bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
Tonka is from Kobeddus Kennel in Austria, she is 4 mths and is in early stages of tracking and obedience training here at LTG. We are looking for any known dead deer tracks within an hour of Louisburg. This could be kill you make that ran, 75+ yards. You can even harvest the deer, leave part of deer at kill site and I'll track it later, just mark the trail.

Those who help provide her a known dead deer track and recovery will be put on my next hat order for a free hat.IMG_20211208_114318.jpgIMG_20191215_082740_01.jpg
 

brownisdown

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
Sorry its grainy, but this is the first 50 yards where no blood was found, where Cooper figured out this is the deer he wants, 16 hours after the hit. Hard quartering away shot, small bullet, no exit, entry was ham. This is a 30 ft biothane type lead, I'm close to dog only for our initial track from the hit at corn to first blood, I'm essentially communicating by holding the lead short what deer I want him to track. He's experienced enough, very little convincing is needed, but I'm not going to give the dog freedom in this initial "no blood" section when I know where deer went.

We track exactly the same ways. Me and Jenny did exactly this for the first 60 or so yards until her ears pinned back and then I just try and keep up.
 

brownisdown

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
Do you carry Cooper to the hit site? I've always carried mine and felt like it was a good way to correlate its time to work.
 

bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
Do you carry Cooper to the hit site? I've always carried mine and felt like it was a good way to correlate its time to work.
Yes, and I carry him back to known blood on restarts. It is a reset to him and to prevent hunt/search before tracking, he's off the clock tell I set him down. Also, he trusts what I set him down on so much due to repetition, that I could set him on a deer you miss, and he will track it cause I told him to, or your boot tracks if you were lost in the woods.
 
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brownisdown

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
Yes, and I carry him back to known blood on restarts. It is a reset to him and to prevent hunt/search before tracking, he's off the clock tell I set him down. Also, he trusts what I set him down on so much due to repetition, that I could set him on a deer you miss, and he will track it cause I told him to, or your boot tracks if you were lost in the woods.
Yep same here. I'm going to read that book you posted but you're the first person I've ever met using the same training and tracking tactics. I'm sure there are more out there but I'm glad I've been doing something right lol. The only time Jenny has been on a leash her entire life is when she is "on duty"
 

bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
Yep same here. I'm going to read that book you posted but you're the first person I've ever met using the same training and tracking tactics. I'm sure there are more out there but I'm glad I've been doing something right lol. The only time Jenny has been on a leash her entire life is when she is "on duty"
They aren't necessarily going to teach what you've explained in that book since most dogs are larger breeds. But I can tell your mind is working like a dog guys mind needs to work. What your doing is what you should do, your putting yourself in their shoes and then doing all you can to simplify things for them and guide them to success. I also use a certain routine before the track, but Cooper can tell if we are going on a track by what socks I put on, so at this point, he doesn't care how we go about doing it from then on, just that we go.
 

brownisdown

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
They aren't necessarily going to teach what you've explained in that book since most dogs are larger breeds. But I can tell your mind is working like a dog guys mind needs to work. What your doing is what you should do, your putting yourself in their shoes and then doing all you can to simplify things for them and guide them to success. I also use a certain routine before the track, but Cooper can tell if we are going on a track by what socks I put on, so at this point, he doesn't care how we go about doing it from then on, just that we go.
Jenny is the same way. She's 10 now and I better start thinking hard on a puppy to train but I don't won't to think about the day she's not waiting on me in the passenger seat of the truck to say "let's go girl". I'm sure I can train another one but like Cooper she's got that little bit extra. You're doing a great job showing what the little dogs can do!
 

bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
Me and Cooper enjoyed our season very much. Even though I was out with Covid for a couple weeks, then spent 10 days out of state hunting and never took a day off from work in the rut for tracking, we found more deer for the public then we ever have in one season (25). Most importantly we brought closure to many hunters taking over 60 tracking calls, they are all journalized. Overall, Cooper just flat out amazed some people and we are an even better team now then ever. Cooper opened up the eyes of many to this resource that they never knew was available at this level and we formed relationships with many hunters who now trust us completely if things get tough in the future. Thanks to all of you guys for helping get the word out and supporting Cooper, knowing you appreciate the service is a great motivator as the season gets tough. We look forward to the DDC and 2022.


 

Triggernosis

Ten Pointer
Jeff, how does Cooper differentiate between the deer he is supposed to be tracking and other deer that have been in the vicinity or crossed the trail of the deer you are tracking? Do individual deer smell different from one another?
 

bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
Jeff, how does Cooper differentiate between the deer he is supposed to be tracking and other deer that have been in the vicinity or crossed the trail of the deer you are tracking? Do individual deer smell different from one another?
Yes, each deer smells different to deer and each deer smells different to a dog. A buck checks doe trails until he finds one he likes, it's 6 hours old. It's early November and he chose it cause it smelled better, it smelled better because of the deers closeness to estrous, the pheromones and scent the deer put off through glands in the hoof etc, that deer did not urinate all along the ground. Dogs noses are complexed enough to differentiate between deer, it's even made easier when one is wounded. If fatal, the natural sympathetic nervous system responses associated with survival, (releasing hormones into blood responsible for increasing heart rate, respiratory rate and vasoconstriction) all in an effort to keep a blood pressure good enough to oxygenate the brain and organs, makes the deer and blood smell different. These are deer a dog finds, the deer is the reward, so these dogs like deer they can find and lock on, they ignore other healthy smelling deer that they never find. Now think about this. Certain smells = dead deer. Not only do the hormones in the blood make it smell different, but blood from different areas of the deer smell different, a dog knows what types of blood and smells are associated with successful recovery (liver/gut). So amount of blood means absolutely nothing to him, most non-fatals have "good blood" that dries up, dog doesn't care, doesn't smell good. My dog knows if it's a fatal hit within 100 yards, usually less by the way the blood/track smells. Also my dog doesn't track for fun, he tracks to find the dead deer, this is where learning to read the dog matters. How does he act, non fatal vs fatal etc. He doesn't stop tracking when he knows he won't find it, but he gives me signs. Dogs that know there's no reward coming have a different enthusiasm then ones that do. To my dog, the tracking is just in his way on his path to chewing deer meat. He'll swim a river for a dying deer, but he won't do it for a non fatal without encouragement and me being right there close. Having to encourage my dog is a very bad sign. Lots of other things he does are signals to me of non-fatal, just need to put the time in behind the dog. Any time behind the dog is good time.
 
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dc bigdaddy

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
I was told that there is a glad between a deer's toes that produce a certain scent when a deer is hit and starts the adrenalin flowing that will stop once a deer's body realizes that it is going to live. Can you confirm this?
 

bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
I was told that there is a glad between a deer's toes that produce a certain scent when a deer is hit and starts the adrenalin flowing that will stop once a deer's body realizes that it is going to live. Can you confirm this?
Yes, this is the interdigital gland, I use it for training. It is one of many scents dogs use to connect the dots and solve the puzzle.
 

Papa_Smurf

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
Thanks for taking us along on your journey with Cooper. This thread is an amazing read. The way you and Cooper work together is simply amazing, as is the amount of understanding you have about what his actions/behavior means. Animals might not be able to talk, but they can speak to us in their own ways.
 
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