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Blood Tracking Dog: How To Train To Track a Wounded Deer

Tracking a wounded deer with a blood tracking dog didn’t start yesterday.

History chronicles has it that dog hunting was adopted by the early man over 12,000 years ago, who used domesticated canines to hunt game.

Dog hunting became a tradition in the U.S. in the 16th century when the European settlers reached North America.

To date, it has remained a cherished activity for many across various parts of Southeast America.

Hunting deer with dogs is still legal in around eight states. They include; Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and some counties in Texas.

In this post, I’ll take you through a complete guide on how to train your dog to trail a wounded deer.

See also: 10 Best Blood Tracking Lights For Deer Hunting

Start Early

People may argue that the tracking and trailing abilities are embedded in the dog’s genes and not how early in age they are trained. Well, they could be right but it does not mean that training your dog early is entirely ineffective either.

In fact, I personally suggest you get started as early as three months.

Train your dog using simple and less time-consuming tasks. The training sessions should be playful and fun, and less physical or it will fail to co-operate. As the puppy gets older, start introducing training that is more complex.

We are going to start at home, by teaching them to track a family member. Let the puppies watch them leave. Then make her sniff the scent-article and ask him to pursue the scent. The trail track should start short and gradually increase.

Always reward him for a job well done if he finds the person. However, be sure not to overdo this or he will be expecting it every time, and may become uncooperative if you fail to reward him.

Another thing you should be very careful in the initial stages of training is the signals to give or get from the puppy.

Venture Out

After you are confident that your dog can now track a person without trailing off, it’s time to venture out. Some may say that blood is not a necessity, but it has worked for me.

I also believe blood has a stronger scent. In addition, it has worked with most of the dogs I train so why not go for it?

Below is a list of the things you’ll need to successfully train your puppy:

  • Blood from a deer
  • Some hide or leg with some little meat also from a deer; because in this case, we are tracking a deer, not any other animal
  • You need a physically fit dog
  • Tracking lead, you may want to attach a tracking bell on it
  • A harness

And lastly: A Collar For Your Dog

To ensure that your dog will not be tracing you, consider getting yourself some rubber boots and perhaps a pair of gloves. These items will help you avoid transferring your scent to the piece of hide.

The second thing is to attach the hide to string while avoiding any contact with bare hands as much as you possibly can. This is why we recommend using gloves. Your dog will figure out that whenever you put that on together with its accessories, it is time for hunting.

Pour some of the blood on some spot on the ground. This should act as the position where the deer was shot.

There are three ways you can begin with; you can either drag the hide or make skip-step like movement or just teach your puppy to follow sporadic drops of blood.

But my suggestion is that you first drag the hide on a continuous line to get your puppy interested.

After dragging the hide for a set distance, go back and get your dog now. Let him smell the blood on the spot where you initially poured the blood. Give him a verbal command if he is hesitant. He should be able to trail the hide, even for a short distance or time. I suggest you let him lead on while you follow.

What if he gets off track?

Bring him back to the same spot and start over again. Make sure you do not pull the harness too much as he might interpret that as a sign to stop or something other than trailing the hide.

Once he finds it, praise him and maybe reward him. Let him know that he has done a good job. Do the same distance for a couple of days within two weeks and increase the distance and the difficulty gradually.

Dogs learn through experience. But this session should always end on a positive note. Keep repeating this process, adding longer, more difficult trails. The training may take a long or short period. During this process you may need to go back to more straightforward tasks should the dog become frustrated.

7 Best Blood Tracking Dog Breeds

Before we close our discussion, allow me to take you through a list of my 7 favorite dog breeds that you should consider training to track the deer.

(NOTE: That this list is not exhaustive and there are certainly other very dedicated dogs)

1. Bloodhound

This gentle and docile dog has a very strong sense of smell and tracking skills. Once it picks up a scent, he works on it and brings to you the kill. It can, however, be very stubborn to control.

It can cover tremendous distances picking up scent past, running on water and even take on a cold trail.

2. Pointer

Its thin coat renders it pretty ineffective in colder parts of America but in the southern United States where temperatures are hot the Pointer is most effective and can cover an expansive field.

3. Beagle

Bingo!! You won yourself a price if you are in possession of this iconic hunting dog. It is persistent, has the energy, and its love of the chase in unmatched. Its short legs handicap it somewhat in the pursuit of bigger game, but if you are hunting varmint like rabbits, the Beagle is your dog.

4. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

This lovable creature is very intelligent and smart. It loves water and will endure a long day of hunting.

5. Weimaraner2

The Weimaraner2 breed of dogs are fast and calm, strong resilience and determination. These dogs were initially bred for foxhunting but deer hunters have since adopted them because of their determination as they go for pretty much any task put forward to them

6. Coonhound

A coonhound is your dog for any condition, duration, terrains, anything. It also has a playful nature when indulged.

7. Irish setter

Irish setter closes our list of hunters’ 7 favorite dogs for hunting. It hunts quail, wild turkey and other smaller animal but it does not just stop at that, it goes an extra mile in retrieving the kill for you. 

Final Thoughts

Lastly, make sure that in your region hunting and specifically dog hunting is permitted, and has the necessary hunting license if required.

Make sure that you and your dog are safe before you embark on the outdoor training. By having the right hunting gear for both of you for example, is a good way to ensure your safety.

If possible, let other hunters know that you are there. Be responsible in your training and do not discard any material you used for training lying around.

For tips on ground blinds for deer hunting, read our Top 10 tips!

  • Updated May 14, 2018
  • Deer
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