BuckTracker: Deer Tracking with Dogs

If you bowhunt (indeed, deer hunt) long enough, you’ll follow a blood trail that peters out. You scan the dirt for tracks. Walk likely escape routes praying for more clues. You even grid-search through logical bedding/escape cover, hoping to stumble on the animal. All attempts are fruitless. An animal you shot remains at large, perhaps mortally wounded, maybe even dead.

In such situations my response is the same. "I wish I had a tracking dog that could help me here." But in Minnesota, using such an animal is illegal. Even if it's highly trained and kept on a leash. You either find the deer by human means, or not at all. I think it's a law that needs changing. If my quickie research is correct, 12 states allow hunters to employ dogs for deer recovery. In New York, there's even a group called "Deer Search Inc." comprised of folks with trained dogs that assist hunters in this practice. They're alive and growing strong, with some 30 years of experience behind them.

So why are the holdouts holding out? Can you use tracking dogs to find wounded deer where you live? What are your success rates and/or failures? What are the best breeds? If you live in a state where tracking dogs are illegal, how do you feel about it? I’m anxious to hear from readers on this topic.