2020 tracking logs

frontierrots

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9/12 and 13/2020

For those who don't know, Bella turns 11 this month. She's in amazing shape and has the energy of a five year old but this is her last year doing bear tracks. We made that decision before the season started because bear tracks are always in horrific terrain and if she's still able to track next year as a 12 year old we want to just have her do deer.

Bella is now in her tenth season of tracking. In all those past 9 seasons we've tracked a handful of bear each season, and all of them have been far too lively to catch over long tracks.

As we entered Bella's tenth season we had started with a bear track that again was unwilling to become a rug and led us on a merry romp through hell terrain.

On 9/12 we got a call locally for a bear shot in a cornfield. Sounded like a good shot at short distance so off we went in the evening.

This cornfield was nearly desert dry, the dirt puffed up in dirt clouds as we walked in, the vegetation just looked thirsty and the air was dry.. The hunter had found a chunk of food in the field path some distance down hill from where the bear had been standing, and they had looked around a good amount for other blood or sign to no avail.

After the hunter had shot he had walked up towards the road (away from the bear) to meet his son and right on the other side of the cornfield was another hunter. Both had been entirely unaware that the other was there. The new hunter was a bit upset to find another hunter so close and he decided to sit tight in his chair at the woods edge and he remained there until dark.

We arrived with about an hour of light left, Corn fields are often tough scenting in the best of times, but in this drought Bella had a hard time locking on. She'd start at hit sight and go a bit in the corn then back out, up towards the other hunter and back again.

She finally locked on and followed the bear's track into the corn to a wet bed, then out of the corn right where the coughed up chunk of charleston chew smelling food lay, and lost scent again in the field path. We spent most of the remaining daylight with Bella following that bear's scent from earlier pre shot. Eventually the other hunter left and Bella searched on his side of the field (it was a good exit point)

We took a break and regrouped and took Bella back down to where she'd exited the corn definitely on the bear's path and gave her quiet time to search both sides of the powder dry field path (about 12' across), finally success a bit diagonal down from the corn exit!

Over a stone wall topped with barbed wire and into thick hemlock and fir forest where we found a couple areas of light blood and off we went. We crossed another barb wire topped stone wall, dry stream beds and more thick woods. Any open area was waist high ferns and weeds. I kept Bella on a pretty short line because in the dark who knew where the bear would be. The scent conditions in the fern areas was almost as bad as the cornfield and we stopped several times for water breaks. The ancient logging slash and storm toppled trees just added to the physical difficulty of the track.

After an eternity it seemed of dark thick forest, the track turned back towards the cornfield.We had actually decided to hang up the track at least for the night and were ourselves headed back but followed the easiest path. After maybe 50 yards of walking at heel Bella caught her wind and suddenly snapped back into tracking mode. She wanted to go the same way we needed to so why not.

We got to a gigantic downed tree and could have gone left or right around it. Bella wanted right so we went right. We came to an almost dry stream bed and as Bella paused to sniff the ground we noticed fresh bear tracks in the mud. Rob who was about 6' from me standing on bank of the stream bed suddenly said "Bear, a bear is RIGHT here!"

Our headlamps were very dim and just like in a movie, part of a large shadow broke away from the rest of the shadow and moved very slowly away from us and stopped. Rob (who is a licensed tracker too) raised his gun to shoot, but was still at that point not positive it was the right bear and hesitated. The bear when he first saw it was 6 FEET from his boots laying in what little water was in the brook. It stopped 8' away where the rest of us saw the " large shadow that moved". Our lights were getting dimmer and wavering and the bear never looked at us so no eye shine.

I got my gun with the red laser out but the bear slowly walked into even thicker hell. We waited quietly and listened to it slowly walk away. It had to be the bear Bella was tracking (the place is loaded with bear so it was a legitimate concern). After it was gone we shined our pathetic lights at the stream bed and it was literally full of blood.

Made the decision to come back in daylight as going after a living injured bear in the dark with dying lamps is a fools mission and we did not want to push it far away.The bear had already traveled .80 miles so we pinned the spot and flagged a path to the cornfield

In the early am we were back.Back at the brook we saw what Bella had been sniffing was a big pile of puked up blood.

Bella hit the track solid and hard and in spite of it now being 9 hours since the "Shadow bear" had stood there she took it hard and solid. High humidity this am made the scenting conditions considerably better.

The bear had exited the stream on the same trail we had tracked in on and then broke out in a new direction.More of the same thick forest and ferns but far better visibility.
Finally the track turned back just when we were doubting we'd catch him and into slightly more open woods and open areas.Then yup, back into thick bear hell and hooked back into the dry stream bed area and a ways down that we found him, dead. (There was sign he'd laid in the wet area of the stream first and then back tracked to his death site)

Such a relief and what a track for Bella (and my) first bear recovery!

The bear had traveled 1.66 miles (about 2911 yards) in total. One lung/liver/stomach hit

Such a very good dog!
 

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frontierrots

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9/15/20 Opening day of archery season. Took a tracking call for an area we've tracked in quite a bit over the years.

Buck was arrowed at 6:15 am, hunter waited two hours to get out of stand and did a fantastic job of both flagging sign and not contaminating the track.

Bella had no trouble starting. Looked like the buck had bedded right after the shot but that was the only bed on the track we could for sure see.

Track came out of woods and crossed a power line trail. Saw a deer to the left but Bella had no interest so we found the track crossing and off we went
straight
up
the
mountain.
Finally the buck turned and went across the slope face and finally turned straight down hill, crossed the powerline again and into a tree and weed filled ravine in the middle of the field.
Did he stop there? Nope
He left the ravine, crossed a field, jumped a 15' deep drainage ditch and into more woods.
He popped out at the side of the highway changed his mind and went back into the woods.
All the blood was tacky but not fresh.
Out of the woods and straight downhill into tall grass, burdocks and thistle. Ow ow ow ow
Up a hill through the woods and into yards. Took us quite a bit of circling a house to figure this out with the scent burning off the pavement in the sun,but finally after a water and snack break Bella found where the buck had walked the side of the road and crossed the busy highway into a housing development where we called the track.
Shot was very slight quartering to, but with the buck looking away from the hunter. Cant even begin to tell you what was actually hit. 1.46 miles of travel by the deer (after subtracting our house circles)
 

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frontierrots

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9/15/20 track #2
Doe arrowed around 5:30 pm.
There are many reasons hunters need tracking teams and this one is a great example of a good skilled hunter but with poor red color vision, and helping friend with poor dim light color vision.
We got to shot site around 8:30 pm, there was blood at shot site but nothing else.
Bella took the track immediately and as we got out of sight from the shot site the doe took a sharp left turn. There was no blood for 52 yards from shot site and then what there was it was all high on leaves and sides of tree trunks.
Track was 276 yards. The arrow holes were both pretty high on body which explained the delay in this great shot not giving good sign from the start
 

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SportsmanNH

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What great work you guys do for hunters ! Terrific tracking job on all those critters .

I really hope you get rewarded well for what you do !
 

frontierrots

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What great work you guys do for hunters ! Terrific tracking job on all those critters .

I really hope you get rewarded well for what you do !
We aren’t allowed to charge
We can accept tips
Sometimes we get a handshake or maple syrup or honey or cash
Or nothing

a few yearsback a hunter bought me new boots
 




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