Sandy Creek Buck

We caught this Llano buck when Rowdy was a still a young dog. I believe it was the first leg shot deer we ever recovered.

I got the call late on a Sunday night that a young woman shot this buck – her first buck – and the blood trail had run out with no deer to be found. The guide had video of the hunt and was able to text me a short clip of the shot. It’s always helpful when hunters are able to video their shots because all you have to do is review the footage to see where your arrow or bullet hit. This allows me to assess the condition of the deer, if it’s even recoverable and make decisions about the best course of action.

As I replayed the grainy video over and over again it became obvious by the way his leg twisted as launched off that he had been hit in the forearm. I really don’t like trailing broken leg deer in the dark so we waited for daylight to get on him, even though that was going to put us there 15 hours after the shot.

This was a high fenced ranch and, while I much prefer tracking on high fenced ranches because high fences virtually eliminate the possibility of getting off the property, some of them have way too many deer and a variety of other game and that was certainly the case here. Deer were just coming and going all around us. That can really confuse a dog. Especially on an aged track such as this one. Due to the age of the track, lack of good sign and many live deer distractions, it took Rowdy a little longer than normal to sort it out. She kept getting pulled off the blood trail by live deer walking across it.

We had been out there for over an hour and were only 600 yards in to the track. Frustration and doubt were setting in when Rowdy’s behavior changed completely. She began darting around, yipping excitedly. Rowdy only barks on track when the trail is red hot and this usually happens when the deer sees or hears us coming and jumps out of his bed before Rowdy gets there. The dog finds a fresh bed and fresh track and gets fired up.

Rowdy peeled off down the hill and, within minutes, her choppy yips became barks that trailed off into the woods. She was running the deer. After a bit of a chase the deer stopped to fight her and were able to slip in and get a finishing shot.

We jumped this deer at 600 yards 15 hours after the shot and bayed him at 950 yards.


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