On Xmas day I got a call wishing us all a merry xmas and if possible could I be available to track in Germany in a few days time.
A quick check on crossings and we where good to go, so I spent xmas morning loading the vehicle to set off on boxing day.
we arrived in good time with a short delay at the Eurotunnel but all was good and ready for the next few days hunting.
Our meeting place for the driven hunt in Bad sobernheim was arranged for 1pm after the hunt and all the information is gathered up for the tracking teams to control each search were an animal had been shot at but not at the shot site.
I had three controls to do in a small area all three where Wild Boar, the first one the hunter took me to the stand were he explained a single wild boar came in front with a dog behind chasing it ran to the left were he took a shot and it ran out of sight with the dog in hot pursuit.
I sat Thekla down to inspect the shot site and I got to the red marker tape I could immediately see splinters of long white shards, bone? was my first thought but as I got closer I could see it was wood from a tree, I looked for the line of sight and high up inline with the tape a bullet hole straight through a small tree.
so first of all not a direct hit to the Wild boar but we now need to use Thekla to determine if it had been wounded.
We set off with Verweisen /vorsuche to look for sign and to follow the track till she gave indication of a miss or hit.
she followed a line without interest and circled round the area, till I was sure a miss.
So with the first control done we moved to the next one where a tissue had been placed around the area of the shot site where a group of boar had run through and a shot taken on a smaller Wild boar,.
No sign at the shot site so a search before putting Thekla on was done with nothing found, as I moved her forward she took the line of the boar but circled round after a few meters back to the shot site and across the track indicating interest but not the correct way.
I let her move forward 20-30 meters but no sign we went back to the shot site.
the second time she took the same line but this time carried on through the brambles all the way to the next track we hadn't done yet where there was a sign of a dead wild boar.
This was maybe 100m away to our last control area where one Boar had been shot and killed, another ran through with a rear leg injury.
so now back to the second shot site to try one last time, she again went to the right after showing no interest with the second shot site I knew this one also was a miss but Thekla's indication of a something away to the right.
we asked the hunter if anything else had been shot and he said he heard dogs run through that way but nothing had been hit.
So to our last shot site where things really get interesting, one dead boar with lots of blood everywhere and a 30 kilo wild boar runs through and over this shot site.
Now from the organisation of the hunt they tell us the boar had come from other ground and not related to this hunt so we had no shot site to look for only the direction this animal took and lots of blood but from the animal that lay dead only 5-10 meters away but the area covered with good blood, we started from the seat where the hunter saw the boar run.
she immediately took a line to blood on a tree,
You can see good indication from this of lung and a good strike but the dog needs to work through to find the correct path she pulls strongly through the trees indicating as we go all the way to the dead Boar, so she now understands we have more than one we then re start the track back at the seat she goes in the opposite direction for 5-10m along the path of the wounded boar she turns the right way now on the right path.
She heads slightly to the right just missing the good blood trail and indicates more blood
only this is a smaller amount
Now this we mark as I am sure this is the correct track, we slowly move forward and she indicates a few spots on moss and again this is marked.
Now we start heading across to where that other boar lay we come to a stop as she indicates to go back over to the brambles and back to the second shot site where she originally indicated interest.
So I now ask Joachim Bertes to use Kleo who is the mother of Thekla and with more experience we can check everything is correct as the whole area has lots of blood and difficult for a younger dog and some doubt has now set in.
They both do the search and Kleo takes the same lines through the second shot site and onto the third also indicating going off to the right hand side but we carry onto the third shot site as things are clear to me now after watching Kleo the second site is a miss but she also indicates interest in a different direction.
They both start the last track again Kleo working step for step like Thekla we now Know for sure the wounded boar runs through the area and straight through the second shot site without the hunter spotting the wounded Boar.
We now stop the search to start the next day, no light left and waiting will give us a better track the next day with all other scent dissipating to leave good ground scent for the dogs to work.
Day two comes and we work two dogs in case of a chase and start from our last mark of blood.
A wet tissue is pressed across the moss to reveal good indication as to the eye all sign had gone.
We start again with the dogs focused and pulling strong on the track we know we are correct through the brambles across the track and onto the right side and eventually around 1km later we have our wild boar, rear leg shot and dead.
After the first day all is confirmed with the missing pieces of the puzzle put together it shows how well these hounds work through so much distraction and still work it all out, the handler at the leash adds his own problems to solve and to come to the same conclusions only much slower than the hounds.
a call into the forester to say its found and recovered we head to another track on an injured roe doe which was a high leg shot which was left to couch over night for the track to start giving every chance of recovery we thought this would be a chase and highly mobile deer.
This Roe track will be done with two dogs and handlers one HS (Ben)and one Kopov(Freida) known as the beast, small in stature but fast and sharp.
So Ralf Barme and Ben are taken to the shot area where other roe had also been shot and the start the search along with Joachim and the beast indicating behind, working two dogs like this on a difficult track is very good, slowly piecing all the pieces together working through the oak trees and leaf litter is difficult.
No point in rushing and miss calling what happens.
They took a line along the top of the ridge and away we followed behind slowly, after a short while one spot of blood was indicated and marked.
As we pushed slowly forward after 200m we headed to an area of saplings where more blood was found, the beast pulling hard we knew a chase was coming and further on we got to an area where it drops into a large gully and I can hear running water down below both dogs stop hard indicating to a large pine tree, through the treeline I see the roe struggle to its feet and Joachim says to release Ben he chases down the slope and out of view only Barking as our indication that hes on it, the roe is still fast as in that instance of struggling to its feet the Adrenalin kicks back in and the speed for a three legged deer is fast.
he chases the roe up the other side and away only to turn the roe back towards us, although now we are near a main road I stay here to stop the traffic and let the others work the roe I halt the traffic and Here Ben coming more towards me pushing the doe forward, it turns again this time towards Joachim and Freda who is now loose and hot on its heels down towards the water she grabs the haunch and then then Ben takes it down its all over.
The track was around 2km and tracks like this only experienced teams will recover in scenarios like this there is no point in creating suffering by using inexperienced dogs or handlers to push the animals on.
Another successful track with some really impressive work we head off to the next driven hunt.
We sit and have a coffee and wait for the hunt to finish then a call saying we have 5 tracks to do we split into groups, I go off with a hunter on a 30-40 kilo wild boar possibly shot in the front leg but we have no shot site just the direction of travel over the hill.
I kit up and we head out I find the prints of a boar in the mud and instantly Thekla pulls into the leash, 20 m on our first sign of blood
after 200m the boar changes direction and looks to have fallen giving us our first wound bed, its up and away to a blackthorn hedge down the bank and onto farm road.
we cross the road and into more blackthorn along the edge of a stream, more blood is indicated Thekla jumps the water as I follow behind I slip I fall forward landing on the far bank, in my mind I just know the guy behind will have that on camera, pride pushed aside we carry on, she wants to get back over the water onto the steep banking out the corner of my eye I see a shape struggle to its feet, I try to unsling the rifle but it disappears I instruct the hunter if a safe shot is available to take it only if Thekla is not on the Boar.
I release her to chase, she runs off to the right at first but soon crosses the water up the bank and away, I head off after them, the hunter moves round to the right in case the boar comes back we have both sides now covered.
I reach the fence where the boar pushed through but Thekla was caught I pick her up and throw her over the fence she is once more away as I climb the fence I feel the back of my trousers dig into the spikes and I momentarily get hung up before it gives way and I am free.
as the boar tries to go back under the fence running parallel to the water it gets stuck as Thekla closes fast the hunter gets one shot through the thorns and it drops, but is still alive Thekla grabs the haunch before releasing to bay, I manage to pull the boar back through the fence and finish with the knife.
on closer inspection the shot had hit the brisket going into the offside front leg,slightly larger than first told was around 50-55 kilo A real good experience for Thekla and our progress goes up again with each success we gain we become a stronger team.
All the other searches ended with success so overall some very good work and nothing left injured I would like to thank everyone who helped with our progress and who keep helping all within UKSHA as its this teamwork that gives good training and makes makes each team strong to know that we can count on each other to reach success when an animal is wounded and not left, all the best, Wayne.