Well what was meant to be simple practice trail turned into a very good live trail due to my poor shooting!!
My HS has not been doing so well on trails i have made for her of late. She just seems to lose interest part way though the trails, so have been trying different things to try and keep her keen throughout the trails. So this morning i started to make a trail with just a muntjac skin, I also took the rifle as i wanted to shoot a deer and prop it up at the end of the trail to give her something to bark at. Having not seen any deer i stopped the trail after about 400m near some think blackthorn and tried calling for a while, 5 minutes later a yearling muntjac buck appeared only 10m away. I fired and not thinking as to how close it was, my fears were confirmed as at the strike there was just short light,coloured hair and no blood so the shot was very low! Now pi$$ed off with myself, I decided to finish the trail with the skin where the strike was, and went home knowing the deer would more than likely be alive still.
Three hours later i returned with Origo and started on the trail i had made. This was no real problem for her and we soon reached the strike from the muntjac. This was when she stepped up a gear. There was no blood for the first 50m then only very small amounts throughout the rest of the trail. After 150m of fighting my way through thick blackthorn i lost hold of the lead, then caught sight of a muntjac with Origo not far behind it. Unsure if it was the right deer i called her back and went back to the strike. She followed the trail back to the point where i last saw the deer and she went on for another 80m or so and then 30m in front the wounded deer got up and ran, making a 50m loop behind us. I had a shot at it but missed! So on Origo went, now nose hard to the ground and moving very quickly and i then saw the deer 20m in front of us under a bush, so i un-clipped the lead and she was on her own. After a good 50m chase she had the little bugger at bay in some rushes and i dispatched it.
I was so relieved and still chuffed to bits with how well she did. Practice trails are essential, but nothing will beat the real thing for experience for both dog and handler!