Had a conversation today with Jamross over the aspect of using blood/not using blood to lay a trail for a young dog. This is not a for or against, it is an information seeking thread from which I would hope to learn.
Here are my own thoughts and reasons for using blood.
I bought a BMH pup knowing that from his pedigree I should be buying a dog that was capable of tracking deer. My aim is to have the dog's ability developed and working for me. There is no doubt in my mind that success breeds success. Watch any young child who achieves a task. With praise from his parents etc the child will be willing to have another go and will happily attempt more difficult tasks to achieve the same success and praise. The child will build from the easy task to more complicated tasks. My first object is to have my pup follow a track which by his breeding he can do, but I want him to do it for me. To use his ability to find what I am looking for. Why not use the easiest track to follow. Blood/liver. He gets to the find at the end of the track whether under his own efforts or through a combination of his efforts and your encouragement. Praise/food/play whatever rocks his boat to get him to think the boss is happy I will do it again. In laying tracks I always have used 250 mils of 50/50 blood/water. As the tracks get longer/older the same amount of blood is distributed over a longer distance. I now introduce cleaves. The basic want to track is there and the dog quickly realises that by following the scent from cleaves he finds that old familiar scent of blood is still there. As the distance increases yet further the distribution of blood becomes less and less.I can now lay a track with no blood only cleaves. I now have a dog that will follow what may be expected from a shot beast. Heavily bleeding, spotting or spraying blood as it runs, no blood at all.
I can see substance in not going down the blood path. Shot deer do not always bleed but always leave cleave scent but to initially establish the want to track and the basics of using his nose to find a reward is the blood route a means to the same end.