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Thread: Wet ground difficult scent?

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member tartinjock's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    Nairn, Inverness-shire

    Wet ground difficult scent?

    I was out the other night and the weather was poor, very wet underfoot with more rain falling. A hind was shot, and ran for maybe 20m tops. Now I always set my dog off to locate but that night he struggled. He initially went within 3-4m of the carcass but gave no indication what so ever. I called him back (we still hadn't located by this point) and sent him in the known direction it went. He walked right past it, gave a slight indication to me then continued to carry on along the scent from where she had ran from.

    My question is, does rain make the scent weaker? I know if my dog is wet, he stinks!! I'd have thought that a wet scent would initially be stronger, obviously after a whie, the wet would reduce the scent to be followed...


    Last edited by tartinjock; 04-01-2013 at 19:45. Reason: Spelling (again)
    Position and hold must be firm enough to support the firearm
    The firearm must point naturally at the target without any undue physical effort
    Sight alignment (aiming) must be correct
    The shot must be released and followed through without disturbing the position

  2. #2
    I know in the recent wet weather all the dogs seem to struggle with scent on game, running past birds I can see laid dead.

  3. #3
    One of the reasons why continental methods should be used here in UK.
    TJ,depends on what the dog has done before with your situ.
    My labs/HS don't bother with whatever weather is thrown at them 24+ hours later,not for the HS yet,only on 18 hour old tracks,7 months old dog laid when it was minus 4,then snow on top.Done next day,never missed a beat.Need a shot beast now to get him a natural track.
    Then again he is a VH HS and was started off really well when young for a month(rabies)
    Rain/wet is easier.I know dogs to follow tracks over 24/48 hours after its pissed rain heavily.Puddles lying about.
    Hot scent,as it will have been should be a doddle for any dog,deer leave way way more scent than a bird.
    Perhaps there's another reason he wasn't interested,a more exciting scent somewhere perhaps?A distraction of some sort.What type of dog is he again?
    Last edited by Wolverine; 04-01-2013 at 20:15.

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  4. #4
    Absolutely right Wolverine!
    If properly trained to follow a track (working the little scent marks left by the claws), rain, snow, storm, etc. is not a problem at all.... the only exception is a thin layer of hard frozen ice/water on the ground, covering the track.... Usually rain keeps the track "fresher" for some more hours.. so maybe the dog got the spread out smell through all over the area?

    Use scent shoes and you will train your dog to follow "the right track"...


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  5. #5
    to me this is a failing in either the dog/handler
    i don't mean it in a nasty way
    but from experience
    hot scent from a red hind is going to be pretty strong and the wet conditions are not going to dampen that , Infact it should help the scent hover and travel across the ground in a greater raft than in dry conditions
    i feel the damp conditions has dampened the dogs enthusiasm ... Also some thing else has caused the dog to show even less enthusiasm than you had hoped
    think about how you cast the dog off initially ..anything different... When you called the dog back ..what else may of happened and then think about any instances in the past where the dog may of behaved like this
    maybe when you first did a bit of training
    I feel something has upset the dog
    now you need to work wot.... That's the hard bit

  6. #6
    I must say some dogs are not effected by rain i had my wee VG BMH Bitch on Boar cleaves yesterday laid them 24 hour earlier it rained most of the night she worked the trail well and only over shot a double back (keen) but she pulled it back after a wee wonder. But the deer dogs that i have had that were trained more on wind sent and only light blood trail work would have definitely had problem with heavy rain on the trials.

  7. #7
    Distinguished Member tartinjock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Nairn, Inverness-shire
    He's a collie x lab, OK, pick yourself up, I know he's not a thoroughbread dog, but he started coming out as a companion. He never had any proper training, just seemed to understand that after a shot a deer would be found, it's developed from that. Now, shooting under license, as soon as a shot is fired from the vehicle, all he wants to do is "Find it". There are a few on here that have seen hin in action and for what he is, he is bang on. He has followed trails through the wood where Sika have run on, he has found them 50+m away. He just wasn't on the money for that shot, reasonably easy find on clearing.....

    6P, he does generally air scent when I am stalking through the day, but at night, he definatley ground scents. He may have just been confused as there were 4 hinds/calfs there so may just have been thrown by all the scents, but I thought the air scent from the dead deer would have brought him on mark..

    As training goes, it's definatley AdHock, he was/is a family pet that comes stalking with me opposed to a working dog that cost 100's. I have the faith that if he doesn't find a carcass then the deer was missed.

    Cheers for the info, it was a general queerie, I certinally don't think the dog was "Not happy" to be there, I can't get out the house with my shooting gear on without him trying to get in my pocket. He seems to love it.

    Nothing lost, so that was good enough for me.

    Position and hold must be firm enough to support the firearm
    The firearm must point naturally at the target without any undue physical effort
    Sight alignment (aiming) must be correct
    The shot must be released and followed through without disturbing the position

  8. #8
    I have done a few tracks with my dog the furthest was nearly 300 yds before locating a red stag in its last moments of life from a fatal wound. Only twice has she failed to locate the shot deer 1) the only evidence at the shot site was about a dozen pins. No blood or anything else. She tracked about 80 yds to where the deer had jumped a fence and cleared a large field - gone.
    2) one was a red hind shot at last light and I didn't get to track it until the morning after. It had rained hard all night and although I found a small amount of blood the dog could not get a track. Two other dogs did the same and the deer never located. I put it down to lack of experience on the dogs & my part. Didn't give the rain a second thought.

  9. #9
    Is it possible that the dog was suffering a minor upper respiratory infection that might cause his scenting ability to suffer?

  10. #10
    In my experience and relating the blood to my day job. When training cadaver dogs (body recovery) we have learnt that if you wet an area where a murder/crime scene has blood that has dried it re activates the scent. Now we train our dogs on a single droplet and regularly screen clothes from crime scenes so I don't think the weather makes any difference. With just tracking folk on foot (no blood) rain does make a difference but my gsd has tracked across gravel with puddles inch deep to the end with driving rain after 40 minutes and I will set tracks on any surface including fields with spread muck on. I've also tracked a 24hour old trail in snow on grass.

    I think the key is getting the dog started on the right source and building proper blocks into its memory at the start of training. Now I'm limited with my tracking deer as I'm yet to train a dedicated deer dog. My knowledge on deer tracking has come from SD, YouTube and a couple of books.

    What I can say tracking criminals and deer has the same principles from what I've learnt so far.

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