I decided a few weeks ago to attend the NGO Dogs for deer day instead of going to Kelso.
It was held on what can only be described as a bloody cold windy day, which sadly left little time for the dogs to really get any tracking done.
The course tutors were Alan Rogers and Mark Elliot. Also in attendance were the Shooting Times who were there to take photos and do a report
We started the day in the cabin by the gamekeepers house which was warm and had copious amounts of tea and coffee.
Soon the decision was taken to crack on and we all took our seats.
The first discussion was taken by Alan and focused around the different breeds of dog for tracking, their pro's and con's. The usual comments about Teckels but the general idea was that you should be careful with your selection and I should have bought a Labrador
Next we moved onto types of tracking. The most interesting part of this was the theory of tracking to confirm 'missed' shots. How often have you found skeletal remains on new ground? I know I have. How often have you had a 'no reaction to shot', I know I have!
Then the discussion moved to different types of scent, trust of your dog and a little on laying scent
We then talked about equipment. Stuff that you should consider spending your money on and stuff that can be homemade. Essential equipment was considered to be 10m tracking lead, harness, blood dispenser, blood, hooves, and snittsels- basically washing pegs with ribbon attached so you can mark your track.
The next part was laying a track and how over time to build up to more difficult tracks. Tracks with twists and turns, breaks in the blood trail, lots of ideas to get you thinking about.
If you intend dealing with other peoples deer too then the next section was for you. How to question the shooter, understanding the shot, building a deer hair book for use on the shot site.
Quite a few other subjects were touched on and many stories told but then we broke for lunch. Venison casserole, with jacket potato, bread and 2x very large cakes. Of course we all did the very British thing and didn't touch the cakes at all.......................until we got back from the dog training field, where upon they set upon with tea and biscuits thrown in too.
After lunch we given a demonstration on tracking, watching for signs your dog has lost the trail, what to do if he/she does and importantly that you shouldn't rush it.
Non dog owners were then teamed up with dog owners and a simple trail with a small turn laid out. It was a simple affair with nothing more than a hoof dragged 3m behind a walker. It must be remembered that this course was for newbies and young dogs.
My only criticism of the day was that because it was so bloody cold they only got to do 1x track. Personally I don't care how cold it was. That was a major part of what I there for. Guidance on training.
Anyway back to the hut where we had a good discussion on wild boar and what you would need, and then the telling of many stories.
It was a good day and well worth the £60. Go if you are thinking about getting a dog or have a young dog
My thanks must go to Alan Rogers a fellow Teckel sufferer. I feel I hogged him a little too much
Dogs in attendance
The Shooting Times
I don't buy The Shooting Times but will make an exception if Dexter is in it. Could someone tell me if they spot the article
ATB The End