On Sunday evening I lost a yearling roe buck, despite spending 4 hours looking before the light faded and I was forced to give up.
I was certain the buck is lying in a very large patch of gorse/broom. I thought the shot was good shot reaction was as I expect jumped in the air when the shot hit and went down but then got up and from the way he ran had been hit in the shoulder. When I got to the shot site there was plenty of hair, blood and meat but also what looked like some of the rumen contents so it must have been more quartered toward me than I thought. I could find no blood trail from there whatsoever. I was fairly certain it had not left this patch of gorse as from where the shot was taken I could see all around it.
I after the first hour of searching on my own I went and got my spaniel but he is more of a flushing dog but will follow the scent of deer so thought it worth a try at least he might come across it but the light faded so gave up for the night planning to come back the next evening.
After a night of little sleep due to trying to work out if I had missed anything I remembered seeing a couple of posts on here in the last couple of weeks where people had lost deer and someone with a tracking dog came out to help. I tracked the thread down and tried to contact someone who had the UKSHA information in their signature. I first tried mereside but his inbox was full then noticed Deer Man has it in his signature so sent him a PM. I did not have much hope there would be anyone near me but it was worth a try. Within 20 minutes he had replied and told me to call George (Wolverine) and he should be able to help.
I called George explained what happened and although he was over an hour and half drive away would head down and meet me at 6pm after work. He called me again later in the day to go over all the details again with lots of questions and told me he would not use his Hanoverian as he did not want to work him on roe as he is going over to Germany next week for his trail (cant remember what its called) but he has labs which also track.
We met up just before 6 and went out to the shot site, as we were walking down into the valley we seen a doe in the area of the shot who quickly disappeared. At the shot site George confirmed it looked like it had probably been gut shot but there was a lot of white hair so it could have been throat shot. He took a picture of the site but I donít have it.
He set his lab (Flame I think?) off on the trail after a couple of seconds to get his bearings he went off following the line I seen the buck go into the thick gorse and broom. At one point George said he thought he had found it as he had stopped and his GPS confirmed this but it was so thick we could not see anything. We went up to where the shot was taken to confirm what I had seen the night before heading back to the shot site by another route. Just as we were approaching the shot site George said I told you he found it. The buck could just be seen in the middle exactly where the GPS showed the dog has stopped.
Unfortunately the foxes had got to the buck first but could see I must have pulled the shot slightly and it was gut shot. George thinks it probably looked like it had an injured shoulder from being disorientated from the shot. At least I was able to put my mind at ease the buck was not lying suffering somewhere and I learned a lot from it, in particular it is better to not use my dog to search and contact someone with a dog trained for tracking as this could push the injured deer further making it harder to track.
Once again a very big thanks to George and everyone at the UKSHA. What they are doing is a fantastic service and I hope anyone in the same position as me would not be too scared to pick up the phone and get some help from them.
I may have got some of the details wrong after little sleep everything is a bit of a blur so George, feel free to correct me anywhere!