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Thread: Rhododendrons.

  1. #1

    Rhododendrons.

    Recently I have been shooting an area of forest with a thick understory of mature rhododendron and where only the rides are clear. The rhododendrons are so thick that it is difficult for a man to crawl into them. I have trained my Labrador bitch to track on the long lead but it does not appear possible in these circumstances.

    It is amazing how a heart-shot deer can get as far as thirty yards through the thicket before collapsing.

    In recent weeks Ruby has found both Muntjac and Roe in these circumstances and all have been dead. It would have taken ages to find them without a dog. However I have had to work her off the lead. So far she has gone straight to the carcass as if it had a flag on top of it. So job done.

    My concerns are that working her off the lead may have an adverse effect on her tracking ? Similarly what happens if one turns out to be a runner ? I don't yet know whether she would hold it (she is two this month) and has not tackled a runner yet.

    My pal has an excellent HWV, big, strong, experienced dog, that will definitely pull a runner down and hold it, so we are not alone.

    Fortunately none of the Red have got very far into the thicket (yet!). Now that would get very 'interesting' and probably need butchery skills in situ to get it out.

    I would appreciate your thoughts, particularly those of you who have the dreaded rhododendrons on your patch.

  2. #2
    You face the same problems as we do in recovering deer from heavy cover, except with us its Sitka spruce.

    Shoot them in the head or neck, they don't run anywhere....

    Leave the chest shots for when well out in the open meaning a long run to reach cover.

    No point in having a dog that will find very large deer if by then its so far into cover you actually can't get it out?????

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by jamross65 View Post
    You face the same problems as we do in recovering deer from heavy cover, except with us its Sitka spruce.

    Shoot them in the head or neck, they don't run anywhere....

    Leave the chest shots for when well out in the open meaning a long run to reach cover.

    No point in having a dog that will find very large deer if by then its so far into cover you actually can't get it out?????
    Very true ! A few weeks ago my pal shot two Red that crashed dead into the Rhododendrons. He was on his own and had to get help from the farm staff, who lifted them out with the Teleporter The wood is now so wet that only an ATV can get near enough. We are having a re-think on high seat placement for the Red in particular.

    Whilst I have shot Muntjac in the head and neck, they are busy little creatures and hardly ever stand still for long. Head and neck shooting of the Roe is sometimes more feasible, depending on distance.

    I am still interested in how to keep contact with and control of the dog in such thick cover or whether it is not possible to do so. I am keen not to miss a trick.

    I have thought of getting one of those flashing led collars and putting a weak link in it in case she gets caught up ? At least I should be able to see exactly where she is or where the collar is if she gets rid of it

  4. #4
    If the dog tracks to a clump of thick cover and cannot enter, the dog should be able to tell you by working it around the clump if in fact the deer entered and then left. The dog will keep at the cover if the beast is till in there.

    My mate on here (I'll leave it up to him to identify himself,) had an interesting experience with a fallow buck a wee whil ago when it did exactly what you described after being gut shot. Let's just say if the tines had been sharper he probably wouldn't have been here to tell the tale!!!! Lol, and that was with a very, very experienced GWP who will kill wounded deer in seconds.

    I certainly wouldnt put put one dog on a beast backed into a bush like this, two perhaps may have a chance. But I certainly wouldn't be crawling in through branches on hands and knees to reach it as that's what happened to him and he ended up literally 1m from it almost nose to nose!

  5. #5
    High shoulder shot....
    I put a circle for what I mean....... slug them there (not with a .22 and light/fancy bullet) with a big/soft bullet and go pick them up where they were standing. May have to cut the throat or put a bullet between the eyes, but not likely...


  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by daven View Post
    High shoulder shot....
    I put a circle for what I mean....... slug them there (not with a .22 and light/fancy bullet) with a big/soft bullet and go pick them up where they were standing. May have to cut the throat or put a bullet between the eyes, but not likely...

    waste of time on Sika.....

    They will still drag themselves off...

  7. #7
    me personally would not want my hound tackling a red in the aim to hold it i can only think of one outcome, even on a roe it only takes a split second and could stick the dog, It was interesting going with some guys tracking boar in sweden the other week one guy tracking a boar into thick cover the boar came from the side and luckily for him the teeth went into his ass were they sunk into his wallet and smashed his cards, after he dispatched it he needed new shorts and a stiff drink. wayne

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  8. #8
    In the last week I have witnessed 3 tracking where the dog has put up wounded deer(two fallow and roe which was dead when when the dog got to it)
    two very different breed of dogs and handlers, both chased and held at bay a fallow pricked and doe in very think cover until the handlers dispatched it with a knife.
    In my limited experience wounded deer always head for the thickest cover,
    Trackers deal with every track in different ways depending on species and ground cover.

  9. #9
    A couple of years ago I had the misfortune of wounding a 10 point red stag that ran before a follow up shot could be taken. I had my Weimaraner bitch with me who had only ever tracked roe and had never had a live deer to deal with. I immediately took her to the shot site and she set off tracking, the scrub became so thick I could not believe this stag had gone through it and as I dumped kit I had no option but to release the dog and try to follow. A minute or so later I heard her barking like mad,(something she had never done before) she had caught up to the stag some 200 yds further on, turned it and was baying it, just managing to keep out of the way of its head as it tried to end her life. I then took a second shot and the stag dropped, the bitch was straight in and hold of the throat. The deer was 17 stone larder weight. I had never trained my dog for this situation, she just did it on instinct. Since then she has only had to track the occasional roe and they have all been dead.
    Wingy

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by jamross65 View Post
    waste of time on Sika.....

    They will still drag themselves off...
    must not have hit them in the right spot and/or shot with a small/light bullet?

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