As most of you will know we don't often post about our callouts but you may find this one interesting.
A few weeks back we had a call. It was getting near last light and a stalker was with a colleague, and had taken a shot at a Fallow buck that was standing against the side of a wood on an open grassy belt. From the reaction to shot they were both pretty sure it had been hit and watched it run away from them against the side of the woodland for approximately 50m, turn, come back on itself and disappear into the wood. Long story short, they had a quick look and couldn't find it, and as it was getting dark the decision was made to call us. We arranged to meet them the following morning at first light.....
Upon our arrival we were taken to the area of the scene, where upon we both parked and I marked our truck location on the Garmin 200i. The temperature was in the minus figures and there was a hard frost that looked like a snow covering. From the description of the reaction to shot, the sub zero temperature and having left it to follow up overnight, we were pretty certain the buck would have couched up and passed away. They were uncertain of the exact hit site but but showed us the general area. Because of the frost it was very difficult to see any evidence to be able to assess where the deer had been hit, other than two small drops of blood, which wasn't looking too promising. I had taken both members of the 'A' team and on this occasion decided to use Anja. Upon harnessing her up I marked the hit site on the Garmin, introduced her to the blood spots and she very quickly but steadily took up the track, heading of into the woodland where the deer had last been seen. Both the stalker and his colleague were following us at a distance and Anja continued to track in a very positive manner, during which time no further clues were found and was it confirming in my mind that this buck had probably been hit in the brisket or foreleg. The GPS said we had gone some three hundred meters, and Anja started to become vocal and pulling strongly. This was a sign that the deer was alive and on the move, putting us on a higher state of alert to take a follow up shot. We continued on at a rapidly increasing pace with Anja continuing to be vocal, and eventually came to the far edge of our woodland block, where there were slot marks in the now fading frost heading across to another block, we continued across. It was now obvious that the deer was highly mobile and after moving into this second block of woodland I made the decision to terminate our mission, and turned to inform the stalker and his colleague but they were nowhere to be seen. Our Garmin told us we had tracked in excess of 800m and fortunately was able to to check the device map to get us back to our truck.
As we turned the last corner the frost had now pretty much faded away and I could see our truck standing on its own. The stalkers truck had gone, but his colleague was carefully investigating the hit site on the grass. I put an exhausted Anja back in the truck the colleague came over to me explaining that while we were tracking the stalker had received a phone call saying that an injured Fallow buck had been spotted crossing a couple of fields from the woodland, about 1000m from our location, and he had gone off to dispatch it. He also held out his hand to show two small fragments of bone, he had just found at the hit site after the frost had gone.
So what is there to be learned?