Around 15 million U.S residents take part in hunting every year. Each hunter has the goal of killing their game with as little error as possible, so that they can easily find where the game has landed. Regardless of how skilled of a hunter you may be, everyone will eventually make a bad shot. When the less than perfect shot is made, the deer will become wounded and most likely wander off. This makes it difficult to recover the animal, especially if the hunter can not visually see the path or blood trail that it took. The best thing that you can have when you find yourself in a situation like this is a trained tracking dog. German Wirehaired Daschshunds started off as the predominate breed for tracking dogs, but other breeds like the Labrador, German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois and Basset Hound have been just as successful. It is a matter of personal preference as to which dog breed you chose to use a a tracking dog. The most important thing is finding a dog with a great sense of smell, intelligence, and a desire to please their owner.
A well trained tracking dog can recover the wounded game hours, or even days after the shot has been fired. Once you have given up on the trail you have been following and have decided to bring in a tracking dog, make sure to mark the last blood sign first. It is important not to start your dog at the place where you lost the blood trail, mostly because this spot will be covered with human scent in your attempt to find the next spot of blood. So even though it may be time consuming, it is always a good thing to start your dog yards off the visible blood trail and possible even at the very beginning. This will also help your dog to become familiar with this individual deer scent. A well trained tracking dog must learn how to follow day old lines of wounded deer and ignore the fresh scent of deer that may have recently passed the trail. Remember that the dog could get lost because of the blood and deer scent that the you have on your shoes. If the dog is having trouble slowly lead the dog on a 50 or 100 yard radius, carefully watching them because the dog may find a new drop of blood that has not been spotted before. Continue searching until the dog finds the deer, and make sure that you give the tracking dog a lot of praise. Please understand that success is not always guaranteed, but your chances of finding the wounded game will definitely be enhanced by having a tracking dog.
Do realize that almost all dog breeds have some natural hunting and tracking ability but we find that the Labrador, German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois and Basset Hound have the greatest sense of smell, intelligence, and desire to please their owners.