Deer Dog Training

Use of dogs

Section 3 of the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2010 amends section 23 of the Principal Act and provides that it shall not be an offence for a person on foot to hunt deer with two or more dogs, under and in accordance with a licence granted under section 29 of this Act, or a permission granted under section 42 of the Act. The current section 29 licence stipulates that “hunting deer with the use of dogs for the purposes of tracking and carcase recovery is permissible”. There is no specific prohibition on hunting deer in the more general sense with two or more dogs set out on the licence, although a prohibition may be inferred. It is a condition of the standard Coillte licence that a licensee or nominated stalker must have access to a trained tracking dog for purposes of recovery of shot deer. ( this amendment of the wildlife act 2010 refers to the republic of ireland )

Deer Dog Training Programme
From Puppy ( 8 weeks ) to Adult ( 24 months + )

Extremely dependent upon breed of dog, or hound…. Some breeds like Labradors mature very early
from 14 months onwards, but other breeds like German Wirehaired Pointers ( GWP ), and other HPR
type of dogs may not be considered mature until 30 months plus. Hounds usually sit in the middle and
mature at 18 – 24 months.
Training input to the different breeds needs to be varied according to understanding, and age of dog is
not the sole indicator of maturity.
Training, cannot be rushed because the dog is a certain age…. They all learn, understand, and mature,
at different rates, which is why good animal husbandry is key, and especially where deer dogs are
concerned, learning to read your dog….
8-10 Weeks –
Socialise pup, establish routine in house hold, encourage scenting behavior with cleaves by leaving them
lying around for the pup to approach. Encourage positive behavior traits, ignore undesirable behavior.
12-20 Weeks –
Start tracking training, with very basic ( under 3 hours ), and short ( under 100m ) straight line tracks,
using a dragged cleave ( not roe or muntjac due to sweet scent characteristics… use herding deer
species only ).
Encourage nose down scenting, and support timid behaviour, but limit chatter while puppy is working
with nose on ground – avoid distraction, and bad timing of praise
Extend distances and ages of tracks each week as pup gets older and more confident.
Set up / Start routine to tracking is initiated ( linked to harness / long line ) without fail to prime the pup
for work. Socializing is ongoing, and introduction to livestock for steadiness training
20-30 Weeks-
Develop specific track training using no blood but cleaves only in tracking shoes, laying realistic tracks of
250 – 400m dependent on progress of pup. Age of tracks should now be 12-16 hours.
Start introducing 45, 90 turns, curves, and different terrains.
Tug of war with deer skin, cleave can begin, on a fun basis, handler is not to dominate the dog in a
contest…. ** ( Ragging is both breed, and individual specific. Some breeds / dogs are naturals, others are
disinclined to rag / grip deer ( maybe due to sex, or size )… whatever, a dog that does not like to rag
should be encouraged to bay…

Baying / Barking training should be encouraged on antlered deer to enforce respect of dangerous end
of beast
Obedience training is still ongoing, and a set up / start routine is followed for every track.
30-52 Weeks-
Dependent on breed, maturity, and progress, pup should now be steady to working routine and tracking
from 400-800m, and track ages from 18-24 hours. Tracking should be unhurried, and calm, but handler
should have the control to stop the dog, and resume when asked.
Difficulty of tracks should be increased, and variation of tracks increased ( add blood, shot matter –
Liver, lung, gut contents etc ), but handler is aware that pup is still learning and not to intimidate with
brambles / gorse etc.
** Ragging training is more focused on a deer based form, such as a caped carcass suspended from a
frame… the dog should only be encouraged to grip the neck / throat. Subject to the enthusiasm of the
individual dog…
Dog should be exposed to a wider range of shot scenarios, at the start of tracks – Liver, gut, leg bone etc
52-80 Weeks-
Dog should have been exposed to all scents of herding species, mainly no blood tracks, but also
occasionally exposed to blood on track for realism. Dog should be capable of a track distance of 1000m
or longer, and aged 24 hours +
Baying should be well underway and easily provoked. ** Ragging should be actively encouraged and
practiced, but the dog should only be targeting the throat / neck in any instance.
Dog should have had only extremely limited exposure to hot animals during training to 18 months of
age, however, now focus can shift to live deer instead of only scent of deer…. Dog should be allowed to
see deer, outside of a work environment ( deer park etc ), but actively discouraged from associating
tracking work with healthy deer…..
Obedience should be well instilled to achieve the above. Dog should realise that deer are only work
when the set up / start routine is initiated by handler.
Handler should be able to read the dogsbody language on track to distinguish behavior, and what the dog is telling the handler….. At this point subject to the above skills being present and demonstrated, dog would be considered ready to slowly transition in tolivework, based on real world experience being a new learning curve applied to aninexperienced` dog….. For example a heavily wounded roe / fallow doe, would be a better first
experience, than a lightly wounded fallow buck, or sika / red stag…..

UKDTR Track Training Scenarios

Introduction

These scenarios are for the purposes of UKDTR Information, and Training Days. They have been
created for the sole purpose of assisting the trainers laying the strike sites, and tracks leading
away from those sites. They are designed to create discussion within a training day
environment, in order for the handlers to gain visual experience.

These descriptions, situations, scenarios, ARE NOT definitive in their representation, or
outcome, and it must be stressed that each and every real-world track can have many
different indicators, or variables involved, hence the importance for the handlers to gain
knowledge of what they need to look for, diagnose, and then act upon.

The outcome of a track may be much shorter, or extended in duration, than laid out within
the track scenarios listed, and again it needs to be stressed that the training tracks are designed
to allow the handler, and dog / hound to work as a team, and for the handler to learn to read
track sign, and also their dog. Real world tracks can be extremely short, and also deceptively
long (for the wound type sustained by the species of animal), there are no certainties when
following up wounded animals…..

While this document is not sensitive in nature, UKDTR trainers, and those assisting with
laying tracks, need to be aware that this document is the property of UKDTR, and not to be
published, or communicated outside of UKDTR arranged days, without prior approval

Created by Neil Gatward ( UKDTR ) Jan2016

UKDTR – TRACK SCENARIOS
List of Injuries # :-

  1. :- Chest / Heart & Lung – Tracks #1 – #5
    a. Brisket
    i. Hard hit animal – #1
    ii. Lightly hit animal – #2
    b. Lung – with Hair / Frothy blood if possible – #3
    c. Heart – with Hair / Blood splatter – #4
    d. Spined ( non-fatal strike ) – Hair – #5
  2. :- Liver / Gut – Tracks #6 – #8
    a. Liver only – With Hair / Dark blood – #6
    b. Liver with trace of Gut – Hair / Liver / Dark Blood / Gut (trace) – #7
    c. Gut Only – With Hair and Gut – #8
  3. :- Head – Tracks #9 – #10
    a. Jawbone – with skin – #9
    b. Teeth – #10
  4. :- Neck – Tracks #11 – #12
    a. Esophagus – Hair / Gut / Windpipe – #11
    b. Hair only – blood trace ( non-fatal strike ) – #12

Created by Neil Gatward ( UKDTR ) Jan2016
Cont:-

  1. :- Legs – Tracks #13 – #14
    a. Front Legs – #13
    i. Hair / Bone / Marrow
  2. Bone must be tight inner curve and thin fragments /
    splinters
    b. Rear Legs – #14
    i. Haunch – Hair / Meat / Bone Fragments & Marrow
  3. Bone fragments / splinters must be ticker and wider
    inner curve
  4. :- Other – Track #15
    a. Mistaken species – #15
    i. Strike sign, does not match version of events from stalker /
    rifle

Created by Neil Gatward ( UKDTR ) Jan2016

Track #1 :-

Strike Site :- Brisket / Hard hit animal.
Scenario :- Stalker advises he took a Heart & Lung shot at a ( XXXXXXX ) deer late
in the evening. He thought it was about 140 metres, but when he tried to find the
strike site, he now thinks it was a bit further. There was a funny strike impact
sound, but the deer went straight down. Through the scope the reaction was
instantaneous when the deer dropped, however, before the stalker could react,
the deer got back up, and ran in to cover nearby. There was obvious injury to the
deer, on the impact side, the leg, at the shoulder looked damaged.

Stalker advises he has marked the shot, and strike site, but has not
followed up as he knew it was too dark to follow up, and he does not want to risk
pushing / bumping the deer further, if it is wounded.
Q&A :- Initial reaction to information… What does the handler think ?
Strike sign :- Needs to be laid out with lots of hair from the shoulder, leg area of (
XXXXXXX ) deer species. There should also be some rib fragments, and blood
splatter. Trail – occasional blood drops, and possible small bone fragments – from
strike site, leading to a find / carcases. Distance can be 250m +, as these wounds
can vary greatly.
Result :- Hard hit animal, semi-fatal wound, animal will not ultimately survive, but
their mobility can be significant when following up.

Created by Neil Gatward ( UKDTR ) Jan2016

Track #2 :-
Strike Site :- Brisket / Lightly hit animal

Scenario :- Stalker advises he took a Heart & Lung shot at a ( XXXXXXX ) deer late
in the evening. He thought it was about 140 metres, but when he tried to find the
strike site, he now thinks it was a bit further. There was a funny strike impact
sound, but the deer did not drop. Through the scope the reaction was like the
deer was stung, and it leapt in to the air, before running in to the cover nearby.
There was no obvious injury to the deer, but there was a slight sound of bullet
impact.

Stalker advises he has marked the shot, and strike site, but has not
followed up as he knows he does not want to push / bump the deer further.

Q&A :- Initial reaction to information… What does the handler think ?

Strike sign :- Needs to be laid out with a small area of hair from shoulder area
behind the legs of ( XXXXXXX ) deer species. Short trail – NO BLOOD – from strike
site, not leading to a find / carcase.

Result :- Lightly touched animal, non-fatal wound, animal will survive.

Created by Neil Gatward ( UKDTR ) Jan2016

Track #3 :-

Strike Site :- Lung / Lung Tissue & Hair with frothy blood.
Scenario :- Stalker advises he took a Heart & Lung shot at a ( XXXXXXX ) deer late
in the evening. There was a good solid strike impact sound, but the deer did not
drop. Through the scope the reaction was like the deer was hit, and it leapt in to
the air, with rear legs kicking, before running in to the cover nearby. There was no
obvious injury to the deer, but there was definitely a sound of bullet impact.
Stalker advises he has marked the shot site, and can lead handler to
the strike site, but has not followed up as he knows he does not want to push /
bump a potentially wounded deer further.

Q&A :- Initial reaction to information… What does the handler think ?

Strike sign :- Needs to be laid out with hair and lung tissue. Blood where possible,
should be frothy/ blown from the bottle. Trail – With occasional blood – from
strike site, leading to a find / skin / carcass, within 150 metres.

Result :- Fatal wound, animal will be dead, and handler should expect to recover
the animal within a limited range – although this can vary by species.

Created by Neil Gatward ( UKDTR ) Jan2016

Track #4 :-
Strike Site :- Heart / Heart Tissue & Hair with blood.
Scenario :- Stalker advises he took a Heart & Lung shot at a ( XXXXXXX ) deer late
in the evening. There was a good solid strike impact sound, but the deer did not
drop. Through the scope the reaction was like the deer was hit, and with rear legs
kicking out hard, before running in to the cover nearby. There was obvious injury
to the deer, and there was definitely a sound of bullet impact.

Stalker advises he has marked the shot site, and the rough strike site,
but could not find anything in the poor light. Stalker did look for the deer as he
was confident of recovery, but as it got dark quickly he could not find it, and
thinks it may have gone further than he expected.
Q&A :- Initial reaction to information… What does the handler think ?

Strike sign :- Needs to be laid out with hair and heart tissue. Blood where
possible, should be sprayed behind the hair, heart tissue can be further on still.
Trail – With occasional blood – from strike site, leading to a find / skin / carcass,
within 150 metres.

Result :- Fatal wound, animal will be dead, and handler should expect to recover
the animal within a limited range – depending on species.

Created by Neil Gatward ( UKDTR ) Jan2016

Track #5 :-

Strike Site :- Spined / Non Fatal injury. Hair only.
Scenario :- Stalker advises he took a quick / snap Heart & Lung shot off sticks at a
( XXXXXXX ) deer late in the evening. There was a funny strike impact sound, and
the deer went straight down, but as the stalker reloaded, the deer got straight
back up and ran in to the cover nearby. There was no obvious injury to the deer,
and there was definitely a strange sound at bullet impact.

Stalker advises he has marked the shot site, and the rough strike site,
but could not find anything in the poor light. Stalker did look for the deer as he
was confident of recovery, but as it got dark quickly he could not find it, and
thinks it may have gone further than he expected.
Q&A :- Initial reaction to information… What does the handler think ?

Strike sign :- Needs to be laid out with hair only – Few drops of blood. Trail – With
NO BLOOD – from strike site, leading to no find….

Result :- Non-Fatal wound, shot went high, just clipping the back of the deer, and
handler should not expect to recover the animal. Animal, although hit, will
survive.

Created by Neil Gatward ( UKDTR ) Jan2016

Track #6 :-

Strike Site :- Liver / Liver Tissue & Hair with Dark blood.
Scenario :- Stalker advises he aimed for a Heart & Lung shot at a (XXXXXX) deer,
that may have been angled towards him, late in the evening – it was getting dark.
There was a good solid strike impact sound, and the deer went over sideways.
Through the scope the reaction was good, but the deer got back up, hunched a
bit, and slowly ran in to cover before a follow up shot could be taken. There was
obvious injury to the deer, and there was definitely a sound of bullet impact.
Stalker advises he has marked the shot site, and can lead handler to
the strike site, but has not followed up as he knows he does not want to push /
bump a potentially wounded deer further.
Q&A :- Initial reaction to information… What does the handler think ?

Strike sign :- Needs to be laid out with hair and liver tissue. Blood where possible,
should be dark and sprayed from the bottle. Trail – With occasional blood – from
strike site, leading to a find / skin / carcass, within 250 metres.

Result :- Fatal wound, although an big animal may still be alive, depending on
time after shot, and couched, but handler should expect to recover the animal
within a limited range – depending on species.

Created by Neil Gatward ( UKDTR ) Jan2016

Track #7 :-

Strike Site :- Liver / Liver Tissue & Hair with Dark blood, and trace of gut.
Scenario :- Stalker advises he aimed for a Heart & Lung shot at a (XXXXXX) deer,
that may have been angled towards him, late in the evening – it was getting dark.
There was a good solid strike impact sound, but the deer did not drop. Through
the scope the reaction was positive, and the deer jumped, and kicked, but then
hunched a bit, and slowly ran in to cover before a follow up shot could be taken.
There was obvious injury to the deer, and there was definitely a sound of bullet
impact.

Stalker advises he has marked the shot site, and can lead handler to
the strike site, but has not followed up as he knows he does not want to push /
bump a potentially wounded deer further.
Q&A :- Initial reaction to information… What does the handler think ?
Strike sign :- Needs to be laid out with hair and liver tissue, also a small amount of
gut from the esophagus in to the liver. Blood where possible, should be dark and
blown from the bottle. Trail – With occasional blood – from strike site, leading to
a find / skin / carcass, within 200 metres.
Result :- Fatal wound, although an big animal may still be alive, depending on
time after shot, and couched, but handler should expect to recover the animal
within a limited range of strike site.

Created by Neil Gatward ( UKDTR ) Jan2016

Track #8 :-

Strike Site :- Gut / Gut content & Hair with spots of blood.
Scenario :- Stalker advises he aimed for a Heart & Lung shot at a (XXXXXX) deer,
that may have been angled towards him, late in the evening – it was getting dark.
There was a hollow / drum like strike impact sound, but the deer did not drop.
Through the scope the reaction was not good, and the deer jumped, hunched
over, and slowly ran in to cover before a follow up shot could be taken. There was
obvious injury to the deer, and there was definitely a sound of bullet impact, but
it was not a solid strike sound.

Stalker advises he has marked the shot site, and can lead handler to
the strike site, but has not followed up as he knows he does not want to push /
bump a potentially wounded deer further.
Q&A :- Initial reaction to information… What does the handler think ?
Strike sign :- Needs to be laid out with hair and gut content. Small amount of
blood splatter. Trail – With occasional blood / gut – from strike site, leading to a
find / skin / carcass, within 300 metres.

Result :- Fatal wound, although an big animal may still be alive, depending on
time after shot, and couched, but handler should expect to recover the animal
within a limited range of strike site.

Created by Neil Gatward ( UKDTR ) Jan2016

Track #9 :-

Strike Site :- Head / Jawbone – possible skin attached. Short hair, no blood
Scenario :- Stalker advises he aimed for a high neck shot at a (XXXXXX) deer, but
as the shot was fired the animal turned. There was a definite sound of impact, but
the deer did not drop, and shook its head as it ran away in to cover. There was
obvious injury to the deer, and there was definitely a sound of bullet impact, but
it was not fatal strike.

Stalker advises he has marked the shot site, and can lead handler to
the strike site, but has not followed up as he knows he does not want to push /
bump a definitely wounded deer further.
Q&A :- Initial reaction to information… What does the handler think ?
Strike sign :- Needs to be laid out with hair and jawbone. Blood unlikely. Trail
from strike site, leading to either no find – lost trail, or a find – skin / carcass,
representing a wounded / couched deer within 300 metres.

Result :- Fatal wound, as animal will starve, not die via blood loss. Animal will be
very mobile, but species dependent may stay within territory. Handler will have to
work hard to recover the animal within a limited range of strike site, and dispatch
quickly.

Created by Neil Gatward ( UKDTR ) Jan2016

Track #10 :-
Strike Site :- Head / Teeth. Short hair, no blood
Scenario :- Stalker advises he aimed for a high neck shot at a (XXXXXX) deer, but
as the shot was fired the animal turned. There was a definite sound of impact, but
the deer did not drop, and shook its head as it ran away in to cover. There was
obvious injury to the deer, and there was definitely a sound of bullet impact, but
it was not fatal strike.

Stalker advises he has marked the shot site, and can lead handler to
the strike site, but has not followed up as he knows he does not want to push /
bump a definitely wounded deer further.
Q&A :- Initial reaction to information… What does the handler think ?
Strike sign :- Needs to be laid out with teeth, and possible short hair, and
distinctive skin from mouth area. Blood unlikely. Trail from strike site, leading to
either no find – lost trail, or a find – skin / carcass, representing a wounded /
couched deer within 300 metres.

Result :- Possibly a fatal wound, as sign of teeth may indicate jaw damage, and
animal may starve, not die via blood loss. Animal will be very mobile, but species
dependent may stay within territory. Handler will have to work hard to recover
the animal within a limited range of strike site, and dispatch quickly.

Created by Neil Gatward ( UKDTR ) Jan2016

Track #11 :-

Strike Site :- Neck / Esophagus – Neck hair, blood spots, small amount of neck muscle / meat,
possible spots of gut, possible fragments of windpipe
Scenario :- Stalker advises he aimed for a high neck shot at a (XXXXXX) deer, but as the shot was
fired the animal turned. There was a definite sound of impact, and the deer dropped straight
down, while the stalker reloaded, the deer got up, and sprinted in to cover with the neck out
straight. There was obvious injury to the deer, and there was definitely a sound of bullet
impact, but the fact that the deer ran, the stalker could not be certain it was a fatal strike.
Stalker advises he has marked the shot site, and can lead handler to the strike
site, but has not followed up as he knows he does not want to push / bump a possibly wounded
deer further.
Q&A :- Initial reaction to information… What does the handler think ?

Strike sign :- Needs to be laid out with hair, spots of neck meat, and blood, possible traces of
gut. Outcome will vary if windpipe fragments are also in sign…. Blood trail unlikely. Trail from
strike site, leading to either no find – lost trail, or a find – skin / carcass, representing a dead,
wounded / couched deer within 250 metres – depending on species.

Result :- Possibly fatal wound, as animal may possibly starve, if esophagus is damaged, but not
die via blood loss. If signs of windpipe are found, then animal may die, dependent on size of
wound. Animal may be very mobile, but species dependent may couch within territory. Handler
will have to work hard to recover the animal within a limited range of strike site, and dispatch
quickly.

Created by Neil Gatward ( UKDTR ) Jan2016

Track #12 :-

Strike Site :- Neck / Lightly hit animal

Scenario :- Stalker advises he took a high neck shot at a ( XXXXXXX ) deer late in
the evening. The deer moved slightly as the shot was fired, and there was a strike
impact sound, but it was not a solid sound. The deer did drop straight down, but
got back up immediately, before running in to the cover nearby. There was no
obvious injury to the deer, although there was a slight sound of bullet impact.
Stalker advises he has marked the shot, and strike site, but has not
followed up as he knows he does not want to push / bump a possibly wounded
deer further.
Q&A :- Initial reaction to information… What does the handler think ?
Strike sign :- Needs to be laid out with a wide patch of hair from neck, and body
of ( XXXXXXX ) deer species. Few blood spots, but minimal Short trail – NO BLOOD
– from strike site, not leading to a find / carcase.

Result :- Lightly touched animal, back of neck if animal moved forward, non-fatal
wound, animal will survive.

Created by Neil Gatward ( UKDTR ) Jan2016

Track #13 :-

Strike Site :- Front Legs
Scenario :- Stalker advises he took a Heart & Lung shot at a ( XXXXXXX ) deer late
in the evening. He thought it was about 140 metres, but when he tried to find the
strike site, he now thinks it was a quite bit further. There was a funny strike
impact sound, and the deer went straight down on its front end. Through the
scope the reaction was like the deer was shot well, but it staggered to its feet,
before struggling in to the cover nearby. There was obvious injury to the deer.
Stalker advises he has marked the shot site, but was unable to find
the strike in the dark, and has not followed up as he knows he does not want to
push / bump the wounded deer further.
Q&A :- Initial reaction to information… What does the handler think ?
Strike sign :- Needs to be laid out with an area of hair from the legs of ( XXXXXXX )
deer species. Blood spots, splinters of bone ( Long & Short ) from front leg(s), and
marrow if possible. Limited blood from strike site, leading to a find, representing a
wounded animal in a couch.

Result :- Non-fatal bullet wound, however, survival chances depend on mobility
and capacity to feed. Animal will struggle on to move a distance away from strike
site, and lay up in a couch. Handler must be aware deer could be bumped if
alerted, and may still be quite mobile.

Created by Neil Gatward ( UKDTR ) Jan2016

The Wild Deer Association of Ireland would like to give a huge Thank You to Neil and Frank from the UKDTR on allowing us to share this information to be available to our members and we are looking forward to as always to work with these guys for future events and training days