Blood Tracking Basics


BLOOD TRACKING DOGHere we are, smack dab in the middle of bow season. I thought I would give readers a few blood tracking tips because a friendly refresher course never hurts anyone. For this article, I interviewed Tracker John, one of the best known blood trackers on the planet. Each year Tracker John tracks monster whitetails across the midwest for hunters who can’t find their buck. Below are a few mistakes he sees many hunters make in the field that often costs them their deer.


“Many hunters are so jacked up when they take a shot that they don’t pay close attention to where the deer was hit or where it went after the shot. This information is extremely important. Hunters should try to pay very close attention to where the deer goes after the shot. Many hunters I work with insist it went one direction when if fact we find out later it went another direction altogether,” Tracker John said.


Another mistake Tracker John sees hunters make is rushing into the woods to look for the deer. “Every experienced hunter knows they shouldn’t get down right after the shot and look for the deer, but often that is what hunters do. This often pushes the deer and can end up costing a hunter his buck. This can make my job and the job of my bloodhounds harder if we get called in. Wait 45 minutes or an hour before climbing out of your stand.”


Some hunters bring too many friends with them on the tracking job. “When you bring a lot of people along, things can get confusing. Blood can get missed or even worse blood can get on the bottom of boots and be tracked all over the place which can be confusing for my dog and make her job harder. I suggest hunters only bring one or two friends with them when tracking.”


Always bring toilet paper. Ever since toilet paper was invented, hunters have used it to mark last blood but sometimes in a rush, hunters forget to bring it along. “Marking last blood can make putting the pieces of the puzzle together easier for the hunters tracking the deer and easier for me. Many hunters forget to bring this along on a tracking job.”


Don’t think of hiring a tracking dog as a last resort. “Many hunters don’t call a tracker in until they have spent hours or even days wandering around looking for their deer. The moment a person thinks they have a problem they should find a good blood tracker. The older the trail is and the more people there have been walking around looking makes finding the deer more difficult. If a hunter is having difficulty shortly after they start tracking, they should call a tracker.”

About the author: Tracy Breen is a full time outdoor writer, consultant and game dinner speaker who often discusses how he overcomes cerebral palsy. Learn more about him at

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