Andy Bensing, who is a director with United Blood Trackers, said it took him 16 years to get the use of leashed blood tracking dogs legalized in the state of Pennsylvania. Andy stated, “It …
Andy Bensing, who is a director with United Blood Trackers, said it took him 16 years to get the use of leashed blood tracking dogs legalized in the state of Pennsylvania. Andy stated, “It really took off fast from the start, the demand blew up as expected. It’s been getting busier every year and this archery season, during a 10-day stretch during the deer rut, I was getting 30 calls a day.”
United Blood Trackers maintains a list of members in each state and their contact information for hunters, and the list continues to grow, and so does the number of successful recoveries.
One handler put his young seven month old dog into service this year and said, as of early November, he recovered 21 deer out of 60 calls. Success rates are determined by the circumstances of each individual call, but the average recovery rate is approximately one-third.
Bensing said, “Some handlers just take the easy calls when they know they will find a dead deer, such as one that was gut shot. If you take only the easy calls, you’re looking at a 50% to 60% recovery. The busiest time for calls to come in is during the deer rut in archery season, while the demand drops in rifle season. The phone rings more on the first day of archery than the first day of rifle. The majority of the calls are for wounded bucks, and the archery season produces significantly more calls from hunters looking for wounded antlerless deer than the rifle season.”
Bensing said he doesn’t screen his calls based on buck or doe because every deer deserves a full recovery, and he said most handlers don’t charge for their service but hunters are very gracious with tips to cover mileage and time. “We just really love to see our dogs work and prevent a deer, bear or even elk not to be found and go to waste. We have been getting plenty of calls for bears, and now all the elk guides know about the dogs and we will make some recoveries there as well.”
Bensing concluded, “I feel bad when I get a call from someone who is too far for me to travel to his location and unfortunately there aren’t a lot of handlers in that area. I think we will see more handlers in areas where needed because this is still growing. Eventually I see the use of blood tracking dogs becoming more a part of our deer hunting culture, like it is in the south.”
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