Thursday, November 14, 2013

Louisiana Blood Tracking Dogs on Pecan Island 9 pt.

This story starts on Friday night when a blood trail dog customer calls me wanting to buy a blood trail dog, and advised me that he had three does down that day that were not found in Merryville. So I advised him that the best approach was for him to see what my dogs can do and we go look for the does early the next morning.

Well this 100 mile one way trip turned into the greatest track I have ever participated in because it led to Pecan Island a couple of days later for a track in the marsh, but I am getting ahead of myself. So, one of the does went on to a neighbors property, so we pulled the plug on that one, and within less than 1/2 hour on each track after that, we found the other two does as seen above.

These guys were impressed so much that they told me they would have never found those deer without the dogs, and agreed that they needed a dog for the lease for everyone's benefit.

Their choice was Jessi Girl(above) who would go on to be very valuable in the marsh 2 days later.

Needles to say, all my dogs were happy trackers that day
with several other rib cages being dropped off at my front gate all in the same weekend.

Then I get a call from the same people regarding their nephew that had shot a 9 point buck in Pecan Island late in the day on Sunday, with lots of blood on the ground and losing day light he backed out until morning and to get on with this adventure, I agreed to go to Pecan Island and help find this trophy buck.

The longest blood trail track I have ever run(about 2 miles), and in the roughest terrain Louisiana has to offer, the saltwater marsh in Pecan Island. And for that reason: the terrain, I brought a pack of dogs just in case the terrain kicks our ass as is not uncommon in the marsh of coastal Louisiana.
I turned out a few experienced dogs to see where we were going and it wasn't long before we were really getting down on it, as there was lots of blood everywhere we went.

As seen below the vegetation was so thick AND tall at times we had to get on hand and knees
         and crawl through a tunnel of vegetation for about 40-50 yards to keep on the blood...

Here is Cocodrie meeting me in the tunnel, and...

then we were back in the open and I got to stand up and walk like a man again...

From there we walked about 50 yards east, and then the blood trail turned north(into the wind) and went about 1/4 mile, and then the trail turned west and went about 40 yards into a super thick area, and the blood, and all evidence of a deer completely disappeared!

As we made circles looking close for a track, a trail through the vegetation, or any sign of blood, and remember there was plenty of blood leading in here, then nothing!


I sat down and took a break in the shade of a bush to cool off and allow the dogs to leave out.

I began to suspect that the deer had turned in here and jumped as far as he could from this cull de sac of the marsh, because he knew that if he could jump over and into some of the thickest vegetative area, he knew we could never follow, and so he had bought time AND space to loose us.

You see, if you can't see any blood on the trail to confirm the dogs track is accurate and to lead the dogs along, you sit down, take a break and let the long range dogs you pass by several times as they hunt and they know that you aren't going anywhere, and they then will leave out.

As I sat there, I contemplated our options and I wondered which way the wind was blowing yesterday when the deer was shot. My presumption was he went north and into the wind.

After about a 15 minute break, I climbed up on a dry hole oil well or Christmas tree as we say here in La. and that put my eyeball view up to about 12 feet off the ground, so I could get a look around.

The marsh is so thick and about 6 feet tall, that I have a breeze up there that I did not have on the ground, so I stayed up there about another 10 minutes and continued to cool off, and let my t-shirt dry.

Good move...

Because then I heard a baying about 1/2 mile to the north, and it was Jessie, he had found the deer and was baying and fighting with it, so from where I was, I could mark his location near a pipeline marker and we headed for the ATV trail and then headed north.

Jessie in true Catahoula form, took several stabs on the head,
                                          and he has some sore spots on his ribs too.

                                          Although Jessie has cataracts and limited vision,

he alone had left out from the pack when I sat down to cool off using that very much experienced blood tracking nose that the other dogs could not keep up with. He set out alone and found the blood trail, then he alone engaged the very healthy, wounded buck...
(the buck went to the water as seen in the area below where Jessie found him and bayed, and must have fought the deer for some time because he has a lot of new scars on his head, and there was fresh deer blood everywhere in this area,

  and that was where we got our first look at him since he was shot, but I am getting ahead of myself)

I continued north, crossed a canal about 2 foot deep and climbed up on a ridge which was probably the spoils of the canal so I could get a better view of the surrounding area and the dogs found lots of bedding areas up on the levee.
My presumption was: from here(the levee) the deer had continued north into no mans land; a flooded Pecan Island marsh! Wrong again!

OK, back to Jessie!

and he alone was 100% intent upon finding this 9 point AND then fighting and  keeping the buck bayed(barking to alert us of his location northward) and did it all alone until help arrived...

                                                                      and then when it arrived,  here is where the team work really kicks in!

the younger, faster, less experienced, yet long range dogs were just getting warmed up getting there, and when the buck turned and headed south and nearly ran into the hunter who was still on the ATV trail, it passed about 10 foot away from him on his way south and then we talked firearms all the way  back down ATV trail! But I am getting ahead of myself again!

 ... and the race was on...


                                     Jessi Girl,

                                          and Maurice smoked this deer's ass,

                                            ran it south again, and back toward the truck.
                             (thank God, because we would have had to drag the dead deer a mile! )

As it was coming up the ATV trail.

the hunters mother was videoing the track and the deer ran right up to about 10 feet from the truck and she could have shot it with the 12 gauge and buck shot, but she didn't know where we were and did not want to risk shooting us accidentally.  Thank you...!-)

 Although some people might want to accuse me of mercilessly running a wounded deer with a pack of blood trail dogs, (like that is somehow unlawful or cruel when the animal was suffering from a critical wound?) The truth is, I didn't have any control over the wounded animal until after the fact, and at that point, I was sufficiently able to control the situation(with the great help of dogs!) to minimize the suffering and bring it to a swift end.

We ended the suffering of this wonderful buck that would have never been recovered and put out of his misery without the combined team work of de la Houssaye's Catahoula cur dogs, two men, and one very proud mother!

But wait this story is not over...

As the hunter and I came out of the marsh, his moma advised us of the direction the deer and dogs had took to the east. As I looked for a hole in the vegetation and we were discussing our options...

 About 1/4 mile away we heard the baying start up again and we jumped into the trucks and headed over there and hopefully try to end the chase with the shotgun. The dogs were fighting with the buck that was shot in the foreleg and was otherwise very healthy(see photo below).

After passing the truck the deer turned and went through some thick brush for about 50 yards and was stopped by the dogs and bayed up in front of one of many houses that were abandoned after hurricane Rita in September 2005.

Judging by the scars on Jessi Girl's head in the photo above, you can see that the dogs were literally fighting with the buck putting themselves into harms way and taking serious injury to keep him there until we arrived, and at that point, the buck was so engaged that 2 pickups pulled up 50 foot away from the fight and we got out and shot the deer without the deer even looking at us.

As I was behind them approaching the bay in my truck, I heard the shotgun go off as the deer was dispatched in front of the dogs. As the deer stood up on his hind legs to attack the dogs again and try to stab them with his antler tines, the hunter nailed him broadside with a 12 gauge 3 inch 00 Buck from about 20 yards away. (Shooting a deer over dogs is very dangerous for the dogs, unless it is skillfully handled as the young hunter here did by waiting for the deer to stand before pulling the trigger.)

You can see Jessie in the center of the photo above guarding "his" kill , a common Catahoula trait.

The taxidermist was called about a mount opportunity and assured the Pecan Island, La. hunter that his first trophy 9 pt. was salvageable and the broken tines on the one side can be repaired.

If you need me to track a deer or would like for me show you what my dogs for sale can do, you can call me at 337 298 2630, I am Marcus de la Houssaye, and I live in south central Louisiana near Lafayette. I am a breeder and a trainer, have many dogs for sale, am self employed and have a lot of time during the fall and winter to help you find a dog to track your hard to locate deer or hogs.

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