DogNewbie wrote:I'm not new to hunting but I am new to hunting with dogs. Do dogs really get lost that often? This thread is really opening my eyes right now. I'm a bit surprised by all the lost dog stories that have come up so far. I was sitting here thinking those GPS collars were simply one more thing to buy for the gear guy...
As has been stated, deer can cause a dog to bail on you and cover some serious ground in a hurry.
However, I have to say this...in almost fifty years of chasing bird dogs around, I have never lost one permanently. I have always had BIG running dogs. I have had a couple gone overnight because they chased deer and had one get picked up and taken home while i was hunting her by someone whose Mom insisted he make the call. I also had one disappear from around home(was stolen almost certainly) about two weeks prior to hunting season.
The dogs that were gone overnight were laying there, on my coat when I came back the next morning. The dog that was picked up nearby my home came back the next evening and was spotted two blocks from my home, lying under a parked car, panting. When someone approached him with water and food he ran away, crossed US Highway 22(2 lanes each way, constant heavy traffic with a 3 ft. divider). He was seen heading up into the Watchung mountains which are low hills across the highway from our home. We got a call and I spent a few hours cruising the roads up there. Very late that night there was a scratching at the door. The dog had figured out exactly where he was and had obviously re-crossed that same incredibly busy highway in the dead of night and found his way home. He was totally exhausted and slept for a day and a half. I have no idea how far he came from, but I am sure it was a heck of a long way because he was an all day dog and was in peak shape at the time. I have no idea how he crossed US 22 in central NJ, not once...but twice... and survived. He obviously had friends in the right places.
The ones that want to... will find their way back if they can.
That all being said, I rarely turn a dog loose theses days without an e-collar on them, unless it is at a trial, and then they are wearing a tracking device.
Glad you got your buddy back safe and sound.