John's Journal...

Buster Brown Was a Dog for All Seasons – Deer, Ducks and Divorce

Buster Brown on Deer

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: If you're about to drown, Buster Brown, an 11-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever, can save your life. If your wife finally throws you out, Buster Brown can get you a new wife. If you shoot the bClick to enlargeiggest buck of your life and the deer runs off, Buster Brown can find the deer for you. If you down a beautiful mallard drake that falls into some high cattails 1/4-mile from your blind, not only can Buster Brown locate your duck, he'll bring it back to you. If while sitting at home watching TV, you feel the need for a cold drink, Buster Brown will go get you a cool one from the refrigerator.

Oftentimes hunters harvest deer early in the morning and late in the evening in poor visibility when they'll find following a blood trail impossible, except for Buster Brown's keen nose. A few years ago the rain had come down all night when a hunter knocked at Terry's door one morning and said, "A lady over at our camp insists she shot a nice 8 point just before dark.  But we can't find a blood trail or the buck. Can you bring Buster Brown over to our place and let him look for the deer? But after that downpour last night, I don't think the dog has much of a chance of finding the deer, even if the lady has hit it." Terry put on his raincoat and his knee-high rubber boots, loaded up Buster Brown and his body guard, Hershey, a younger chocolate Lab.

Terry never allows any of his trailing dogs to look for Click to enlargewounded deer without a body guard. "If a big buck that's been hit jumps up and wants to fight, the deer may kill the dog, if the dog is trailing by himself," Terry explained. "But a body guard dog will distract the buck while Buster Brown dives in, grabs hold of the deer by the neck and hangs on until he either kills the deer or I get thClick to enlargeere." Terry released the two chocolate Labs when they arrived at the spot where the lady had hit the buck. In less than 15 minutes, Terry heard Buster Brown barking about 150-yards deep in the swamp and the cane thickets. Then with the rain still falling, the two men and the two dogs came outof the swamp with a fat 8 point. Although most hunters believe rain washes away the scent of a wounded deer, Terry thinks the rain actually spreads the scent out more, often enabling the dog to pick up the trail and find the wounded deer easier. Outsiders find Buster Brown's ability to trail wounded deer across and through the trails of other deer amazing.

According to Terry, "I don't know how Buster Brown does it, but he can discriminate between a wounded deer's trail and other deer scent. One time an archer gut-shot a buck, and when we brought Buster Brown in, the buck bolted out of thick cover and ran toward an open green field. I ran to the top of a hill to see into the green field. I spotted the wounded buck running through a herd of does feeding in the green field but no Buster Brown. About 2-minutes later, the dog broke into the clearing with his nose down on the trail of the buck. He never lifted his nose off the ground even when he crossed the area where the does fed. He bayed the 6 point about 100 yards from the field. Buster Brown averages retrieving about 200 deer a season."

Tomorrow: Buster Brown on Ducks and Life Saving

Check back each day this week for more about "Buster Brown Was a Dog for All Seasons - Deer, Ducks and Divorce"

Day 1: Meeting Buster Brown
Day 2: Buster Brown on Deer
Day 3: Buster Brown on Ducks and Life Saving
Day 4: Buster Brown on Women and Finding a Wife
Day 5: Dogs for the Handicapped


Entry 431, Day 2