Deer Search is a private, non-profit organization of volunteers who track wounded deer and bear with leashed tracking dogs. Most of us are hunters and our goal is to reduce crippling losses during hunting season. The majority of us live in New York State and are members of one of the two New York chapters of Deer Search. We also have out of state members who track under licenses and rules issued by their own state.
Deer Search has a total of about 150 members. In New York State we have an apprenticeship program for handlers, and we offer them assistance in training their dogs. Our dispatching systems put hunters who have a problem in touch with dog handlers who can assist them. Handlers track wounded big game for hunters on a volunteer basis. No personal fees are charged, but hunters may make contributions to Deer Search Inc., a tax exempt, non-for-profit corporation.
Deer Search compensates handlers for their travel expenses when going on deer calls; the organization also carries liability insurance to protect members on calls or other Deer Search activities.
In its present form Deer Search works primarily with deer hunters in New York State, but we would like to promote what we do in other states as well. The example set by Deer Search in New York, and the leadership of Deer Search members in Wisconsin, Vermont and Illinois helped to bring about the legal introduction of blood tracking with leashed dogs in these states. In recent years other states allowed the use of tracking dogs: Maine, Kentucky, Maryland, Alaska, Ohio. In many other states the use of dogs in any association with deer hunting is still illegal because of the way that early laws were written to prohibit the use of dogs to drive deer to hunters. As was the case in New York special legislation would be required to authorize the use of tracking dogs as they are used in Deer Search. Deer Search is ready to advise and assist residents of other states in developing their own programs.