If you’re a deer hunter you’ve undoubtedly felt the disappointment that goes along with wounding a deer and being unable to find it. Not being able to recover your game is one of the harsh realities of deer hunting, but a local group of dog handlers are working hard to change that. They explain that their group of dogs, trained to follow the scent of pheromones excreted from a gland between the “toes” on the hoof of a deer, can not only find the mortally wounded or deceased deer, they can do it hours and in some cases days after the deer is shot.
Tracking deer in Mississippi isn’t new. There are handlers and dogs in North Mississippi that have been doing it for years and their recovery statistics are impressive. It isn’t uncommon to have a dog come help you that has recovered hundreds of deer in its career.
Some handlers don’t like to take a call for anything short of a trophy buck, but handlers Chuck Darby and Tom Hill say that this isn’t the case with their group, High Caliber Tracking & Recovery. They went on to say that they answer and go to just about every call they get and if for some reason they can’t go, they will connect the caller with a knowledgeable and trustworthy handler that can.
High Caliber Tracking & Recovery is relatively new, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been around. In the first weeks of Whitetail Rifle Season last year, Chuck and Brandy Darby found themselves at a crossroads with their team of tracking dogs. After some discussion and planning, they created High Caliber Tracking & Recovery with their friend Tom Hill and set out to make a name for themselves in North Mississippi.
When asked why they do it, they both agreed, “The smile!” They went on to say, “There is no greater reward than being a part of someone’s first harvest, it doesn’t matter how old the hunter is.”
Last year, Chuck and Tom, along with their team of dogs, went on many of those types of calls and they feel blessed to be a part of the memories and traditions being made in the woods.
This year, in addition to offering their services to the public at no cost, they will also be providing tracking services for Hope Outdoors’ Calhoun-Webster Chapter Whitetail Hunt. Hope Outdoors ministers to individuals with special needs through outdoor experiences such as hunting and fishing at no cost to the participant or their family. Hope Outdoors is a 501(c)3 organization staffed by volunteers and funded by tax deductible donations.
High Caliber Tracking & Recovery provides no-cost deer tracking and recovery services in North Mississippi 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of the size of deer starting October 1st. You can reach Track Coordinator, Brandy Darby, at 662-654-9455 or you can reach out to a handler directly – Chuck Darby 662-515-6422 or Tom Hill 662-473-6342.
Best of luck to all of you hunters! Have a safe and productive hunting season!