Dusty McGehee: Dawgs/dogs on the hunt


Dawg/dog fans unite … while I should have been fishing this past weekend, I was glued to my seat watching our LA Tech junkyard dawgs play in the Conference USA Tournament.  I’m not a sportswriter by any stretch, as my niche is hunting/fishing, but let me tell you right now, these Dawgs can hunt.  And hunt they did, winning their first Conference USA Tournament ever, off the bat of the ultimate dawg Steele Netterville on a 2-strike shot down the right field line.

While the LA Tech fanboy in me wants to write about this team and what they are about to do in the Austin Regional, I know I need to stay in my lane and let the professionals (Malcolm Butler and T. Scott Boatright) cover this.  For now, I will just say “Go Dawgs!”

While we are on the subject of canines, let’s talk about some other dogs who had a pretty impressive season — those from the Louisiana Blood Trailing Network.  These are the heroes that nobody wants to call but are always willing to come out of the bullpen when needed.  Whether it’s a poor shot on a deer or just lack of blood, these are the dogs and handlers that come and get the job done each and every time.

The Louisiana Blood Trailing Network (LBTN) consists of teams of the greatest deer trackers that cover the state of Louisiana.  You can find them with a quick google search or join their Facebook page.  From October 1 through January 31, these teams are the MVPs in the hunting world.  The statistics are in and here is what they accomplished in the 2021-2022 deer hunting season.

There were 2,360 total requests for tracking assistance this past season.  LBTN was able to cover 99.98 percent of these requests.  Out of all of these tracks, they were able to successfully recover 45 percent of the deer that they were put on.  For the other 55 percent, it is a pretty safe bet to say most of those deer were not mortally wounded or they were not able to find it due to circumstances out of their control.

It’s plain and simple with these teams; if the deer is dead, they will find it.  If the deer is wounded, they will exhaust all efforts to recover it.  Nobody ever wants to have to make that call, but when you have a strong team like the LBTN, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.  You’ve got a group of selfless people and their dogs that have one mission … to find your deer at all costs.

LBTN is the big leagues when it comes to professional deer trackers.  While I never had the talent to be a professional in any sport, I now have a dog who is on the cusp of it.  Reese, our lab/cur/kangaroo rescue dog seems to be a natural at it.  I’m certainly not an expert at deer tracking, but as a puppy, she was able to successfully recover every deer we put her on last season.

Even in the off season, we will do simulated track jobs with deer legs that I store in my freezer.  If you say the word “DEER” to her, she goes into full out hunt mode.  You better not have her on a leash or be holding onto her collar because she will take off and bring you to the ground when you say that 4-letter word.  She is a dog on a mission, and you can’t hold her back.

When will she get called up to the pros?  I’m not sure, but I know she has the intangibles and desire to track down every deer she comes across.  I’m just happy to have an awesome dog who is a great asset to our hunting family.

In closing, I only have one thing left to say… How bout them dawgs/dogs!   


Dusty McGehee is a native of Downsville and a 2006 graduate of Louisiana Tech University with a bachelors in wildlife conservation. He is currently employed by WestRock and serves as an environmental engineer at the Hodge Mill. Dusty is an avid hunter and crappie fisherman, fishing crappie tournaments with his son when he is not in the woods. He and his wife Rachel have three young outdoorsmen/women: Anders, Ridge, and Mae. If you have a story idea or question about the great outdoors, you can reach Dusty at dusty.mcgehee@westrock.com.