Iowa blooding tracking dogs are wagging their tails in excitement with new news coming out today.

Iowa House Bill 363 (IA HF363) has re-emerged and is back on track.  HF363 is a bill allowing deer hunters to use a leashed dog to track and retrieve wounded deer.  On January 16th, 2020 HF363 was reassigned to a subcommittee.  Progression of HF363 is at 25%.

Supporters of blood tracking dogs in Iowa are also excited about this news and about an amendment recently stripped from the bill.  This amendment required all Iowa blooding tracking dogs and their handlers to be “certified” in blood tracking.  The certification process was uncertain and left many supporters of the bill confused.  Many questioned the intent of the amendment.  Certifying dogs and handlers is costly.  Not only does it require hunters to pay a large monetary sum, but it takes a lot of time to accomplish. Certification is done by a private group or by the state of Iowa.  Many states that require certification allow blood tracking dogs and their handlers to track WITHOUT a leash.  Tracking without a leash was never allowed under this bill.

Today, Alinda Buckingham Sabourin from the Iowa Blood Trackers on Facebook posted:

GREAT NEWS!!  I just got confirmation from our bill sponsor, Representative Thompson, that the bill has been renewed in its original language! They realized the new amendment requiring dog and handler certification wasn’t a good idea, and made arrangements with the natural resources committee and leadership to return to the original!

The Benefits of Leashed Blood Tracking Dogs
  • Less game wasted. Many dog breeds were specifically bred by humans for tracking purposes.
  • Wounded deer are found quickly and efficiently.
  • Less grid walking of large groups on public and private lands. Grid walking disturbs hunters, flora, fauna, and archaeological sites.
  • The accuracy of the annual Iowa deer count would increase.
  • Lead poisoning of animals feeding on unfound deer carcasses lessens, including avian wildlife like bald eagles.
  • Over 189,000 Iowa deer tags were bought by Iowa hunters during the 2016 season. With a large hunting community in Iowa and thousands of dogs left to live out their days in animal shelters, a lift in regulations could give abandoned dogs new opportunities in life and a new home.
  • Hunters with physical limitations would benefit with a tracking companion.
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Justin J. Lind

January, 2020
White Buffalo Outdoors

Photo by Lesther Argueta