Pope & Young’s Updated Position Statement on Use of Tracking Dogs

By Brodie SwisherOctober 19, 2021

There’s a growing trend among deer hunters these days regarding the use of tracking dogs for recovery. Like most every aspect of hunting, some hunters hate it, others love it. But what does the Pope & Young Club think about dogs for recovery? The club recently amended their stance. Below is a look at the change. 

Pope and Young, America’s leading bowhunting organization recently updated their position statement on the use of tracking dogs. Pope and Young has always promoted the fair and ethical pursuit of games species, and as an organization constantly reviews stances on the wide variety of issues that can impact fair chase, and the harvest and recovery of game.

hunters with a blood tracking dog
Blood tracking dogs can prove invaluable when less than perfect shots are made. Photo credit: United Blood Trackers


The Pope and Young Club recognizes that the use of tracking dogs to locate a wounded animal is becoming an increasing popular tactic and is being legalized in many jurisdictions. The Club supports the philosophy that it is the responsibility of an ethical hunter to expend all reasonable effort in recovering a wounded animal.

To the same degree, though, the Club believes it important that a hunter learn and master the traditional practices of blood trailing and tracking. These skills are inseparable components of a well-rounded hunter and are important woodsmanship values of the overall experience. Further, the Club is concerned that certain technologies and practices can be used as a crutch and actually supplant the basic skills expected and desired of a bow hunter.

As such, the Pope and Young Club will accept record book entries recovered with the use of trained tracking dogs with the following conditions/provisions:

1. The use of a tracking dog(s) must meet ALL state or provincial laws in the jurisdiction you are hunting that governs the use of tracking dogs for wounded animals.

2. The dog must meet all local requirements concerning training and/or licensing.

3. The recovery must be completed within 48 hours of the initial shot and the hunter MUST be present.
4. The dog may be used to recover a dead big game animal only. If the animal is found alive, the use of a tracking dog must be abandoned immediately.

The final determination of eligibility for entry of all animals found alive and later taken will be at the Records Committee’s discretion.

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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