‘Dog hunters’ can help out

Published 9:52 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2012

By Ron Wood
Guest Columnist

I read the Sept. 8 article about Project Lifesaver and the editorial that followed on Sept. 11 and wanted you to know that there is a tremendous resource, from a very unlikely source, that may be easily available to the Project Lifesaver organization.

What is that resource? Hunters. To be specific, hunters who hunt with hounds and use telemetry to track their dogs. More often than not, we hunters who hunt with hounds are cast in a bad light. We are seen as those “good ol’ boys” who hunt from their trucks.

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Take a close look at those trucks with the weird antenna mounted to the roof. How many have you seen? Many have the ability to track frequencies transmitted by Project Lifesaver users.

I’ll share with you my experience with Project Lifesaver. I hunt with a club in southern Dinwiddie County, and we were just finishing up our spring meeting. Burgers and hot dogs were on the grill, when I got a call from a member who belongs to the Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Office.

He and another member wanted to know if I had my dog-tracking equipment with me. Sure I did. They told me a local woman who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease had wandered away from her home and was wearing a transmitter that I should be able to track. They gave me the frequency, and we split up to see if we could get a reading.

So there I was, sitting in my truck on a rural stretch of road in Dinwiddie County with tracking equipment on and not receiving any sort of signal. Then it hit me. The boys had gotten me good. They really had me going. They were probably back at camp eating some good food and having a good laugh.

Then I get a call that I was on the wrong frequency. With the new frequency punched in, the receiver came to life. We tracked her as far as we could in the vehicles and then started rearranging our equipment to start tracking on foot.

It was getting late, and the spring chill was still in the air. We no sooner had gotten out of the trucks and begun discussing splitting up, when she said, “Here I am.” She was across the street, 10-15 feet inside the tree line, wearing a housecoat.

Uniformed deputies arrived, along with a state trooper, and the woman was taken home.

What a great feeling it was to have helped someone. Many of us have spent hundreds of hours using our tracking equipment. There are guys I know who can pinpoint their dogs to the foot, in the dark.

I just thought someone might want to hear about some good from one of them “dog hunters.”

Email Ron Wood at woodfamily@cox.net.