Can A GSP Track Deer?

Have you ever tried tracking your kill, such as a deer, using a gun dog? If not, then start training your dog right away! It is frustrating not to retrieve your kill because you don’t know where they headed off in the thick forest!

If you have experiences with a gun dog during your hunts but are not impressed by his abilities, you may probably want to train your dog better.

But for those who own a GSP, you’re in luck because you own one of the best deer tracking dogs! GSPs are known for their innate hunting instincts, and highly energetic bodies meant to always be on the run. So, let’s look at a few questions here:

  • How do you train a German Shorthaired Pointer to track deer?
  • What’s the best dog for tracking deer?
  • What dogs can track deer?
  • Can you train a GSP to track blood?

Yes, absolutely! GSPs are known to track, locate and retrieve deer when adequately trained from an early stage. Their sharp nose, intelligence, agility, and resilience make them great at blood trailing and retrieving big game like a deer. They are natural athletes and can run for hours to track their prizes.

How do you train a German Shorthaired Pointer to track deer?

Do you get a GSP to accompany you on your hunting trips? Are you wondering which is the easiest way to train your German Shorthaired Pointer to track deer? If yes, then you have come to the right place!

I had a rough time training my GSP for deer tracking because of my friends and fellow hunters’ hundreds of suggestions. However, with time I came to a simple and easy method to train GSPs. If you want a simple method, then follow the instructions below!

Things you need

  • Venison liver (if you can’t find, then any liver that smells as strong as a deer’s is good enough)
  • A drag rope
  • Deer blood, if possible 


  • Begin by dragging the liver non-stop for about 60 yards and cue the dog to follow the scent. Once they do it and find the liver, reward them with a treat.
  • The next step is to lengthen the trail and place pieces of liver in a few spots along the trail. If your dog can complete the trail, then reward them.
  • Continue doing this for a few days by progressively lengthening the trail and introducing some twists and turns in the trail. You can begin by taking a ninety-degree turn of the trail and place a liver at the end.
  • As you lengthen the trail, you can introduce drops of deer’s blood and eventually remove the liver from the trail altogether. Remember to keep giving rewards to your dog as it completes every task.
  • The final step is to let the dog follow the trail with no blood drops. Every deer’s scent from their interdigital scent glands is different and unique.
  • Take two walking sticks mounted with deer hooves and lay down a trail of several hundreds of yards. Check if your dog can follow the scent of the hooves. You can drop in a few drops of blood along the trail if you like.
  • If your dog can complete such a trail, they are more than ready to track deer!

What’s the best dog for tracking deer?

It goes without saying that the best dog for tracking deer must have an unparalleled sense of smell, stamina, and strength. To be honest, almost all dog breeds are good at tracing if trained from an early age.

However, a few breeds are born to track and excel in this ability. Some of the best dogs for tracking deer are:


It’s no surprise that the Bloodhound tops the list because this dog was originally bred to track deer and wild boar. Their tracking skills are so powerful that they are even used to track humans, such as fugitives on the run.

What makes them outstanding is their motivation not to quit until they have spotted their scent and their powerful olfactory sense. They are stubborn and thrive in all kinds of terrains.

German Shepherd

The military popularly uses a GSD for tracking bombs or other scents. Their courage, alertness, confidence, and a strong sense of smell enable them to track deer blood and follow the scent. Hence, they make a great hunting dog for tracking deer.

German Shepherds also have high intelligence and a strong muscular physique, making them apt for tracking and hunting deer.


Don’t let the size of this cute little sausage dog fool you because their sense of smell is one of the best for tracking deer. Their physical characteristics, such as the long body and short legs, were meant to burrow and hunt vermin, thus making them excellent in the tracking game.

However, the Dachshund isn’t as trainable as other dogs since they can be stubborn and are not recommended for beginners.

German Shorthaired Pointer

GSP is one of the easier dog breeds to train, and their lean body with an excellent sense of smell makes them ideal for tracking deer. They are agile and versatile dogs that perform well in water and upland hunting.

GSP is a sporting dog, and it’s high energy enables them to run long distances to track deer. They are super intelligent and are a people-pleaser making them easily trainable. In fact, there is a story of a GSP retrieving a wounded deer from a lake by swimming with the deer above its head!


The cute and loving companion dog Beagle is part of the hound family, thus making them excellent hunting dogs. They are intelligent and easily trainable, making them good for beginners. They have a keen sense of smell and are used worldwide as trackers.

With proper training at an early age, a Beagle can track deer instantly. They are energetic dogs and love any form of mental or physical stimulation.

Basset Hound

The Basset hound can follow scents for miles without getting tired. This is one of their traits that makes them an excellent choice for tracking deer. These hounds love challenges, and if they catch hold of a smell, they will not rest until they find the scent.

Their tenacity and devotion to tasks make them stand out from the rest of the breeds.

Belgian Malinois

Just like the German Shepherd, the Belgian Malinois is a popular choice among military and police because of its tracking abilities. Their powerful sense of smell, high intelligence, and agility makes them one of the best dogs for tracking deer.

What dogs can track deer?

Are you thinking of getting a dog for your hunting trips but thinking about which dogs can track deer? Truth be told, almost any kind of dog breed is capable of tracking deer or any other wild animals, for that matter. They any need a few things in them:

  •  Courage to climb mountains or go through any briars to track the deer
  •  High level of intelligence
  •  Perseverance
  • And a desire to always please their owners

Dogs are born with hunting instincts, and with good training at an early age, they can excel in enhancing their tracking abilities.

A few breeds of dogs may be better at tracking deer than their counterparts. The names of some of the best ones are mentioned above.

Can you train a GSP to track blood?

A German Shorthaired Pointer is an excellent blood trail dog if you give proper training early. Their keen sense of smell and innate hunting instinct make them ready for any kind of tracking. If you want your GSP to track blood, then follow the steps below:

  • Choose the blood of any animal found in the wild, such as a buffalo or deer.
  • Choose a trail path of about 50 yards long in the beginning and spot the trail with few drops of blood all along. If your dog catches the scent and completes the trail path, reward them with a treat.
  • You must continue doing this for a few more days by progressively increasing the length of the trail. Eventually, you should reduce the drops of blood along the trail and check if your dog can still follow.
  • If you want your GSP to follow a cold blood trail, then the process is the same, but switch to blood that’s been kept open for more than 24 hours.

A GSP is a smart animal, and training them is not difficult if you know its technique.


Using dogs as companions and retrievers during hunts has become very common. However, laws about taking hunting dogs for hunting trips differ among various states. It is best to check the laws in your area before taking your GSP out to track deer.

GSPs are intelligent, agile, and very energetic. If trained at an early age, they can track ducks, other animals, and deer for miles long without any interruptions. They are loyal to their masters and make great companion dogs because of their eagerness to please their masters.


An Owner and a huge fan of GSP's! I have owned my GSP for 7 years now and learned so many things along the way to share with you all about German Shorthaired Pointers!

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