Hunting regulations in North America are controlled by the states and provinces, except when endangered species are involved. Therefore, any hunter who is interested in the possibilities of blood tracking must consult the legal authorities of the state or province. In general dogs were outlawed in all forms of deer hunting when deer became rare in most of the Northeast and Midwest, at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Hunting was legally defined in such a way that the use of leashed tracking dogs to find any deer that might have been wounded was also rendered illegal. Because of the open country in most of the West the use of dogs in driving deer made less sense, but the prohibitions against using dogs in all forms of deer hunting, including deer hunting, was established there also.
In the areas where dogs are prohibited in all forms of deer hunting, some sort of legal authorization is required. In the New York State, where we are located, a special tracking license is mandatory. One must pass a difficult examination and pay a fee of $50.00 for a five-year license. Vermont and Maine enacted legislation virtually identical to the New York State model. Other states, which have legalized the use of leashed tracking dogs are: Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, Wisconsin. Details of regulations vary from state to state.
If you hunt in a state or province that currently has no legal provision for blood tracking, you will probably have to enter into a discussion with your Fish and Game Department. The first reaction of wildlife officials may well be negative out of a concern for the administrative work which might be involved, and because they see blood tracking as a possible cover for unethical and illegal hunting activity. You will have greater persuasive power, if you can show that you have the backing of sportsmen's organizations in your state.