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Sledding season opens with Dirty Dog Dryland DerbySubmitted: 11/02/2013
Story By Adam Fox


PEARSON - Most pet owners describe dogs as mans best friend, but to a group of sledders, dogs are their companion in competition.

Dogs pulled sled drivers through trails in Pearson Saturday morning. Trainers like Beth Castaldi say it's usually not cold enough to train dogs in the fall.

That's why the dryland races are miles shorter than snow races.

"We keep the mileage down, so we are not over working our dogs," Castaldi said. "So by the time January comes, when we are ready to run the longer races, they've a lot more training miles and they are in better condition."

Most trainers start running with their dogs when they're pups. Then they use ATV's and bicycles to train the dogs when they get older. But Castaldi says they keep a balance so they don't over work the dogs.

"You want to keep that incredible enthusiasm in the dog so that they want to run," Castaldi said. "You don't want them to be muscle sore or you don't want them to be like, oh I ran yesterday, I don't really want to run today, you know that kind of an attitude."

More than 80 teams competed at the Dirty Dog Dryland Derby. The Wisconsin Trailblazers Sled Dog Club will have another dry race in Wausau on November 16th.





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 IN OTHER NEWS

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The Northland Pines High School choir got in one last practice before they head down to Madison tomorrow.

More than 30 students will be performing in front of the governor.

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TOWN OF PINE RIVER - Thursday morning the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office released the name of a hunter found dead near Merrill.

Search teams found 76-year-old William Storm's body near the edge of the Pine River around 6:15 p.m. Wednesday. Deputies initially reported Storm as being 73 years old.  Storm was hunting during the day and shot a deer across the river. He went back home to get his waders to cross the river, but never came home.

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LINCOLN COUNTY - It didn't take long for police to find the body of a missing hunter in Lincoln County Wednesday night.

Police say it might have taken hours to find the man man, but thanks to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office's new drone, it only took about 45 minutes.

According to the Lincoln County Coroner, 76-year-old William Storm drowned to death.

Police got the call around 4 p.m. Wednesday from the family saying Storm had been missing since about 12:30 p.m. that day. He had gone out hunting and returned back to his home to get his waders before going back out to find the deer he had shot.

Ground searchers first found the deer Storm had shot. That's when deputies sent the drone up into the air, and using thermal imaging, were able to find his body in less than an hour. He was found next to Pine River in the woods.

Police could have had to ground search about 120 acres, but the drone helped them whittle that area down to just about a few football fields.

"When they find the deer, if we don't have the UAV it's going to turn into a ground search where they're just going to have to grid the whole area and that could be the whole 120 acres or it could be 2 acres, it could be right away," said Lt. Andy VanderWyst. "You're relying a lot on luck then too."

Police flew the drone about 160 feet in the air, which is high, because they didn't know if tall trees or power lines would get in the way.

Police said they did request a helicopter from Wausau, but it couldn't fly out because of the misty, cloudy weather.

"There are environmental factors that come into play with this but not nearly as much as a helicopter because now you're talking about a piece of equipment instead of a bigger piece of equipment with human lives on board too," VanderWyst said.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Department got the drone earlier this fall and this was the first time the department used it.

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Fifty-three-year-old John Chitko died November 15 at the Chitko Brothers Lumber facility in Tipler, near the Florence-Forest county line. His death appears to be a simple accident.

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