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Wounded deer feedback please

33 posts in this topic

My brother was hunting near lanesboro last night (friday), the final night down there. About 15 minutes left of shooting light he shot an 8 pointer at 55 yards. He was using rifled barrel shotgun with a scope and sabots, should've been a good hit. Quartering away, behind the shoulder (aiming at the far leg), half way up.

The buck jumped straight up, arching its back, and lumbered off down hill, out of sight, with tail down. Two puffs of hair, brownish in color at the spot of the hit. The only blood we could find, is a few feet away, a couple drops on the first bush he passed.

It is a pasture for the most part. There is a half circle of cedars about 75 yards away, and beyond that, 200 yards from the hit, there is standing corn. In between two large sections of corn, about the same 200 yard distance, is a large field of tall grass that is maybe 100 yards wide, by 400 yards long.

Unfortunately this is my brother's first year hunting, and despite my instructions to wait 2 hours if he shot anything, he pursued almost immediately, because he wanted to look before it got dark.

4 of us searched for 4 hours today and could not locate him, or any blood, other than the one bush. As I said, it is mostly pasture with very short grass, and we couldn't find any blood. We really have no idea which direction he went in about a 180 degree radius.

1) By the description of the animals reaction, and the lack of blood, would you say it was gut-shot?

2) Have you found times when a buck appeared to get hit in the body, and there was NO BLOOD AT ALL?

3) assuming it was NOT lung/heart, and assuming the buck saw my brother looking for him, how far is it likely the buck ran?

4) Is it more likely the buck would run to the a) corn, B) tall grass, c) small sections of woods/brush

Thanks for your feedback.

Oh, and there were no birds circling.

Garrett

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I would say he either shot it too far forward, too far backward, and probably high. A gut shot deer should have laid down, and you should have at least found a pool of blood or something. A quartering away gut shot should have been a good shot with a sabot, with the bullet penetrating the vitals, even though you maybe wouldn't have found a lot of blood, you probably should have found the deer if it was indeed a shot like you said.

I'm not sure what to tell you other than if you didn't find the deer within a couple of hundred yards, and your brother didn't kick him up when he went to look, that the buck is still running.

If he is hit well, there is a chance that he headed for the corn and you should look for blood on the stalks, if not, he may have just circled and is back in the woods.

Sorry I can't help you anymore. It doesn't sound much like he hit anything vital. If you hit a deer just about anywhere, they will, jump, lurch, and run with their tail down. A real vital shot and he shouldn't have went that far, or your brother would have kicked him up. If there is a water source in the vicinity, you can try and look there for him, aside from that, the best I can offer is good luck.

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I had a similar incident a few years ago. I had a buck standing at 70 yards providing me with a quartering shot. I thought I had everything lined up pefectly. I squeezed the trigger and the deer immediately hunched up and stumbled over the hill.

As soon as I got to where he was standing, he was gone with only a couple specks of blood to follow. I trusted that my shot was lethal and he wasn't going far. I searched for a couple hours with no luck.

The following weekend I was back in the same area with the rest of my hunting party when one of our group had a buck walk up to him within 20 yards. The first comment I heard was how bad the deer smelled. I didn't see any wounds until I rolled him over. There was a hole in his back that you could drop a football in and he was still going. This was the buck I hit the previous weekend.

The sabot round that I was using hit him, took out a large portion of his back but didn't break any bones.

My guess is your brothers deer went into the tall grass as it would provide the best cover. I have walked up to deer that were bedded in the grass before they got up.

A gut shot deer would have laid down eventually and left some blood. At least more than a couple specks.

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If their is any water close by check that, they like to lay down in it.

True. It slows the bleeding also.

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thanks guys. We're a bit stumped. I may just go back in a day or two and look for birds. There is a small amount of water in an old creek bed, but I checked up and down that. If he circled, north, and back to the east, then it's possible the shots we heard 20 minutes later, was the next group over taking him out. I may have to look the corn over again. I hate losing a deer... I especially feel bad for him, because he's never hunted before. This is his first experience at 39 years old.

I'm not sure which is worse. My son who has hunted for 7 years, and has not pulled the trigger yet (he's seen two would-be 8's but they were both missing a rack), or my brother, who loses his first. Oh, well, it was very nice to have him and his son with on their first hunts.

My father never hunted, so we're starting the family tradition from scratch basically.

It's sure nice to have a resource like this to bounce things off of people. Makes the learning curve a bit faster.

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Was the blood darker or lighter in color? If it was dark, it was more than likely a gut shot. If that was the case, what probably happened was he jumped it and it ran away. That's what happend to my buddy a few years ago. He thought he hit the deer well and he went to track it a half hour later and it was actually a gut shot. He jumped the deer and never saw it again. It will go die after you jump it, but there will be little or no blood anymore and it may go 200yds before it lays down again. If you think you may have gut shot it, you should leave it sit for 2-4 hours.

On two seperate occasions I've shot bucks and there has been limited blood, and get this, both were heart shots. The one buck I know why there was limited blood. It was the 9 point I posted earlier on FM. I shot it when it was quartering towards me, but there was no exit wound. The other I have no idea why there was limited blood. I shot the buck while it was quartering towards me, but there was a big exit wound. I couldn't believe how little blood there was for a heart shot. I really think If I hadn't seen him go down I wouldn't have found him.

Good luck if you go looking for it again. Hope you get it!

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On opening morning this year, I happened to gut shoot a buck. Deer was quartering away, don't know if the round hit a limb/branch or just a poor shot on my part. Anyways, after the shot, he took off, hunched up. I waited for an hour before getting down and looking for blood/sign. Found no blood for about 30 yards and then it was limited. Tracked him for about 100 yds and came around a bush and there he laid looking at me. Jumped up and took off running. I immediately backed out and waited for 2 more hours before carefully going back in and looking for him. Found him dead about 30 yards from where I jumped him. Later that afternoon, I shot a doe off the same stand at about 30 yds. Knew I put a perfect shot on her and watched her run about 40 yds and piled up. She dropped right in one of my shooting lanes, so I turned my attention to the rest of the deer in front of my stand. Once those deer quit feeding and wandered off (bout 45 minutes) I got down and went to drag and gut the doe. Got to the spot she went down at, and she was gone. Blood in the bed, but she was gone. Tracked her for about 30 more yds and there she laid. When I gutted her, I was true with my shot. Right through her pump station, it was like jelly, but she still got up and went another 30 yds.

Point being deer are very tough critters and if he pushed that deer after shooting it, I have no doubt that it continued to run. If it was gut shot, it would have definately laid down somewhere realitively close and you should have found the bed.

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i hit a buck last night in the guts. didnt find blood tell about 60 yards from where i hit it. it was a 250 yard shot. two inches higher i wouldnt have had to track it and two inches lower i would have never hit it. found it 300 yards away from where i shot it. found it in the dark and almost tripped over it tracking it in the dark. it was minutes away from death when i caught up to it. had to put one more shot in him to finish it off. but it made it 25 yards away from the 4 wheeler trail so i didnt have to drag it out of the swamp and and half a mile around it.

iceman

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I would agree with the thinking of a gut shot deer. I have seen deer do this while archery hunting with a poor hit. Once jumped, that deer could go a mile.

If it was hit in the stomach, yes, it could travel some diatnce without leaving a blood trail.

A deer that is pushed too soon and not hit that hard can and will travel a long ways.

All on can hope for is to pick up the blood trail again. You may be learning but I'm impressed with the desire to find that deer.

It happens to everyone and it great to see that you just didn't give up. Those deer are tough customers even when shot with a gun.

If there is water around the area and the deer is gut shot, that may be the first area I would check out.

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two little tips. One, always, always memorize the very last place you saw the deer and the direction of travel. It gives you a great starting spot other than where you shot it. Secondly, when deer are about to die, they oftentimes like to jump sideways about 10-20 yards and die. I have seen this numerous times. You are on the blood trail and then nothing. We have found the deer straight to the side about 15 yards in a thick bush.

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Not to hijack the thread, but I shot an 8 pt. on opener about noon. Quartering away, blazed him through the left side at 50 yards. He took off down the ridge, I waited 5 minutes. I have not lost a deer with my rifle before, so figured it was enough. Saw "good" blood for approx. 40 yards. On the right side of the trail. (shot on the left side) The deer was at the bottom of the ravine, standing, once it saw me it bolted. Long story short, tracked him until 4 that night. Went back the next day, tracked him for 6 more hours and approx 3-4 miles. The deer didn't bed or stop once. I, reluctantly, had to give up the trail because we couldn't find anymore blood and tracks weren't apparent enough. First deer lost. Any idea as to what could have happened? Brisket? Found regular colored blood and "clumps" of blood that looked like clots.

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I also had this happen this year. I had a good buck come in a CRP field in front of me at about 40 yards. I made the shot and the deer ran off. I am pretty sure I made a good hit, but I stayed in my stand for about 45 minutes waiting on my hunting partner to meet me to help me track. When he got there we started looking. I found a big clump of hair at the impact site, but no blood. We both looked for about an hour (in the rain) but did not find him and it got dark. We went back the next day and circled the area and found nothing. The CRP was really high and I would have had to walk right up on him just to find him. (My buddy is bring his dog down, but I fear it maybe too late to get any meat of him.) Last year the buck I shot did not bleed hardly at all, but it was shot in the heart. Luckily he ran out into a cut corn field and was easy to find. Last year was the first year that I used a sabot slug because I got a new barrel. I have heard guys complain about sabot slugs not doing as much damage as a rifled slug, but i think this is nonsense. Is there a hugh difference in exit wounds between the two types of slugs. I have not wanted to use a rifled slug in my slug barrel because I dont want to wreck my barrel. Is this true.

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If you hit them in the right place, they will all bleed. The deer I have shot with the sabots have been "pass throughs" and would have bled enough to find if they would have went more than 3 steps. The others only went a very short way, and I never had to do any tracking. I saw them all drop.

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Boy it sure sounds like this happens alot...

Not to jump on your tread, but I had a similar situation this year. I had a nice mature 12 pt step out into this bean field I was over looking, 15 min remaining of legal shooting time... last Sunday Evening. I new immediately he was a shooter. The wind was in my favor, so I knew I was good in that aspect. I lazered him just to be sure...96 yards...PERFECT. That is well into my comfort zone, and can literly draw smiley faces on a targets from that distance. I scope him, put the cross hairs on him, and let the shot fly...He started heading south, but he must have realized, if he went in that direction, he'd be running in open country for a while, so he circled back (away from me) and went into the woods. The shot felt good & looked good . The little ways he ran in the field, I didn't expect him to even do that...(Roughly 50-60 yards in the field) then he entered the woods. Every animal I've shot at with this gun, .300 Win Mag, it's either dropped in it's tracks or went 50-60 yards and then expired. I was expecting the same to happen here, and felt no need to take a shot at a running buck. When I finally gather myself, and get out of my stand, it's near dark. I reach into my bag and get out my mag light, I go right to were he went into the woods. Nice blood...I walked into the woods 10-20 yrds and still seen blood. I shined the light ahead and didn't see anything. Being I was alone and it was dark, I decided to come back at first light....Just in case.

So Monday A.M. I pick up to were I left off, feeling very very confident in my recovery....more blood, it appears that it was spraying. This was approx 50 yards into the woods....(See Video).

th_BloodTrail.jpg

I continue along the trail and come across his first bedded down spot, which was maybe 30 yards from all the blood in the video. Still nice blood.

Bed1.jpg

I continue following a nice trail and 40 yrds from the last blood bed down, I find 2 more bed downs, 5 feet from each other. As I continue to follow the path, I'm starting to notice less and less blood, but expecting to find it laying, because of the 2 bed downs so close together. Was thinking to myself, he prob doesn't have much more blood left in him.

I come upon bed down #4. At this junction, I run out of blood. So I'm doing circles around this area, 5ft, 10ft, 15ft... searching for blood..On my hands and knees at times.

Bed4.jpg

Finally I hear crashing into water. (I'm in a horseshoe of a windy creek). I decide to walk to the area I feel I heard water crashing. As I approach that area, I jump a doe, as I approach, Bed down #5. This bed down was approx 5 ft away from the creek. and 40 yards from bed down #4.

Bed5.jpg

From this point on, I couldn't find any trace. I couldn't see any tracks in the snow on what direction he went from there...This buck had me confused at this point. So I search EVERY square foot of this horseshoe. NOTHING! So I decide, I'm going to follow this creek bank to see if he is laying someplace along here..NOTHING. I go in the other direction...NOTHING. At this point it's been 7 hrs of looking...I was both mentally and physically exhausted. I head back to my truck, get a bite to eat, then go searching the whole property. I searched the thickest brush I could find. Still came up with NOTHING. It's now dark, and I'm going to make a final attempt Tues A.M. I get in contact with the land owner on the other side, telling him I was searching for a buck all day today, requesting to go onto his property, if that buck would have went across that creek, 40 yards up the bank, then there is nearly 200 acres of standing corn. He has no problems

So I go walk back to that area, searching for any sign what so ever...NOTHING. I then decide to comb my hunting grounds one more time before I call it quits. Still NOTHING.

I replay the whole scenario in my mind daily...Not sure what went wrong...I'm not sure what I could have did any different. And like I previously stated, I've never had to track a deer before. One thing I don't remember doing, is controlling my breathing. But these animals are tough, they don't give up for nothing.

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Not to hijack the thread, but I shot an 8 pt. on <snip> blood and "clumps" of blood that looked like clots.

Odonata - very similar to my situation this year, but I eventually found him 1/4 mile away. I had the same clot type clumps on the exit wound side. When cleaning, I found the shot was high and back, clipping the tops of the lungs on both sides but still in front of the diaphragm. The clot-looking stuff was lung tissue. With this type of shot, the deer can keep going until the chest cavity fills with blood.

Great blood for 40 yards, then spotty, then nothing for about 150. My buddy picked it up again out in some marsh grass and we spent a couple hours picking our way foot by foot through the grass not moving till we could identify the next spot.

Tim

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Tim~

Did you recover the deer? My deer literally went 3-4 miles, seriously, and still had not bed down. I thought the same thing about the clots/clumps being lung tissue, but am baffled at how far this deer went. (?)

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We had one one year with a decent blood trail that we trailed for a good mile or so. It bedded down on the side of a slough and as we approached, it took off swimming across. Dang thing swam accross the slough and the cold water must have clotted him right up. We found no sign of blood on the other side where he came out. It's amazing what they are capable of.

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Wow, "hunting 24 7" that's harsh. It looks like you have really good blood, and it's struggling to go very far before it lays down again. I'm amazed you haven't found it.

I appreciate everyone's feedback on here, it can only make us better hunters/trackers.

I'm going to head back to lanesboro tomorrow and look for birds in the area. If nothing else, i can scout for next year.

Hunting 24 7, what area are you in? I might be willing to help you look if it's not too far.

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Hunt24 7

That is flat out an amazing story. Very sorry to hear you were not able to find it.

If you had told that story without pics, I would have been the first to raise the red flag and say your trail was obviously not the way you described it.

that is just flat out incredible. The pics had me believing at some point we were going to see you holding that buck.

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Analyzer,

I hunt out of 298. I was back there this last weekend (Nov 15-16), as I wanted to put a doe into the freezer as well. But more importantly, I had a hard time sleeping, concentrating at work, as my mind has been wondering since the prior Tuesday when I gave up looking. I had to go back and stomp around again...Which was all for nothing.

I passed up heading to my brother in laws property (OTC), & stare at a different oak tree for a weekend...as I felt I had to head up there this last weekend double check, to see I could find this buck yet.

BLB,

Your not the only one that would have liked to see me with a picture of this deer. Near the conclusion of my story.

Opener weekend was still a very good weekend for me dispite my misfortune. My younger brother decided to go hunting with me this year...He doesn't take hunting as serious as I do, but I talked him into going deer hunting with me this year. He's been hunting on and off for the past 10 yrs or so. And it has been many many years since he's harvested A deer. And the first deer he harvested, was his last...maybe 6-7 yrs ago, I'd guess. But I set him up in my stand, let him use my gun, As I wanted nothing more than to have him be sucessful...He ended up harvesting something with horns. It was a small basket rack 8 pt. Prob a 2 1/2 yr old. Not the buck I would have shot, But it was the perfect buck for him, and I couldn't have been any happier or prouder of him. I didn't care about QDM, herd mix, NOTHING. I told him if its brown, take it down! I'll update this post with a picture.

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Deer are tough in general. A gnarly old buck is one of the toughest to take down. It should remind us all of how we need to be aware of shot placement. I'm not preaching or anything, I have lost a deer or two in my day as well, but as I get older, I pass up more on the questionable shots, and I try and do everything I can to get them closer to me for the best possible scenario. Since I started bow hunting more than 10 years ago, I have been a much more successful firearm hunter. I know its tough to lose a deer, and I know what its like to have a deer at the outer limits of your range, and when its a nice one, I think most would take the shot. Its why we call it hunting. We always seem to come back wiser for it though, and that is worth something.

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Hunting_24_7, I noticed that blood there didn't have any bubbles in it. Or it could be the video quality.

The shot may has missed the vitals High/Low. Usually when a deer is hit through the vitals, wouldn't there be bubbles in the thick red blood. I noticed that some of the blood trail the color is a lighter shade of red.

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Here is my prediction / findings with the examination of the blood very closely...

The vid quality isn't the best, as I took it with my digital camera. But you can see the blood is two different colors in the vid. Out of all the blood I seen, I was looking for bubbles...And didn't notice any. But the two shades of color is what stood out for me. I'm no pro at examining blood types, due to shot placements, but I'm guessing I shot it in the brisket low. But high enough to draw good blood, but low enough to were it didn't effect the vitals. Which would explain the darker shades??? Right? And the lighter shades from the opposite front quarter? Because he initially started dragging that leg when he took off, but then started to use it. If he would have continued to drag it, I would have had more of a trail to follow, other than the blood.

I think one of the pictures really shows the blood outline of a front leg on a bed down. This is my conclusion. But like I said, not an expert my any means, and the only conclusion I could come up.

Does that sound reasonable?

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