Wasted my first buck last night (literally). Still salvageable?

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Talk' started by WhiteMike, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. WhiteMike

    WhiteMike Newb

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    I killed my first buck with a bow last night and didn't find it. About 6:30 pm, it was a clean double lung shot. My arrow passed all the way through and was covered in pink frothy blood. A storm started rolling in so instead of sitting in my stand and waiting I got down to track him (mistake number 1). It started getting dark and raining so I tracked a heavy blood trail for about 100 yards into some thick timber where I found a pool of blood. (I think he laid down and when I got out of my stand I must've jumped him and he took off again). Found a few more blood spots and by this time it was pitch black and raining and lost the trail. Called a couple friends over and we trumped around in the woods for hours looking for more signs of blood and nothing. The timber was so overgrown and dark that we could only see what was directly in the flashlight. Walked around for hours in the dark soaking wet and came up empty handed. Even had dreams about finding him in my driveway and yard. Got up for work and thought my boss might let me have the day off to find him but nope. Might get out of here early but by the time I would get home and hopefully find him it would be late afternoon and today is supposed to get into the 60-70s. So I'm assuming there is no way the meat will be edible? He was a pretty decent sized 4x4 that I had been keeping an eye on for a while and was really pumped to get him. I wish I had just missed him all together but I know he's dead in the woods right now and there's nothing I can do about it. It's literally making me sick to my stomach. I'm wondering what the odds are of the meat being salvageable, and also wanted to get this story of my chest because I feel like absolute sh*t. A mistake i will never make again, taking a shot without knowing that I will have the next day to find him just incase.
     
  2. Sota

    Sota Legendary Woodsman

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    Well that sucks.
     
  3. Western MA Hunter

    Western MA Hunter Die Hard Bowhunter

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    if he's indeed double lunged he won't be far... go back w/ daylight and grid search it.
     
  4. JakeD

    JakeD Grizzled Veteran

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    Well, for starters, I doubt you hit him double lungs. If it was double lung he would be been dead before you could even climb out of a tree. That being said, I don't feel like you necessarily did the wrong thing going after him with heavy rain coming in, but when he got out of his bed I would've waited a minimum of a couple hours before resuming the search.
    I doubt the meat will be any good, but don't give up looking for him. If it takes the rest of the season you owe it to the deer if you think it was a lethal shot. Good luck.
     
  5. purebowhunting

    purebowhunting Die Hard Bowhunter

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    It sucks. If it was a double lung shot a deer won't rise from a bed, can't live long enough to sign of so, maybe a 1 lung hit. Good luck finding him this afternoon.
     
  6. Rob Nicholson

    Rob Nicholson Weekend Warrior

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    There is a good forum/article on conducting a grid search it was posted a couple of days ago. You will definitely find him. I wouldn't mess with the meat, not worth the risk. By now some predators have definitely gotten to him. I know the feeling but it's hunting and we learn from our mistakes. Good luck and keep us posted!
     
  7. BJE80

    BJE80 Legendary Woodsman

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    Got a picture of the arrow?
     
  8. 130Woodman

    130Woodman Grizzled Veteran

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    Like many said doubt it was a double lung, maybe a single placed far back? Meat is not going to be good but the cape and antlers will be fine. I think the only mistake you made is judging where you hit the deer which can be hard to tell sometimes.
     
  9. Tmpky

    Tmpky Weekend Warrior

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    Good luck in your search..
     
  10. BB4tw

    BB4tw Die Hard Bowhunter

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    A lost deer is not completely wasted, only your plans and ideas for it are.

    A lost deer is relegated to a different roll in the circle of life that we all participate in. For example, your lost deer may feed a pack of coyotes which will allow a smaller deer to live and grow. It's a part of the big picture that we will probably never see.

    I know loosing a deer sucks but it happens to every predator both human and animal from time to time. As long as you tried your best to recover it, and it sounds to me like you did, then that is all that you or anybody else can ask.
     
  11. pastorbigdan

    pastorbigdan Weekend Warrior

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    We have all done it at one time or another. Its the unfortunate part of bowhunting but I would not give up looking. Look in the thick stuff as I have seen them crawl into brush piles to die. Good luck
     
  12. dnoodles

    dnoodles Grizzled Veteran

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    I second everything above that was said.
    Also classy that nobody is trashing the OP. That's why I'm here instead of AT.
     
  13. Coop

    Coop Grizzled Veteran

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    I am sorry to read. I am with all the others on both counts: the meat is not going to be good in those temps and it wasn't a double lung hit to go that far and get up and run some more. I know how awful it feels to lose a deer so you have my sympathy.
     
  14. Smitty0220

    Smitty0220 Weekend Warrior

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    That crap feeling you are experiencing does not go away any time soon. Take what happened and learn from it. We all have had it happen and we all try to do whatever we can to make sure that it never happens again. This forum is a great source of information and believe it or not...someone else will learn from what happened to you. It sucks - but if you did everything you could to find the animal, then you will eventually move on. Do not let this adversely affect your hunting enthusiasm. BB4tw's last sentence is right on.
    Good luck!
     
  15. Whitetail

    Whitetail Die Hard Bowhunter

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    It depends when he sided. You will not know until you find him. Skin and fridge asap. You will know if the meat is bad.
     
  16. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    I appreciated your thoughts but this part behooved me to have to type. Sorry but just one time looking is not enough, not even close and the deer deserves more effort. I love the OP is worried about the meat but he also seems overall concerned with completing this harvest with a recovery no matter the condition.

    Grid searching when it all is said and done is at the MINIMUM what someone should do in an attempt to recover a deer. Sorry but saying he enough without a second trip in my personal opinion is shortsighted at best (please this is my opinion do not take offense).

    OP, my thoughts for what they're worth. You wouldn't have spooked a deer from a bed 100 yards away climbing down your stand unless you were extremely loud...especially a wounded deer. My hunch is it definitely wasn't a double lung...if it was he'd been dead some point along what sounds like a decent blood trail. I'm assuming complete pass through so if not double lung shot angle both either quartering wise or vertically must have been enough for only one lung hit (however perhaps you clipped a liver or diaphram as well)...but from your description I'm betting it is a dead deer. Think if you can back to your shot, close your eyes and visualize it if it helps...but really try to figure out angles and what the most likely scenario was.

    With impending rain, I can't say I wouldn't have taken up the trail asap as well...especially if I thought I'd double lunged him.

    Go find that deer though. He is dead, and there is no way of knowing if the meat is bad till you find him. Honestly, hate to type it but a wounded one lunged deer can live in a bed for a long time and expiration may be later than you think making the meat have a higher likelihood of being salvagable. If not salvagable though still get that deer. It and you deserve the hunt to be complete by exhausting every possible option for his location.

    I lived through a similar story...2011 (if memory serves) I shot a buck named Trident from a stand one evening and rain was coming....I knew I'd shot through the shoulder sadly and saw penetration at best meant one lung possibly two from the stand. I waited 30 minutes before trying to locate blood and it was another 45 till pops (he's a freaking bloodhound with eyes for blood) got there and we took up the trail knowing rain was coming that evening and sun was already gone. We followed drops...till we found a bed about 60 yards away from the stand....I was crushed...but the bed had a ton of blood in it and we decided to slowly track it another 20 or 30 yards and see what the sign was like.

    As we neared another 20 yards from the bed the rain started picking up and the somewhat better blood trail now after the bed dried up some....sucked. We both then heard what sounded like a deer crashing within about 30 yards of us directly in front of us. We stood in the misting rain for another 10 minutes or so listening. All had fallen silent and the misting was now rain so we decided after debating to walk to where we thought we'd heard the noise and back out if nothing....we found nothing.

    That night I didn't sleep and the next day once the rain stopped we went to that last spot and began the grid search...plan was pops would loop in gradual circles from that spot constantly looking in a circular grid search pattern while I from that spot would follow any trails he may have taken, read any busted brush sign and attempt to locate him that way. Hours passed...we loop back to the spot and circle back out....me picking another trail and pops going the opposite direction.

    We got a call mom had made us lunch and I could hear pops from the distance yelling at me to meet back at the spot and we'd come back out and search. I was currently on hands and knees searching a thicket that surrounded a low watery/marsh hole about 1/8 of an acre in size. I stood up and saw tine sticking out of some leaves....about 70% of the deer had leaves on him. He was extremely stiff and had been dead no doubt a long time. Upon searching the area it was apparent the loud crashing we'd heard was him dying...but it'd sounded closer because he seriously had snapped a couple inch wide saplings on his death fall...making it seem close. A predator had covered him with leaves after eating just a couple bites from his rump....

    Moral of the story: KEEP SEARCHING especially if you think you made a killing shot. Grid search done...and you feel done throughly...than simply get back on the horse and try again. No one has 100% track record that has hunted for a long time, this experience is a huge lesson to learn from whether recovered or not.


    Forgot to mention we kept pushing that night when we found the arrow and it appeared to have made greater penetration than thought....deer confirmed it too the arrow had made it through the should but had been directed on a slightly downward and foward angle missing the off lung but doing quite a bit of damage as well.
     
  17. Slider46

    Slider46 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    This is a good thing to learn early on. It sucks it had to happen this way but you live and learn.
     
  18. Afflicted

    Afflicted Grizzled Veteran

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    Sucks but that's what's makes are future shots better. I really "try" to hit the heart and use 2" expandable wasp BH.


    Kilboars Hunt Club
     
  19. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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  20. pastorjim08

    pastorjim08 Legendary Woodsman

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    That's very bad luck but I think you should definitely continue looking. You not only owe that to the animal but you owe it even more so to yourself. Once you do find it, you should be able to learn something about the shot, how the deer reacted, and etc. Give it another try. Things can look very different in the light of day. Good luck to you.

    Blessings..........Pastorjim
     

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