When should you give up on tracking a deer?

Discussion in 'Whitetail Deer Hunting' started by Branflakes, Nov 7, 2020.

  1. Branflakes

    Branflakes Newb

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2020
    Posts:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    West Virginia
    This morning I had a shot on my biggest buck yet.. as soon as the arrow connected I had an uneasy feeling. I misjudged the yardage and hit a bit high probably about 3/4 up it's body. It was quartering away and the arrow didn't penetrate real far... didn't pass through. It ran really hard after it got hit. So I waited a couple hours.. then went to track it. Pretty soon we found good blood and started following the trail. It was one of the easiest blood trails I've ever followed, a steady stream of blood that you could almost jog as you follow it at times. So at that point I had a good feeling and was expecting to see a dead deer any moment. However, this trail with heavy blood went on and on. Every once in a while it would peter out a bit, but soon we would be on to a steady trail again. Several hundred yards in I found the arrow.. looked like it only penetrated maybe 8" or less. 7-800 yards in still had good blood and couldn't believe it went that far while bleeding that much. But suddenly the blood amount really tapered out and about that time the trail started taking us up a long steep bank. This is when the very real possibility of not finding this buck started to sink in. We kept following the trail, but it became hard to make much progress, every now and then we would find good spots of blood but they became few and far between...and then couldn't really find any more, exhausted and having somewhere I needed to go, we gave up. All said and done we had tracked this thing more than half a mile. My question to you experienced deer trackers is this: if a deer has gone this far already is it likely still alive? Have you ever had a deer bleed to the extent that I described and see it live? I'm trying to decide if I should go look again tomorrow. I think it's possible I hit the "dead zone". But what gets me is the amount that it bled. Any advice would be appreciated, thanks.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
  2. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Posts:
    13,403
    Likes Received:
    27,982
    Dislikes Received:
    37
    Location:
    greater-Charlotte NC
    If you can use dogs to track on your state, call a tracker.
     
    Branflakes and Suncrest08 like this.
  3. pick00l

    pick00l Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2009
    Posts:
    856
    Likes Received:
    161
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Location:
    PA
    Please go back out there and pick up the trail. The deer is likely dead (as you should always assume) based on your description.

    Blatantly speaking, having somewhere to go might be a reason to stop for a period of time, but not stop looking altogether. Start looking for pin drops. It sounded like each time the deer was really on the move, it was tough blood to track however, when it was walking slow, it was bleeding good. Could have been liver?
     
    Branflakes and Suncrest08 like this.
  4. Suncrest08

    Suncrest08 Die Hard Bowhunter

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Posts:
    1,987
    Likes Received:
    1,737
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Get the hell back out there! You owe it to animal every time you take a shot.
     
    Branflakes and Wop 75 like this.
  5. Fix

    Fix Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2016
    Posts:
    6,499
    Likes Received:
    7,565
    Dislikes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Western NY
    If you have blood you never stop.
    When it stops. Put a marker and search in a 300° radius for at least few hundred yards
     
  6. Grouch

    Grouch Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2020
    Posts:
    148
    Likes Received:
    151
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    sounds like a one lung hit which at times they can survive, Not being there it is hartd to say , but appears to me you took up trail way to soon, Especially if you knew you had a poor hit, second. blood trail seems to go on forever, stop !!! wait a few hours or next morning , three, gather buds and work over area in a grid pattern ,
     
    Branflakes likes this.
  7. early in

    early in Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Posts:
    6,363
    Likes Received:
    4,665
    Dislikes Received:
    104
    Location:
    Southeastern, Pa
    From that deer bleeding like it was and going the distance you describe, it really sounds like you were pushing that deer. I would think a badly injured deer would bed down pretty quickly, unless it's being pushed. jmo
     
    Branflakes likes this.
  8. SticknString14

    SticknString14 Newb

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Posts:
    28
    Likes Received:
    31
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Evergreen Co
    Hopefully with the advice of others you are out there still tracking. In my experience these stories only end in success after many hours of crawling on hands and knees following pin drops or by way of a grid search of the area. What color was the good blood you were following? Deep dark red, pink or bright bright red? This could tell you a lot of where you hit. Also beds, a wounded buck will want to lay down with a loss of blood pressure, if there’s no beds your likely pushing the buck.
     
    Branflakes likes this.
  9. Vabowman

    Vabowman Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Posts:
    3,382
    Likes Received:
    1,265
    Dislikes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Southeast Va
    muscle and flesh hits leave really good blood trails for a long ways.. double lung/heart, leave really good blood trails but are short. I have been on many trails that had good blood... but not the right kind.. bright red, foaming blood is good blood..dark/watery blood, not so much. in my 30 years, once you go much over 100 yds, it's usually not hit where you think it is. most double lung/heart shots go anywhere from 0 100-yds and end with a deer piled up.
     
    Adam Miller and Branflakes like this.
  10. Mod-it

    Mod-it Die Hard Bowhunter

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2019
    Posts:
    1,087
    Likes Received:
    1,458
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Idaho
    If a deer is pushed it can go a long ways and still have a mortal wound. Very hard to determine whether it is likely going to live or not from just reading a forum post and not actually being there.
    There is no "no zone", if you are referring to what some claim is a void above the lungs and under the spine. The lungs go all the way up to the spine, but the spine is lower than most think. People that think they hit the "void" have mostly either shot over the spine or only gotten one lung.
    I feel really crappy if I hit an animal and can't recover it. It makes me not want to even hunt for a while, it is just a sickening feeling.
    To avoid feeling that way and out of respect for my quarry, I will track, grid search, call in as many helpers as I can, take time off work, whatever it takes to put in the best effort I possibly can to recover it.
     
  11. early in

    early in Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Posts:
    6,363
    Likes Received:
    4,665
    Dislikes Received:
    104
    Location:
    Southeastern, Pa
    Exactly. Every situation is going to be different. Where you think the hit was, angle, penetration, blood, or lack there of, elapsed time before search, ect. No two scenarios are alike. If you hunt long enough, a lost deer is inevitable.
     
    Branflakes and Vabowman like this.
  12. Branflakes

    Branflakes Newb

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2020
    Posts:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    West Virginia
    Wow, thanks for all the responses! I got some extra buddies and went back out the next day. Unfortunately, we were not able to pick up the blood trail any further, but we did a pretty thorough search of the area. Then I went back out Tuesday and looked around some more. But ultimately I came up empty handed...makes me sick. There's things I wish I would've done different, but it's lessons learned for next time. But hopefully next time I'll smoke it the way you're supposed to! Thanks again to everyone and good luck on the rest of the season!
     
    ChuckC likes this.
  13. HancockCountyIL

    HancockCountyIL Newb

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2019
    Posts:
    42
    Likes Received:
    18
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Hi all, I found this video this morning related to deer anatomy and shot placement. I learned a lot, and wanted to pass it along. Good luck!
     
    Branflakes likes this.
  14. Ship of Fools

    Ship of Fools Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Posts:
    59
    Likes Received:
    48
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    There's a very good chance that deer is still alive and well and won't die. Based on your description most dog trackers wouldn't even take that track unless they were slow and wanted to work the dog.
     
    Branflakes likes this.
  15. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    Posts:
    11,973
    Likes Received:
    2,620
    Dislikes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Northern Indiana
    When I've exhausted every legal means and walked every logical place for which sign or the deer could reside. Then and only then do I stop looking.

    I continue for days looking for vultures.
     
    Garrett Godlewski and Branflakes like this.
  16. Branflakes

    Branflakes Newb

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2020
    Posts:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    West Virginia
    I was curious how effective vulture watching was. I've been watching for vultures and a couple times spotted some flying around the area...I was just never able to pinpoint a precise location off of them.
     
  17. Branflakes

    Branflakes Newb

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2020
    Posts:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    West Virginia
    That is a great video! thanks for sharing. I uploaded a picture of the video with a circle over the spot where I believe the arrow entered. I was in a 16ft tree stand and the deer was about 25yds away so it would've been angled down some from there. However it was quartering away pretty sharp as well. So I'm wondering if maybe the bigger problem that I hit too far forward. Maybe where the arrow actually went through was above the lung where it slopes down in the front and possibly above the spine. I still think there's a good chance I got a little bit of lung or something for the amount that it bled and the angle of the shot vs just a muscle shot above the spine. But idk, it's all speculation.

    The sad thing is, the deer was coming in for a perfect broadside 15 yd shot, and was about to step into an opening, when out of nowhere this doe comes flying past me from behind and the buck takes off after it. I was able to get it to stop and look back, but I rushed the shot, not knowing exactly how far away it was. That's 2 seconds i wish i could have back, but oh well, that's life!
     
  18. Branflakes

    Branflakes Newb

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2020
    Posts:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    West Virginia
    Here is the pic of the approximate shot placement
     

    Attached Files:

  19. Adam Miller

    Adam Miller Newb

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2019
    Posts:
    12
    Likes Received:
    4
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    I strongly agree with this. Almost every deer I’ve shot and killed bow hunting they pile up within 100 yards. Any of them with a good blood trail that last for as long as you’ve stated never end good. I’d bet the deer is still alive. They often live with a single lung shot!
     
    Vabowman likes this.
  20. Bootlegger

    Bootlegger Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2013
    Posts:
    3,300
    Likes Received:
    317
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Crossville,TN
    It’s been 3-4 years ago. My neighbor about a mile away. His grandson shot a doe. Lot of blood for a 100 yards or so, then just petered out. We Looked for hours and nothing. I went back home eat. When I went back to look some more. My neighbor that’s close to me, her “dumb dog” ‍♂️ She got from the pound a few years ago....looks like a mutt..lol. Always wants to follow me around. I found he was good squirrel dog. He of course followed me where the boy shot the deer. The grandpa and I looked for another hour. The dog did like normal and started squirrel hunting. Well, he started acting dumb as I assumed and wouldn’t shut up barking. I finally walked about 100 yards to where he was to get him. Well, he was barking at the deer The hole had plugged itself with fat tissue. Ran about 200 yards further and buried itself in a pile up brush we’d walked around 5 times.

    Sorry, long stupid story I know. But if you get a house pet take it...lol. You Never know


    Hoyt Helix
    Hoyt RX1
    Hoyt Carbon Spyder ZT
     
    Wop 75 and Recluse like this.

Share This Page