Contributors to this thread:
I’m in the middle of my Ohio rut-cation and was sitting in one of my stands situated for a north east wind yesterday morning when the biggest buck I’ve ever drew back on walked in. He paused about 40 yards north of me to rake a tree with his antlers and do a little scraping before he walked upwind of me into my shooting lane at ~20 yds. I stopped him with a grunt when he was broadside and let my arrow fly. I’m not sure if he jumped the string or I pulled the shot (I definitely had some buck fever), but the arrow hit forward and did not get full pass through. He ran like hell heading directly east for ~50 yards before hooking north directly back into the woods. As he jumped back into the woods my arrow fell out and “conveniently” marked the spot. I watched him through my binos and he eventually slowed to a trot and maintained that pace till he was out of sight. My first instinct was I hit the shoulder…I forced myself to wait 30 minutes before I climbed down to inspect the arrow. I got 10” of penetration (measured it with a tape measure) and immediately found blood. I knew I hit further forward than was ideal so I backed out of the area and waited 4 hours before I went back to trail him. In the early afternoon I started tracking him and found his blood trail, which was consistent, bright red and easy to follow with some bubbles in the blood. After about 150 yds I saw him walking ahead of me on a northeast trajectory, I had clearly bumped him from his initial bed. As soon as I saw him I stopped and backed out again but I noticed his head was hanging down and he was having issues walking (clearly injured and somewhat lethargic). I stayed out of that section of woods and decided to wait till morning to try and go in again and find him. After a very long night I got back in there this morning and was able to follow the blood trail further to where he bedded down, however the amount of blood was diminishing. In his bed I found more blood and what appeared to be tissue (although I suppose it’s possible it was clotted up blood)? The blood trail dispersed shortly after that and I lost it. I spent the morning and afternoon grid searching that section of the woods but couldn’t come up with anything…
I’m shooting a 505 grain arrow going 268 fps which equates to 80.5lbs of kinetic energy. I shot him with a Killzone Maxx 2 3/8 cutting diameter broadhead that seemed to have great arrow flight coming out of the bow (I was using lighted nocks). I don’t know how these deer can take a 10-inch deep, 2.5 inch wide thrust to the chest cavity like that and keep on going. Unbelievably tough critters. I feel terrible to say the least…it tears me up not recovering animals for a whole host of reasons. I practice all summer to be an efficient shooter and familiarize myself with my equipment all in an effort to stack the deck in my favor to make a clean & ethical kill.
Will you be able to look more? Get help maybe? GL.
Maybe a crossbow is in your future:) just kidding, it happens and as long as you do your search to where you feel confident you've done the best then move on. Whitetails are tough and for him to live that long and continue walking, maybe you hit one lung and he'll survive. See if there is dog around that trails, otherwise it's the unfortunate part of hunting.
Thanks, Frank. I will be able to search some more as fortunately it's on my family's land.
Thanks, Pete. I was asking around to see if anyone had one...still looking.
This is why a controlled dog trailing law makes a lot of sense. Good luck
I should have prefaced that I am not a seasoned whitetail hunter, this is my 3rd season hunting whitetails (I grew up out west chasing mulies and elk). I would estimate he was between 130" and 140" (typical), not a monster by Ohio standards but would be my biggest none the less. Additionally, if i had to guess I would bet my arrow hit just behind his shoulder (or even chipped it), but that should be a lethal hit, so who knows....I suspect if I had hit the shoulder square I wouldn't have gotten the 10" of penetration.
Man, that’s red meat for mechanical haters....
Just a thought.... and I know I’ll get flamed good for this, but I’ve got my Big Boy Britches on....
But I once ended up trailing a large whitetail buck that had bled PROFUSELY all the way to his first bed. I was literally able to blood trail him from my stand through the binocs for about 40 yards.
So of course I knew he was a goner.... and I managed to bump him. He was walking as you described - head low, scuffling, unsteady gait, tail twitching steadily... He didn’t go too far before he bedded again, and I bumped him again, and he blew outta there for about 60-70 yards absolute tops before he crashed and went down for good.
I kind of think that if you’re really sure that you hit forward and you have a lot of blood, you’re probably better off pushing hard, keeping the blood pressure up and flushing out clotting factors.
So ASSUMING that you’re not going to run into a property line problem, your best bet might have been to make like our ancient ancestors and run him down.
Not the conventional wisdom, but I think sometimes it’s better to keep them bleeding ‘til they run out.
And maybe next time set yourself up for a 15 yard shot.
^ totally agree. Shoulder shots keep him moving keep that wound open
If you hit forward you have arteries veins windpipe etc. Did you hear any coughing or any noise that would lead you to believe the blood was interfering with his breathing??? He will more than likely die as you have to clip something vital in that location. Keep searching.
Hey Phil, no I didn't hear any coughing or other noises related to that unfortunately. I'll keep at it, the section of woods I arrowed him in and found his bed is ~50-75 acres in size.
I know you will, but check every down log and tree top. Found a buddies buck several years ago laying dead right along and up tight to a downed log; very hard to see him unless you were in the right position, definitely couldn't see him from the other side of the log. He knows he is being trailed, he's going to try his best to hide before he expires. Persistance will win you your prize, just keep searching.