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I’ve been after this beautiful buck since the opening day of archery here in PA. I’ve seen him a few times before but never in range. Tonight 3 mins before legal shooting time ends he walks out at roughly 20 yards. I was in a ground blind so it was a bit darker inside due to the roof of the blind. I draw back and I can barely make out my pins but decide to take the shot because I’ve shot countless times at my Glendale buck under low light in the backyard. Long story short I shoot and the buck runs off. I go to look for my arrow but can’t find it anywhere. Found 3 clumps of hair each about the size of a 50¢ Coin where he was standing when I shot. I followed his tracks for a few hundred yards and found nothing else. No blood, no hair, no arrow. My question is did I spook this buck for good or will I get a redemption shot at him if I keep after him. I’m clear sick over the whole thing and wish I would have just let him walk now
Did you hit him or miss him? Go back and check in the daylight. If you missed him, there’s always a chance he could come back, but it’s getting close to the time that he will start to roam and cover more ground, increasing his chance of walking in front of another hunter. If you hit him, he could be dead 100 yards from your blind.
Lesson learned: If you can't see your pins, it's too dark to "pick a spot" and make a clean kill.
Go back and search some more..just to be sure. JMHO, as requested.
He doesn't know what the noise was. So he didn't pack his bags and leave the county. ( they don't do that anyway) He is still out there but I would look for a water source first, just in case. Try Goole maps or a topo and put the puzzle together. Go downhill and to water in the same direction. If nothing still, then set up and hunt. Drop a few cameras. maybe you'll get your answer. He will be seeking the girlies so he is huntable if not dead. Stay on it.
One of the few downsides of a blind, lower light.
Solve it with a Zbros light! The Zampenelli bros make a very nice light with great adjustability that recharges with your cell phone charger!
Dial it way down and keep hunting that beauty! Be very careful to leave as little scent as possible while searching, that can ruin your chances faster than your shot.
I pick up a forked stick and use it to keep brush from touching my clothing and take it out with me.
We can use a tracking dog in Pennsylvania now. Try that.
I would spend the morning looking. Find the arrow or find the deer. A beagle would be a great help. Also try those nocks that light up when you shoot. They really work great and you would have known immediately if you had hit the deer. You can also find your arrow quickly.
Find your arrow. That the best evidence to start with
As was mentioned, I wouldn't give up, at least until I found the arrow and saw what clues it provides.
I would be there first thing this morning. Hopefully you didn't get any rain. Things tend to look a whole lot different in the daylight.
What color was the hair you found?
You obviously hit him (or grazed) if you found 3 clumps of hair the size of 50 cent piece. Deer don't lose large clumps of hair for no reason. Was it brown or white - that's a big clue? If you shot him 3 mins before legal shooting time - and started "tracking" shortly there after - I imagine it was pretty dark. You could easily have missed some pin size blood, as others have said. I hope your back out this morning looking - my guess is you will find additional clues you missed last night. Get on your hands and knees where he was standing when you shot, and continue on your hands and knees in the direction he went.
When you say you followed his tracks for a few hundred yards, that's a pretty long distance to track a buck with no blood and no clues other than "tracks", How do you know they were his?
Woodguy is spot on, IMO. The hair color and length will give you the best clues right now, until you find other clues.
As for the buck sticking around, if he's not dead...in my experience he won't leave the general area, but I doubt you'll ever find him using that same trail at the same time again.
If there's any chance of a liver hit I'd check every water source within a 1/4 mile. Every deer I've shot in the liver was within FEET of water. Do that after you try and find your arrow and do some more hands and knee searching. You might get lucky and find some blood. Good luck!
1000 lumen LED light at dark will make even a tiny blood drop stand out. You can get one for $12 on ebay. It does not help for today, but it will for the next trailing job in the dark.
"Clumps" of hair usually mean a very high of low hit. That's where the longest and thickest hair is. If it's light it's low, if it's dark it's high.
Also, the fact that the hair didn't have blood or hide on it, suggests it was a clean "shave" and the buck will likely be fine.
I don't mean to discourage you. By all means, spend at least a few hours looking for more clues in the immediate area of shot. Personally, I wouldn't tromp the entire property, though, if you don't find other evidence. You're likely to further educate him and make him even harder to kill.
The arrow is the key. Find it.
The arrow is either in the woods or in the deer. You have an obligation to keep looking until you find it.
As stated above, learn everything you can from the hair you found.
What GG said .... if its clumps of hair, it was 'prolly a graze... dark is high, lighter or white is low .... I guess this would be a good reason to use lighted nocks ... that arrow could have slid under grass, leaves or even top layer of dirt and be well hidden ..
What JTV said. Also, if it was a high graze, the arrow could have deflected and could be almost anywhere, including in a tree. I've seen it before.
Your shooting from a blind so your arrow path through the deer would be level. If you hit the deer, especially if you hit the chest, you wouldn't see much blood until it either comes out his nose or chest fills up. Like others have said, keep looking. If you don't see sign of the direction he went, start making widening circles until you do.
1. Pics of hair would be cool 2. Lighted nocks would have been useful to aid in arrow path and recovery 3. Hopefully an update is forthcoming 4. Good luck
it needs to be asked ....... WELL ???
I forgot last night but if there is water nearby be sure to check it. A gut shot deer will almost always go to water. Deer hit other places will often go to water. I found a nice eight point that I had double lunged with just the tip of an antler sticking out of the water. He was in a flowing stream and had gone under a log. Have found others floating in the water.
PAoutdoorsman..what's the status of the buck?