Ripcord Arrow Rests
Tricks to employ when blood trailing elk
Contributors to this thread:
BB 22-Jan-05
Wapiti Willie 22-Jan-05
Ole Coyote 22-Jan-05
Bill in MI 22-Jan-05
NMuzzy 22-Jan-05
bugle 22-Jan-05
round valley 22-Jan-05
Elknut1 22-Jan-05
Joe R 23-Jan-05
Appletree 23-Jan-05
Lon Sharp 23-Jan-05
Matt@home 23-Jan-05
elkhunter2 23-Jan-05
Ranger 24-Jan-05
Elknut1 24-Jan-05
No Bark 24-Jan-05
Wapiti Willie 24-Jan-05
BB 24-Jan-05
oldbowhunter 25-Jan-05
Ranger 25-Jan-05
Elknut1 25-Jan-05
Njord 25-Jan-05
Mike in Mo. 25-Jan-05
oldbowhunter 25-Jan-05
oregon boy 26-Jan-05
elkaholic 27-Jan-05
Mad_Angler 22-Dec-10
Norseman 22-Dec-10
elkmtngear 22-Dec-10
Snag 22-Dec-10
GregE 22-Dec-10
Snag 22-Dec-10
Big D 22-Dec-10
medicinemann 22-Dec-10
Dirty D 22-Dec-10
Huntosolo 02-Sep-19
trkytrack 02-Sep-19
Barron114 02-Sep-19
Darrell 02-Sep-19
GF 02-Sep-19
svrelk 02-Sep-19
Stryker 03-Sep-19
>>>---WW----> 03-Sep-19
svrelk 03-Sep-19
Habitat 03-Sep-19
GF 03-Sep-19
Padfoot 03-Sep-19
Carnivore 03-Sep-19
Helgermite 03-Sep-19
GF 03-Sep-19
trublucolo 03-Sep-19
From: BB
Many of us have come upon some pretty strange situations while blood trailing elk.

What are some of "your secrets" you employ to insure you find your bull, and what are some of the surprises you have witnessed?

What are the main ingredients one should use to insure he finds the bull he arrows?

If you have a picture of two of the critter your talking about, please post. Or if you have a picture of the blood trail or some other important phase of the trail, please post that too. Many of us have come upon some pretty strange situations while blood trailing elk.

Have a great bowhunt. BB

If the trail gets faint or old, you can spray suspecious looking spots with hydrogen peroxide. If it is blood, it will boil. This even works on trails a day or two old.

Sometimes the dry arid soils of the west will actually soak up blood like a sponge. But the peroxide will still make it show up.

From: Ole Coyote
Well I am not sure this is the best by any means but it has always worked for me. First do not yell with excitement when you arrow an elk it just pushes them father away. Remain calm and relax the easy part is over,lol! I like to wait about 1/2 hour to start the trailing. I go to the spot the elk was standing in and place a marker there. Since I seem to shoot 99% of my animals late in the day I use reflective marking tape and place a piece at that spot.I like mag lites for tracking as the light is adjustable! Taking your time is most important and remember to retrace your steps to retrive the reflective tape as it will not break down. That's about it for me and so far I have not lost an animal, thank God, nine and counting! Stay well!!

I think like an elk. :0Þ

The Old Sarge

From: Bill in MI
You have lost elk you where trailing???? You mean they were stolen??? I'd be one pissed off elk hunter! Bill in MI

From: NMuzzy
While trailing stay to the side of the trail. If multiple people are tracking it is best to have one person stay on the last blood found until the next is found. You don't want people trampling all over the sign your suppose to be looking for. Look for the path of least resistance when looking ahead. Animals that are hit good don't like over-exertion unless pushed or scared. If you lose the trail mark the last spot of blood found and start doing little circles around the area or a grid pattern. Looking under vegitation, over vegitation, across logs. If it were a decent hit look at mid-height of tree trunks. Look for signs of bile or stomach material in the blood. TAKE YOUR TIME!

From: bugle
Binoculars are invaluable in trialing. Step, look ahead, up close and as far as you can. It is amazing how many critters you will find with the binos that you won't see with the naked eye in timbered areas!

Know where you hit the animal. This will determine the pace to follow. If it was a heart or lung shot, chances are, by the time you compose yourself after the shot and ease to where the animal was standing, he is already dead. Shot too far back? Take your time before following. My experience shows that a liver or gut shot animal will only go less than 100 yards before stopping and/or laying down. If you don't push him, that is where you will find him several hours (wait at least 4 before trailing) later. If you get on it too soon, you will see butt, tracks and little or no blood. Leg shots?? Get on him and push. Don't ***** foot around, walk and try to keep him moving. A leg wound can be fatal. If you let them lay, the bleeding will stop and the animal will recover. By pushing him, the wound may stay open and continue to bleed until he goes down. My partner's bull this year took one through the "armpit" and went about a mile, but we stayed on him and watched him expire. If we had sat to wait him out, that bull would not have been in our freezer!

Watch for clues about how sick/weak/well he is by what he does. Downhill, straight line. Really good sign. Traverse the hill, maybe not as good a shot as you thought, but don't dispair. It might just be the path of least resistance. Across, up, over, down, around.......In a marginally hit animal, watch for signs that he has laid down or at least stopped to watch his backtrail (This is where the binos come in). Don't be too mesmerized by a trail going in a straight line. Look to the side, uphill and downhill because he may have zigged when you thought he should have zagged. I walked right by the only cow I have taken with a bow because I was too intent on looking down the straight line and massive blood trail she was leaving on the trail she had been taking. We were above timberline with only knee high willows around. I figured that I should be able to see her wherever she went, WRONG! She had stepped two steps to the side of the trail, probably wobbled when she ran out of gas and fell four feet off the trail we were on and in plain sight, but I was only looking ahead!

From: round valley
Wow, great thread ! ..Elfking , have you tracked humans before ?? sounds like it !! A coleman lantern at dark , works great as does peroxide .. .......lets all practise more and keep the tracking to a minimun !......RV

From: Elknut1
In addition the obvious, I have a little trick that I use under extreme situations. (little to no blood) It has helped me find 2 bulls that I feel otherwise would have been nearly impossible to find due to lack of tracks or blood. I lay on the ground and put my cheek to the ground or close to it then look in the direction I came from or where the sign has brought me to. By doing this you can see the path of travel in some of the most difficult circumstances.

I then turn my face in the direction I believe the animal went, but can't find, and look for a similar path. You'll be amazed how that can lead you in the right direction and hopefully pick up a spot of blood for verification so you can continue on!!

Too, if you're hunting with newer ones or the youth, make sure you drill in them that when the take a shot at an elk, and they think they hit it or missed it, to pull out another arrow and stab it in the ground where they took the shot.

So many newer ones after the shot leave the scene to go tell whoever is with them that they had just shot. In doing so it can be very difficult to locate that exact spot so you can see where the animal stood for the shot. This is very important, and can save time & frustration! ElkNut-1

From: Joe R
A long blood trail is full of emotional highs and lows and the most important thing is to not give up. If you find you can’t extend the trail, stretch out under a tree and rest your eyes and mind for a few minutes. Most times when you go back to work with fresh eyes you will pick up something you missed that will help you move on. Also I’m with Old Sarge, “ Think like an elk.”. Most everyone will tell you a mortally wounded animal will seldom head uphill. But elk like uphill and many a blood trail I’ve worked have ended "up" from where they started!


From: Appletree

Used this with whitetail, but it is equally applicable to elk.

When one of my blood trails petered out, I climbed the nearest tree (leaving bow well away from under tree, of course). From that vantage point I found my deer immediately, behind a fallen tree in some waist high brush.


From: Lon Sharp
Way back in '84 I hit an elk too far back for perfect recovery. The key to my finding that bull was the memory of a more experienced friend telling me before the hunt, "Remember that elk are big and heavy animals. In the mountains they almost always leave a track you can follow, even if you have to do it by feel." Long story short, in an area where fern type vegetation obscured all visual trail, I was able to FEEL with my fingertips the imprints of his feet to verify the path of his escape. When I did find the bull, I was so involved in tracking that it took a few seconds for it to sink in that it was MY bull. I remember thinking, "I'll be darned, a dead elk..." Another tip, if the arrow passed through the intestines, as in a severe quartering shot, any fresh green droppings you find on the potential trail will look merely fresh and green, but if you put them in your hand you sometimes find they have a telling layer of red blood.

Good trailing, all! Lon

From: Matt@home
As previously stated, don't think blood is the only thing you can track with. Tracks can be just as good, and disturbed vegetation/leaf litter can give clues.

I like to put little peices (2"x2") of TP (biodegradable) on twigs I stick in the ground to mark blood on tough blood trails. This can help crystalize the direction of the animal and leaves a good marker if you lose blood and have to go back to last blood and regroup.

From: elkhunter2
Lots of good tricks of the trade listed here. I always keep a small strip of survayors tape in my pocket. I will drop the tape on the ground just after the shot, to mark the exact place I shot from. I keep looking where the bull was standing and go mark that spot with my pack. While waiting the 1/2 to 1 hour I will quietly look for the arrow. So many things are happening in such a short amount of time it is easy to loose your visual image of where the bull was standing and where exactly you were. This has helped my several times. As you all know finding the arrow can be difficult especially if you were unsure in which direction to look.

From: Ranger
Always keep the track between you and the source of light. Morning and evening are the best times to track. Midday is not good with the sun overhead. Look for the next track, it's there! The animal just didn't fly away. If you can't see the track, look for the compression shape indentation left by the hoof print. Scrutinize the trail for any sign of blood, broken twigs, misplaced dirt. This takes time. Do it. It pays off. Don't move ahead on the next track until you have found the previous one. All diagional walking animals such as deer, elk, goats, etc; have a dominant side, such as we do - right or left handed. 90% of the time, a wounded animal will circle to it's dominant side and die. Look for blook off to the side of the trail. Be patient.

From: Elknut1
Good stuff guys!! Heck I've picked up a point or two as well! Hopefully all will read this thread, it can certainly enhance recoveries!----------------ElkNut-1

From: No Bark
Good stuff, I have seen a successful recovery where there was no trail left. As a last resort take note of the direction of travel and whether or not the animal is staying at the same elevation. This particular elk was traveling at the same elevation for quite a while and when the trail came to an end, two stayed and tried to pick up the trail again while the third person struck out in the direction of travel and elevation and found the elk about 300 yards out.

When the going gets really tough and you loose the blood trail, you can measure the animals stride. Cut a long stick and lay it down next to the foot prints. Cut a notch in the stick that indicates the length of his stride. Then, if you happen to loose the trail altogether, just lay the end of the stick on the last footprint you were able to find. The notch you cut in the stick should be on the next track or very close to it. It's a long and tedious job, but it works.

I've heard that blue light will make blood glow at night....(several of the petzel line headlamps use the blue halogen)... RTS

From: BB

BB's embedded Photo
BB's embedded Photo
I encountered the following just last fall. My hunting partner shot an elk at about 9 am in a broken opening with lots of waist high brush, small quakey groves, patches of thick oak and lots of broken ravines. That morning had been a cool and the sky was clear. By 9am it was warming rapidly and you could tell it was going to be a hot day.

He marked where he was standing, walked to where the bull was standing, and found traces of blood. Not far from there (and in the line of the arrow’s path) he found his arrow which had passed through the bull. It was drenched with blood from nock to the tip of his snuffer. In fact when he showed it to me the arrow was still dripping blood.

That morning a decent sized herd of elk milled and rutted in the general area, so there were fresh tracks everywhere. It was just a raghorn bull, so a decent sized cow had about the same size print.

We spent over and hour trailing him the first 20 yards of his run, finding almost less than trace blood. After 20 yards we could not find one drop of blood.

What would you have done taking all things into consideration.

Keep in mind, in most situations, there are more than one way to skin a cat.

Here's a picture of that bull, taken not long after we found him.

Have a great bowhunt. BB

Often times a bull will have a unique characteristic on one hoof that will differentiate his track from other elk...if this was not the case and peroxide didn't reveal any blood in the soil after a couple hundred yards i would go to plan C:

If there are only two guys and i would spread out 50 yards apart (sounds like open enough terrain to see a dead 4 point at 25 yards)....and make half circles in the direction the bull exited looking for blood or an antler sticking up...If that didn't turn up a bull i would go to pla D:

Watch/listen for birds and find the nearest creek and walk it out.... often times sick bulls will lay in water and die or cool off and start bleeding externally again....

Alot of guys will give up the search after a couple days knowing the meat will be ruined due to warm weather....i usually will continue the search knowing birds/predators will help locate the carcass...just finding a pile bones and being able to see how far and what kind of line the bull took might help in future tracking jobs..


OK BB the suspense is killing me How'd ya find him?????????

From: oldbowhunter
A good way to start, after the shot, is to calm down.

Listen close to the sounds of the animal running away. I've had blood sprayed out both sides at the impact point and then nothing between there and the animal. All internal bleeding, But I heard him go down. Actually he went quiet after running full tilt straight down hill from a heart shot. I found him in the dark because I was sure he was dead and not far away. Due to the terrain there was no shot at tracking by sight.

Sound reverberates and sometimes you can't be sure where it's coming from. I didn’t find him where it sounded like he was, so I went back to the beginning and took another angle until I found him. It took me about two hours to locate him and he wound up only about forty yards form the point of impact.

If you haven't done a lot of this it can be very elating and very stressful. Take a big drink of whatever, if you’re pretty excited, so you don’t start dehydrating. I make a rule not to party or high five until I’m sitting on the critter. Keep your wits about you. Check your watch. Note the time.

I don't have a rule for how long to wait before starting to track. It just depends on what I see and what I hear. I’ll get on em pretty quick unless it’s a bad hit far back. Then I go by the weather. If it’s cool I’ll wait as long as I can.

Most of the time if you've made a good hit you'll hear him go down even if you don't see him, so be quiet and pay attention to the sounds immediately after the shot. They don’t go far if the broadhead is sharp and you’ve poked him through the boiler room. Mark the spot where you shot from. Mark where the animal was.

Go slow. Don’t mark up the trail. Mark all blood and sign. Don’t give up. Backtrack when you run out of sign. Stay positive. Don’t waste your energy kicking yourself or getting discouraged. Drag your hands through the ferns and low brush. Check your clothing for blood. Have peroxide with you in a spray bottle and quarts more handy cause you might need it. If you’re in a big dry sage flat, set fire to it so you can see better (just kidding) LOL, or, sell the Mathews and switch to hunting with a .338 WIN MAG, then you don’t have to track em 8^).

From: Ranger
Good responses from Elkiller & Oldbowhunter. If the animal was going in a particular direction 9 times out of 10 it will stay in that direction after being hit unless something else spooks it. I have tracked wounded game that left absolutly no blood what-so-ever only to find a pin drop on a blade of grass out 75 - 100yards from where I gave up on the trail. Painstakingly after my eyes started to bleed from looking at everything, It payed off. After finding that pin drop of blood, soon more was to follow, not a lot, but it made the tracking easier. Only then came another big drink of water followed by a war cry and a smile.

From: Elknut1
oldbowhunter---good thoughts, and yet entertaining!!! (grin)

BB---There's a couple things I'd do in approaching a situation on a hit animal first off. In this case I'd examine the arrow right off since it was there and dripping with blood. What kind?? I'd want to know where he was it, not where I hoped or though he was hit, the blood will give me a good indication, on what to do next, and how far he might have gone and where.

2ndly-Since this bull was alone when shot and not with this milling-rutting herd I'd defenitely be concentrating on the tracks that were on top of the previous elk that had been there, at least they didn't all blow out of there together, that's when you've got a real mess without the presence of blood.

Too, even if the elk tracks were a bit muffed up, I'd look for his running & stumbling type track, possibly kicking or spraying dirt from his quick escape. You're not going to find to many good solid identifiable tracks until he slows down some. Too, with a passthrough, blood has to be spraying out to the sides, even if minimal.

I say these things as I too tracked my sons bull to 150 yds away a couple years back with not enough blood on the ground to paint your thumbnail at anytime. There were elk tracks everywhere, I stayed with the ones that were on top of others & walked right to him in about 45min after we started looking. Thanks for the Homework assignment!! ElkNut-1

From: Njord
I use the initial 30 min after a good hit to recreate the shot. I mark the place I shot from, mark where the animal stood, mark last place I saw animal, take a compass bearing to last place I heard the animal. I write it all down in a notebook. I also recreate the shot/ hit and make notes as to impression of the hit, because it's too easy to seccond guess the hit after a blood trail turns cold.

I've tracked lung hit elk that never left more than a copple drops of blood on the ground, where all the blood came out the nose and was sprayed on vegitation.

Also as mentioned earlier, use the light to cast shadows on the trail. looked backwards or sideways to get the light right, as often it will shade the track and make it easier to see.

From: Mike in Mo.
I always watch the animal and listen to it for as far as I can watch and listen, next thing I do is get a bearing with my compass and try to guess the distance of where I last heard or seen the animal.

The next thing I do is mark the exact place I am standing with my g.p.s. and mark it with trail ribbon.

The next thing I do is wait at least thirty minutes and try to get help if I think that it may have been a bad hit, it I think the hit is good, I will follow by myself, if not I will leave and get help.

One of the next most important things in my opinion is to mark the trail with toilet paper, several times I have tracked deer that have circled and crossed thier trail, if the trail is not marked this can really throw you for a loop.

While tracking elk, I have noticed that yellow jackets tend to really flock around the blood, several times I have found blood simplyby checking out where they were on the ground.

take your time, look ahead, don`t disturb the leaves anymore than necessary.

I alwaays carry and orange hunter vest to mark last blood on a hard to track trail, that way it is easy to come back to last blood, if it is dark I replace the vest with a flashlight, that way you can find it in the dark.

don`t let darkness get in your way, we use coleman lanterns with reflecters on them, the reflecters keep thelight on the ground and not in your eyes.

If the track is lost we go back to that bearing I mentioned at first, We walk that bearing and fan out looking in that direction.

I think the key , is giving the animal a little time, marking the trail and not getiing into a hurry.

good huntin Mike in Mo.

From: oldbowhunter
Mike in Mo

That's a real good tip about the yellow jackets! I can use that one.

From: oregon boy
a friend of minds wife help find a lost bull one year because she noticed that every few moments a yellow jacket flew by all going the same direction, she broke off from us and followed them and found the bull that had been doubling back to watch his back trail! nice job!

From: elkaholic
When tracking, cow call every once in awhile as you may get a second chance if the animal is still alive.Last year I walked up on my bull while doing this, it was too thick to get a shot so we backed off and came back later to find him dead. Be as human noise quiet as possible and take your time!

Areas we hunt have thick undergrowth so a lot of the times to track were the animal has moved through the hazzle brush, willows and undergrowth (which bends over then springs back as the animal moves through), I like to look up high(3 to 6 feet sometimes)for a lot of the sign.

When the blood trail gets weak or we're stuck, one guy will stay on the trail while the other leap frogs ahead to check out possible directions. At this time we’ll often switch exclusively to tracks for our clues. It's not unusual for the blood trail not to travel right up to the animal. Often your quarry will be found a short distance beyond the last blood sign, so don’t give up here.

We always mark the blood trail (last spot and such) as we go, this also gives you the benefit of looking back to get a good indication to your prey’s direction of travel.

From: Mad_Angler
lots of good tips here.

I like to use most of them: mark the spot you were standing, mark the spot the deer was standing, mark every blood speck with a piece of TP to keep track of it.

I also like to carefully watch the animal as it runs away. Focus hard on the last landmark it passes. Wait 15-30 minutes and go mark that spot too if you can get to it quietly.

From: Norseman
+1 on Wapiti Willi's stick idea!

it works.

From: elkmtngear

elkmtngear's Link
When all hope seems lost.....move downwind of the direction of suspected travel...and sniff -em out. We have recovered a lot of bulls this way, you can definitely walk right to a downed bull using the wind.

Best of Luck, Jeff (Bowsite Sponsor)

From: Snag
Anyone use hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle? When it hits blood, even a small speck, it will foam up.

From: GregE
Snag- read the 2nd post

Lots of familiar names we don't see much anymore.

Wapiti Willy- guess old WW just couldn't spell it anymore...


From: Snag
...sorry, I missed that...good point Willie...haha

From: Big D
lots of great info. Go slow, look ahead and generally dont move past your last sign. Tracking with inexpierienced trackers can really mess things up Even well hit animals generally trail,.. once they quit trailing likely they are in the death walk or run and should be close. Last yearI tracked an elk I had to make sure I missed Some other hunters watched me and later we talked, They had a hard time believing I was following a track ( low sun) that fast in rock and not blood As a kid we tracked deer for kicks, practice helps Look ahead, mornings with dew or frost can make tracking a cinch look for undewed or frosted plant growth again low sun can really make a trail stand out Some places it may not be legal,.. but a couple of dogs can make short work on a downed animal

From: medicinemann
Some people tend to get tunnel vision and focus only on finding blood on the ground.....remember, if you hit the animal in the body cavity, the blood can be on the leaves of low branches, grassy stems, tree bark, etc....never making it to the ground.

I always double the direction of the splatter too....once or twice it has signaled a slight change in the animals direction of travel.

From: Dirty D
I use Elknut's technique of sticking another arrow from your quiver in the ground from where you took the shot. And also always watch the animal run as far as I can and mentally mark that spot.

Many times there may be little to no blood where the animal was standing when it was hit and depending on the hit there may be little blood to trail. Even a lethal hit may produce very little blood, as the body cavity fills but doesn't flow out the entrance/exit hole. But if you mentally marked the last know location of the animal you may be able to easily pick up the trail there.

I also keep an eye out for hair and the place of impact, that with the arrow may help in your detective work.

And I never leave after taking a shot without either a recovered arrow (blood or no blood) or a blood trail.

From: Huntosolo
Learned the hard way that if no follow-up shot presents then it’s best to back-out and wait rather than staying put on a sick and bedded bull. The wind can change making an easy retrieval much more difficult.

From: trkytrack
First requirement is to actually shoot an elk.

From: Barron114
I think it has already been said, but have your compass close and use it. Drop your pack where you shot from and shoot an azimuth to the last place you either saw or heard the animal. If you can’t find blood at the location of the shot or lose blood quickly, you can alway go back to your pack and get started in the right direction. I used to track deer with a dog and many times I would arrive at the site of the shot and the hunter would swear that the animal was standing in a particular location. I would then let the dog work and find out that the hunter was 90-180 degrees off from what really happened. Typically, in those situations, the deer would be fairly close and had the hunter used his compass, there would have been no need for a dog.

From: Darrell
Best trick ever in states where it is legal is to get a dog. Beagles and other hounds are amazing at following a blood trail. Not sure my lab would but I would give her a try.

From: GF
Most important thing in blood trailing is to get to where you can do it without any blood to follow. In deep pine duff, you can ID the fresh tracks by sticking your fingers into the bottom. On a warm day, the fresh tracks are cool & damp down there. Followed those a couple hundred yards one time. Really appreciating some of the descriptions of other tricks... new spin on an old lesson always makes for a new one.

And somebody mentioned a dominant side.... I don’t know about that, but if you hit them through the meat of the shoulder, they’re going to be short of power on that side. Especially if the head is still stuck in there. I got a whitetail through both shoulders and the heart one time. Not a DROP of blood, and the head lodged against the off humerus. I saw his entire run, and as the broadhead cut up the far shoulder, the arc got tighter all the way to where he crashed.

I like to flag the trail with sticks or TP or something as I go. That will make it clearer if the animal is on a straight line course or an arc or something more complicated.

Seems to me that a straight line or an arc is an animal just gettin’ the heck outta Dodge, and probably greying out already. Zigging or zagging is a very bad sign, IMO... either looking for a hidey-hole or going back into normal travel mode.

Main thing, though, is patience; you bump ‘em from that first bed, and your job just got a whole lot harder. If you find blood on the wrong side of the trail, it probably means that they turned around to watch the back-trail and you’ve really screwed up. In that case, it’s time to take a LONG break and let the critter expire... weather permitting.

From: svrelk
Mark your shot location, and the impact spot,

I've found more dead elk with my nose than my eyes.. I circle down wind of the bulls travel path... Bull elk stink.. a 100 yards away you can smell them... Follow your nose .

From: Stryker
When I’m trailing an elk or a deer I use orange survey tape to mark blood. I try and hang it at eye level that way if my trail gets less and less I can turn and look back and see the direction the animal was heading in. After recovery I make sure to retrieve all of the tape from the trees.

Instead of orange flagging tape, try marking the blood trail with sheets of toilet paper. You don't have to pick it up. The first rain will wash it away. Too many guys leave that tape and never bother to pick it up!!!

From: svrelk
One more thing, the old myth about wounded animals always going downhill..... Forget it...... It ain't true...

From: Habitat
I watch for ants piled up on 1 spot,can't tell you how many drops of blood I have found doing this

From: GF
Bugs... who knew???

Ants and YellowJackets are probably the two best tips I’ve picked up in years....

From: Padfoot
Ditto what SVRELK said. Also, in the few times Ive tracked elk for a long distance, it seems that after the initial burst after getting poked, they pick a direction and make a bee line and roughly stay on that tack. My hypothesis is that when they are hurt they figure to head where they think they will be safe, and pick the most direct route to that place. That may or may not be true for all situations, just my anecdotal experience.

From: Carnivore
Not just meat bees; flies will land on blood that is often too small to see. Look closer where you see flies land. Follow where the flies land when you can't find other sign.

Also: if you are not sure if a brown spot on vegetation is a dried drop of blood, or is just a spot of rust on the plant leaf, lick a square of TP and then wipe the spot. If it's plant rust, nothing will happen. If it's dried blood, it will wipe off the leaf, and leave a red blood-colored stain on the TP.

One more: If hit in a front leg, an elk may prefer to go uphill because it hurts less than going downhill; going downhill puts more weight on the front legs.

From: Helgermite
Make sure to spend a lot of time looking for blood above the ground on vegetation, trees, anything that the animal walks by. Often times there is more blood visible above ground than on the ground. Also make sure to look a ways both sides of the trail. Sometimes arterial blood can spray 6 ft. on either side of a trail.

From: GF
Amazing how the spray from a double lung disperses, though... truly a mist! (Or can be)

From: trublucolo
Great thread guys.

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