Contributors to this thread:
When to blood trail immediately
I’ve been bow hunting for 50 years and have been on lots of blood trails. I lean toward being very patient and conservative but I’ve also heard about situations where it’s better to take up the trial right away to keep the blood from coagulating. Let’s hear some stories of deer you purposely didn’t wait to trail, why you did, where the hit was and the results. Thanks!
When heavy rain or snow is coming and it may wash away or cover the blood
When there are coyotes in the area. When you have wounded an animal with what you believe is a non-fatal hit and want to keep the wound open & bleeding in the hope you can get a second arrow in him to kill him.
With a muscle only hit it is your only chance IMO. Had it work for me a few times. Snow helps a lot!! Hunt
When you are at Camp Ripley and several other hunters are hot on the trail of the P & Y you just shot??
Seriously, slowing down and not chasing something right after the shot has many advantages. Been trailing deer for over 40 years, the ones we lost were the ones we pushed. Even after bad storm if it s good hit generally animal won't be far away, but there are those exceptions...
Obviously, when you make a good shot and KNOW he's not going far. If the blood sign confirms the hit you saw, why wait?
I had a shot go horribly wrong a few years ago and hit a buck in the hind leg - above the joint but not into the body cavity. The broadhead had lodged in the bone and the arrow broke off at the insert. I waited a bit, but after thinking about it decided to push him. Ended up tracking over a mile, jumping him several times in the process. Bleeding was strong and steady and eventually he ran out of blood and I caught up to him in his last bed, barely still breathing. I always wondered if I hadn't pushed him if he might have actually recovered since no vital organs were involved.
I think it depends on how good of a tracker you are. Most (and I include myself in that category) are better off waiting.
Muscle hits, impending weather, and coyotes are all real concerns. Another consideration is terrain. Animals hit in the hind end may prefer to go downhill but may not want to go uphill (front end hits vice versa).
Once I had a coues buck jump the string and I hit just below the brisket and cut across the front of one front leg and the back of the other. After finding little blood for the first 50 yards, we ended up bumping him. He was limping badly and we decided to push him. He weakened and eventually just gave up.
So disregarding other factors (rain, coyotes, etc.) and focusing on less than optimal hits outside the vitals, it sounds like leg and ham hit deer should be trailed/pushed to keep the bleeding from stopping. How about brisket and backstrap hits....anyone pushed a deer shot in these areas and had them bleed to death when they most likely would have coagulated and survived if left alone? Thanks
My only experience with this subject is two blackstrap hits. I knew what they were so I pushed. I never recovered either deer but it was nighttime and I was searching in very thick cover. In hindsight I should have backed out and hoped for the best. If I had made those shots in the morning I would still choose to push.
I've heard of happy endings with back strap hit deer but never seen it first hand. IME the likelihood of a happy ending is very slim, regardless of following early or later. Not that I've dealt with 100 of them but none of the above ther spine shots I've been involved with have resulted in a recovered deer. Including what would have been my son's biggest buck (by far) last year- that sucked!
When to trail immediately? When you see them go down and stop moving. Truth is, although you may THINK you know right where you hit them, you really DON'T until you actually see the entrance/exit hole (unless you use a mechanical head and then it's only an entrance). Just think of all the recounts of hit deer we've all heard where the shooter claims that they KNOW they hit him right in the....pick your spot...., only to find out later when/if they recover the deer that , "Well, it was a little farther back/more angle than I thought at first." And I'm guilty of this too. That's why unless I see the blood squirting from the chest cavity as it runs away and then I see it fall in mid-stride and lay there not moving, I wait. Lessons learned..........
Shot a doe on a steep ante last year and only got one lung. Shot looked good and I got on the trail immediately. After 200 yards I was scratching my head and then I saw her bedded ahead of me alive. I tried to shoot again it she jumped up and took off. I could see blood pumping out the hole and hear sucking sounds so I stayed on the trail but a little more sneaky and found her alive bedded about 250-300 yards further. Was able to shoot her again and finish it. I’m certain if I had waited until dark I would not have recovered that deer. But again, she may have died in the first bed if I hadn’t jumped her. I felt like I made the right call at the time.
Anytime its hot. When it is hot and humid, you have little options. Regardless of hit. I hear the be patient crowd and agree with it if possible. However, when its hot, you gotta get after it. It don't take long for one to sour like that
In the Boundary Waters where I hunted for 25 years...if you didn't jump out of your stand and find that dead deer ASAP the wolves would be on it like a fat kid on a doughnut! Lost more than one nice buck to wolves by "being patient". The other time I wouldn't wait is if it's threatening a hard rain.
Liver shots, get on them fast & finish them off! In the first 125 yards or so they'll stop 4-5 times & dump pools of blood, once liver empties blood trail generally dries up & you are in trouble, don't wait!!!
ElkNut1 - I could not disagree more on pushing a liver hit deer.
Shot a moose last week in Newfoundland, arrow was a little back i thought....watched bull go down and still waited 5 hours....when i got to where he first bedded he had gotten up....he was dead 60 yards away and the shot was better than i thought as he was quarter away a little bit....i just aired on the side of caution and didnt want to push him too soon. TH
I have seen liver hit deer pushed too soon and lost. I have never lost one because I leave them alone.
I have never heard of a backstrap hit being recovered. I have done it several times and never recovered one. Leg and ham hits seem to be the only hits that can be pushed and recovered. Lots of guys will say they pushed other hits and recovered them, but had they left them alone they most likely would have recovered them with far less walking.
The majority of the hits that are lost are from pushing too soon and jumping them, then not recovering them. I have heard that story over and over.
I agree, outside of solid liver shots on marginal hits such as guts or so you're best to let them alone. Liver shot animals rarely bed, (haven't see one yet) they generally die on their feet, problem is it can be as far as a mile away with little to no blood to track as soon as liver empties. The brain shuts off blood supply to liver, once empty it's empty, you are now relying on additional broadhead damage & blood loss, don't confuse this with a solid liver hit! First blood on the ground can help remove indecision if there's different colors of blood which can show additional damage from shot angle! For those with lots of experience with this type of hit they'll recognize this situation & outcome!
I should mention I'm referring to elk but do not see why deer would be much different!
Not trying to get into a pissing match, but...... "The brain shuts off blood supply to liver" Wow, just wow.
Yes sir! I had quite a conversation about this exact subject with a Veterinarian. He mentioned that when an organ such as the liver expels blood quickly the brain knows something is wrong so it shuts down its blood supply. Of course there's still bleeding & blood can be lost through additional broadhead damage. This is why those liver hit animals will drop pools of blood for up to 150 yards, there is generally 4-5 pools of dark purplish blood in this distance then a drop & here & there then nothing, many times it results in a lost animal as there's no blood trail to follow!
Shot one square in the guts a few years ago. Thought I was in for a long wait and difficult track. After waiting 30 minutes, I went to find arrow. Both it and ground were covered in blood. Couldn't figure it out. Right after beginning the track, she jumped up and I watched her run a couple hundred yards and out of sight (big, open woods). All the blood was bright red so I deduced some muscle was hit in addition to the intestines. I stayed on her for a long time, went and got help from friends and we finally got her after 1100+ yds (gps confirmed) tracking.
The original shot hit exactly where I thought, mid-body. But apparently the arrow's path was altered by a rib. There were actually 3 holes - 1 & 2 in abdomen and third was an open slice across the very front of her left hind quarter, which was responsible for all the blood.
By keeping her moving we kept the blood flowing. She eventually bled enough to become woozy and I got a second arrow into her. Had I not tracked her immediately, the muscle wound may have clotted up and I would have been trying to locate a gut shot deer in big woods.
In the area that I deer hunt its mostly 80 acre parcels and the last thing I want is a deer getting 2 or 3 parcels away. I never ever push deer and have great success on finding the marginally shot deer. I have a 17 year old. He is a good shot and practices but he has little experience to work from. Last year he shot one through the liver. Autopsy confirmed. We waited 10 hours and the deer was still alive. 80 yards from the shot. He was able to get another arrow in him and close the deal. Lots of things to consider when choosing a course of action. I have seen elk go what we guessed was 1000 yards on a 1 lung liver hit.
I've seen liver hit elk that were pushed, and never recovered, or recovered several miles away after the fact by other hunters later in the Season.
I liver shot this bull back in 2005...backed out quietly, came back in 4 hours, and found him dead just 100 yards from where he was shot.
Learned my lesson over the Years, I never take a chance on "bumping" an animal with any type of "marginal" hit, or if my gut instinct tells me it's not an absolutely slam dunk, lethal hit.
Nothing new to add other than agreeing with what's been said. Push a muscle hit. Never seen a back strap deer recovered, and don't agree with pushing a liver hit deer. Only solid liver hit deer I hit was with a slick trick and it never dropped a single drop of blood for 150 yards then died in it's bed. Good 'ol Hopalong, I had leg bone wounded him 4 years earlier ... it may take me awhile but I'll getcha ;)
From my experience I truly believe that a pure liver shot animal can survive, haven't had good luck with liver shots 1
It all depends on where the liver was hit and what arteries and veins were severed. And, the brain does not shut off all blood supply to the compromised liver, that is fake news.
Yep usually a liver hit will bed first cover they come to.If you back out for a bit they will be right there.All I track immediately is butt or leg shots,or because of weather and even with rain usually better to wait
I Never wait. Haven't in over 25-years. Shoot get down, start immediately. Works for me. The last thing I want is one bedding down and then getting up and moving. BUT-I hunt totally on private ground. Do what works for you.
This fall I helped recover a total gut shot cow elk. Third one in my life. All three were alive 15 hours after the hit. Shortest wait time was 8 hours. Obviously it's not enough. One of these elk got up and went about 150 yards before collapsing. None left any blood after 200 yards. Those guts just plug up any leakage.
We only found them because of grid searching and never quitting. Try toilet paper.
I find it extremely hard to wait overnight but it's the only reasonable thing to do on any questionable hit. Go a couple hundred yards if you have to but if things get questionable back out.
Ham/brisket hits need to be pushed, especially the ham hits.
when blood looks like this....feel free to move ahead
In all seriousness. In my opinion, muscle hits....you better get on it and hope to get a follow up. Gut shot, or anything too far back.....get out of there and give them time to bed up and hopefully die in their bed. A gut shot animal is most likely a dead animal....comes down to how far they will go in the next 4-12 hours before they die. Don't push them. Leave and come back. Muscle shot animals will bleed a ton for 100 yards or so then dry up.
With respect to liver hits: wait at least one hour, preferably two hours before taking up the track. (I have hundreds of tracking efforts under my belt, most of them sight tracking - I now own two blood trailing dachshunds. My most recent liver-hit track was 5 days ago; "Ruby" found the deer ~700 yds down-track as the hunter had jumped the deer out of its bed ~150 yds down-track. Without Ruby, the deer likely would have never been recovered, imo).
(Sorry, I cannot figure out how to delete this duplicate image. Moderators?)
(Sorry, I cannot figure out how to delete this duplicate image. Moderators?)
There's a whole list of good reasons. What I worry about is the bogus TV hunters who are using this "if in doubt, back out"cutsey rhyme just so they can get their hero shot in broad daylight the next day. This gets inexperienced hunters thinking that waiting overnight is always the way to go.
You have to make a judgment call with all available information and then your best guess for the rest. No matter how much guys pretend they can read the blood to determine hit quality, this is far from certain. I've trailed deer that were rifle shot and hit so hard they blend pints and even though the blood trail said it was a good hit, they still made it a quarter mile or more.
IMO, the most important thing is to be silent after the shot and watch and listen. This whooping and hollering that you see on TV shows like they just won the superbowl is a great way to lose a deer. I want to hear and see that deer for as long as possible to get the best idea of which direction it ran, how fast it was running, and to get a hyper-accurate mark on the last place I saw it. My hope is always to make picking up the blood trail as easy as possible. From there, you have to make the best decision you can and then just do it. Waiting CAN be just as bad of a decision as pressing on too soon.
Many years ago during my 3rd or 4th year of bow hunting, I read an article in D&DH magazine that absolutely championed immediate trailing of a deer you were confident you had hit them in the paunch, or any other area that you were certain it was going to be fatal but unlike a lung/heart hit that kills very quickly may take up to or well over an hour to be fatal.
Well as fait would have it I hit my first truly huge buck that same year and at the shot my string snagged on the pocket of the heavy insulated one piece cover all I was wearing for the first time ever (another hard learned lesson).
Based on the bucks lack of any real action after the shot, I was literally 100% confident I had made a clean miss. At the shot he simply hunched down a slight amount and slowly walked away pausing several times to look around. By the time I got a second arrow nocked all but his head and neck were safely behind a large fallen tree. Had I known I had hit him I would've put an arrow in his neck without hesitation.
I remained on sand for another hour and if anyone ever calls me the names I used to referrer to myself during that hour there is going to be one he!!uva fight. Much to my complete astonishment my arrow was covered with blood and there was a splash of blood on the ground under my arrow about 6" in diameter. I now knew 100% I ahd hit him.
Based on the color of the blood strongly indicated it was muscle blood only, no evidence of liver blood at all. Due to the complete absence of any all white hair I had to assume it was a high body hit. Based on the blood and hair I found I had to assume it was a hit outside of the chest area likely in the paunch and I had unfortunately missed the liver.
Based on the article I read I took up the blood trail immediately. It was very good for about 80 yards and that was when I kicked him out of his first bed. The puddle of blood there was very impressive and is why I choose to continue pursuit. Long story shortened over the next 5 hours, I fallowed an ever decreasing blood trail and although I never heard or saw him a again, based on blood, I found where he had bed 3 more times. Finally it dawned on me to let him sit and come back the next day.
I never found that buck. One of only 3 in 34 years and 30+ deer I have shot with a bow. I vowed that day I would never again push a deer and unless I actually saw not heard but saw the deer go down, and even if the evidence pointed 95%+ to a lung/heart hit, I would wait a minimum of 1 hour before I began to track any deer I shot. If the evidence pointed to a marginal hit I would always wait a minimum till the next day.
In all of my years of deer hunting I have never personally witnessed with my own eyes pushing a poorly hit deer result in a shorter recovery than if the deer had been allowed to bed and quietly pass away.
Just my opinion.
After 50 years of bowhunting and "assisting", with well over 500 blood trails of multiple species to kills, and additional resulting in losses, I agree with DMT.
Hackbow, had you waited to take up the trail on your gut shot you would have found that doe in her bed or close by several hours later. Good job on recovering her, but pushing her 1100 yards was the result of trailing too soon.
I would rather wait and find them in their bed. Sometimes that means waiting 8-10 hours or more. The last thing I want to do is push them onto the next property.
Ironbow, very well said about next property issues. My life long best friend, first best hunting partner hit in his words a HUGE 10 point back in (I'll never forget the date or year) November 11th1993. It was about 4:35pm at the time of the shot and he met me at my truck as I returned from my uneventful evening sit. Based that the blood on the arrow was obviously of mixed type and far, far more muscle blood and very little bright pink arterial or lung blood. There was no hint what so ever of liver blood. He described the deer's position at the time of the shot as with the buck facing towards him at a "moderate" quartering angle, with the bucks head to the left of my friend.
It had been 2 full hours by the time we both arrived at where he found his arrow in the ground. We very carefully and quietly as humanly possible began to fallow the blood trail that although not great more than sufficient to be easy to fallow. With in a few yards I stopped and pointed out to my fiend that although there were a few drops of what I considered to be bright pink blood the type we knew resulted from a lung hit, it was VERY, VERY sparse, I'm talking maybe 5 or 6 drops (recalling exact details is a little difficult as it was 25 years ago) and the rest of the blood we had to accept based on its color as muscle blood, and not a good indication of a deer who's death we should even begin to think would be imminent and we should quietly back out and come back at sun up tomorrow. We discussed the situation and I said I felt based on the angle of the deer at the time of the shot combined with the blood we found that my friends 100 grain 1-1/4" NAP T-head had hit only one lung ( and not very well at that) and not the liver and then passed through the paunch and exited, unquestionably fatal, but death might take hours. I said a deer can go a long, long way on one lung. But his thoughts were we had already covered about 50 yards and saw no harm in going 50 more and said if we don't find anything significant in the next 50 yards we would then stop and come back in the morning.
I'm sure 95% can guess what happened next, at about best guestimate, 80-90 yards much to my friends anguish we jumped the buck out of his blood soaked bed and heard him crash off like a D-11 Cat going threw the woods, we then backed out and returned in the morning. He looked sun up till sun down that day and when I wasn't hunting I helped. After two days we enlisted the help of 3 other people, and never found that buck. Unfortunately as we found out later the fallowing year, the neighbor did and even though he had never killed any buck with a bow in his life put his tag on it and actually had it scored in his name and entered in the B&C record book, all time no less. Yep the buck was every bit as big as my friend said and his lesson hurt a lot more than mine did.
I don't hunt deer, but there's only two things that make me take up a blood trail immediately. Either I see/hear the animal crash and burn, or it's a fairly heavy rain/snow storm. Nothing else will make me start before a minimum of 30 min.
"Hackbow, had you waited to take up the trail on your gut shot you would have found that doe in her bed or close by several hours later."
You may very well be correct. But in my over 40 years experience of bowhunting and tracking deer they always head for water when gut shot. The closest water from the shot was over 1500 yds away. It was a very dry year. She was in a dry creek bed heading in the direction of a pond when I put the second arrow into her.
This is the only deer I've ever pushed after a hit. Had I not kept the leg wound open I believe finding her via grid search before the meat spoiled would've been extremely lucky.
Pretty Good advice from Famous Grouse. Pretty good scotch, too.
I have been blood trailing deer for over 60-years. Only thing I can tell you with certainty is, wounded deer don't "ALWAYS" do anything. I do not wait except under one condition. For over 25-years, when hunting on my own, no matter where I hit a deer, I start the blood trail as soon as I can get on the ground-usually within five minutes or less of the shot. I have reasons for it and I am positive some, maybe many, especially SickandSing, will not agree. All I can say is, it works for me. I do not...repeat, do not want a wounded deer laying down, allowing the blood to clot, plugging the hole(s), then, getting up and moving, leaving no blood trail. When there is no snow, that makes trailing very hard. With any shot, only two things can happen. (1) Either the animal is dead, or; (2) it is not. If it is dead, I'll find it quickly. If it is not, I want it up, moving until, one of three things happen; (1) I get close enough for a second shot, (2) I find it dead, or; (3) I lose it completely. Okay. Before anyone thinks they should try this, there are some requirements. First, you should be very familiar with the terrain and habitat where you are hunting. Second, you need to know a little about the traits of the animal-how and where does it travel, what are main trails etc.. Third, know how to trail, know what to look for and where to look. It is not all blood on the ground. Lastly, be able to combine still hunting/stalking with blood trailing. Above all, stay calm and THINK. When do I wait? When the shot is right at dark and it is cold. Much easier to trail in daylight. I cannot say what my percentages of found and lost are. I do know, that in the last five years, I have failed to recover one deer out of 23 shot and I saw him two weeks ago, he is just fine. At W.O. Plantation, I think our recovery rate was 90%. At Tri-State, I cannot recall losing one. I do not, repeat, do not suggest this for everyone. I suggest, you do what works for you but keep an open mind that there are various way to accomplish the same goal and some thought should be given to variables. For the entry-level hunter, I also suggest going on as many blood trails as possible. You learn a great deal by watching others. In the past 60+-years, I have probably been on over 1,000 blood trails, I probably learned something from every one of them.
Okay-SickandSing, have at it. :)
Well, u asked for it.....
There is no good scotch ;^)
LOL-It is an acquired taste. Takes a lot of time, practice and money.
Friend of mine shot a monster 6 x 6 years ago, in the guts. Knew it was a gut shot. Two hours after the shot, he went after it. I told him it was too soon. We jumped the buck maybe 100 yds from the hit and watched him run across the sandhills for nearly a mile. He never found him.
Another guy found him the next spring. Netted 177". Had he left him alone until late afternoon, I think he would have found him in his bed or close by.
I have heard this story over and over. Trailing too soon on bad hits just doesn't work out too well. Bowriter must be the best tracker on Bowsite to do what he does.
Ironbow is probably correct. :) Most important words in his story are, "I think."
Never had a bow shot deer that I thought was lost because we waited!
Another liver shot, evening hit. Waited till dark to check.
Great blood sprayed at the hit site, but I knew I hit him too far back.
Opted to back out quietly, and leave him overnight. Found the next morning, about 75 yards from where I shot him. Probably the best eating mule deer I ever had!
My take, liver shot animals will start feeling seriously sick, and often lay down. You bump them, they can walk dead on their feet for miles!
Ditto those that have noted never seeing a backstrap hit recovered regardless of approach. Also the wait solidly prior to estimated liver track job and wait a long time on a suspected gut shot. I dont get the "once the liver empties out" comment above. Not trying to be a dink. I'm just unclear on it. It's an organ which all of our blood has to travel through constantly. It's not an option. If you put a broad head hole in it, it's going to keep bleeding until there is no blood left or it clot's off. If you hit close to or in the hepatic artery, it's almost as good as a lung hit... If you hit the outer fringes, it's a smidge better than a straight gut shot... but not something that's going to bleed with strong pressure and thus could be mostly or all internal and it's going to take a long time. Hence the 4-6 hours many folks suggest.
If I see a deer fall, am confident I heard it fall or if I'm highly confident I got a great shot on the lungs/heart area, it's 15-30' and I'm on my way. That's worked well for me.
I tried the push a muscle hit once and it failed, which sucked. But I'm confident it's the only chance you have in that scenario, so I'd try again.
I've bowhunted over 40 seasons and agree with at least one part of Bowriter's opinion, "Only thing I can tell you with certainty is, wounded deer don't "ALWAYS" do anything". Having been an IBEP instructor for two decades, there were tips that we taught newbies about deer trailing that were basically conventional wisdom, but several times have had deer break those "rules" too. I shot stickbows for over 3 decades, but my draw shoulder started having issues and I was bumped into the world of compounds back in 2010. The first deer I shot with the compound was a bit father than I estimated and ended up impacting low in the "arm pit" with that leg extended forward. I hoped for a low heart shot and waited for 30-40 minutes before checking out the scene and taking up the blood trail. Blood was profuse for over 300 yards, as the buck ran across a picked crop field and there was pools on top of cut corn stalks. I continually scanned ahead, looking for a white belly lying dead....but continued to follow a very good blood trail into the next woods. At that point I backed out and got my hunting partner and his son, who were also hunting and they were also convinced by the profuse spoor that the buck would be down in short order. We found where it had bedded, then apparently got up when it heard us trailing.....the blood was beginning to slow down but still evident. We ended up tracking him over a mile and never recovered the deer. By the amount of blood, you would think it would have been running low and bedded where we could find him....but that did not happen.
I've also had a number of deer that fell in sight and I always give them 30 minutes to be sure things are as they seem. The only time I have personally experienced a deer being pursued immediately working out was a nice buck my hunting buddy's son shot on their farm on a very windy day. He hit it back....just in front of the rear leg.....and got down immediately to pursue it. When he didn't show up at our meeting point in the woods, I went looking for him and he had just caught up with the buck....requiring a final dispatch arrow to end the situation. That is one in many dozens of blood trails and thus I still subscribe to the old adage, "When in doubt, back out".
I had harvested many whitetails and had began to count the time from when they were hit until the flopped and did their final kicks. It was running in the 27 second range on a fairly average basis. I drew an antlerless elk tag and found a nice waterhole to sit on. That evening a heard came in and I drilled or thought I had a big ole cow at 15 yds as she walked by. I started counting as usual and when I reached three hundred I knew things were not right. She was still standing around 40 yds away and all the other elk were slowing making their way off. She never left with them and just kind of stood there not moving much. Within 15 minutes she had laid down broadside to me but he tree in front of me was to thick to get an arrow through and every time I made any move, she became alert and focused on my position in the tree. The sun went down and thankfully the full moon was up and arcing across the sky behind me. It was surrealistic watching her for three hours straight by moon light. As the moon was now setting to the west, she got up and started to saunter off in the now diminishing light. I lost sight of her in the trees. I could no longer hear her moving around after a few minutes and I was freezing my kahunas off as it got quite cold while I could not dig in the pack and put on warmer close. Freezing and shivering in my stand while watching her was my punishment for making a poor shot. I waited another fifteen minutes or so and very quietly descended the tree and snuck back down the valley a half mile to my tent and froze my butt off trying to sleep and waiting to return the stand for a morning start. I sat in the stand until I got light enough to adequately track. A frisky 7 x 7 came in to the water while I was there. He knew something wasn't right but he nervously made his way to water and drank. I pulled the bow back and placed the pin on him. I knew I couldn't shoot him in any case. Just a little control practice. After he was gone, I got down, found the arrow and confirmed the obvious. I had stomach material on the shaft as well as blood. I started trailing the blood from her bed but it was literally nothing to follow and with 15 yds all sign had disappeared. I kept checking for sign and slowly made my way up the hill and used my binoculars searching for a carcass as well as looking for more blood to follow. I spotted her hide about 150 away and that is where she was, stone dead. Stiff already, I suspected she had walked straight to that point before expiring when she had moved last night. The meat was all good and I was elated that it had turned out for the better. I had clipped only one lung and passed out the abdomen. It took her awhile to expire.
With respect to backstrap hits - I have one successful backstrap recovery with Ruby. The hunter had hit the doe at a severe quartering away shot with an expandable. He thought he caught the opposite lung. After sight-tracking that evening and losing the trail ~300 yds downtrack, the hunter called me. I brought Ruby the next morning. Ruby deciphered how the doe did a ~60yd backtrack at last blood, and locked on. We jumped the doe about the 1000 yd mark. She bedded down again just 150yds away. We kept on the track for 4600 yds, jumping the doe out of several beds, until the hunter was able to put another arrow into the exhausted doe. The necropsy showed the original shot ran a good length of the backstrap and never entered into the chest cavity. No way to know if the doe would have survived if we hadn't kept up the pressure. -fsh