Moultrie Products
Calling it Quits or Not
Contributors to this thread:
Trophyhill 27-Nov-19
Tonybear61 27-Nov-19
Brotsky 27-Nov-19
Tonybear61 27-Nov-19
wyobullshooter 27-Nov-19
Hank_S 27-Nov-19
elkmtngear 27-Nov-19
GF 27-Nov-19
From: Trophyhill
Piggybacking off JP's thread "Do you keep shooting" how long do you search? What is your determining factor before calling off the search?

If you tell me it's never happened to you then I'm telling you its not if, it's when. So there's that.

There are many things that can help make the determination. A few years ago I stuck a monster bull in the leg. He ran off like nothing happened. I tried pursuing briefly but quickly realized I'd never see that bull again and went back to hunting. That stung and I would of loved to kill that 350+ bull. But I had to put it behind me just as fast as that encounter took place or risk not seeing another elk for the rest of that hunt. It would have ruined the hunt.

What determines when you throw in the towel?

From: Tonybear61
Really depends. My first buck I shot was at 58+ yds.-before I knew better. Not sure where I hit him but we had a trackable blood trail for two days before it ran out. Spots of leaves filled with blood, a few beds, blood on almost every foot print. Fellow bowhunters stated several time, my God this buck should have dies along time ago. Never did find him. That was almost 40 years ago now, as experienced bowhunters we still talk about that and scratch our heads..

Dad was on a blood trail more than 50 years ago with a buddy last day of Dec season. Tracked him all day til they ran out of light. Came back with the game warden next day to find the buck, dead in his bed. Only wound they could find was a cut foot pad. The bowhunter was able to sneak up on the bedded buck in the snow thought he hit it in the body cavity, confirmed it was the foot only after field dressing and getting it home for processing.

So if you have strength and sign left, I suggest don't stop. Might just be a short distance away...just don't know until you find them.

From: Brotsky
Agree with Tony, I search until the clues run out, then I search in a grid until I feel I have done my due diligence. After that I resume my hunt with a sick feeling in my innards.

From: Tonybear61
The grid works, so do spiral circles- have found several when sign was really sparse. Unfortunately you lose some too but I have to try..

For me, it’s three days. If, after that time, I haven’t found the animal, I’ll reluctantly resume hunting. Many years ago, I hit a bull Friday evening. One of those “I made a perfect shot” scenarios. He bled like crazy for approx 80yds, then it darn near disappeared. I searched from first to last light Saturday and Sunday. Went back in Monday morning, and finally found him 1/2mi from where I shot him. If it hadn’t been for a bunch of crows raising cane on the carcass, I never would have had that closure. I cut the antlers off and punched my tag. I felt so sick I seriously considered hanging up my bow, but thankfully the sting eventually subsided.

As you said, if you hunt long enough, odds are it’s bound to happen. You just have to learn from any mistakes and do your best to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

From: Hank_S
Over the years, I've lost two bulls...searched for them for two days before I resumed hunting. After losing the blood trail and the hooved trail, I've done spirals as well as grid patterns; that has worked in other occasions but not in these two instances.

From: elkmtngear
I lost one back in the late 90s...10 yard frontal shot...there was a baby evergreen covering the left half of the I leaned out as far as I could...and hit solid bone on the left side (little penetration, arrow rigid when he ran off). I still looked for him for about an hour, but I was sure he'd just break the arrow off, and be off chasing cows by evening. Never found a blood trail.

The other bull I lost, I videotaped (in 2014). He ran straight up a creek, and I never picked up his trail coming out. I looked for two long days, never found him. I didn't get complete penetration, but still thought there was a good chance he would die. Did tons of sweeps, grid searches, looked for birds, listened for bees, tried to smell him...nothing!

From: GF
Another good thing about keeping your shots close (and slow arrows!) is that you generally have a real good idea where you hit them. So the only one I ever hit and lost, I knew perfectly well that it was a trivial wound. In fact, I was 100% confident I’d shot right over the back-line ‘til I found a shred of meat on my arrow....

I tracked that one a couple hundred yards through the Pine duff without turning up a drop of blood and called it good.

But if I had a body cavity hit.... I figure there’s about a 48-hour window; either you’ll find it dead or you won’t, but if it’s dead, it’s spoiled and if it’s not, it will survive long enough that your chances of recovering an edible carcass are about nil.

That said, if you have sign, you’re not done yet.

Some years ago, my brother hit a cow high double-lung and she pinned him down where he didn’t dare risk a second shot. He was sure she’d tip over at any moment, but she eventually walked off with the herd. His arrow was well-coated with blood, but all the bleeding was internal. He’s a school teacher and can only hunt weekends, so he searched for a day and a half - including taking the dogs up the hill with him - and went back to hunting the following weekend.

2nd most Important thing is to make a good faith effort, exhaust your leads and make a serious effort to come up with new leads after you run out.

1st Most Important Thing is to take close, sure shots in the first place....

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