Sitka Mountain Gear
Quick kills but sparse blood trails?
Contributors to this thread:
RD in WI 12-May-20
x-man 12-May-20
JohnMC 12-May-20
JL 12-May-20
JTreeman 12-May-20
SBH 12-May-20
Guardian hunter 12-May-20
GF 12-May-20
Bowfreak 13-May-20
Olink 13-May-20
Olink 13-May-20
Ermine 13-May-20
carcus 13-May-20
Bob H in NH 13-May-20
Scooby-doo 13-May-20
RT 13-May-20
Irishman 13-May-20
Huntcell 13-May-20
wyobullshooter 13-May-20
Basil 13-May-20
APauls 13-May-20
>>>---WW----> 13-May-20
JL 13-May-20
12yards 13-May-20
TD 13-May-20
GF 13-May-20
From: RD in WI
A recent broadhead thread got me thinking about the blood trails on the last 4 bucks I killed.

Each buck was shot in the chest, with full pass-throughs and each ran less than 100 yards (30, 50, 70, and 80 yards approx.). Only one left a great blood trail – and that one made it the farthest after the hit. I saw 3 of the bucks fall and they were alive for fewer than 20 seconds (probably less) after the hit.

One deer was shot with the G5 Montec and the others with a 3-blade Muzzy. Is anyone else experiencing pretty quick kills (less than 20 seconds) but with fairly sparse blood trails?

From: x-man
Every time I hit the heart, I have almost zero blood to follow.

If I have a low exit hole that is not in the armpit, I have awesome blood trails.

From: JohnMC
I believe shot placement followed by if you have a exit wound have more bearing on blood trail than broadhead choice. For example a high lung shoot is very efficient but not a lot of blood. Low lungs will bleed more.

From: JL
One of the bennies of the Rage...or any mechanical I suppose. When you hit something in the vitals.....good blood will usually follow. I have some snow tracking vids that demonstrate this. I used to use the G5's but wasn't happy with the blood trails.


Honestly, that's the big reason I went away from Montecs. I guess I could not sharpen them enough to get good blood trails. It was not the head, it was my lack of ability with a file. I typically get really nice trails with Theads.

From: JTreeman
Obviously 4 shots is a pretty small sample size, that said I was not impressed by Montec blood trails. I personally very much believe that shot placement is far more important than broadhead choice.

My personal opinion if you want consistently better on average blood trails selecting a fairly large expandable and aim lower.


From: SBH
I’ve had plenty as you describe. I think it comes down to arteries hit, angle of shot and a few other uncontrollables as to weather you have good blood or not. If they are down that fast you’re doing something right! I wouldn’t think a different head In the same spot would bleed any different.

I am a fan of fixed but now shoot 2 different mechanical heads. The reason is simple. 57 year old eyes need better blood.

From: GF
What I’ve noticed... The thicker the slab of muscle you shoot through, the harder it is for blood to escape through the wounds...

And when you hole the heart, there’s not much blood pressure to force it through; not like when you clip a high pressure line and there’s a lot of air moving in and out of the entry/exit and aerosolyzing along the track...

Ribs don’t have thick, overlapping layers of meat on them.

But gravity is definitely your friend.

That said.... Two holes bleed more than one, so I’m a penetration fan. You can put a 2” wide hole in the top side of a deer from up in a tree, and if the head doesn’t clear the hide on the bottom, you’re hosed. You’d be better off with the legal minimum. Funny thing, too.... When a deer drops at the sound of the shot, it seems they can kind of do a “soft catch” of the head so that it doesn’t poke through as reliably...

That’s what keeps us busy off-season, though - plenty to think and theorize about...

Helps to shoot good.

From: Bowfreak
Some of my best blood trails are when my arrow has stopped in the opposite shoulder. I don't think that 2 holes are always better than one. I believe that the arrow sawing back and forth as they run causes a lot of damage. That being said...I don't strive for an arrow hanging up inside of a deer.

I think shooting more forward is the key to consistently better blood trails. Putting an arrow through the major plumbing coming from the top of the heart is what puts blood on the ground IMHO.

From: Olink
I've said it many times before, and I'll say it again. The broadhead has little to do with the amount of blood that hits the ground.

From: Olink
I've said it many times before, and I'll say it again. The broadhead has little to do with the amount of blood that hits the ground.

From: Ermine
Majority of my kills I have watched the animal drop within sight. Or a short distance. With relatively no blood. Not sure if it doesn’t get time to bleed because it dropped so quick.

On the other hand. The times I’ve had actual “blood trails”. It seems like something was wrong with the shot placement. Not always the case obviously but has been my experience.

From: carcus
So many variables, a bigger broadhead will get you more blood, but a broadhead with a steep angle and less cut should cause less shock and pain upon impact(wont hit as hard) therefore the animal shouldn't spook as hard and not run as far

From: Bob H in NH
Limited experience here, but total broadside lung shots I've tracked leave more "splatter" with small/tiny drops, where a quartering shot, especially hard quartering, tends to have more bigger/steady blood.

From: Scooby-doo
I shoot a narrow 3 blade coc head(VPA 175 grain)I get them scray sharp. Blood trails are usually ok and easy to follow not those 4 ft wide ones. I also normally get two holes with a low exit. I will agree with the fact high and a bit back lung hits are by far the best shot in bowhunting. Animals fall within sight. That said I would never hold for that shot, I still on whitetails try and shoot the crease on a broadside deer but when they drop a bit and as they drop move forward ever so slightly it results in that high lung hit, its all over. I would never shoot an expandible as I also have a tendency to aim or hit more towards the shoulder and that is never good with an exp. I can shoulder shoot a big deer broadside with my set up and still reach the far side of any deer. Blood trails always vary and way to many factors to say I have had good ones or not out of a couple hundred I would say most are averahe. Shawn

From: RT
I'd have to agree with Ermine. The only place you will see perfect trails each time is on a commercial.

From: Irishman
If they die within 20 seconds there really isn't any need for a blood trail, so I'm not sure if I looked ever to see if ones that died quickly left much blood. I have killed a bull elk that only went about 150 yds, and never left a drop of blood, because I hit it high in the lungs.

From: Huntcell
I see no problem. Perhaps to much concern with loss of visible blood when in fact the collapse of both lungs is resulting in the animals demise.

When both lungs collapse, the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain is halted, the animal becomes unconscious within seconds, and it dies before it can bleed to death.

Mission accomplished.

Just not with the theatrical spectacle of a blood trail.

I agree with those that believe there are way too many variables involved to think a different BH makes much difference when it comes to blood trails. Obviously, whichever BH is used, nothing trumps blade sharpness, shot placement, and a true-flying shaft.

From: Basil
Had that same experience with Wackem broadheads which are virtually identical to Montecs. I think it's a blade angle thing.Flew great but poor bloodtrails every time. Shot around a dozen deer before I gave up on them.

From: APauls
I disagree with a lot of you. I’ve had a good number of animals killed with fixes heads that don’t bleed much and die quick. My fixes head choices are usually in the 1 1/8” to 1 1/4” range, so smaller heads. Don’t get me wrong I have had a few good gushers there as well.

But I will say this about mechs - they just seem to bleed more onto the ground. Even the trusty rocket steelhead at 1 1-8” cut seemed to consistently drop more blood than I’d get from the same size fixed head. I don’t k ow if the blade angle being “worse” makes a bigger hole because of stretch or what, but they seem to bleed more. That being said, the 2” cuts seem to bleed the most.

Reason I say I disagree is because I truly believe that the good 2” mechs will drop more blood on the ground and the whole 2 hole theory. It’s all nice to sit at home and say 2 holes are better than one, but we are never ever guaranteed two holes. Seems to be my luck but seem to regularly hit the offside shoulder one a quartering away or slightly quartering away which results in very dead critters, but often one hole. You are only guaranteed one hole. If you hit the animal you know you are going in, but you don’t know if you’re coming out. If you hit the animal even marginally well with a 2” like a Vortex or Rage Hypo or Trypan, those animals WILL leave you a good blood trail in my experience. If you get two, well that’s a bonus. Besides that, if you hit them right, most drop in sight.

Am I saying a 2” mech is right for everything? Not at all. But where usable, I now choose them, simply because a lot of weird stuff happens, and I’d rather have an easy trail to follow. My Montana mulie this past year was a prime example. Hit him money, he would have died regardless of head used, but he somehow managed to go like 150 yards down a ravine and up the other side magically evading my sightlines. Where he died was the last place I expected him to be. But in really short grass, I was happy he left me one of those graphic trails, because every instinct I have would have led me to search elsewhere. Instead, I had a quick recovery, and with sun and temps in the 90’s I’m glad I was able to clean him up quick.

Good blood trails come from good shot placement and broadheads so sharp that you eye lashes fall off just from looking at them. Simple as that!

From: JL
I'd say the size of the cut area the broadhead makes has alot to do with what you see. All the other factors being equal, a larger hole drains better than a smaller hole.

From: 12yards
What is a good blood trail? Constant trail of blood? Blood spots at every bound and a few in between? Something where you don't have to slow down to stay on it? A good trail to one person might mediocre to another. I'm with the guy who said that broadhead type doesn't really determine the blood trail. I've had great blood with 2, 3 and 4 blade heads. Mechanicals and fixed. I think where you hit them is more important. In just about every animal I've killed, there has been adequate blood to track the animal regardless of head. In most cases, early in the trail the blood is more sparse with a few drops. Then middle and late in the trail you see bigger blood spots. Then it's running into stuff and finally the banana fall to the right or left.

From: TD
Where's Woody? Miss him here...... this stuff is kinda fun and he made it, um... funner.

Cutting more does not always equal bleeds more. It's arteries and pressure that pumps blood, lots of blood. A big ol huge meat/gut hit will bleed little in comparison to a 1/4" nick in an artery. It's what gets hit. A firm believer in what x-man said. Many heart shots instantly take out the pump. Blood pressure drops to zero. But for some gravity, blood stays in organs (the brain being the most critical) the organs still have some use of the oxygen in that blood for a bit of time. More time than an artery hit the the heart pumps out and drains the organs of blood quickly. I'll take a heart shot every day of the week and twice on Sunday, no doubt. But often blood trails are challenging. IMO anyway, an' I'm stickin' wid it.....

Poor blood trail does not mean it's not bleeding, obviously. They die because of blood loss (or rather oxygen, blood just carries it). Just means it's not coming out somewhere for whatever reasons.

Shot angle plays a part. Folks used to shooting from trees and low exits get stressed when a shot from the ground (especially if a bit high) doesn't immediately start dumping blood even with a pass through. Many times the chest cavity is filling and not spilling out. Many poor trails with dead animals at the end laying in a swimming pool of blood where they tipped over and drained out. Also many decent trails peter out to nothing, followed by mild to moderate panic..... with many times a dead animal a short distance away. My guess is when they run out of blood they stop bleeding as well.....

Pass through is never.... ok, rarely.... a bad thing.

Blades should always be sharp, that's cannon. Blade design is variable/optional. And IMO (as long as they are sharp and relatively intact) not as critical as some think. KInda like pickup trucks and women.....

And I'm also firmly convinced some animals simply do not have any blood in them at all...... =D

From: GF
“I don't think that 2 holes are always better than one.”

But they are never, ever “worse”, are they? (Gonna disagree with TD on that).

But I think he’s right about blood trails petering out: “Wise Physician says: All bleeding stops. Eventually. “

Old joke from my Dad...

Makes sense to me that if they run out of blood while on the move, they should be down close by. I’ve noticed, though, that a heavy trail leading to an empty bed/stopping place is usually the end of the blood trail.... How far they go from there can vary.

“I believe that the arrow sawing back and forth as they run causes a lot of damage.“

I believe that’s only true if you’re talking about an arrow that only went about half as deep as it should have. I understand a head that stops in the off shoulder or even wedged into the ribcage on that far side, but short of that???

Something went wrong there.

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