I have had it happen more times than I care to remember, but not just on deer, hogs as well.
Two years ago I climbed up in my stand, had the wife stay there in the truck until I was tied off. She starts to drive away as I pulled my bow up. Got the bow up, removed the quiver, and hung it on my scew, then set my bow on it's stand. I had my day pack in my lap and when I looked down to get my mask and gloves out, there at the bottom of my ladder, stands a REALLY nice 10 point.
He stands there watching the wife ease her way out of the pasture, all the while I am getting juiced up for sure. He eased out and stopped behind some brush long enough for me to get my bow and an arrow knocked, and then proceeded to walk out to my 30yd tree, stopping perfectly broadside with his head obscured behind the tree. I remember every detail, drawing, counting tdown to the proper pin, setting my thumb in behind my ear, gently squeezing the trigger on my release. I watched the arrow fly true, the deer jump and run, only to find a piece of broken arrow after a good 45 imnutes of VERY anxious waiting. There was a bit of hair, and a rank smell on it, but nothing else. All I could picture was him breaking it off on the side of the tree as he left. Now I was sick to my stomach. No blood, no nothing except his tracks in the sand along the edge of the pasture. Two hours later we went back out and went over everything in detail once again. Standing where the deer was when I shot, I found an unusual scratch on the ground in the dirt. Then in looking back towards my stand I caught a glimps of something shiny and found the other half of my arrow laying some 4 or more feet back towards my stand.
Putting it all together, we surmised, I shot low, the arrow went into the ground under the buck, as he went to run, he had to have gotten one rear leg in fron and the other behind the arrow in order to break it as he left, which was why he jumped. When the arrow broke it sent one half flying out into the pasture in front of him and the other half spinning out to the side. Nothing had any blood on it what so ever, and the smell was the rank smell of the musk glands which would have been on both his rear legs for sure. In running it through my head over and over again, I remember doing everything on the mental check list, but I don't rememebr looking through my peep.
I know for a fact this deer lead a charmed life, as I have a game cam picture of him just before Thanksgiving of last year, and he clearly has a huge gash right across his whithers where he had almost ducked someone elses arrow. He also had been hit right on the bottom of his right side antler by someones bullet. He wasn't quite as lucky however, when my daughter dropped the hammer of her 25-06 on him. He now resides on the wall as one of, if not, the biggest bucks we have ever taken from our little 100 acre place.
If you look closely above you can see the reddish pink portion, where his back is freshly opened up right on top of his shoulders.
Unfortunately he had broken off some of his right side, even so he was a thrill for us to see who got to him first.