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Old November 19, 2006, 10:09 PM   #1
Clayfish
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I'm sick to my stomach.

Yesterday evening I was sitting in a ground blind looking over a picked peanut field. About 5:30 I saw some movement all the way on the other side of the field which is about 500 yards. I scoped it and saw it was a decent buck. I grunted pretty hard but couldn't get his attention and it was getting close to dark so I decided to get a little aggressive. I started out gladding and when he would put his head down I would take some steps and then glass again. I closed the distance to about 200 yards when he turned a perfect broadside. I got into position laying down prone to get steady. squeeze... crack thump. I heard the bullet hit him and he went down. He then kicked and got up and hobbled away. I knew he wasn't going far so I marked where he went down originally and walked to the truck. By the time I got back to the field it was pretty dark. I looked for him for over two stinking hours and didn't find a drop of bood! I called my buddy but he was busy so he couldn't help me. So I head home with my head hung very low.
So today my buddy calls. He found the deer. A decent 8 point. He said That he found it in the field with buzzards already on it. He said I made a perfect heart shot and that the deer looked like he fell where I shot it. But I shot him on the edge of the field and Clint said he was about 100 yards in. I even shined the field before I left and didn't see anything.
I'm just sick because I hate wasting that meat. I just though I would share this so you guys won't make the same mistake that I did. Make sure you mark the deer and don't think that you've got a sure thing when you shoot a deer. Always mark using triangulation where you shot the deer and if you have to track at night find someone to help.
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Old November 19, 2006, 10:36 PM   #2
Fremmer
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Sometimes that just happens, Clayfish. You get a good hit and they still run, and once they run into the brush and the sun is going down, there's not much you can do. You can't see much with a flashlight at night, and wounded deer love to run into the thickest stuff they can find.
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Old November 19, 2006, 11:45 PM   #3
rem33
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Something close to this happened to me many years ago and for that reason I no longer hunt to close to dusk.
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Old November 20, 2006, 10:07 AM   #4
juliet charley
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The heart shot is my favourite shot too, but when it starts getting too close to dark (or too near heavy cover), I'll do a shoulder shot. I'd lot rather break the shoulders and lose a little meat than loose the deer. FWIW, I've noticed deer I've had good solid heart shots on sometimes run straight ahead (even into open fields) rather than doubling back into cover.
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Old November 20, 2006, 12:10 PM   #5
mikejonestkd
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IIFC The late great Jack O Conner wrote that it appeared to him that a lung shot near the heart tended to drop a deer slightly quicker than an actual perfect heart shot.

Sometime they just run, and run when they are dead on their feet...

I have noticed in my limited experience that a double lung shot right next to the heart seems to drop unalert deer fairly quickly. Spooked and alert deer tend to run farther than unspooked ones, regardless of the bullet placement. It must be the adrenalin pumping through them...
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Old November 20, 2006, 12:30 PM   #6
Ammo Junky
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I detest people who take pot shots and wound game. They are the pepople that give the antis the sterotype to bash hunters with. They cause unneeded suffering to the animal and the other hunters they are disturbing, expesialy if they go tresspassing on other peoples property searching for the resuts of their lack of ethics and poor marksmanship.:barf: If you shot prone at 200yd ( a reasonable shot ) and got a good heart or lung shot as you said, You cant control how the game responds. You made an effort to get as close as you could and made a good hit. If you know you took a responsable and good shot, lift you head back up and learn someting. Mabey he will be a ten pointer next time.
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Old November 20, 2006, 12:31 PM   #7
rick_reno
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I shot a nice 8 pt. buck yesterday using a 165 gr. Nosler BT, shot was about 75 yards - the deer ran about 20 yds after being shot. Both lungs looked like jelly when I gutted it.
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Old November 20, 2006, 09:08 PM   #8
Clayfish
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Update

I went out today and found out what happened. The deer droped where I shot him and after I had left to get the truck he got up and went to the middle of the field where he died. The shot was picture perfect hitting both lungs. I don't think it was a heart shot though. He must have had enough energy stored to allow him to get up and wander that 100 yards or so. He was pretty eaten up on his hind end from the buzzards and was starting to stink so I didn't do any investigating to see if it was a heart shot. I did however cut his head off and will be doing a European mount for my trophy room. I just hate that the meat was wasted. I did learn a few leasons from this experience and at least he wasn't a monster. Hopefully my experience will help some of you guys out, especially some of the new hunters here. Thanks for all your kind words and I do feel a little better about it now.
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Old November 20, 2006, 09:18 PM   #9
Ammo Junky
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At least you know he didnt go off and die of invection. Thats way more important than wasted meat. Hey the buzzards and coyotes got eat too.
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Old November 20, 2006, 09:53 PM   #10
UniversalFrost
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good chance for some yote hunting though. set up near the carcass and let the yotes have it.

This is the reason I don't hunt at dusk anymore. Did the same thing you did except I had some buddies with me and we all had good flashlights and found the sucker after a couple of hours. Lung shot as well and he ran about 300 yards before dropping. after being hit with a 180gr .303Brit soft point at about 70 yards.
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Old November 29, 2006, 02:00 PM   #11
formerflyer
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Can I be the only one on this board that thinks this was an error on the part of the hunter? Cardinal rule: After placing your first shot, if you can still see the animal, and it is up on all fours (moving or not) SHOOT IT AGAIN! Continue to shoot until it is down, then immediately approach the animal and make sure that it is dead. This “one-shot, one kill” egotistical nonsense has accounted for more lost game than any other stupidity I know of on the part of hunters.

People will say that follow-up shots waste meat. I suggest that losing the entire animal wastes much, much more. If you are shooting a properly balanced cartridge/bullet combination (i.e., not one that acts like a hand grenade when the bullet hits) the amount of meat damage is quite limited. It just means that you’ll have a little more sausage and a little less steak and roast.

I wish to hell that hunters would remember that they owe a debt to the game animal they’re shooting to make their demise as clean and quick as possible, and that they also have a duty not to waste meat (and that duty is law in most states). After your first shot don’t sit there and admire your brilliant shooting, get back to work. You’re not done yet! You are done when you touch the animal on the eyeball with the muzzle of your firearm and confirm that there is no more life left in them. Then you can sit back and admire your prowess and revel in your skill as a marksman.
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Old November 29, 2006, 02:53 PM   #12
Clayfish
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Formerflyer, since you think that I made a mistake let me add a little info for you. After the deer got up he went back down. When I left the field he was down, he got back up after I left to get the truck. Also most any safe hunter woud know you don't make a shot unless you know absolutly where the bullet will end up. Taking potshots at moving deer will get you in trouble real quick (or get someone killed).

Quote:
then immediately approach the animal and make sure that it is dead.
Many deer are lost every year bacause the hunter bumps the deer causing the wounded animal to run for miles. Several hunters have been seriously hurt approaching wounded animals. Deer hooves are very sharp and their antlers aren't exactly dull either. It seems to me you've never lost a deer so just you wait. You will one day. I'm not saying that I didn't make any mistakes in this situation, I did, but shooting again would not have been advantagous in this situation.
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Old November 29, 2006, 03:41 PM   #13
BUSTER51
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Tough break but,it can happen .better luck next time. I'm just an old ,fat lazy man but I had the good fortune to learn what my Gramps tought me over 40 years ago. he told me that after you shoot a deer and he goes down or stands still you should chamber another round quickly and stay where you are and wait to see if he moves or get's up and if so shoot him again .it has always worked for me and it may work for you next time ,good luck .
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Old November 29, 2006, 04:00 PM   #14
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I feel ya....

That blows; better luck next time; as they say, next time shoot it again if it gets up.
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Old November 29, 2006, 05:56 PM   #15
Fremmer
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Quote:
Cardinal rule: After placing your first shot, if you can still see the animal, and it is up on all fours (moving or not) SHOOT IT AGAIN! Continue to shoot until it is down, then immediately approach the animal and make sure that it is dead.
I'm not sure it is a cardinal rule in all circumstances. If the animal gets up and is moving away at a slow or moderate speed, then you probably should shoot again. On the other hand, if the animal gets up and starts running like heck, you may not want to shoot again. If you don't think you can make the running shot, you probably won't make it; all you'll accomplish is making a lot of noise and scaring the wounded animal even more, causing it to run faster and farther.

I don't think I'd immediately approach it, either. I'd wait and let it stiffen up and die before approaching it.

Quote:
I wish to hell that hunters would remember that they owe a debt to the game animal they’re shooting to make their demise as clean and quick as possible, and that they also have a duty not to waste meat
Gee, thanks for the reminder. Most of us just want to wound the animal so that we can try tracking it in the dark, and then feel regretful about not finding it.
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Old November 29, 2006, 06:23 PM   #16
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20/20 hindsight and Monday morning quarterbacking aside, one of these might be useful for hunting in low light conditions or dense undergrowth.

http://www.aimshot.com/heatseeker.php

Frank Sinatra sang of regrets. I've also had a few.

The good thing about forums and boards, is that those of us sitting at our keyboards can learn from the experiences of others. Thanks, Clayfish, for telling us of your case. Sharing your lesson will allow it be learned by many. Maybe even more than would be reached by the old-timers, some of whom seeem contnet to preach the Gospel, instead of trying to teach the multitudes.

The deer's death was a given ... and according to your recounting, was better than many. Your loss was the vultures, and other scavengers, gain. You sharing let's all of us profit.
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Old November 29, 2006, 10:02 PM   #17
formerflyer
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Perhaps I should have been more clear about a couple of things. It certainly wasn't my intention to start a flame war, so I hope I can clarify a couple of points and observations from subsequent posters.

"Shoot it again" assumes that there is a strong likelyhood can HIT it. You have no more business cranking off wild shots into the underbrush on the off chance you'll hit a retreating deer than you have in taking a risky shot in the first place. If you aren't sure that either a missed shot OR a shot that goes through-and-through is going to land in a safe area, then you have no bloody business shooting. However, I assume that the first shot was within the shooter's capabilities, and that the shooter knew what was behind the target and that the target had safe backing. If that is the case, then why would the second shot be more or less dangerous? Since the first shot was not described as a Potshot, I assume a follow-up shot on the same animal in the same area at roughly the same distance wouldn't also be a Potshot. So, to round out this point let me restate the caveat that I should have been more explicit about: Shoot it again if you can hit it, safely. (And another unspoken caveat: If it isn't a safe place to fire a backup shot, it likely was a questionable place for the FIRST shot. Bullets don't always stop in deer even when they are perfectly placed, and they will carry lethal amounts of energy out the back side very frequently. Be sure of your target, and what's behind it.)

Bumping wounded deer: You are absolutely correct that many deer are lost this way. After you have fired and your game animal is either down or out of sight, you have a decision to make:
- - -If you can see where your animal dropped, then you should wait at your shooting position with your rifle ready to fire again long enough to confirm it is solidly down, then approach it. If it gets up, shoot it again.
- - -If you are in a position where you can see your animal from your shooting position, but you will loose sight of it on your way to get it, you should wait quite a while before moving but you should continue to wait with your rifle ready to fire again should it get up. When you have waited long enough then you should approach it. I like to observe and confirm that the animal is completely still for about 5 minutes. If it gets up or you continue to observe movement or breathing after a few minutes, then you have a wounded animal and should shoot it again.
- - -If your deer disappears following the shot(s) and you cannot see it, then you should wait as described for it to stiffen up or bleed out, and then approach the spot where you first shot it and track it to wherever it has gone.

Approaching downed game: This is always a tense time, and I am no less cautious approaching a downed deer, elk or wild boar than I am when approaching a downed cape buffalo. All of them will fight for their lives if they perceive you as a threat, and all of them have hurt and killed hunters. Approach downed game with your rifle re-loaded from the initial shot, safety engaged and rifle at the ready ("port arms," "point shoulder" or whatever position you use when you are likely to have to shoot in a hurry). Approach directly until you are close enough to circle, then circle around to behind the hindquarters or the back of the animal from a safe distance. If it is still moving, and it is capable of being a threat, then [say it with me, everybody], shoot it again. If it remains still, then continue your approach along the body toward the head but remain behind the animal as much as possible. Touch the eyeball with the muzzle of your rifle and look for any reaction. Game animals can hurt and kill, and lots of hunters have found this out the hard way, but they are animals and their danger lies in proximity: If it can't touch you, it can't hurt you. So stay clear until you can approach from an advantageous angle, approach when you are virtually certain it is safe, then confirm it. You are a tool-using primate armed with one of the most effective methods ever devised to project lethal force. Don't give up that advantage just so you can get to your downed animal 30 seconds sooner.

Clayfish, you are correct that I've never lost a wounded deer, but I have lost other wounded animals. It does happen, and sometimes it is unavoidable. On the occasions when I have, I always look back on my actions and see if and where I could have prevented it. The only place where we differ is in where we think the mistake was made. I think there were two errors: The first was not taking a follow-up shot when your deer got up after your first shot dropped it. The second was in leaving the field to go get your truck before approaching the deer and confirming it was down and dead. I apologize if I got a bit heated about this subject, but I have seen it and heard it too many times from too many hunters and I get a bit animated about the subject.

I too thank you for sharing your experience. I hope we can all learn from it. I think that the fact that it bothered you and that you are thinking about what went wrong is the best insurance that it is unlikely to happen to you again. I apologize for sounding condescending. I hoped to educate, not belittle.
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Old November 29, 2006, 11:02 PM   #18
Clayfish
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formerflyer, thanks for clearing your views up. All is well and no hard feelings are felt.
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Old December 4, 2006, 03:28 PM   #19
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I'm sorry about the last part of my last post, FormerFlyer. It was rude and sarcastic. I can't even edit it now, so I'm stuck with it, and maybe I deserve that. Anyway, I shouldn't have been so rude and sarcastic. And I forgot to say....

Welcome to TFL!
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Old December 4, 2006, 08:05 PM   #20
hilblly
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Clayfish. It happens. Learn from the experience and do it different next time if possible. There are those that have lost game and those that will. I do a list of things after the shot. I chamber another round or nock another arrow immediately. I watch the animal and try to interpret its actions. When I say I interpret the actions. If the animal is doing the wobble and looks pretty sick I won't shoot again. If it isn't wobbling I shoot again, usually not an option with the Bow. If I feel I can without bumping the animal I walk to the spot of the hit and view any blood and again interpret. Alot of blood, sit a while, no blood I follow, slowly and as quietly as possible, until I find blood, then sit. Everyone has there own method. Prone position from 200 yds. you were probably pretty confident with your shot. I probably wouldn't have gone to get the truck until I had found the animal dead.
I shot a whitetail this season with my bow from 20 yds. He jumped and ran about 10 yds, wobbled then dropped. I heard it take its last breaths but still did my routine. Had another arrow on the string, walked to the spot I shot him, recovered my arrow, then walked to where he dropped to confirm he was dead. Then to the truck.
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Old December 4, 2006, 09:08 PM   #21
dan20703
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Take the scapula shot to drop a deer in its tracks. Large area to hit and a well documented success rate.

http://www.scilowcountry.org/cedar_knoll_deer_study.htm

Study conducted by Charles Ruth of the SCDNR at the Cedar Knoll Hunt club in the SC LoCountry

SHOT PLACMENT
Researchers used the following categories for bullet placement: neck, spine, shoulder, heart, lungs, and abdomen.
The results? Listed in this order is location of shot, number of hits in that area and distance traveled after the shot:
Neck 25-1 yard
Spine 27-1 yard
Shoulder 170-3 yards
Heart 14-39 yards
Lungs 152-50 yards
Abdomen 58-69yards
Ruth recommends shooting a deer in the shoulder (IN the shoulder), this strikes the scapula which damages the brachial plexus which is part of the central nervous system which will render the deer into a coma from which it never awakens.
The shoulder shot also leaves room for error; high shot hits the spine, low shot the heart and a rearward gets the lungs.
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