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Old October 10, 2012, 09:32 PM   #1
tahunua001
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Please track wounded game!!!

hello all,
today I was out hunting on opening day and saw what appeared to be a decent whitetail doe at 150 yards, waited for her to give me a nice quartering shot and took it. she went down fairly quickly and once I found her I was disappointed. she was smaller than I thought so I did not place my shot correctly and ruined a front quarter but then as I flipped her over to gut her out I found that both the front and rear quarters had been severely destroyed by a single glancing shot from another hunter previously this morning. there was almost nothing left of this poor deer and I really felt bad having to tag such a small amount of meat. at least she did not suffer long.

IF YOU SHOOT IT, AT LEAST TRY TO TRACK IT!!

that is all.
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Old October 10, 2012, 10:09 PM   #2
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I've never lost one, but two whitetails required searching all day before finding them - one across a river and the other a few hundred yards away on adjacent farm property. Both were shot with a bow. My regular hunting buddy and I searched for a buck for hours, lost the blood trail several times in standing corn, and finally had to quit because a snow storm was going to trap us miles from home. He had shot the deer with a muzzle loader. I think that is the only animal either of has ever lost.
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Old October 11, 2012, 12:20 AM   #3
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Old October 11, 2012, 10:07 AM   #4
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not only do all you can do on tracking but do all you can by preparing to make the shots you need to do to take animals. Have guns sighted in, shoot often and if game is too far , running or behind brush or any reason why you feel you cant hit the animal precisely where you want, DONT! We as hunters owe that to the game were hunting. And if for some reason your game runs off and you know you hit it or not do everything in your power to make sure and or to retrieve the game.
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Old October 11, 2012, 10:31 AM   #5
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not only do all you can do on tracking but do all you can by preparing to make the shots you need to do to take animals. Have guns sighted in, shoot often and if game is too far , running or behind brush or any reason why you feel you cant hit the animal precisely where you want, DONT! We as hunters owe that to the game were hunting. And if for some reason your game runs off and you know you hit it or not do everything in your power to make sure and or to retrieve the game.
I got so mad at a fellow that hunts a property adjacent to mine a couple of weeks ago I thought I was going to punch him. He had shot a big buck that I have been after for two years in the middle of the morning by driving up on it in his truck. Hit the buck and watched it go down, found a large pool of blood but gave up the track after a hundred yards because the briars were too thick, it was hot and he didn't want to be late for work. The buzzards led him to it, 20 yards from where he gave up 2 days later. Its a shame that people like that don't have their hunting rights revoked for life.
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Old October 11, 2012, 10:36 AM   #6
Brian Pfleuger
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I'm all for giving great effort to tracking game and I have more than once spent hours and even more than one day looking for an animal that I or members of my group have shot, but...

I don't know anyone who does much hunting who hasn't lost one at some point. Stuff happens. If you haven't lost one yet, you will eventually.
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Old October 11, 2012, 11:13 AM   #7
tahunua001
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I'm not saying that I have never lost them...I've lost a few actually but the fact is that this doe was shot either head on or while running away and had 2 legs blasted off, there is no way that there was not a blood trail that could be followed and there is no reason she should have even been hit that way in the first place. also being as it was shot just past noon on opening day there is no way that they tried for more than a couple minutes to find it.
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Old October 11, 2012, 11:29 AM   #8
Brian Pfleuger
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I wasn't meaning to address that specifically to your situation, just the general concept that lost game automatically implies a lazy hunter or a shot that shouldn't be taken. Your situation sounds pretty cut and dry but I've seen an awful lot that were unexplainable.

One time, I was sitting in a large pine tree using a Rem 870 12ga with Winchester Super-X 2-3/4 slugs. I had a small-ish buck and a large doe walk directly under the tree. I took the shot on the buck, straight down, aiming for the heart, having made similar shots several times before. He dropped like a stone and the doe ran about 30 yards up hill and stopped broadside. I put the crosshairs on the center of her vitals and fired. She blaated, took a few stumbling steps sideways and tipped over in the brush, out of sight.

I looked down and the buck was gone. I climbed down and looked around for a minute or two but found no sign at all so I figured I'd go get the doe and look for him when my father came down the hill.

I went up to where the doe was and she was GONE. I managed to find a few drops of blood and followed her trail about 100 yards, my dad was there by then and neither of us could find any more sign. We circled through every inch of woods we could access, which was a good 300 yards in every direction and never found another sign.

Back to the buck, we looked for a solid hour and never found a SINGLE drop of blood or any indication of which direction he might have even gone. We circled around in that general area too, as he had been facing the opposite direction of the doe when I shot, but never found a thing.

I have never managed any reasonable explanation for those two deer. I shot the gun back at camp and it was fine. I killed a couple more deer that year too, much "harder" shots and had no trouble. Those two, I'll never know.
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Old October 11, 2012, 11:45 AM   #9
taz1
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Maybe the original hunter was still trying to track it as if their (bad) shot only glanced it it could have traveled a considerable ways and it sounded like it was still traveling.

Could have also been a new /novice/first deer hunter that had the "adrenilin rush" creating a "varience" in prudent aiming. I remember my first deer and the perfect shot that blew its guts instead of the heart/lung shot that I was sure I had taken.

Had to clean it with dad and uncle -- well upwind shouting instructions

I do however agree that we as hunters need to throughly track all our prey. I have found numerous dead critters that had wounds that would have left plenty of sign to follow but obviously weren't tracked.
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Old October 11, 2012, 12:19 PM   #10
603Country
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I've had to track more than a few in the last several decades, but I found most of them. And once I watched the son of Dad's best friend gutshoot a doe, after which the kid took a brief look for blood and then just up and left. He didn't know I was watching. I tracked the deer and took it home and was in the process of skinning it, when Dad showed up. Made me give half the meat to the kid. I wouldn't have given him diddly for that poor performance of his.

Anyway...I've found that good old fashioned toilet paper is a great help when tracking in daylight and dusk. Severely wounded deer, at least in my experience, tend to leave in a mostly straight line. Where you find blood, hang a small bit of toilet paper (the bright white stuff). If you lose the trail, just turn around and find your path, as outlined with the TP. In dim light the white TP shines brightly when hit with a flashlight and is easy to spot. It really is helpful, and then there's the other use...

And unless the deer drops straight down at your shot, wait for 10 minutes or more before starting to track. Unless alarmed, the deer really doesn't know why it's getting weak. It'll lay down and bleed out. But if it sees you immediately after getting shot, it'll run till it drops, which might be quite a ways.

When I was young I could track a lizard across dry rocks, but as I've aged, my skill level is much lower. Therefore, I'm more picky with the shots I take. I think they call that "smarter".
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Old October 11, 2012, 12:30 PM   #11
Brian Pfleuger
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I've worn electronic ears for years now but neither the recoil nor the blast ever bothered me under hunting conditions and I certainly wasn't flinching enough to screw up a shot at 15 feet.
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Old October 11, 2012, 01:00 PM   #12
tahunua001
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it does seem strange but I hate shooting without ear plugs but while I'm out hunting neither my gun blasts or those of my buddies bothers me at all.
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Old October 11, 2012, 01:04 PM   #13
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"[I don't know anyone who does much hunting who hasn't lost one at some point. Stuff happens. If you haven't lost one yet, you will eventually.]"


Yes Exactly, If possible I always get a dog "Leagal" Where I hunt ; )
Y/D
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Old October 11, 2012, 01:07 PM   #14
Brian Pfleuger
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I should clarify,

I DO absolutely, highly recommend wearing electronic protection while hunting. I was never "bothered" by the noise without them but the damage was still done. With the price and performance of modern electronic protection, there's no reason not to use them. They actually IMPROVE your ability to detect an animal approaching AND protect your ears AND (if you wear muffs) keep your ears warm in the cold.

I just dispute the suggestion that flinching causes very many misses under hunting conditions. Most people don't notice recoil or blast in the excitement of the moment. Very many people (by far, most) flinch when shooting heavy recoil guns at targets, far fewer do so when shooting at animals. "Target panic", "buck fever", is another thing, but it's not flinching from recoil or blast.
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Old October 11, 2012, 03:05 PM   #15
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When I was still young (probably 16ish years old) I was out hunting deer with my cousin. I was hunting with my fathers 30-06. I saw a deer that looked pretty far away but I was sure I could hit it.

Any way I shot it and it ran. Being young I was not good at tracking. My cousin and I tracked it for about 2 hours and got board and went back home....

That was a big mistake. My dad found out and at once grounded me. Then my dad and my cousin and my self all went out and looked for the deer. That night we stayed out "tracking" with flash lights till about 3 AM... then we where up again at 6 am. The next evening we found the deer. It was dead and my father made me drag it home and he helped me salvage what meat we could get from it.

The next year my father would not let me go hunting with out him. It was not until I was living on my own that I was again allowed to hunt with out him there.

My father after words told me he was very disappointed in my actions. I should have never taken a shot that I was unsure of. The disappointment of my father was a far worse punishment than the grounding or only going on hunts when he could come with me. I promised him that I would never take a shot that I was unsure of again.

I have learned to only take shots I am sure I can hit. I have passed up many good looking bucks because they are out of range of my 45-70 or 357 marlin. I only hunt with my 357 magnum carbine when I can shoot from off my back porch or fence cause I know the yardage in my back yard. When I have to leave my home to hunt I bring some thing bigger (one of my 45-70s) People often ask why I shoot guns with a "rainbow trajectory" What I tell them is that these guns keep me honest with my self. I know at what range I can kill and I never try to push is.

After that incident, self control and avoiding taking long shots has not been a problem. Before every shot I seem to have a vision of that time where me, my father and my cousin tracked (or more accurately looked for) the deer for nearly 2 days strait with only 3 hours of sleep. Then having to drag it back my self with out the aid of the ATV. I have never taken a shot too long for my skills and my gun since then.

p.s. my dad still gives me crap about it
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Old October 11, 2012, 04:18 PM   #16
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There may have been a blood trail and it may have been quite limited as well. Keep in mind that the doe was not even injured to a point where you realized it was injured.

Interesting t that you said she should not have been hit as she was and yet you didn't even realize her actual size OR that she was injured. You shot an animal smaller than what you thought it was.

You have assumed the hunter did everything wrong with hunting this animal without you being present. The doe could have been hit via a through and through of another deer. and the hunter not even know.
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Old October 11, 2012, 04:49 PM   #17
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I have a co-worker that comes in at least 2-3 times per season complaining about lost deer. All while bowhunting.
I've told him that he "either needs to learn to track, learn to shoot, or stop hunting."
He didn't take that very well.

I haven't lost a deer in 20+ years of hunting. Yes, it will probably happpen at some point, but I'll do my damnedest to avoid it. Frankly, I'd rather have an empty freezer than not find a wounded deer.
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Old October 11, 2012, 06:24 PM   #18
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There may have been a blood trail and it may have been quite limited as well. Keep in mind that the doe was not even injured to a point where you realized it was injured.

Interesting t that you said she should not have been hit as she was and yet you didn't even realize her actual size OR that she was injured. You shot an animal smaller than what you thought it was.

You have assumed the hunter did everything wrong with hunting this animal without you being present. The doe could have been hit via a through and through of another deer. and the hunter not even know.

DNS pretty well summed up my thoughts as well. Hard to believe one could watch a small doe with "2 legs blasted off" and after waiting patiently for her to give the perfect quartering away shot, not realize she was missing half her lower extremities until she was being prepared for field dressing. Could be the original shooter thought the same. Only thing I would add is that maybe the first shooter knew he had a poor hit and was giving it more time to bleed out and "stiffen up" before pushing it. Any time I do not see a deer go down and have any doubts about my shot placement I'll wait an hour....minimum. I'd bet just as many deer are lost because they are trailed too early and then jumped and the blood trail lost as there are deer lost because folks didn't bother to track them at all. Many gun hunters really never learn decent tracking skills. Between the bang-flops and easy blood trails due to efficient expanding bullets, deer shot at without leaving very obvious sign is many times considered a miss. I couldn't count on both my hands the number of times I have heard a family member or hunting partner shoot, walk over to hear them claim they missed and then walk down the trail another 50 yards and find a blood trail a blind man could follow. It had nuttin' to do with being unethical or lazy, but the assumption that without obvious blood or reaction, the shot missed.
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Old October 11, 2012, 06:30 PM   #19
tahunua001
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Interesting t that you said she should not have been hit as she was and yet you didn't even realize her actual size OR that she was injured. You shot an animal smaller than what you thought it was.
I fail to see how mis-judging the size has much to do with the fact that she was hit lengthwise instead of quartering or broadside as is taught in hunter's ed text books.

Quote:
You have assumed the hunter did everything wrong with hunting this animal without you being present. The doe could have been hit via a through and through of another deer. and the hunter not even know.
that should also fall under the previous shooters responsibility as the 4th rule of firearms safety is to be sure of your target and everything beyond. if you have a deer standing directly behind the one you intend to shoot then you need to wait for one of them to move. anyone that has ever hunted knows that there is always a chance of a through and through, that is just common sense talking.
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Old October 11, 2012, 09:55 PM   #20
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I shot a doe in the Pennsylvania late Special Regs area last year. I saw it was limping, but never imagined it was hit that bad. It was raining and I managed to get in a position where I could shoot safely, so I was watching her for quite a while. It looked as if somebody in a tree stand shot down through the front shoulder from behind with a shotgun. The upper part of the leg bone and part of the shoulder bone was shattered and sticking through the skin. I was lucky that the wound had not gotten infected because it appeared that it was like that for a while. This deer was feeding all the time I was trying to get up on it. That was one hard hit deer but NOBODY was going to track it. It could have been 7 miles from where it was hit. I was just glad I killed it.
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Old October 12, 2012, 11:37 AM   #21
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I fail to see how mis-judging the size has much to do with the fact that she was hit lengthwise instead of quartering or broadside as is taught in hunter's ed text books.
You both made a mistakes. You misjudged size, made a bad shot yourself, and didn't even known the animal was massively injured and the other hunter misjudged the shot. As for the hunter's ed textbook, that is something you failed to mention previously, but glad you did. The hunter's ed textbook offers suggestions only. There is absolutely nothing wrong with shooting a deer straight-on. Also, in Idaho, a hunter born before 1975 doesn't have to take the hunter's ed course for a regular hunting license. So who says he had the course? I realize you are defaulting to a higher authority here, but it is an authority that may not even apply.

Also, the hunter could have gotten hunter ed elsewhere and other places do advocate head-on chest shots even if Idaho doesn't (and I don't know if Idaho does or not). http://www.myoan.net/huntingart/deer_shot_place.html
http://www.huntingusa.tripod.com/shotplacement.html
http://www.nosler.com/articles/2011/...hot-placement/

Quote:
that should also fall under the previous shooters responsibility as the 4th rule of firearms safety is to be sure of your target and everything beyond. if you have a deer standing directly behind the one you intend to shoot then you need to wait for one of them to move. anyone that has ever hunted knows that there is always a chance of a through and through, that is just common sense talking.
I understand, but you were ranting that the hunter failed to track the deer known to be shot. After all, nobody randomly just tracks deer unshot, right?. Of course, you have no real knowledge of whether s/he did or not. You just upset that you misjudged a deer yourself that you shot that turned out to be undersized, destroyed a lot of meat, and then learned more of its meat was ruined by a previous hit. You seemed to have thought that just because it could have been tracked that it would have been found and that simply is an unrealistic assumption as noted by the examples provided here. However, it is possible that it was unintentionally hit. Yes, that should not happen, but if the hunter didn't know the animal to be hit, s/he isn't going to track it, are they?

Your rant was all based on the notion that the hunter didn't do due diligence and try to track the deer and you don't know if that is factual or not, bottom line.
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Old October 12, 2012, 02:39 PM   #22
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sometimes that does just happen.
My friend shot a bull elk with his 338 whizbang mag and then, contrary to what you'd expect from watching any TV hunting show: it ran into the woods.

We and another friend found the blood trail and followed it for 40 mins and it just got fainter and fainter until it just stopped. We 3 circled for hours trying to refind the trail and couldn't. I seriously hoped that the trail disappeared b/c the elk had a flesh wound that had closed rather than a gut shot, but no way to tell. It just makes you sick when you hit one and lose it.
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Old October 12, 2012, 06:55 PM   #23
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Almost all of my (roughly) four-dozen bucks never needed any tracking at all. Nor does.

But I did lose two, under strange circumstances.

On the first, I shot and "killed" the buck. As I walked up to gut it, he jumped up to run. The bullet had blown up on the upper bone of his foreleg. Okay, so I put the rifle on him to end the story--and got a 4X setting sun through the scope as he disappeared into the mesquite brush. He was seen crippling around, a few days later, and one of the other hunters put an end to the sadness.

The other was what seemed to be a good cross-body heart/lung shot. I saw a bit of blood pop out the off side, and the buck went to his knees. He jumped up and ran, but I didn't figure he could go too far before bleeding out.

I marked the place where I'd seen him go down (always carry toilet paper for that purpose) and started looking for tracks and blood. My father showed up; he was a better tracker than I. No luck. No tracks in the hard soil. No drops of blood for a trail after the original small amount at the site of the shot. After well over an hour we gave up. Too much brush, too many hidey-holes.

So, I dunno. No buzzards ever showed up anywhere in that pasture, from what we saw and from what the rancher later told us.
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Old October 13, 2012, 08:30 PM   #24
603Country
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Usually I can tell from the blood itself, if there's enough of it, where the bullet struck. Lung blood is fairly distinctive, as is blood from a gut shot. And since I usually did the shooting on what I'm tracking, I know where the bullet should have hit. If your hold was steady, you'll know where those crosshairs were when the rifle fired. I swear that I can close my eyes right now and see where the crosshairs were on a monster buck that I 'nicked' over 20 years ago. Huge buck with tall white antlers. I saw him the same instant he saw me and I smoothly put the crosshairs on him (offhand at about 100 yards or so) and squeezed, but the crosshairs were right on the top of his back when the gun fired. I found blood and hair, but I knew that I had just nicked him. Tracked him over a mile till the drops of blood disappeared. It's the misses I have the sharpest memories of. Darn it.
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Old October 14, 2012, 01:49 AM   #25
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There are three shots I take:

1. Kill shots.
2. Anchoring shots.
3. Central Nervous System shots. (Head/neck/spine)

Type 1 is fatal, but it may not stop the animal from making a temporary escape (100 yards to 2 miles, depending on the animal and terrain).
Type 2 might not be immediately fatal, but it will stop the animal from making any escape.
Type 3 is both fatal and anchoring, but not always possible or advisable.

I very much prefer a CNS shot, but hunting conditions rarely allow them.
Generally, I take a kill shot first. If there's a flight risk in terrain/vegetation that allows the animal to escape, the anchoring shot comes out.
I haven't had to track an animal, to date, but I'd go miles and miles, if needed.

I'll pass on the shot, before I make a compromise and risk a wounding shot.
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