View Full Version : Trailing Deer

September 7, 2006, 05:54 PM
So you take a shot and hit a deer, and it runs off.

Do you wait before trying to follow it or not? I've seen advice on archery websites to wait fifteen minutes before trying to follow, but a stab wound from an arrow is a fundamentally different wound from a bullet. Is there any point to waiting? Should you immediately get in motion to follow the deer, or not?

September 7, 2006, 06:12 PM
After the shot, you should be able to call where your sights were when you fired. Keep your eyes on the animal and mark its location relative to landmarks, trees, rocks, etc. As it moves away, you may see it fall. If it does not fall, you will be able to pick up its trail.

First, calm down. After a few minutes, move to where you last saw the animal and try to pick up its trail. Look for blood, paunch contents, hair, whatever may be leaking from the animal. Follow the trail slowly, watching ahead and watching to make sure you do not lose the trail.

If the animal is not mortally wounded, it will move a ways off and try to lay down. By watching ahead, you may see the animal moving and looking back to see if it is being followed. Do not make the animal run if at all possible. Try to give it room to feel safe and lay down to lick its wounds, and then stalk into position for a finishing shot.

If mortally wounded, it may stagger and drop, or run a ways (possibly as much as 400-500 yds) and pile up. The deer that run are actually some of the hardest to recover, as they may run right off a cliff, down a ravine, or into a lake. Unless you watch them, you might lose them because of how suddenly they disappear. I once shot a deer on top of a hill, and the deer ran right off the edge into a ravine that was about 100 feet deep. By the time I got it out, it seemed like the Grand Canyon!

September 7, 2006, 06:16 PM
I have two suggestions..

A: Wait 1/2 hr

2: Hunt with a friend, track with a friend!!! (I hate hunting alone, but I do it anyway)

September 7, 2006, 06:38 PM
Take some surveyors tape or something similar to mark the blood trail as you go.

September 7, 2006, 06:38 PM
First: Wait.

Second: Wait some more. Calm down.

Third: Take your time, recall where you think the critter was when you shot. Start there. Find some sign and follow it. Slowly. Keep watching ahead to see if you jump him, and be ready to shoot if you do. Bring some toilet paper with you. Use pieces to mark the places you see blood. That way, if you lose the trail, you can look back at the line he took and find the right direction to look in again. Keep a bright flashlight handy in case night falls.

Fourth: Get help. The more eyes the better. Plus they can help gut and drag. :D

September 7, 2006, 08:13 PM
1. Archery; good hit in vitals; wait 1/2 hour or more
2. Archery, not so good hit, wait 1-2 hours or more
3. Rifle, good hit; wait 15 minutes or more
4. Rifle, not so good hit; wait 1-2 hours or more

That's what I've been told. So far, it's worked. They're stone cold dead when I arrive. Luckily, no bad hits .... yet.

Make sure you watch what direction the deer ran off in - hard to do sometimes with black powder. If you can't find a trail, come back after dark - blood is easier to see at night with a flashlight. I'd imagine even easier with one of these new red & blue flashlights out on the market now for tracking.

September 7, 2006, 08:21 PM
When a deer is hit, his system is immediately filled with adrenaline.If you follow up immediately he may run just on the adrenaline even though he's dying !! Relax and wait a bit.....Lose the trail ? He could have a wound seal up or he could try to disappear !! I tracked a deer who went in a nice straight line ,fairly clear blood trail ,Suddenly the trail was gone. Advancing with semicircular searches I found the answer. He had turned 45 degrees and jumped 20 ' !!...Make sure you always follow up on a shot ,they sometimes show no immediate reaction to being hit .Search the area where he was looking for cut hairs or blood.

September 8, 2006, 10:59 AM
Thats true, if you try to follow him right away he will travel even further and faster before he drops. So take a break and wait a while. Then track.

September 8, 2006, 11:12 AM
a stab wound from an arrow is a fundamentally different wound from a bullet. Is there any point to waiting? Should you immediately get in motion to follow the deer, or not?

Arrows have razor blades to bleed the deer out fast...
The deer will feel sick and if not pressed, he will try to lay down somewhere nearby... Wait at least 1/2 hour...
He doesn't know where the "hurt" came from but, if you disturb him too soon he will know you are the source of his pain... he will run as far as he can and you may never find him...

I've actually seen this take place...

I was up high and my partner was on the other side of the ridge...
He fired and wounded a young buck and it ran over the ridge and ducked quickly under a pine tree and laid down...

My buddy came over the ridge and disturbed the sick and resting buck who got a jolt of adrenalin and jumped up and took off like he wasn't hurt at all!

I watched him run a hundred yards before he ducked into another hidey-hole...

I pointed to where the buck was and my friend went over to finish him off and found him already bled out...

If I hadn't of been where I was, my friend would never have found that buck.

Even if the deer walks away... he will leave a much better trail moving slowly than if he's running. ;)

john in jax
September 8, 2006, 11:18 AM
I agree, you should wait AT LEAST 1/2 hour before moving after the deer, and 1 hour is perfectly reasonable if you don't think you've made the best shot. Stay still, be quiet, and as mentioned above, start memorizing landmarks.

Remember, the terrain/area may look a lot different up close than it does from 15'-20' up in a tree and/or +/-100 yards away. Pick out several distictive features that will help you "triangulate" in to where you shot the deer.

Another +1 on the marking tape. Be as quiet as possible while tracking, and don't hesitate to mark the blood trail with brightly colored marking tape.

September 8, 2006, 11:23 AM
Interesting that you need to wait.

All the animals I've seen shot (all on OLN) have flinched at the shot and then run. At most, they just staggered, and then took off. Not once have they gone flop after the bang, so even an animal that is perfectly shot is going to go some distance. Botched shots never make it on the air, of course.

I may bump that 7mm-08 up to .308 at that. We'll see.

Quickdraw Limpsalot
September 8, 2006, 11:42 AM
I've shot several deer with .44 mag and .35 Remington that drop right where they're hit. Some go 20 yards, some 120... it ain't a perfect science & it depends on the round, the placement, and the critter's abilities & attitude.

But I agree, give the booger some time to die before you go running through the woods after it.

Wild Bill Bucks
September 8, 2006, 12:04 PM
The most common mistake, that I have seen guys make while trailing a wounded animal, is over running the trail. You are looking for every little detail of sign, and sometimes it may be no more than a small drop or two of blood. After waiting for 30 minutes or so, go find your initial point of impact. once you find it, mark the spot with a marker(I use toilet paper) STAND STILL, and look around for the next blood, then go to it, and mark it, Then STAND STILL and look for the next spot.Ect. Use your eyes before using your feet. If you move to fast looking for sign, there is a good possibility, you will cover up the sign by walking on it. If a deer is leaving a solid trail of blood, he won't be to far, and won't be hard to locate. A high lung shot, will take a while to fill up before bleeding to profusely, so the deer may run for a while before he starts to bleed, so tracking may consist of very small drops or two of blood for 25 or 30 yards, before you actually find a good blood trail. Always mark each spot with a marker, and if you run out of sign, you can make a circle about 20 feet out from your last blood spot, and pick up the trail again( being careful to look before you walk)

September 8, 2006, 12:21 PM
Just a quick anecdote. Last year my buddy was sitting on a bucket near a deer trail with his bow during October. Doe comes by, he shoots but too far back; gut shoots it ( :mad: ). But being archery shot, everything is quiet, so doe runs just 25 or 30 yards, then lays down. He stays still and watches, and can just barely make out the doe's eyes, so he sees where it's lying. He's gonna just wait til it lays it's head down. But, some cows come along and scare the doe off - and so he never finds it. Were it not for the cows, he'd have that doe which he killed. May have taken an hour or three, and maybe even another arrow would have been in order, but he'd have recovered it, most likely.

September 8, 2006, 01:30 PM
1. Wait. If there's lots of daylight- wait longer. If it's late in the day, start tracking sooner.

2. Listen- you can only do this well if you're being still, and few of us move with catlike silence through the woods. I sure don't.

3. Make mental notes and refences as to the locations of sounds, using landmarks appropriate to your terrain.

4. If you are hunting in dangerous game country- stay awake! You may not be the only predator following your prey.

5. Look ahead before you look at the ground. Look through the vegetation- not at it. Try to do this at both ground level and eye level.

6. When you look at the ground, look only at the ground/vegetation. Take every stop as an opportunity to listen carefully. Never move ahead without looking ahead, and make a 360 scan before you move off.

7. If I have a really good sign, I don't blaze as I go. When the sign gets thin, I'll start blazing as a reference. If I work in a circle to find lost sign, I'll break twigs about chest high so I can tell where I've been. This radial 'casting' for a lost track is an excellent tactic. By taking your time and working larger and larger circles, you will almost always cut the sign again.

This stuff is entirely relevant to handgun and muzzleloader hunters too. Good topic.

September 8, 2006, 07:06 PM
Interesting stories. The need to track is another good reason to start hunting with a guide; even a little education will improve the eye a lot. there are probably places on the internet where you can find someone to teach rudimentary tracking & fieldcraft, too.

September 8, 2006, 08:18 PM
This isn't tracking info, or even a tracking story, but it's an amusing story my neighbor just told me, and it kinda relates, and doesn't deserve it's own thread so...

Seems that many moons ago, in his younger days, he was down hunting in SE Okla. for deer, and came across a lady hunter who madder than a hornet, cussing and carrying on. She explained that she shot this nice buck that went down fast, and was so excited and proud, she decided to take a picture of it right then and there, so she placed her rifle across its horns and started walking over to take the picture, and..... Can guess what happens next? Sure you can; someone complete the story for me. :)

September 8, 2006, 09:20 PM
OK, here's my two cents worth:
Wait for 30-45 minutes, before you move. Sit back, relax, enjoy nature and get your breathing back to normal.

Now, take a spray bottle and have it filled with hydrogren peroxide...go to where you "shot" the animal and begin spraying...any blood will fizzle, even the smallest drops!

Next, carry kleenex.

You would use these to clean your hands, after gutting, etc. but once you find a blood spot, mark it by dropping a kleenex down.

Now, go and look for the next spot...use the length of your rifle to try and get an idea of "how" far between drops of blood there is, drop another kleenex...continue using the length of the rifle (bow) as a tracking stick, and using the spray mist of hydrogen peroxide...take your time. In this case, slow and steady wins the race...

Primitive people in the Amazon using blow guns, will hit the animal, then go back to camp and get a dog. This allows enough time for the poison to work...then they track the animal down using the dog...might be something to think about!

Move through the brush slowly, move, find your next spot of blood, or track, check around you, make sure you are really seeing, (look for movement). Time is on your side. If it gets cold at night, you have more time to find the animal...it's still gonna be edible in the morning...

September 8, 2006, 11:19 PM
I wait at least 15 minutes and settle down. Eat a peice of candy to use as a timer. IF the deer (animal) ran out of sight, I often will move to where I think I hit it and begin my wait there while quietly looking for blood. You can not believe how tough it is sometimes to find the exact spot unless there is a lot of blood. I have sometimes walked back and forth to my stand to "refresh" my mental image. If you are not in a stand, mark the shooting spot boldly (remove when you recover the deer). You start looking and you are not successful, your memory is pretty much done. So, do your best to memorize the exact spot where you believe you hit the deer and then remember key points as it ran away from you. Stumble? ran up hill? down hill? up slope side of big rock? whatever...

I take a roll of surveyors flagging with me hunting to mark things. I use tiny pieces, maybe 4"-6" long. For a blood trail, first I mark where I hit the deer blood or no blood. If no blood, then I look for tracks or scuff marks. Remembering how the animal ran away from you is important as you don't really know until you get to the spot you shot it if there will be blood.

Mark the spot where you can see it (on twig). Start tracking slowly looking for blood and mark trail every 10 feet or so with flagging. Continue until you find the deer or run out of blood or sign. Track slowly and be ready for a quick shot. If the deer has just layed down and is not dead, you often can see it ahead of you if you are careful. The flagging allows you to pay attention to the animal and not worry about refinding the trail.

Marking the trail allows you to go back and sight down the trail to predict where the animal may have run if you run out of sign. It also allows you to go around thick areas and find the trail on the other side... if you can't, you just retreat and find your last flagged spot and start through the thick stuff.

If the blood stops, make a half circle first then a full circle around the last blood location looking for tiny drops of blood. The marked location again serves to anchor your perspective.

Reflective tape works at night. If it is raining and you believe you made a good shot, start immediately to track as the blood is being washed away by the rain (common sense). In the snow, it is much easier, but if there are lots of other deer tracks, it can get confusing.

Some people use kleenix or tiolet paper to mark trails as it degrades quickly. I go back and pull the flagging later. Keep your firearm ready for action and be careful of slipping and falling etc. If you see the deer, look for its ears, if they move, its alive. Shoot. If not, and it appears in a natural position, shoot.

Another item. Look at the color of the blood. IF it is bright red, it is probably a heart-lung chest hit. If it is dark, then you probably hit it too far back past the diaphram. If you find lots of blood, you won't have far to track. But if the blood droplets are few and far between and the weather is good, stop and wait longer before tracking as the deer may not be mortally wounded. You don't want to be flushing the deer out every 100 yds. You want to see it lying down and finish it. Watch for ears and antlers and of course any movement. Stay alert.

Art Eatman
September 9, 2006, 09:34 AM
Yeah, Kleenex or toilet paper for marking. Don't forget to mark where you were when you shot, though. Flag where Bambi first got hit, as well.

General behavior: If a buck is wounded in the front legs or a shoulder, he's more likely to go uphill than downhill. If he has a broken hind leg, he's more likely to head off downhill.

If you're down in a valley area, odds are that any buck, wounded or not, will circle into the wind and head up toward some saddle in a ridge line. So, look upwind toward a likely area and "cut him off at the pass".

Just remember that not all deer have read my book, "What Deer Do".

:), Art

September 9, 2006, 10:46 AM
Well, don't feel bad. There's many a striped bass out there that hasn't read anything I've read, either. I (however) will definitely read your book before I go off and start hunting.

September 9, 2006, 01:13 PM
A-hem! I said...

Can guess what happens next? Sure you can; someone complete the story for me.

but maybe no one saw it or cared. So I'll finish it. Anyway, seems the buck was not actually dead, just stunned; it got up and ran off into the woods - WITH her rifle still in it's rack. :eek: :mad: :D

September 9, 2006, 06:23 PM
Not once have they gone flop after the bang, so even an animal that is perfectly shot is going to go some distance.
Damn! I thought you must've been shooting a .270 Winchester. :D
I may bump that 7mm-08 up to .308 at that. We'll see.
Good idea! :D

Better yet a 30-06... ;)

Check your bullet construction as well...

Every properly hit animal I ever killed with a 30-06, dropped right there... including Bull Elk.

None of my deer/elk ever made it more than a few yards...

Art Eatman
September 10, 2006, 02:07 PM
BrianBM, why do you think I've nattered so happily about "Hit 'em in the white spot!"? ) DRT. No go, no mo'.

Most heart shots I've made, the deer goes to its elbows for a moment, and then jumps and lunges. Generally, ten to maybe 50 yards. Just guessing about the number, really, but that's some 20 or 25 deer.

Personal opinion, but most of these heart shots you hear about where the buck runs for a long distance weren't heart shots. Behind it a bit, generally. And a gut-shot deer can go a long way if pushed.

True story: A lady shot a nice buck. Went up and dutifully put her tag on it. She'd hit a horn, though, and the buck was just stunned. He came to. Up, jump, run--into the next pasture. She takes off after him, and gets over the fence just as another hunter shoots the buck.

That hunter and his partner go to the buck to dress it out. Here comes Ms. Displeased: "What are you doing? That's MY deer!"

"Lady, what do you mean, your deer? I just shot the danged thing!"

"It's mine! I put my tag on it!"

(Yeah, the tag is still there.)

"Well, okay, lady. Anybody can run that fast deserves a deer."

:), Art

September 10, 2006, 02:45 PM
Hitting a deer squarely in the heart is no easy task in a hunting situation.If you can do it, great.Generally a heart lung target is about the size of a dinner plate ,depending on the size of the deer of course.It's always quickly fatal.But,I have seen a lot of deer run fifty to one hundred yards after being shot through both lungs.Depends a lot on whether the bullet hits a rib or not on entry.I have seen this with several different cartridges.Wrong type bullet? Maybe.I just think it is realistic to think that even with a good shot,some amount of tracking and dragging is always going to be involved.

September 10, 2006, 07:12 PM
Art, I have indeed noticed your thoughts on the white spot. Base of the throat, no? But that's a head shot, easy to miss if he looks the other way. Did yo perchance mean the edge of that white tummy?

Rich Lucibella had a thread on a mule deer, that initiated his new lightweight 7mm-08, awhile ago. I tripped over it while browsing, and what really startled me was the comment that he'd thought about bringing along a .338 (if I recall correctly) in case he had a difficult quartering shot. A .338 on deer, yikes. And this is in Texas, if I recall, where deer are the size of a Manitoba cottontail. I may (in the interest of that ban/flop) have to rethink this whole business of rifles and deer. If you REALLY need them to fall over, well, perhaps a M77 in .458 is a better choice ...... :D .

that same thread had an interesting exchange of posts between Rich and another gent, who seemed in agreement that the traditional choice of placement (a third of the way uo the line fo the foreleg) is inappropriate; the better placement would be halfway between belly and back, since a high shot will disrupt the spine and a low one still penetrates heart and/or lung. What's your take on the ideal shot placement on a deed at broadside

Art Eatman
September 10, 2006, 09:08 PM
The white spot is on the front of a deer's neck, not far below the jaw. A few inches...It's real obvious if a deer is looking in your general direction. For me, it was "as instructed" by my father and my uncle. Unless a deer was running, that was their preferred shot. I've seen my father call that shot, offhand, at 250 yards; others also have seen him call that shot on out to 500. I can't shoot that good.

I've seen my uncle slam a jeep to a very sudden stop, grab his rifle, and kill a buck in mid-jump over a fence at some 125 yards. I didn't even see the darned buck until he rolled over, DRT. And my uncle had milk-bottle-bottom lenses to correct his 20/200 vision!

"Shootable" mule deer in Texas run anywhere from 150 pounds on to around 200, sometimes more. That's field-dressed weight. Central Texas "Hill Country" deer, whitetails, often look like greyhounds with horns. They'll often dress out below a hundred pounds. Way too dense a population. Historically, south Texas deer in the brush country field-dress from 130 on to 200 pounds.

IMO, a "sight in and forget it" load for a .30-'06 that will kill any big mule deer in Texas is a 180-grain; it's not a bad elk load, for that matter. It's more than needed for whitetails, for which I've always used the 150s. IMO, a .338 is way more than needed. In my own level of iggerance about elk, I'd say it's more than a good rifleman needs, as well.

Some folks like what's called a "high heart shot", where you get the upp[er part of the heart and the lower part of the lungs. The target zone is just under halfway up a deer's body, and just behind the foreleg. That's a 90-degree shot, of course. You can easily figure it out from one of these diagrams of the vital areas of a deer.


September 24, 2006, 08:40 PM
This is a heck of an interesting thread. That "white spot" shot is, by definition, a neck shot; no doubt it's absolutely lethal if made, but as a first-timer, perhaps I'd best be conservative and wait for heart/lung shots, unless I get incredibly fortunate in terms of distance and circumstance.

Assuming a deer of normal proportions, which gives you a better blood trail, a smaller/faster round (like that 140 gr. 7mm-08) or a slower, bigger round (.30-06, .44 mag, .45-70)?

Art Eatman
September 24, 2006, 11:24 PM
Exit wounds bleed far more than entrance wounds. Ergo, a bullet that blows on through provides a better blood trail.

Generally, what I've seen with my "too-light" 85-grain .243 bullets is a double-handful of mush where the heart/lungs used to be. No exit wound, commonly, but the deer didn't go far enough to be a problem.

I'd say that some 95% of my 150-grain '06 bullets exited.

Two things about me and my neck-shot stuff: I've been shooting some sort of rifle since my first Daisy Red Ryder in 1941, as well as my grandfather's .22. I'm sorta used to doing it. Next is that I won't take any shot unless I feel confident of a hit where I want to hit--which is really the most important part of the deal.

You might have noticed in the rifle forum, from time to time, some newbie will ask about a first rifle and what to buy--and I always recommend a .22 and a lot of practice time. A lot of thoughtful practice makes a big difference whne the move is made to centerfires and big-game hunting.


Art Eatman
September 24, 2006, 11:25 PM
Exit wounds bleed far more than entrance wounds. Ergo, a bullet that blows on through provides a better blood trail. I've seen many an entrance wound with merely a few drops of blood there. A shot through the heart or lungs will usually make for a really notable blood trail.

Generally, what I've seen with my "too-light" 85-grain .243 bullets is a double-handful of mush where the heart/lungs used to be. No exit wound, commonly, but the deer didn't go far enough to be a problem.

I'd say that some 95% of my 150-grain '06 bullets exited.

Two things about me and my neck-shot stuff: I've been shooting some sort of rifle since my first Daisy Red Ryder in 1941, as well as my grandfather's .22. I'm sorta used to doing it. Next is that I won't take any shot unless I feel confident of a hit where I want to hit--which is really the most important part of the deal.

You might have noticed in the rifle forum, from time to time, some newbie will ask about a first rifle and what to buy--and I always recommend a .22 and a lot of practice time. A lot of thoughtful practice makes a big difference when the move is made to centerfires and big-game hunting.


September 25, 2006, 12:00 AM
one other thing to remember, if you want good tasting meat, kill it clean, let it die at its pace, and clean it well.

These deer that get shot then chased for a mile are good only for dog food. the meat will be so loaded with lactic acids and residues of the adrenaline as to be almost inedible.

take your time, shoot the deer so that from anything but dead broad side the bullet will pass between the shoulders. Dead broadside aim just behind the elbow.

All these stories about running deer shot at long ranges also mean that there were many deer shot and missed or shot and wounded and never found. If it is getting dark, and you have a flashlight, consider adding a red filter to it, that will make the blood stand out as blue. If you know you hit the deer but do not see anything, get down on your hands and knees and look from that perspective, it seems a lot of body blood ends up on the bottom of leaves as the deer runs by, easy to see when you are down low.

If you do not have tape or kleenex with you, use a hat and a glove. put your hat at the first place you find blood, your mitten at the second, then grab your hat and move till you see the third etc. works really well

WE wait at least 15 minutes on well struck deer that we see go down. If we do not see it go down, we wait at least a half hour. NOTE too that often during that half hour, we have shot a second deer that seems to know something is wrong but trying to find the first deer.

We also consider a deer shot but lost as a tagged animal. meaning it does not go down as a miss, but rather we need another tag or we are done.

For us, you only get to kill the number of deer on the tag, it is not how many you get to keep, but how many you get to shoot.

Happy to say, with 5 hunters only one lost deer in 7 years. and that we found out later, was shot by a neighbor who told us the first shot was well low in the leg.

September 25, 2006, 10:03 AM
Very wise words, guntotin fool; well-said. If most hunters followed your ethics, hunters would enjoy a stellar reputation.

September 25, 2006, 10:54 AM
Shoot within your limits. A man has got to know his limitations. This holds true in hunting more so than in many other parts of life.

If you can make a clean neck shot 99 times out of 100 at 150 yards, it is your choice.

If you wonder weather or not you can do it, take the shoulder/lung shot.

Pie plate at 150 is worlds different than a baseball size shot.

I use toilet paper to mark the blood trail. It biodegrates and is gone by next year. That dang marking tape is hanging around for years. If you use marking tape, go back and recover it. (most people don't)

Hunting ethics is becoming endangered. Folks like us are charged with keeping it a part of every day hunting. Good shot placement and proper effort put forth to recover every game animal should be natural parts to every hunt.

This is a great thread full of great advice. The knowledge and ethics shown in everyone's advice should be a big pat on each of your backs.
Makes me proud to be a member here!

Wild Bill Bucks
September 25, 2006, 12:02 PM
I agree desertfox,

I really get tired of seeing hunters trash all over the woods. Marking tape, cigarette packages, shotgun shells, gum wrappers, you name it. Most of us wouldn't go to someones house and throw our trash in the floor, so why should being in the deers house be any different.

If you are one of those guys that has to leave his mark with trash everywhere you go, then do us all a favor, and find some other hobby.:mad:

September 25, 2006, 12:38 PM
+1 on the waiting, but I did run into a situation that I had to get on it right away. I bow shot a buck who was at an extreme uphill angle in a absolute downpour. I knew it was a good hit, as did my buddy who was with me. It bounced over the crest. I started to wait my normal time limit, then realized as hard as it was raining, we would have nothing to follow. Long story short, even with essentially no wait time, we had to do the circle search from where he topped the ridge. Found him about 50 yards from there, in a totally unexpected direction.

In addition to the rain, I had hit him back further than either of us thought (liver), and a loop of intestine had plugged the bottom hole (entrance). Some luck involved in the recovery, I admit, but we also did everything possible to get it.

September 25, 2006, 06:45 PM
Well, a bow-shot deer is a different proposition, I would think. No? A deer taken with an arrow has suffered a puncture wound and dies of bleeding. I'd be surprised if a broadhead inflicts the kind of handful-of-mush internal injury that comes from a gunshot wound, that Art was talking about. And I doubt that a broadhead could ever break a major bone; I'm not sure if they even penetrate bone. Am I wrong? I don't mind being told so, if that's the case.

September 26, 2006, 05:59 AM
I shot a buck in San Angelo Texas two years ago with a 100grain Muzzy on a Gold Tip Carbon arrow at 38 yards. (That was the farthest shot on a deer I had ever taken) Broad side shot and he just slumped back far enough for the arrow to hit forward and in the shoulder.
The broadhead broke the shoulder and passed on to the other shoulder. The buck dropped like a sack of potatoes. The arrow was sticking strait up in the air.
I had to drop from my 6 foot tree stand and sneak to 20 yards and put a finishing shot on the buck. The shoulder shot was not clean kill shot.(this is due to the clean cut the arrow makes not the shock and severe hemmoraging a bullet would do)
I helped a surgeon get into bow hunting a few years back. He shot his first deer and you can imagine the field dressing that went on with a surgeon. He said he would rather patch up a man with 3 bullet wounds than one arrow.
An arrow typically breaks two or three ribs upon entry and the same on the exit side. The slicing internally will cause a quick bleed out.
Good example of something blocking the blood exit from davlandrum. Rain will create different waiting times after a shot and the circle method saved the day. If you would have pushed the deer it would have been next to impossible to find him.
I have used the circle method before when the blood trail dries up or there is no blood. Never quit looking until you have exhausted every attempt to find your shot game.
"50 yards from there, in a totally unexpected direction"
Horray, circle method!

September 26, 2006, 05:43 PM
An arrow typically breaks two or three ribs on entry AND EXIT? ye Gods.
Given the distance between ribs .... well, I am corrected.

September 26, 2006, 09:21 PM
Agreeed; it's amazing how an arrow can penetrate bone - it's power comes from the tremendous sectional density of an arrow, which involves primarily the length to width ratio. Since an arrow has a LOT of weight in it's long length (450-500 grains give or take let's say, with broadhead), yet the entry point is focused into a small spot, say 1" or 1.25" across. Combine this with the cutting/splitting power of razor sharp broadheads, it focuses a lot more penetrating power than an ordinary bullet does. A bullet may be 3-5 times as long as it is wide. An arrow is 25-30 times as long as it is wide; maybe more. But it's penetrating power into thick bone like a shoulder is going to also depend a lot upon what type of broadhead is being used. If you're using a muzzy-type, with a triangular solid headpiece, that is a bone-shattering proposition; more so than the design that just has the blades themselves extending all the way to the nose, with just a central aluminum shaft to hold the blades.

Interesting about the surgeon's comments, DF. I've said before that if I had to choose, I'd rather be shot with a .44 magnum than a razor sharp broadhead from a 70 pound bow - seems more survivable, bloodloss-wise. Now as to .308 vs. broadhead, I dunno... hate to choose, cuz I think you're gonna die either way. But I'd probably pick the broadhead over the .308, if I'm the shootee

September 27, 2006, 11:13 AM
Thanks BrianBM One or two would have been a more accurate assesment.
The dramatics is appreciated though.