View Full Version : Longest it took you to find/track down your game after shooting it?

November 19, 2008, 08:13 AM
I wanted to know what's the longest it took and farthest you guys had to walk to track down your game after shooting it with a bullet or arrow? Blood trail or no blood trail. And if you had any crazy or weird interesting experiences in that scenario?

For me personally I'm up here in New England and we mostly got white tail deer to hunt and there's been a couple times after hitting a deer with my Weatherby 300 with 180gr Barnes bullet from 200 yards+ and beyond after a clean through and through shot that it ran off and I lost it, I spent hours looking for it and looking for a blood trail but I kept losing the trail because it was a November fall cloudy rainy day, and everytime I'd think I saw some blood on the ground it was a red/brown leaf on the ground. I was getting very frustrated and talking out loud to myself so I left and called a friend and he brought along 2 of his buddies so we had 4 of us out there looking for this damn deer. We eventually found it, I had no idea how long it was dead. I shot the deer at around 8am and we didn't find it till around 4:45pm and it was dusk, getting a little dark out. Here in New England towards end of November the days are short, it gets dark fast. So we were lucky.

November 19, 2008, 08:20 AM
P.S. we found it over a mile away from where it was first shot. :mad: :o

November 19, 2008, 08:25 AM
This is why I'm excited about taking my new S&W 500 hunting next time using Winchester Platinum Tip 400gr hollow points or Corbon Hunter S&W500 385gr soft points. I'm looking for more shock and knock down power even if it damages a little more of the meat.

November 19, 2008, 08:32 AM
Furthest was a butt shot pig a buddy of one shot with a .308 in the middle of the night from inside his truck while the sow was runnin' full tilt. We looked and let my pitbull I had to catch pigs try the blood trail but he lost it after a dozen yards into the thicket. Found her dead a week later a few yards deeper in. But a dead hog is a good hog... no one lost sleep.

November 19, 2008, 08:36 AM
All about shot placement. The most I've had any deer run was about 100 to 150 yards. My buck this year actually made one big leap and was done.

Just curious Patriot - where did you hit your deer?

November 19, 2008, 09:21 AM
I arrowed a deer in the liver once, took 4 hours & 400 yards for it to die. Waited 2 hours, started tracking, spooked it up & had to stop because it got right next to a residence when it made its last standing, about 75 yards from us...we sat, waited and watched, till it finally expired an hour and a half later. I felt terrible but it happens like that sometimes.

November 19, 2008, 09:22 AM
Call me a meat waster but I keep shooting 'til they're down... had one make it 50 yards or so once after two to the boiler room, third (gut shot on the run) was the end. I am neither an experienced tracker nor on enough property to know they won't be two farms away if I let them run out - I am going to make a sure thing of it after I pull the trigger the first time.

Brian Pfleuger
November 19, 2008, 10:32 AM
I had a buck go about 1/2 mile after I hit behind its lungs by about 2 inches. We had to get a couple of kids to track it for us. Those boys walked along that trail like it was a neon sign. We couldn't see a thing. Every now and then they'd say "Don't you see that blood?" and point to a drop the size of a pencil lead on a leaf. They told us it's because they're American Indian that they can track that way. (no joke) I don't know if that's why but those boys sure can track. Anyhow, it's was the next morning we found him so it was only about 14 hours.

Brian Pfleuger
November 19, 2008, 10:34 AM
I'm looking for more shock and knock down power even if it damages a little more of the meat.

Shoot 'em through the lungs with a .22 and you'll get all the "knockdown power" you need.

November 19, 2008, 10:42 AM
This is why I'm excited about taking my new S&W 500 hunting next time using Winchester Platinum Tip 400gr hollow points or Corbon Hunter S&W500 385gr soft points. I'm looking for more shock and knock down power even if it damages a little more of the meat.

Hate to say it, but if you don't hit 'em right, it won't make any difference.

If you hit them right, a .357 mag will drop them just about as quick.

We tracked a mule deer once that my dad hit with an arrow. It went a couple of miles, but we found it the next morning. He got a bit of one lung, but it didn't leave much of a blood trail.

Every animal that I ever hit right, no matter what I hit it with, dropped in sight. I make it a point to make the first shot count, but like another poster said, if it's still on it's feet then I'll likely shoot it again if I have the chance.

Tracking is a hunting skill that a lot of folks need to learn more about. In fact, it's a continual learning process for me.


November 19, 2008, 11:24 AM
Hate to say it, but if you don't hit 'em right, it won't make any difference.

Can't stress that enough.

I've heart-shot two deer and neck-to-spine'd another. They didn't take a step. Double-lunged deer have received follow-up shots, but never went far (the above story was the farthest). If you hit heart, or lungs close to it, they'll flop. Get your range time in!

November 19, 2008, 11:55 AM
Longest for me was an arrow. My first bow kill.

Shot was uphill, quartering away, about 35 yards and I slipped it back just an inch from a perfect shot. Sliced an intestine and put a perfect X (ok, it wasn't an X, because it was a 3-blade broadhead...) through the liver and took out the off-side lung and buried into the bank behind it.

Took us about 2 hours to find it. First problem was it was raining buckets, so I did not wait as long as I would have normally. Second problem, only discovered when we found it, was a loop of intestine had dropped into the entrance wound like a cork. All the blood stayed inside after the first few yards.

Only way we found it was from the last drop of blood we started a grid seach in the direction of travel when last seen. Found it piled up under some brush about 100 yards from the shot.

I have been in on track jobs that ran into days on animals others had shot (poorly). Nothing like wasting precious days of your season trying to find an elk that was hit by someone else.

November 19, 2008, 11:56 AM
I have shot a deer with 06 & it run 100 yrds Heart shot/same whith 243 droped in tracks /Just some deer have more will to live or HEART:D

Brian Pfleuger
November 19, 2008, 01:11 PM
I have shot a deer with 06 & it run 100 yrds Heart shot/same whith 243 droped in tracks /Just some deer have more will to live or HEART

I honestly think it has to do with what stage of breathing they are in at the moment of the hit. If they are just about to exhale then they essentially have an entire breathe to live on, if they just exhaled and haven't inhaled they have NO breathe to live on.
Just this Sunday my hunting party experienced 2 nearly identical shots on 2 very similar deer. My shot was about 35 yards on a 4-point. Double lung and heart. He jumped, jogged about 35 yards and fell. An hour later, my cousin shot a 6-point at about 45 yards. Double lung and heart. He ran full bore but only got about 75 yards. The difference? Well, his ran, mine jogged, both lived maybe 6 seconds.
I think that if you hit the heart then the brain has only the oxygen it already got to live on. If you hit the lungs but not the heart then the brain gets the remaining oxygen in the blood stream plus however much can still be gleaned from the damaged lungs, which depends on the breathing stage they are in.

November 19, 2008, 01:55 PM
Only shot I know for sure that will drop on spot is (neck shot) I droped quite a few BAM tere down.

November 19, 2008, 02:10 PM
Longest Distance? Or Longest Time? :confused:

Longest time:
The first buck I ever killed was a 40 yard broadside shot, .270, Remington 130 gr Coreloct bullet. put it right in his heart. He was unfortunately standing right on the edge of one of the nastiest, thickets, briar patches I have ever seen. At the shot, he dove in the thicket, I heard him "crash" four times, then nothing. At the spot o fthe shot, I found three tiny drops of blood.....nothing else, anywhere....took most of the afternoon to find him laying less than 30 yards into the thicket. shot him right through the heart but the exit wound was ony the size of a dime.......

Longest Distance:
First hangun kill. Doe. 60 yards. T/C COntender with open sights. 44 Magnum Super 14" barrel. Can't remember the exact load now, but it was a copper jacketed lead flat nosed bullet......anyway, the Doe was quartering toward me about dusk....Shot her, she did one of those nice
"cartwheels" letting me know I had a good hit, then got up and dove right over the side of the ridge top I was hunting on. Sat in the stand, smoked a Camel or too, then decied to go pick up my deer.....figured she was right on the other side of the brush at the edge of the clearing, so I left everything sitting there at my stand except my knife.....all the way to the bottom of the hill, into a dry creak bed, and about a mile and a half away from my stand I finally found her, and had to finish her off. My shot was too far back in the rib cage, and angled to the off hip, so it was a nice "gut shot".........unfotunately, by the time I finished gagging while field dressing it, darkness had fall, with my flashlight and radio a mile and a hlf back up hill. Drug that deer out in the dark with only my zippo to light the way.......

November 19, 2008, 03:30 PM
I honestly think it has to do with what stage of breathing they are in at the moment of the hit. If they are just about to exhale then they essentially have an entire breathe to live on, if they just exhaled and haven't inhaled they have NO breathe to live on.

Naw. It actually has more to do with the way the bullet acts when it hits. Fragile bullets will do more damage in the distance they penetrate, while stronger built bullets will penetrate deeper to reach vital organs on larger animals.

Animals drop from blood pressure loss far quicker than from loss of oxygen to the brain. You can hold your breath longer than the 6 seconds it took for those deer to die, and you'd still be very much alive.

A person can choke on something, and still stay alive for several minutes without oxygen. If blood pressure drops though, they hit the ground. Without blood pressure, you lose the flow of blood, and it's all over.

Brian Pfleuger
November 19, 2008, 03:41 PM
Animals drop from blood pressure loss far quicker than from loss of oxygen to the brain. You can hold your breath longer than the 6 seconds it took for those deer to die, and you'd still be very much alive.

A person can choke on something, and still stay alive for several minutes without oxygen. If blood pressure drops though, they hit the ground. Without blood pressure, you lose the flow of blood, and it's all over.

Entirely possible that your right. I never thought of the blood pressure angle. The part that makes me wonder is that a double lung that misses the heart still causes death in a matter of seconds. That doesn't seem to be blood pressure related. When you hold your breathe you still have the entirety of the oxygen in that amount of air. When the lungs are damaged you lose most, if not all, of that air.

November 19, 2008, 04:31 PM
Prolly 10minutes, 200yards or so.

November 19, 2008, 05:21 PM
That doesn't seem to be blood pressure related

It might be (I am not a Doctor, and did not stay at...). The amount of blood flowing to the lungs is huge and as that blood exits the circulatory system, it might cause the blood pressure crash.

November 19, 2008, 06:34 PM
When muzzle loading first became legal here, I put together a CVA Kentucky rifle kit in .45. I shot a deer with it, a nice buck, at about 7:15 one morning. (I had hit it too far back and too high for it to succumb quickly and the little .45 did not penetrate.) I tracked it till 11:30, about 2 1/2 miles and found only a gut pile.

Never shot the .45 again. Sold it and bought a .54 caliber. Solved the penetration problem! Bigger bleed holes too! I also learned more about ML ballistics and have since placed the shots better. Live and learn.

November 19, 2008, 08:01 PM
never had one actually take an additional step after being shot, granted all my shots have been nervous system shots, head and neck shots. the one I shot this year at 400 yds, did the stop, drop and roll thing down the hill.

November 20, 2008, 01:49 AM
125 yards. Never lost sight of it.

So, I guess that means I have never had to track.

Or, I have witnessed/made some lucky shots.

November 20, 2008, 01:01 PM
Now with bow I have shot one & had 1/2 mile thack job (1) lung hit. I have Shot one Through & throgh double lung jumpe up in air turned around started walking away like nothing happend I went to knock another arrow & she droped kicked alittel Expired :D

November 20, 2008, 02:11 PM
Was hunting on shotgun only land in West Texas, sitting in a mesquite tree with perfect view, out steps a doe not even 30 feet from me, raised the scattergun, and put all 9 pellets in her heart/lung area. She hopped, and took off at a dead run. I tracked her to a shallow, wide creek about 400 yards north of where I was sitting and found her nestled in a thicket still gasping for air, blood pouring out of her nose and mouth, but apparently she still had life in her and she popped back up and ran for another 50-60 yards before flopping over. After opening her up, one pellet went through the top of her heart and the rest through both lungs and lodged in the far side of her. This was the absolute last time I went deer hunting with a shotgun...:barf:

Brian Pfleuger
November 20, 2008, 03:47 PM
This was the absolute last time I went deer hunting with a shotgun...

Find one of them there new fangled shells that combines all 9 of them pellets into one big'en. You won't have that problem. ;)

November 21, 2008, 04:10 PM
mine didn't go anywhere but head over heels.

shot was made maybe 25 yards away,from treestand with a 12 gauge slug. the slug entered mid ribcage from an angle (deer was facing slightly away from me). its right side towards me. it broke 3 ribs it and made an entrance wound about 2.5"x5". it passed through the deer exiting at the base of the neck.

either before i was born or while i was too young to hunt
dad shot 1 with his rifle (.35 rem) the deer dropped and spun around kicking like curley from the 3 stooges. not sure how far away it was,he hit it in the heart,upon field dressing the deer he found the heart was practically liquified.

back in the late 80's he went to maine to hunt with his father,( my grandad), i was to young to go. he shot a black bear maybe 120 pounds dressed,female.

in virginia when the 3 of us went hunting
he had another deer he shot many years later with the same rifle, it ran maybe 100 yards and fell,there was alot of blood where the deer was standing when he shot it. and alot to trail it with too. the following year,

grandad shot one with his .35 at first light of the morning, it jumped and ran down the hillside and dropped maybe 150 yards. a mess of blood there too.

November 22, 2008, 05:48 AM
Last year I heart/lung shot a 9 pointer at dusk at 197 yards. The deer only traveled about 30 yards from where it was standing but took 300 yards in a zig zag course to get there. I lost the blood trail and had to go get a flashlight to continue tracking, took me about 25 minutes walking back and forth before I found him. It was on top of a hill going down a steep embankment into a hollow. When I got close to the edge I thought for sure that he had gone all the way down in to the creek. When I got to the edge though I found him with his leg hung up on a tree root. If it hadn't been for that root I would have had quite a drag ahead of me.

November 23, 2008, 08:17 AM
Longest track has been about 100 yards (give or take a few) earlier this season. Double lung shot 8 point buck with my compound bow. Other than that all of my kills have been with the shotgun and that doesn't really allow for much tracking as long as you have some common sense with your shots.

Now, that 8 point buck took about 2 1/2 hours to track down. He bled heavily for the first 15 or so yards after the hit, but then the trail completely ended. Finally picked the trail back up almost 70 yards away, only reason I found it was from watching the deer after the shot, so I at least knew the general direction he ran. Once the trail picked back up it was very heavy and easy to follow, deer ended up being down in some thick reeds on the edge of the swamp I was in front of....fun part was dragging him back over the creek :)

November 23, 2008, 09:30 PM
Weird but the longest deer track I followed in the dark and rain was a long zigzag course which ended less than 60 yards straight line from its start but covered a lot more distance, maybe 120 yards total. A deer is hard to find in the brush and high grass; luckily it has a white belly.

I was taught in the Air Force that it takes 7 seconds to go unconscious if something cuts off the blood supply to your brain. So how far can a deer run in 7 seconds?

November 24, 2008, 06:18 AM
The longest distance was approximately 260 yds for a big whitetail doe I had shot with my bow. There was a good blood trail for about 200 yds and it ran out. I got a line from the blood trail and walked that direction straight ahead and found her.

The longest time was also on a whitetail deer (buck this time) shot with my bow. I looked for 5 hours the night I hot him and then another 3 hours the next morning. He had gone only about 150 yds, but it was heavy brush and no blood trail (the arrow had gone through the deer and hit the opposite front leg and turned down and the broadhead was under the skin about halfway down the leg. The deer had been dead before I left the stand, but no blood trail.

November 24, 2008, 07:22 PM
My first year hunting was with a bow. I shot the deer and waited about an hour we tracked it through the woods for about a 1/2 mile, then throught the thickest buckthorn you have ever seen. (took about 2 hours to go 50 yards crashing on our hands and knees. There was very little blood but we could follow the trail as it was the freshest. My hunting mentor kept saying.. "I don't know, doesn't look good" and I kept saying I know I hit it good.... So as a good guy he kept with me.

Then it traveled across a stream about 4 times then it went down the stream and we finally saw where it got out of the stream, it crossed the road, along a small airport runway which was windblown so now no trail at all. We followed six or seven other trails and finally found one with a dot of blood. We followed it and it and crossed another highway. (I shot it about 4:30 pm and at midnight we stopped at that highway.)

It snowed all the next day and at work it made me sick to think the trail was going to be lost. The next day we picked up with about 12 inches of snow. We crossed the road and could see a faint trail where a deer was running underneath about 12 inches of fluffy snow. The trail was there and even after all the snow you could see where a deer was running. We thought this must have been our deer. There was already about 12-18 inches on the ground before that day. We bushwacked down along a hedgerow and lost the trail. We surmised the deer went into a thicket along the lake and we started just poking around under overhanging scrubby pine trees.

We found it. small 8 pt buck. It was gut shot with a piece of intestine hanging out about 6 inches from the exit wound thus stopping the blood flow. I shot my first buck with a shotgun a week later and they are mounted together. They are the only mounts I have and they were both a story that 19 years later we still refer to as "that epic tracking". I have tracked alot of deer and found almost all. (tracked deer others have shot.) There is an art to it. You have to see the blood, the hoof prints, the logical routes and be patient. If the deer went a certain way there will be signs you just need to know how to see them. I always suggest if you loose the trail to try to think where the deer might have "holed up" if injured. You will be amazed howmany times you can find it if you try. Don't give up.

November 24, 2008, 11:53 PM
My longest tracking job was one I didn't find. I tracked that sucker for over a mile. I 100% positive it survived. It made 2 scrapes along the "over a mile". The hit went down in between the shoulder and the ribs out the arm pit, never entering the chest cavity. I've only not found 3 deer.

Longest tracking job when I found the animal...Less than 100yds, including rifles and bow.

November 25, 2008, 04:06 AM
shot a black bear in minesota, at dusk, with a knight wolverine inline rifle, using 220gr sabboted .44 solids, at 40m.
the bear blasted off gone before the smoke cleared.
there was sooooo much blood that we had no problems following it into an open feild. then it started raining buckets. we looked for that bear for 2 days before we gave up. i think it came out on a fire road and somebody snagged it.

i also shot a deer that ran around a hill top(1/2mi) almost back to the place i shot it before it dropped.

November 26, 2008, 01:28 AM
shot one 2 years ago and tried tracking it for about 60 yrds but gave up and decided to get the family to help (they love it when u ask for help). on the way back to the cabin though i found the deer laying 5 yrds off the trail about 150 yrds from where i originally shot it :)

November 26, 2008, 02:08 AM
Perhaps you'd be a little more specific than just "through and through". Like, where'd you hit the dang thing?

Longest track was 30yds. Unusual, since a 150 Sierra .30 cal. usually lets them go no where. If you like to use your tracking skills, then use a 180 gr. designed to zip thru deer sized critters without expanding, but perform well on elk--oh wait, you already did that.:p

December 8, 2008, 12:38 AM
Still looking.

December 8, 2008, 12:50 AM
I read this article about why some shots stop immediately and others don't, despite same placement. The theory was it was due to blood flow. If pressure is high during part of heart beat when bullet hits, a rush of pressure is sent to brain, and other parts of body etc. It was very interesting.

December 8, 2008, 02:02 AM
I shot one this past Tuesday (6 point), he was quatering toward me I put the round thru the neck,he spun side ways and I put another thru the boiler room just for good measure (I hate to track) not saying I can't track just I don't like to if I don't have to :D
I shot one with a bow a couple years back that went 250 yards as I was tracking it I heard a car stop on the road in the direction I was traveling and when I got to where the deer had dropped it was next to the road and you guessed it some one stole it from the side of the road :mad:
Now I normaly shoot a .270 w/90grn. hollow points my brother in law shoots the same caliber with 160 grn. corelock and he is amazed at how much bigger the hole is in my deer :eek: :D

December 9, 2008, 01:10 AM
My longest recovery was just last saturday. Saw a good sized 6 point coming out of a brush filled ravine on the other side of a creek maybe 75 yards out. Had been there all day without seeing anything and he was looking pretty good. Waited till he hit a clearing and took the shot. When the dust settled, he was gone and in what direction i didn't see.

I hit everyone on the radios that i needed to cross the creek to search for a trail or the deer before dark and got the ok to go over. I marked the spot i had shot at as best i could and began trying to find a spot to cross the "river". Seems every open spot had 3 feet of water at the bottom. Finally found a shallow area downstream and and made it over dry.

Found a briar hell that was literally impenatrable. Couldn't go around without a huge loss in time and it was getting dark... I crawled. Not sure how far but probably only 50 yards or so before things opened up enough to stand again. Finally found the tree i had marked from over the creek and started searching for signs of a hit.
Took a couple minutes but i found a tiny bit of belly hair...some gut material...a hit...omg don't let it be a gutshot...i knew my gun was on and i was so sure...forlorn i started tracking stomach material on my hands and knees in the darkening evening. My little AA flashlight was throwing a yellow cast that made it impossible to see well. No blood after 10 feet...Depression set in. I knew i needed help. I hung my orange hat on a tree to mark and crawled my way back out of hell.

Went to the barn where my cousins and their alcoholic buddies were coming in from an evening hunt. 2 does were being examined in a golf cart bed as beer tabs popped like fireworks. I explained my predicament as they congratulated me on what they felt sure was a good shot.
Said we'd go looking soon but needed to give him plenty of time to lay up and die. Being their farm, i chilled out and had a couple beers as they consumed an easy case. They had the does processed out by then and proclaimed it time to go get my deer. Another case of beer was loaded on one of the 4 wheelers and many bloodlight and spotlights were produced and put into bags on the machines. To my horror, cousin "scott" who had drank an easy 12 pack, pulled out a 12ga. pump and slid it into a scabbard. Cousins friend "terry", Must have seen my look because he laughed and said "doan worry man...thisis what we do!!" I worried.

Drove down to the pasture, everyone cut off their machine,its about 9pm, and i show scott the terrible hillside we would have to fight to get access to the hit site. He laughed and everyone popped another beer. We had a trail that he'd cut, he said...to go to the same spot. Indeed he drove to a crossing at the riverbank, rode across, took a right on the first trail and went 100 yards. He stopped his machine and said we'd all go by foot from this point. He started on a footpath that lead right to the terrible briar thicket i'd fought hours earlier and skirted through it. Another 40 yards and he laughed and said "this is too easy". My big buck had become a little 5 pointer but had only made it 50 yards from my orange hat i could see further down the trail. The deer had taken the .308 corelokt in the chest and the bullet skewered lenghwise before blowing out the stomach and going into the leg. He was probably dead before i got across the water the first time but it took 4 hours and tons of apprehension before i got this one. I'll always carry a better light from now on...J.R.

December 9, 2008, 07:45 PM
Still looking.
OK now thats funny. I have never tracked one of mine more than 75yards. But I will say that I have helped some friends "track" there deer for ever. You know the type, no blood, no bone, nothing but kicked up dirt and a story.

December 9, 2008, 08:25 PM
I once spent the better part of a morning pursuing a wingshot mallard through flooded timber. Ended up finding him after 2 hours and about a half mile walking with heavy waders in 3' water breaking ice plus climbing over submerged logs and other debris. This was plus a solid dunking in 30 degree water when I foolishly walked into the hole left by the rootwad of a fallen tree.

That was the morning I first said to myself "I need a dog!"

December 10, 2008, 10:51 AM
I guy I went to school with was hunting ducks once and the duck went down on the water and then started swimming away. His dad made him chase it in a rowboat. It was still swimming when he caught up with it after it swam several hundred yards.

I never did ask how he dispatched it after catching up with it.

Same guy one time his dog would not go in the water for some reason to retrieve a duck so he stripped off his clothes and went in and got it. Was like 40 degrees out.

December 10, 2008, 11:20 AM
Longest tracking job I ever had was a big bull elk that I saw a guy shoot. The guy claimed he did not hit it but I saw dust fly off the animal. The guy drove off and I went after the elk. Tracked it about a quarter of a mile and it was found lying dead. Checked in a nice 6x6 elk.

45Marlin carbine
December 10, 2008, 11:47 AM
I had 2 long tracks, one a whitetail I shot with a muzzle loader .50 cal through brush a moveing shot. found it over 1/4 mile away lucky there was some blood to follow, shot it too far back and high but it was dead when I found it, bled out. or blew out through nostrils tre shot still got both lung-tips.
another was a fairly large wild/feral hog sow, another moveing shot I took with a Ruger Old Army BP revolver, got it too far back also but both lungs were damaged. there was a little snow on the ground so not too hard to find since there was blood. over 1/4 mile and still blowing it was in thicket so put another slug into it.

December 10, 2008, 04:42 PM
ill let you know when i find it :rolleyes:.

December 10, 2008, 10:25 PM
ilbob, swimming out after a duck that you shot sounds like something an uncle of mine was know to do. he would go duck hunting and he either came home empty handed or with one duck , with him being cold and wet :eek:.