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Old November 26, 2022, 08:06 PM   #1
reynolds357
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Strange hit deer behavior.

Tonight my son shot a decent, big bodied, 8 point buck. 167 yds. 130 Berger VLD hunting @2960 fps mv. Deer hit then bolted 50 yds into woods. He stayed in woods 5 or 6 seconds. He then went into a death run and fell within feet of where he was shot. Heart pieces were stuck in exit wound. Deer had no heart left. No direct damage, but massive hydraulic shock damage to a lung. How did it stay on it's feet that long. When we recovered it, it's mouth was still full of Oat grass.
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Old November 26, 2022, 10:08 PM   #2
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You can live 3-4 minutes with no oxygen. You may not be able to stay conscious that long. Some game animals, or people for that matter just don't want to die and can survive for longer than expected.

The biggest deer I ever killed did something similar. My 1st shot was at about 30 yards with me facing west. The buck ran in an arc around me. Shot #2 was also at about 30 yards, but by now I was shooting south. I took shot #3, also at about 30 yards, but the deer had circled completely around me, and I was now shooting east.

He showed no signs of a hit after either shot. But after my 3rd shot, he turned back south. All 3 shots had been at the deer's left side. When he turned north, I could see his right side with a huge exit wound in the lungs with blood running down his right front leg. I knew he wouldn't go much further and didn't fire a 4th shot. He ran about another 20 yards, stumbled and fell.

Altogether he ran about 100 yards (in probably 15 seconds), but fortunately was never out of sight. My 1st shot was the only hit, but had I not seen the exit wound and had he gotten out of sight I would have assumed I'd missed. Had he run 100 yards in a straight line in those woods I may have never found him.
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Old November 27, 2022, 12:34 AM   #3
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Incidents like this are why it's a really terrible idea to try to make assessments of the effectiveness of bullets/calibers based on a small number of incidents. Weird stuff happens sometimes.
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Old November 27, 2022, 03:27 AM   #4
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I was hunting in NC first part of november and had a doe tag to fill, I was shooting a 7-08 hand loaded with 120gr barnes ttsx all coppers, hit a doe in the neck at about 120 yds and she took off in the woods and ran about 30 yds before dropping. Just a couple drops of blood to follow here and there but when I found her her neck was broke..go figure...
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Old November 27, 2022, 08:31 AM   #5
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Incidents like this are why it's a really terrible idea to try to make assessments of the effectiveness of bullets/calibers based on a small number of incidents. Weird stuff happens sometimes.
Agreed. Some deer pull of some astonishing feats. I always thought Elmer Keith's story of the Elk going over 400 yards up a mountain after being heart shot was, well, pure lies. The more animals I shoot, the more I believe he may have been straight up on that story.
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Old November 27, 2022, 10:21 AM   #6
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Yeah, I've seen similar things. Some even crazier. Dead animals that don't know it yet. A drop in blood pressure that would put a human down, but an animal can run 100ish yards dead as a doornail.

I shot an Elk with a 210g .338 Partition that clipped the top of the heart and jellied a lung. It ran uphill for 1/2 a mile. I followed the VERY obvious blood trail and about 2 minutes after I shot, I heard 3 shots. When I got to the animal, 2 guys were walking up on it. They claimed they shot it. It was only hit once, from my shot. I asked them to show me where they hit it and of course they pointed to my bullet hole. I asked if it was facing the road or away, they said it was facing the road, just standing in the clearing. I pointed out that their "entrance" hole looked more like an exit hole, with blood flowing down and back. It was obvious they knew they were wrong, but were not backing down. I gave up and went a little bit away, took photos and went and filled my tag with a different Elk.

If they were right, that Elk ran 1/2 mile and then just stopped in a clearing. There was probably little if any blood left as the blood trail was 6 to 12 inches wide for all but the last 100 yards and then dwindled to a 1 to 2 inch drip line.
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Old November 27, 2022, 11:13 AM   #7
buck460XVR
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In over half a century of hunting deer, I have seen them act in a myriad of ways when hit, both with gun and bow. What you described is pretty typical for a deer that was relaxed when shot and had no real damage to the front shoulders. The initial reaction was similar to the animal being spooked...running to cover and then stopping to see what spooked it. Then as it's blood and oxygen ran out it instinctively took off at a run. Deer don't really know they have been shot or the consequences of it. They are just reacting to instinct. In the case of non-mortal hits, they have more time to realize they are "hurt".
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Old November 27, 2022, 11:16 AM   #8
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In 2004 I watched a big doe saunter up from a creekbed, stand in an open field and scratch her ear with a hind hoof. She had stopped perfectly in line with a big cottonwood tree. I watched this from the concealment and solid shooting platform of a blown-down oak, 130 yards away, and when she put her hoof down I calmly centered her heart with a 150 grain Sierra SP from a 30-06, leaving the barrel at a chronographed 2947 fps.

At the shot, she walked about 20 yards and jumped over a 5 strand fence and out of sight. I stood there with my mouth open wondering what the hell went wrong... I had checked the zero with that load only the day before. I found her dead right where she landed after jumping the fence. I hit her exactly where I was holding and you could have dropped a silver dollar through the exit hole. Field dressing revealed an exploded heart. I walked back to the cottonwood tree and pried the bullet free of the bark, expanded right down to within a quarter inch of the base. There was literally nothing more you could ask of a hunting bullet in that situation; yet the doe walked off like nothing happened.

Fast forward ten years... same rifle, powder charge, same bullet weight; with the only substitution being a conventional Hornady bullet of the same weight. A doe about the same size as the first walks out of the fencerow and stops, this time at 156 long steps. Same broadside presentation. I hit her in exactly the same spot, give or take an inch, and she dropped like a piano fell on her.

Lesson learned? I guess they're a hell of a lot tougher if they have itchy ears
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Old November 28, 2022, 01:33 AM   #9
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shot deer

Agreed with all comments regards unpredictability. My rifle kill numbers are not particularly exceptional, but sufficient enough with a variety of calibers in use to believe that one cannot predict what a deer will do when hit, through the heart/lungs especially. My own experience is that I do not expect a bang/flop. I tend to aim at the heart /lungs and avoid the shoulder, only because I bow hunt so much that this target area is burned into my subconscious. One bowhunter of note calls my target zone the "Vital V"

But I have seen deer with destroyed shoulder(s)plow along through the woods until they expire nearly as far as lung shot deer, you just never can tell.

I think the blast of a gunshot is an extremely loud noise to a deer, and much of the panic run we see at a shot might be the result of fleeing from the shot itself. Increase the distance from the muzzle, and a deer MIGHT not react so drastically. By contrast, I have seen deer hit with an arrow, flinch, then resume feeding, to collapse momentarily mere feet from where struck.
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Old November 28, 2022, 04:29 AM   #10
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I shot a 5 point with a crossbow this year and the deer twisted on impact. It was broadside when the arrow went in and changed directions and the arrow came out in front of the hind leg. Cut lung, liver and guts. On impact besides the twist the deer had no clue what was going on. Lifted its head, stood a while and walked off. Maybe 30 seconds like nothing happened and fell over. Insides were sliced up and internal bleeding everywhere yet no bloodtrail.

5 days later my dad shot a spike with a 30-06 using Winchester Deer season and the impact destroyed the lugs. The projectile just short of exploded. The jacket turned inside out and we didn't find any lead. The deer ran 15 yards and when I found it there was a 3x3x3 inch triangular piece of lung that I can only picture was coughed up.

I've shot many deer and been with others while they shot deer and you can only hope things work out as planned. Some deer get turned into jelly and live a long time and others die of a splinter on the spot.
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Old November 28, 2022, 09:35 AM   #11
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I hit an 8 point buck that was chasing does with a pickup. It turned my truck around and smashed the radiator. The last time I saw him he was running across a soybean field dragging one back leg but still after those does. When I looked the front of my truck there was a piece of deer hide about six inches long and four inches wide with 1/4 inch of meat on it stuck to what was left of my grill.
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Old November 28, 2022, 10:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
I hit an 8 point buck that was chasing does with a pickup.
That must have been a sight to see!
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Old November 28, 2022, 10:45 AM   #13
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That must have been a sight to see!
The deer wasn't chasing does with a pickup.
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Old November 28, 2022, 11:02 AM   #14
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1/4 inch of meat on it stuck to what was left of my grill.
Deer on the grill sounds great. I usually prefer my meat medium not rare.
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Old November 28, 2022, 11:26 AM   #15
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The deer wasn't chasing does with a pickup.
LMAO
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Old November 28, 2022, 12:54 PM   #16
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Great thread.

I had a "first" the other night. I shot a doe at exactly 100 yards with my CZ 527 in 7.62x39 shooting 123 grain Hornady SSTs. I've lung-shot 5 deer with this gun and have a pretty good idea of what to expect (usually they stagger around for about 20-30 yards then drop).

So, this time, when the deer took off like a flash and the blood trail was just occasional drips, I was very confused and wondered if I'd missed vitals (even though the drops I did find were pink and frothy, meaning a lung hit). Anyways, I finally found the deer about 100 yards through the nastiest prickers in the county. When I got her opened up, I realized what had happened. Some sort of membranous tissue was pulled out of the chest cavity through the exit hole. This served as a very effective plug, so the deer was only bleeding through the 30 cal entrance hole.

Still dead, but very hard to track. Never seen that before, and hope I never see it again!
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Old November 28, 2022, 01:22 PM   #17
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Over the last decade, I have hunted more and more with a Suppressor, especially for Coyotes, Deer and Pronghorn. I shot a nice Pronghorn, at fairly long range. Bullet was a little further back than I wanted, but still got the back of the heart and both lungs. After he was hit, he literally looked at the hole in his side, took a bite of wheat and took a few steps. Watching him through the scope, he started to shake a little. My son told me to shoot again, which I did not. He turned and tried to mount one of the Does, then fell off and never moved again. The does sniffed him, their hackles went up and they raced off. He was alive for a good 30 seconds, with a hole through both lungs, low, and the back of his heart.

With the suppressor, and at least 400 yards, I see almost no reaction to my shots on game. They might lift their heads, but they don't run usually.
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Old November 28, 2022, 04:57 PM   #18
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When I started reading how the hit deer re-acted ... my first thought was Heart Shot !
They sometimes react like that when the heart is hit directly .

Congratulations on getting a nice 8 pointer ...

Your Son is hereby awarded a big ... ATTABOY and Well Done !
Gary
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Old November 28, 2022, 09:49 PM   #19
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"Heart pieces were stuck in exit wound. Deer had no heart left. No direct damage, but massive hydraulic shock damage to a lung. How did it stay on it's feet that long. When we recovered it, its mouth was still full of Oat grass."

I saw a deer shot in the heart run over 250 yards, hit a fence, bounced back and hit it again and did that one more time before expiring. Rifle was a .243 Win. and 100 gr. Hornady SPFB.

I had a conversation with my doctor this is about what he said as closely as I can remember. It all depends on whether the heart has pumped a full load of blood or is full of blood when the bullet strikes. If it just pumped a fresh load of oxygenated blood, the brain and the rest of the body can function almost in a normal fashion. A good example is that death run that goes much farther than one would expect. How ever, if the heart has just fill up with blood, the brain and body will be quickly starved of oxygen and the animal expires.

That is what he told me and it makes sense to to me.
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Old November 29, 2022, 12:06 AM   #20
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I had a conversation with my doctor this is about what he said as closely as I can remember. It all depends on whether the heart has pumped a full load of blood or is full of blood when the bullet strikes. If it just pumped a fresh load of oxygenated blood, the brain and the rest of the body can function almost in a normal fashion. A good example is that death run that goes much farther than one would expect. How ever, if the heart has just fill up with blood, the brain and body will be quickly starved of oxygen and the animal expires.

That is what he told me and it makes sense to to me.
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Old November 30, 2022, 11:15 AM   #21
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Sometimes crazy stuff can happen. Adrenalin and plain old stubbornness can go along ways.
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Old November 30, 2022, 03:48 PM   #22
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I would add that I did not holdover enough on a steep downhill shot, hitting a 9pt. buck in the brisket. It exploded the heart and mushed the bottom of both lungs, breaking the left leg on the way out. He crashed through the woods for 100 yards, spraying 4 foot patches. The 154 Interbond from my 280, at 2700fps impact, was absolutely devastating. I'm a born-again premium bullet proponent.
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Old December 17, 2022, 01:05 PM   #23
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Agreed; animals have a propensity for the unexpected after they've been mortally wounded.
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