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Old November 6, 2004, 12:34 AM   #1
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ever wound an animal and not find it

Has anybody ever wounded game and not located it. Anyting from squirrels to elephants.
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Old November 6, 2004, 01:14 AM   #2
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I, once as an inexperienced deer hunter took a too long shot at a running deer and gut shot it. Instead of sitting back and letting the deer expire I excitedly tracked the wounded animal. I would come across large areas of blood where the deer laid down and would have probably died but it kept getting up and running at my approach. I followed it into a swamp and gave up the pursuit when the water got to my mid thighs. It was also snowing very heavy at the time. Later I learned from a neighbor that he found a deer on the other side of the swamp dead. They waited awhile for someone to claim it and then took the deer when nobody showed up. At least it didn’t go to waste. I’ve taken many deer since without any problems.

Things I learned:

Know your limits as to the range of your hunting weapon
Avoid shooting at running deer.
After shooting a deer stay back for awhile, and most of the time the deer will lay down and bleed out.
If a deer heads to water try to go around the waterway and look for the animal on the other side.
Livin in the woods...feelin mighty good.
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Old November 6, 2004, 03:38 AM   #3
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I applaud your honesty and integrity, and especially by helping to teach people from your own experience. I think to post took a lot of guts.
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Old November 7, 2004, 02:01 AM   #4
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Just as I thought 1 person owns up to not being a perfect hunter only human.
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Old November 7, 2004, 09:10 AM   #5
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In Arizona, I shot a running coyote at about 40 yds with a .44 AutoMag and a 180JHP at over 1800fps. The coyote spun around in a cloud of dust and was up and running. My second shot missed.
I made the mistake of going after him instead of waiting. I found where he had laid down under some brush and then run off when he heard me coming. Considering all the blood and other stuff he left behind, it was a gut shot and fatal. If I had waited just a minute or two, he would have died under that brush or been too weak to get away. I could have put him down and ended his suffering.

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Old November 7, 2004, 03:32 PM   #6
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Old November 7, 2004, 06:42 PM   #7
Join Date: October 24, 2004
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Its happens, it has happened to me. My first year bow hunting.

I work with a couple guys that hold state records on white tail. Guess what? They have lost animals too. I have seen deer take a single hit and drop in the spot. I have also seen deer in a drive take multible hits and not be found for days, if found at all. If you hunt long enough it will happen to you.
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Old November 7, 2004, 06:58 PM   #8
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Not that I know of, for sure. All the evidence suggested I missed.

Bad feeling just wondering about it, though.
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Old November 7, 2004, 07:20 PM   #9
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An armadillo once, right at dusk. Found it 2 days later, where it bled out just beyond where I stopped looking.

OTOH sometimes you find something you don't want to know about. The last squirrel I ever shot, about 40 years ago, was wounded and ran into a hollow log. The only way to get to it to put it down was to blast it with a shotgun at about 2 yards range. Not enough left to eat. I"ll never shot a squirrel again unless I'm starving.
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Old November 8, 2004, 01:29 AM   #10
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MM, A tree fell where I worked on a weekend and was blocking traffic, a friend was using a chain saw on monday and was cutting into the big tree, while I was chipping limbs and moving logs, and all of the sudden there was bright red blood flying everywhere off the chainsaw. It turns out the tree was hollow and a fat racoon was living in it. We all have "convinced" ourselves, that the raccoon was already dead from the concussion or from being thrown around in it's den. :barf:
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Old November 9, 2004, 08:21 AM   #11
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I have lost a few birds [dove & quail] over my nearly 40 years of hunting, 1 duck, and 2 squirrels. Lost one deer, but guy in the next stand got him.
Load your weapons and 'Stand Ready'. It will be a bumpy ride.
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Old November 10, 2004, 01:34 PM   #12
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I think if you hunt ducks long enough you will have one go missing or fly off out or range (but hit none the less) sooner or later. Very tough critters.

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Old November 16, 2004, 11:40 AM   #13
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It happens....Anyone that has grown up hunting has wounded an animal and not been able to recover it. As a teen I wounded a couple of deer and could not find them despite several hours of searching. A few years ago I put a .223 square in the chest of a coyote and to my amazement he took off running. I never found much blood and all I can figure is that the bullet did not mushroom and just went straight through.

While I regret not making a clean kill, my deer hunting strategy has changed, I wont take a running shot, nor will I go for a heart/lung shot. For the last 15 years I have dropped every deer in it's tracks with a high neck shot or head shot. With a shot like that the chances are slim that you will wound the animal. I have not hunted bucks since I was a teen and try to shoot about an 80 pound doe so I dont much care about something to hang on my wall.

AS far as yotes go, head shots are much more challenging and you either miss or drop them immediately.

Coons, skunks, opossums, etc-as long as you dont use a .22, I have not had anything run off. I have been using a .17HMR around the house lately and really really like it, It has replaced my 22 mag as my go-to gun for varmits around the house.

Be safe,

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Old November 16, 2004, 05:15 PM   #14
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Care to share some of your experiences with the .17 on them Coons & possums? I'd be mighty interested.
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Old November 16, 2004, 05:26 PM   #15
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I wounded a 6 pointer this year....I was in a slug zone and using a smooth bore barrel on my 870...Deer was walking through the thick stuff and walked through a small opening about 80 yards away where i fired at it. Not sure where I hit it to tell you the truth but it was on the ground kicking for like 5 seconds and finally got to its feet and fell down again. I thought i had a good hit and didn't fire another round at it until it got up again and started running away like it got hit somewhere in the front legs. I took a couple shots at it while it was running but i'm sure i was hitting nothing but brush. I sat in my stand a little and marked where he ran, i thought he would fall somewhere. Much to my suprise there was no blood or nothing to track when i did get out of my stand. I never did find him or any blood and feel horrible about it whenever i think about it..... I'm decided i'm not going to take shots like that with my shotgun as it is anymore. I plan on getting a rifled barrel /scope set up for it for next year.
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Old November 16, 2004, 11:25 PM   #16
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hit but got away

I have had a few chucks get hit and make it back to their whole. I ain't going to dig them out. Most I figure will die. call it a self made grave.
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Old November 17, 2004, 09:23 PM   #17
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Anyone who hunts lots sooner or later is going to wound, perhaps fatally, but nevertheless fail to recover the animal... this may be because a winged game bird buried itself in cover so well that you had no chance of finding it, squirrel escaped to hollow tree, poorly hit deer ran off in the rain leaving no discernible trail or track, and etc. It happens, regretably, but shouldn't be your norm. Self-imposed ethics are supposed to be what we are about, and that would include restricting shots to the conservative limits of your weapons and skills, assiduous follow up on every attempt (I've found animals that I was sure were irretrievably lost, because I persistently and carefully investigated the scene... ) assume you made the shot and follow up on that assumption... With big game, acute tracking skills are helpful, as are helpers' eyes, good light, e.g., Coleman lanterns for night tracking, etc.
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Old November 17, 2004, 10:30 PM   #18
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Like the man sed, use enough gun.
The difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone is the height to which one raises one's foot.
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Old November 17, 2004, 11:54 PM   #19
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Last year I lost what would have been my first buck.

I shot it center between chest and belly but far enough forward to still get the ribs because I found an inch piece of bone along the trail. The bone was compared to another deer carcass a friend shot. I also saw the bullet hit. When the deer was hit it started to run I fired once more and missed. (.30-06 BTW)

My girlfriend and I waited a half an hour on what I thought was a good shot. We soon picked up a blood trail and began following it quite slowly. After about 200 yards of tracking we found a large blood pool. I shot the deer on private land that borders public land. This blood pool was 30 yards from an ATV trail. We found no blood past the ATV trail. We searched till dark. We came back the next morning with four people and searched for about 3 hours. We found no other blood trails than the one from the night before. We finally gave up and guess that another hunter picked it up and put it on an ATV.

Hopefully this year will be different. I have killed does before but am still waiting for that first buck.

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Old November 18, 2004, 05:23 AM   #20
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I'm a new hunter and it happened to me just yesterday. So far I haven't successfully hunted anything. I was after a doe and was playing fawn bleats out of my Foxpro. Five minutes into the calling a coyote came from my left and gave me a good broadside shot at 35 yards. I let go with a 12 ga sabot. He bolted out of there and I noted his direction. I kept calling for about 5 more minutes in case he had a partner. This land abuts a gun club. So the critters around there are accustomed to gunfire. After the 5 minutes I went to where the yote was and saw fur and a few small pieces of meat. There was no bone and I saw where the slug impacted the dirt behind the coyote. It definitely went clean through. I searched for a long time for any sign of a blood trail, but there was none. Two other hunters came by and helped me in my search, but no cigar.

I'll be back out there today. Hopefully he found a place to lay down and die quickly. I'm going back out this morning for deer, but with any luck I'll stumble on the coyote.
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Old November 24, 2004, 02:59 AM   #21
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I hit a whitetail a few seasons ago and never found it. I was using a 25-06 and the range was about 60 yards. I was using 117 sierra gamekings ( I had already used them sucessfully twice). The doe was quartering towards me and I guess I must have hit the front shoulder blade. We found several pieces of bone that were about an inch and a quarter long. I tracked it for quite a while, but it ran onto our neighbors land and I didn't want to trespass.
Lesson learned: don't shoot at the shoulder blade with lightweight gamekings.
They work great when you are patient and don't take shots at bad angles like I did.
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Old November 24, 2004, 12:27 PM   #22
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Two weekends ago I was lucky enough to save my Father-in-Law from a lost animal. He was stand hunting and I was ground hunting about 100 yards apart on adjacent fields. I followed two bucks with my binos into his field and waited for him to fire. After he fired I stalked behind his stand to try for the first buck. I spooked one up and had a close shot of less than thirty yards. I thought it was the first buck, but on dressing found a perfectly clean entrance and exit hole from his .243 in the hams. Luck put him down on the spot, and meat in the fridge. Last night he shot another buck and tracked for two hours in the rain but still couldnt find the animal. Tomorrow we are resighting in his rifle.
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Old November 24, 2004, 01:43 PM   #23
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Yes, I have. I looked for hours, with no blood spore (only know I hit it because I found the bullet in a mesquite tree with a bit of hair on it.). The shot was with a borrowed rifle at a deer that I could just see in deep brush. I will forever be ashamed of that shot.

Another deer I creased the hide of, ripping a furrow in the white belly hair. I'm sure it was hurting, but recovered. This was an iron-sighted rifle that I was hunting with, and my partner and I had belly-crawled to one side of a large pond and were each going to take a deer from the other side. We agreed on which deer to shoot (me left, him right), and that, because he had a scoped rifle and I an iron-sighted rifle, he would wait 'til I lined up my shot and would fire his shot upon hearing mine.

Well, he blew the entire plan. He saw two completely other deer line up, and decided to try to take two deer at once. He shot before I was ready, and I saw what I had thought was "his deer" running away. (Why shouldn't it? He didn't even shoot at it as planned.) Thinking it was wounded, I made a quick snapshot at the deer, hitting a little low and creasing the chest. I could see where I hit, and my partner later saw the deer again and reported a side-to-side red line running across it's underside. The big doe likely recovered-- but I felt bad. More importantly, I felt angry at my hunting partner, who had precipitated this, and had wounded the back deer! He was using 150g Nosler Ballistic Tips in his .30-06, and at 100 yds, his bullet completely opened up to leave a quarter-dollar-sized exit hole, so that it just basically slammed into the second deer like a hammer without penetrating. Who knows if that doe made it? We never found her, nor any blood spore from her.

If you hunt long enough in real fair-chase situations, the game will occasionally get away, even when hit. Heck, they'll get away even when hit well, sometimes. (I've seen a hog hit in the boiler room with a 165g '06 that we NEVER found after it made the brushy creekbottom.) That's why it's called "hunting" rather than "gathering." But we owe it to the game we hunt to do our best to prevent that from happening by making the best shots we reasonably can with what can reasonably be considered effective tools, and we owe it to them to follow up on those shots for as long as it takes to recover the meat of our game.

Track 'em down!
I have recovered two bucks that had to be searched long and hard for. The first I shot on the run, hitting too far back but benefitting from good bullet construction when the bullet continued through the lungs and created a mortal wound. The deer ran on into some brushy cover. I got my father and brother, and sent them to look for it at the spot that I had last seen it at, while I stood on the exact spot I had shot from to direct them to the spot to try to find spore. (Trust me: everything looks different when you get to the spot physically. Best technique is to that the hunter stand in the spot he shot from, and send his buddy to the spot where the game was last seen to him. If you can't do this because you're alone, mark your shooting position with something bright, and then mark the position of the animal when last seen, and the position of the animal when hit.) As the shot had entered the right ham and stopped against the sternum, there was ZERO blood, anywhere. Still, I knew the shot felt good, and kept looking. And looking. And looking. Finally I went back to the truck to get the shotgun to attempt to run it down, and got a holler from my dad-- my 9 year old brother had found it piled up in a brushpile, not 20 feet from where I had seen it last! Camouflage is amazing.

My third buck ran transversely to my right out of the field that I had just made a 300 yard shot on it in, jumped the fence just as neatly as you please, and ran into the brush. THICK brush. I looked and looked and found no blood. I got my father and hunting partner. We could find no blood. I thought about how the buck had reacted to the shot. Um... unconcerned, actually. He just ran out of the field. We looked for over an hour and a half, and hiked for well over a mile in a line through that brush, looking for that deer. Finally we returned to the fence. My host went back to the fence, and began walking it toward my firing position. Surprise! New tracks crossing the fence much closer to my firing postion than I had expected. The old buck had actually approached me as he cleared the field, exiting about 100 yds closer to me than I had expected. We shortly found him piled up about 80 yards from the fence. A nice 11pt with dulled tines from fighting, I would have been utterly crushed to have lost him. It would have been easy to have given up and decided that I must have missed him. (No blood, no reaction to the shot other than running...) But by making the extra effort to find him, I saved the meat and I still have that rack on a plaque. And it's a fact-- that closing morning of deer season, January of 1991, there wasn't a prouder 19 year old in all of N. Texas.
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Old November 30, 2004, 10:35 PM   #24
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I've lost two deer. The first was a good, solid hit very close to the heart with a .270, at maybe 75 yards. I saw blood fly. He went to his knees and then jumped up and ran. I waited a bit and then went to look. Found blood, but then the trail petered out. After about an hour's frustration, my father showed up and we started all over. No luck. No idea about "why"...

The other was what I thought was a kill shot. Boom, WHOP! into the chest with an '06 at about 60 yards. I slung my rifle and walked toward the dead deer to gut him out. At about ten yards, up he jumps and away he goes. I'd hit the right front leg, having pulled slightly left of my aiming point in the chest. I got on him for a second shot; no problem but one: When I went to aim, through the scope I got a setting sun at 4X. It was a Billy Graham moment: "Jeezus Keerist!"

Stuff happens, I guess, over a 40-year period...

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Old December 1, 2004, 12:45 AM   #25
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More than I care to think about, especially quail when hunting with no dog. One "tool" I've found helpful tho in heavy brush or grass is a big fishin' weight with ribbon tied on it. After shot and before taking another step, I often throw the weight to a point as close as possible to where the bird went down.

Last recalled "bad shot" was on a prarie dog with .222 in high wind. Based upon "components" found topside, he musta been one tough puppy to make it deep into hole. I lost about 1/2 wink of sleep over that one. Game animals are another story tho.
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