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Tracking tips #2827179 12/11/11 02:26 PM
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Another earlier post pushed me to start this thread with the thought that it might yield a lot of useful tips.

Those who have hunted deer very long know all too well that while it happens sometimes, deer rarely "crumble" when you hit them. Deer that have been hit in the heart and lungs will often, as my old uncle like to put it, "run dead" for some distance.

So then, what have you learned about tracking deer.

Here are just a few things that I have learned myself and from talking with others through the years.

Deer often run back in the same direction they came.

They often run to water. Never been able to understand this, but I've seen it many times.

They may give no indication whatsoever that they were hit.

Blood is not always visible.

Dark blood is a good sign (heart and lung shot). Bright red is not (gut shot).

Others?



"Some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons."
Re: Tracking tips [Re: Texas Dan] #2827920 12/11/11 07:58 PM
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Its hard to do if you are hunting with kids but wait that 20 to 30 min before getting out and looking for it. If you will sit still and listen, you might hear which direction he went. Nothing worse than spooking that buck of a lifetime further into the brush.


Re: Tracking tips [Re: RichR] #2828013 12/11/11 08:35 PM
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Tie a string on your bullet you will always find your deer.


Re: Tracking tips [Re: mws] #2828079 12/11/11 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted By: mws
Tie a string on your bullet you will always find your deer.

Haha happy3


Re: Tracking tips [Re: Texas Dan] #2828094 12/11/11 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted By: Texas Dan
Another earlier post pushed me to start this thread with the thought that it might yield a lot of useful tips.

Those who have hunted deer very long know all too well that while it happens sometimes, deer rarely "crumble" when you hit them. Deer that have been hit in the heart and lungs will often, as my old uncle like to put it, "run dead" for some distance.

So then, what have you learned about tracking deer.

Here are just a few things that I have learned myself and from talking with others through the years.

Deer often run back in the same direction they came.

They often run to water. Never been able to understand this, but I've seen it many times.

They may give no indication whatsoever that they were hit.

Blood is not always visible.

Dark blood is a good sign (heart and lung shot). Bright red is not (gut shot).

Others?


I think you have it backwards in your last line.



Originally Posted by Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Tracking tips [Re: BuckMasterTX] #2828097 12/11/11 09:03 PM
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Bubbles in the blood got the lungs.


Re: Tracking tips [Re: HardWired] #2828099 12/11/11 09:04 PM
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If you see where they laid down more than twice, you should probably back off for another hour or more.


Re: Tracking tips [Re: HardWired] #2828101 12/11/11 09:06 PM
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Not sure about your blood colors. Thunk you are backwards.

Also, between all of my friends, we have not found a single "blood tracking flashlight" that Is good... Or at least better than a good white flashlight.


Re: Tracking tips [Re: HardWired] #2828241 12/11/11 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted By: HardWired
Not sure about your blood colors. Thunk you are backwards.


Are you a bow hunter? Comparing blood sign between bow-shot and gun-shot deer is like comparing apples to oranges.

I think most would agree the darkest blood originates in the heart and liver. The difference in the destructive power of a bullet and arrow comes into play as well. While an arrow might pass through the lungs with little or no impact on the heart and liver, a bullet is much more likely to create damage in both heart and lungs. After all, the term "bleed out" means more to the bow hunter than the gun hunter for sure. With both the heart and lungs now destroyed, the dark red blood from the heart and liver will be more present than when an arrow passes through the lungs alone. In essence, bright or pinkish red blood is that which didn't come from the heart or liver.

Bubbles that appear in the blood is the best indication of a lung shot, no matter the color.



"Some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons."
Re: Tracking tips [Re: Texas Dan] #2828285 12/11/11 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted By: Texas Dan
Originally Posted By: HardWired
Not sure about your blood colors. Thunk you are backwards.


Are you a bow hunter? Comparing blood sign between bow-shot and gun-shot deer is like comparing apples to oranges.

I think most would agree the darkest blood originates in the heart and liver. The difference in the destructive power of a bullet and arrow comes into play as well. While an arrow might pass through the lungs with little or no impact on the heart and liver, a bullet is much more likely to create damage in three organs. After all, the term "bleed out" means more to the bow hunter than the gun hunter for sure. With both the heart and lungs now destroyed, the dark red blood from the heart and liver will be more present than when an arrow passes trhough the lungs alone. In essence, bright red blood is that which didn't come from the heart or liver.

Bubbles that appear in the blood is the best indication of a lung shot, no matter the color.


I'm not a bow hunter...however I am a lab tech and I can tell you 10000000% that blood from the heart is BRIGHTER than other blood. It is brighter b/c it is rich in oxygen that it is carrying to tissue. Darker blood is blood that has already deposited it's O2 and is now returning CO2 to the lungs to be expelled from the body and the blood returned to the heart......


Re: Tracking tips [Re: pkpxavier] #2828349 12/11/11 10:39 PM
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You definitely know more than me, which isn't saying very much. But when cleaning a deer, why does the darkest blood always seem to be found in the heart and liver? Just a greater concentration of blood that makes it appear darker in color? Or maybe it's the darker blood originating from the destroyed lungs that catches the attention most when cleaning a gun-shot deer.

Still, it would appear there would be differences between what is blown out of a heart and lung exit wound from a high-velocity bullet, and what is carried out on a much lower-velocity arrow. I've never really thought about it, but blood splatter characteristics may differ between gun and bow-shot deer.

Or perhaps, these comments say it best...

"You cannot always tell where the deer was hit by the color of the blood. Don't jump to conclusions based on the first blood that you find. The initial blood pattern may be misleading because any wound causes immediate surface bleeding. Look for pattern in the blood that you find as listed below:

Fine droplets sprayed on both sides of the trail for the first 50 to 100 yards. These droplets may be several feet up on tree trunks and brush as well as on the ground. Small bubbles in the blood burst when they are touched. This pattern indicates a hit in the heart, lungs or a large blood vessel in the neck. Chances are excellent that this deer won't travel too far.

Large splotches of blood at the spot where the animal was hit, turning into continuous drops that diminish within 100 yards. You may even find some clots along the trail. Bleeding continues as long as the deer is moving but stops when the animal lies down. This pattern suggests a hit in the leg, back muscle or the neck muscle and in rare occasions in the body cavity. Eventually this type of wound will stop bleeding. Once you start trailing this deer, move as quickly as possible. If you move too slowly the blood trail will dry up and become less obvious. Always be ready to shoot because you are not likely to find a dead animal.

If the blood trail is difficult to locate at first, the large splotches appear between 20 and 50 yards. Blood sign steadily decreases until only scattered specks remain after 100 yards. This pattern is typical of a gut shot deer. Food particle in the area of the hit may confirm this. The volume of blood circulating through the digestive system diminishes as the muscles of the moving deer demand more blood. This, together with clotting, explains why the blood trail thins out after about 50 yards. Gut shot deer are the most difficult to recover. You must wait at least 2 hours before trailing, even if rain may wash away the blood trail. When this deer beds the blood flow to it's muscles decreases and the flow to the gut increases. This deer will bleed to death in it's bed and will be found within 200 to 500 yards. But, if you follow too soon and continually spook the deer from it's bed, the trail will then have any if little blood."




"Some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons."
Re: Tracking tips [Re: Texas Dan] #2828943 12/12/11 02:21 AM
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When tracking a wounded deer take a white paper towell and at each spot you find a blood speck, or a track you know is that of the wounded deer, tie a piece of the paper up at eye level(like on an overhead branch or in the top of a bush...) Being able to look back down the trail helps you predict the path of travel. It may sound hokey, but My long time hunting partner and I have tried this a couple of times and it works. Also, concerning the discussion of what the color of blood tells you, I can say from first hand experience that in the case of a deer shot with a rifle, that heart/lung blood is bright red and blood from a gut wound is dark.



So she says "sure Honey, I agree, you DO need a new deer rifle..." And that, boys, is how I ended up with new living room furniture!
Re: Tracking tips [Re: D Red Raider] #2829038 12/12/11 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted By: D Red Raider
When tracking a wounded deer take a white paper towell and at each spot you find a blood speck, or a track you know is that of the wounded deer, tie a piece of the paper up at eye level(like on an overhead branch or in the top of a bush...) Being able to look back down the trail helps you predict the path of travel. It may sound hokey, but My long time hunting partner and I have tried this a couple of times and it works.


Doesn't sound hoaky at all. In fact, in many cases the distance between blood drops can be so great that you need to have someone stay at the last evidence found and yell to those working ahead so they can get a sense of the direction of travel.



"Some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons."
Re: Tracking tips [Re: Texas Dan] #2829081 12/12/11 02:55 AM
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Whenever I'm tracking alone, I always start walking along a general straight line the deer was last seen running. I'll walk this line for at least 100 yards or so. If I don't find it, I go back to the place where the deer was hit and start walking in another general straight line.

The reason why it took me so long (about 30 minutes) to find a deer that I shot this weekend was because the deer actually doubled back from the direction he came, rather than continuing in the direction he took after the shot. That meant I had walked all but the last last part of a 180 degree span before I found him.



"Some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons."
Re: Tracking tips [Re: Texas Dan] #2829181 12/12/11 03:23 AM
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Don't walk on the trail, try to stay off to the side. Keep the number of "trackers" to a minimum cuz too many eager helping feet will wipe out your sign if they aren't careful.

Don't get stuck looking at only the ground, check some of the bushes and or grasses to see if blood is being left higher off the ground.


Re: Tracking tips [Re: deerfeeder] #2829197 12/12/11 03:29 AM
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The down on hands & knees approach and knowing the area tends to help out a lot.


Re: Tracking tips [Re: rifleman] #2829884 12/12/11 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted By: rifleman
The down on hands & knees approach and knowing the area tends to help out a lot.


I'm not sure if it's because I'm a little color blind and just can't see blood very easily on the forest floor, or because I just don't have the patience. But I'll be quick to admit that I seldom look for blood. I'm also a fast walker after many years of chasing behind coonhounds. Whatever the reason, I usually just try to cover as much ground as possible looking for the deer, focusing first on the direction it ran.

But I have known many guys who could spot a single drop of blood in an instant. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them.



"Some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons."
Re: Tracking tips [Re: D Red Raider] #2829924 12/12/11 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted By: D Red Raider
When tracking a wounded deer take a white paper towell and at each spot you find a blood speck, or a track you know is that of the wounded deer, tie a piece of the paper up at eye level(like on an overhead branch or in the top of a bush...) Being able to look back down the trail helps you predict the path of travel. It may sound hokey, but My long time hunting partner and I have tried this a couple of times and it works. Also, concerning the discussion of what the color of blood tells you, I can say from first hand experience that in the case of a deer shot with a rifle, that heart/lung blood is bright red and blood from a gut wound is dark.


similar I learned from a Kansas outfitter to use survey flags, you can buy pack of 100 for like $15. that really gives you great perspective direction and if he's weaving.


Re: Tracking tips [Re: Rob Lay] #2830019 12/12/11 03:11 PM
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I always carry a roll of toilet paper in my back pack. When tracking a deer, I tear pieces off at each spot where I see blood. This has often helped in a number of ways. If the area is thick and/or the deer has traveled far, it helps me to back track and get a general sense of direction of travel. I will follow to the last speck of blood. If the blood stops, in general, not always, you can bet the deer isn't far from that spot...within, say, less than 50 yards. Work the area in a growing circle pattern.

I've never seen one of those blood flashlights work too well either. I do have some of the forensic powder the police use to make blood show up. You mix with water and spray it in a mist bottle...it does work.

The theory on why deer go to water when shot is based on the fact that humans feel thristy when gunshot and the thought is deer are the same.

The other biggie that is hard to learn, yet so simple. Give it some time before you jump down out of the stand. Lots of deer have been pushed and lost by not heeding this.


Re: Tracking tips [Re: Texas Dan] #2830063 12/12/11 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted By: Texas Dan
Originally Posted By: rifleman
The down on hands & knees approach and knowing the area tends to help out a lot.


I'm not sure if it's because I'm a little color blind and just can't see blood very easily on the forest floor, or because I just don't have the patience. But I'll be quick to admit that I seldom look for blood. I'm also a fast walker after many years of chasing behind coonhounds. Whatever the reason, I usually just try to cover as much ground as possible looking for the deer, focusing first on the direction it ran.

But I have known many guys who could spot a single drop of blood in an instant. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them.


Well Dan so far I differ with you in two areas in this thread based on my experiences over 40 years of deer hunting:

1)Lung blood is always bright red-sometimes bubbly and sometimes not.Heart blood is still bright crimson though not as bright as lung blood. Gut shots always yield darker blood-sometimes with fecal matter and sometimes not; and

2)The only effective method to track a wounded deer is by following the actual blood trail. One cannot predict where a hit deer will go as they do all sorts of funny things such as circling,doubling back,making unexpected turns,etc. "Seldom looking for blood" and "focusing on the direction it ran" are ineffective IMO. Maybe a quick initial check to see if the deer piled up quickly or a grid search after completely exhausting the blood trail are the only times I don't focus entirely on the blood trail. Marking the trail,hands and knees,using good lantern/light, and basically being as meticulous as possible are all in order.If you are not entirely focused on the blood trail IMO you are simply walking and hoping wasting precious time-and at the same time possibly ruining the blood trail itself.

This is especially true in the thick woods/brush of east TX where I hunt. 2cents



Originally Posted by Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Tracking tips [Re: dfwroadkill] #2830067 12/12/11 03:26 PM
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Here's a question on which I would very much like to get feedback.

I have never found a deer in an area where his movement would have been difficult, such as hard, would-make-a-rabbit-cry thickets. Every deer that I have found that ran some distance was found more in open areas, as if the animal was loooking for a fast and easier exit. And for this reason, I usually avoid the smaller thicket patches when looking for a deer.

Comments?



"Some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons."
Re: Tracking tips [Re: Texas Dan] #2830076 12/12/11 03:28 PM
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Sometimes you have to crawl on your hands & knees to find a blood drop, or a single strand of hair! Personally, I have the utmost respect for Deer, & I'll do whatever it takes to find them...



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Re: Tracking tips [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #2830089 12/12/11 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
Originally Posted By: Texas Dan
Originally Posted By: rifleman
The down on hands & knees approach and knowing the area tends to help out a lot.


I'm not sure if it's because I'm a little color blind and just can't see blood very easily on the forest floor, or because I just don't have the patience. But I'll be quick to admit that I seldom look for blood. I'm also a fast walker after many years of chasing behind coonhounds. Whatever the reason, I usually just try to cover as much ground as possible looking for the deer, focusing first on the direction it ran.

But I have known many guys who could spot a single drop of blood in an instant. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them.


Well Dan so far I differ with you in two areas in this thread based on my experiences over 40 years of deer hunting:

1)Lung blood is always bright red-sometimes bubbly and sometimes not.Heart blood is still bright crimson though not as bright as lung blood. Gut shots always yield darker blood-sometimes with fecal matter and sometimes not; and

2)The only effective method to track a wounded deer is by following the actual blood trail. One cannot predict where a hit deer will go as they do all sorts of funny things such as circling,doubling back,making unexpected turns,etc. "Seldom looking for blood" and "focusing on the direction it ran" are ineffective IMO. Maybe a quick initial check to see if the deer piled up quickly or a grid search after completely exhausting the blood trail are the only times I don't focus entirely on the blood trail. Marking the trail,hands and knees,using good lantern/light, and basically being as meticulous as possible are all in order.If you are not entirely focused on the blood trail IMO you are simply walking and hoping wasting precious time-and at the same time possibly ruining the blood trail itself.

This is especially true in the thick woods/brush of east TX where I hunt. 2cents


Excellent post. Again, I'm just too short on patience. Perhaps it's also why I spend so much time at the practice range since my tracking skills are lacking. cheers



"Some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons."
Re: Tracking tips [Re: Texas Dan] #2830104 12/12/11 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted By: Texas Dan
Here's a question on which I would very much like to get feedback.

I have never found a deer in an area where his movement would have been difficult, such as hard, would-make-a-rabbit-cry thickets. Every deer that I have found that ran some distance was found more in open areas, as if the animal was loooking for a fast and easier exit. And for this reason, I usually avoid the smaller thicket patches when looking for a deer.

Comments?



They will usualy take the easiest rout but i have tracked them into some bad stuff before


Re: Tracking tips [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #2830118 12/12/11 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
2)The only effective method to track a wounded deer is by following the actual blood trail. One cannot predict where a hit deer will go as they do all sorts of funny things such as circling,doubling back,making unexpected turns,etc. "Seldom looking for blood" and "focusing on the direction it ran" are ineffective IMO. Maybe a quick initial check to see if the deer piled up quickly or a grid search after completely exhausting the blood trail are the only times I don't focus entirely on the blood trail. Marking the trail,hands and knees,using good lantern/light, and basically being as meticulous as possible are all in order.If you are not entirely focused on the blood trail IMO you are simply walking and hoping wasting precious time-and at the same time possibly ruining the blood trail itself.


Absolutely... up


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