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Mar 25th, 2012
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After the shot #6961564
11/15/17 07:27 PM
11/15/17 07:27 PM
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With so many newbies hanging around these threads, a good discussion of key tips in retrieving deer seems in order.

Let me start it off with a couple points, those being seeing the shot and listening closely afterwards.

In most cases, seeing the shot so that you can recall the deer's reaction is a very good thing. With experience and spending time listening to others, you can make at least a fair determination of where the deer was hit, so long as you keep in mind that sometimes a hit deer will show little or no reaction. However, seeing the shot can also mean losing concentration on the specific aim point on the deer's body to glance at the antlers or size of the deer. When this happens, the shooter allows the aim point to drift, often resulting in a miss or even worse, a non-fatal hit on a deer that will never be recovered. An old timer I knew had a term for it- losing him in the cross hairs.

The second point is to listen closely as the deer bolts away after the shot since you can often hear the sound of the deer as it crashes through the brush. In some cases, you might even hear the deer as it crashes into something or even when it hits the ground.

Now of course, these and other comments to be shared mean nothing to those who always have their deer fall dead right there (DRT). As for the rest of us, I'm sure there are many who would enjoy hearing from those who have become very knowledgeable on what you should do after the shot.


Dan,

Spring, Texas
Re: After the shot [Re: Texas Dan] #6961569
11/15/17 07:31 PM
11/15/17 07:31 PM
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I just shake a lot. grin
Seriously though, this is good advice.


Sometimes it's hard being me! But somebody has to do it.
Re: After the shot [Re: Texas Dan] #6961570
11/15/17 07:32 PM
11/15/17 07:32 PM
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If I don't see the deer go down I always wait 15 minutes or so for it to die before going and looking for blood at the place he was shot. With a bow id wait even longer not to jump a wounded deer. I also try and look for reference points so its easier to find where he was at when I shot and last place I seen him. Its also a good idea to take something you can mark the blood trail with especially if its a long trail that way if you get off the trail its easy to find it again.


Originally Posted by bill oxner
I plowed mules.
Originally Posted by Roll-Tide
I did build a cabin. Aka the brokeback shack.

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Re: After the shot [Re: Texas Dan] #6961575
11/15/17 07:36 PM
11/15/17 07:36 PM
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I always find myself taking deer in thick country, and never out in the open. The first thought no matter how seasoned a hunter is always to go towards your kill. I have to tell myself every time to start at the location he/she was standing when I took the shot. If you take a late evening shot time can be of up most priority. Therefore, getting on the blood trail and setting a course to find him (when you don't hear it) is imperative.

Re: After the shot [Re: Texas Dan] #6961580
11/15/17 07:41 PM
11/15/17 07:41 PM
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For sure, give the animal time to expire, almost any dog will find a dead deer if it comes down to it.


Sometimes it's hard being me! But somebody has to do it.
Re: After the shot [Re: BUCKitHEAD] #6961615
11/15/17 08:03 PM
11/15/17 08:03 PM
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Murphy, TX Dickens county
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Originally Posted By: BUCKitHEAD
I always find myself taking deer in thick country, and never out in the open. The first thought no matter how seasoned a hunter is always to go towards your kill. I have to tell myself every time to start at the location he/she was standing when I took the shot. If you take a late evening shot time can be of up most priority. Therefore, getting on the blood trail and setting a course to find him (when you don't hear it) is imperative.


True, but more important to give them time to die. Many hunters start the track too early. They jump them up where they probably would of expired if they gave them more time to do so. You are also really stressing the deer out if you jump them before they expire. This usually results in gamey tasting table fare if you are luck enough to find them.


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Re: After the shot [Re: Pitchfork Predator] #6961627
11/15/17 08:10 PM
11/15/17 08:10 PM
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Completely agree with you Pitchfork. I will usually have a celebratory drink while giving the time to wait him out. As far a gamey flavor that is another discussion. I have found the quicker you get the animals hide off the better. Never heard anything about the flavor of fear?

Re: After the shot [Re: BUCKitHEAD] #6961632
11/15/17 08:16 PM
11/15/17 08:16 PM
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Murphy, TX Dickens county
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Originally Posted By: BUCKitHEAD
Completely agree with you Pitchfork. I will usually have a celebratory drink while giving the time to wait him out. As far a gamey flavor that is another discussion. I have found the quicker you get the animals hide off the better. Never heard anything about the flavor of fear?


You are correct getting the meat cooled down ASAP, which skinning does better than anything else.

There were interesting studies done that showed deer that were stressed out before dying were tougher and gamier tasting than ones that were not.


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Re: After the shot [Re: Texas Dan] #6961656
11/15/17 08:35 PM
11/15/17 08:35 PM
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ALWAYS make sure to make instant mental note of where the deer was standing when you shot him. Sometimes that is the key to even having a decent chance of recovery when they run.


If you want some friendly advice, get a haircut and take a bath. You wouldn't get hassled so much.


Re: After the shot [Re: Texas Dan] #6961662
11/15/17 08:41 PM
11/15/17 08:41 PM
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There are a lot of variables to consider after the shot. First, did I feel very confident that I put the bullet on the mark. If so, I wait 5 minutes then get out to look for the animal. Or, do I think that maybe the shot may have been a bit off (perhaps a long shot), then I may wait 30 minutes before I go looking. If I think I may have missed or hit the animal, then I may wait longer. If darkness is coming fast then I will get out of the blind after 5 minutes and go to the spot and start tracking (we have lots of coyotes that can get to a wounded deer quick.)If its a morning shoot then I will definitely wait longer. But, every time I do shoot and the deer runs, I do wait with my rifle ready for a second shot just in case the deer comes back out again, wounded or not. I shoot a .243 rifle so knock-down shots behind the shoulder are very rare. Of course, a neck shot will put a deer down very time. If you aim at the neck and it runs, then you just missed!

Re: After the shot [Re: Texas Dan] #6961676
11/15/17 08:58 PM
11/15/17 08:58 PM
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I also say make a mental note of the last place you saw the deer run. Mark the tree, rock, brush, etc. Go to the spot where the animal was standing when shot and look for blood. then go to last place you saw the deer running. We did that one time and discovered there was a dry creek bed just past the brush where we last saw the deer. I remember reading or hearing someone say that deer usually run to water when wounded. We got in the creek bed and while looking both directions found blood in the spot i was standing. 20-30 yards down the dry channel there was the deer.

Re: After the shot [Re: Texas Dan] #6961684
11/15/17 09:02 PM
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There is much to be said in using a double mantle, gas or propane lantern when looking for a downed deer at night. You'll be amazed at what you can overlook with that $150 super bright flashlight.


Dan,

Spring, Texas
Re: After the shot [Re: Captain Luke] #6961698
11/15/17 09:13 PM
11/15/17 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted By: Captain Luke
ALWAYS make sure to make instant mental note of where the deer was standing when you shot him. Sometimes that is the key to even having a decent chance of recovery when they run.


Agreed and this is more challenging that you'd think sometimes.

The blood trial often goes on a very different angle than the angle you pictured when you shot it.

Even when shot by a feeder the depth the animal was standing can be drastically different than you pictured during the shot



Re: After the shot [Re: titan2232] #6961724
11/15/17 09:37 PM
11/15/17 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted By: titan2232
Originally Posted By: Captain Luke
ALWAYS make sure to make instant mental note of where the deer was standing when you shot him. Sometimes that is the key to even having a decent chance of recovery when they run.


Agreed and this is more challenging that you'd think sometimes.

The blood trial often goes on a very different angle than the angle you pictured when you shot it.

Even when shot by a feeder the depth the animal was standing can be drastically different than you pictured during the shot

Exactly right. On Sunday, I shot a pig right under my feeder and it ran 20 yards. An hour later, I shot another pig under the same feeder and it dropped dead right there. When I went to recover them, I was surprised to see that the pig that I had shot earlier in the morning had actually been standing about 15 yards farther than the 2nd pig. I originally thought that they both had been standing around the same spot.


If you want some friendly advice, get a haircut and take a bath. You wouldn't get hassled so much.


Re: After the shot [Re: Texas Dan] #6961925
11/16/17 12:35 AM
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One of the oldest and most unsubstantiated claims I've ever heard is that wounded deer usually run towards water. Lots of theories behind this one. I have first hand knowledge of two deer that were found next to ponds, and have helped retrieve at least three deer out of creeks.


Dan,

Spring, Texas
Re: After the shot [Re: Texas Dan] #6962000
11/16/17 01:24 AM
11/16/17 01:24 AM
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Prosper , TX
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Grab a few paper towels and tear off small pieces and lay them on the ground as you are tracking a deer. It can help you to visualize where the deer ran and so you don't loose track of last blood.

Re: After the shot [Re: Texas Dan] #6962020
11/16/17 01:33 AM
11/16/17 01:33 AM
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I think most of us will give up a hunt to help someone track a deer. I have. Ask for help if you have it, another set of eyes is a big help. I helped a veteran hunter track a great 8 point with a perfect shot, heart/lungs. He was tracking the blood trail, but the buck was running what looked to me like a horse race. I followed the hoof prints through the thick cedars. I found the deer just before he did. The buck was a mudder....


"I was called by the Yorkers a outlaw, and later by the english a rebel" Ethan Allen
Re: After the shot [Re: Texas Dan] #6962022
11/16/17 01:34 AM
11/16/17 01:34 AM
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Deep East Texas
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I also have first hand experiences of deer running towards water when shot... somebody told me one time that the water helps heal their wounds. Also I think most deer try to travel downhill when wounded

Re: After the shot [Re: Texas Dan] #6962046
11/16/17 01:46 AM
11/16/17 01:46 AM
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After the shot. Jack another round in the chamber and stay on the deer. Do not pull the gun back in the window and stand it in the corner.
I have witnessed too many gut shots that have put a deer on the ground immediately, only to watch the deer stand after a few minutes and walk away to never be found. A second shot would have been easy and would have ended a 4 hour search for nothing.



"Man is still a hunter, still a simple searcher after meat..." Robert C. Ruark
Re: After the shot [Re: Texas Dan] #6962088
11/16/17 02:11 AM
11/16/17 02:11 AM
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My approach is a mix of old and new. After the shot, I wait about 15 minutes. And these days I use the RF to range the spot the deer was standing. That helps solve the problem of where the deer was standing, because it often looks different standing downrange than it did from the stand. Much quicker way to get to where the blood trail starts. Then I put a bit of pure white TP at every spot I find blood. If the daylight is dimming, that white TP glows in the light from a flashlight. After tracking deer for over 55 years, I have found that if terrain allows, fatally wounded deer tend to move in a somewhat straight line or follow a familiar trail. If you canít find the next blood spot, look backwards to see if you are generally following the path the deer has been on. If blood remains hard to find, and if the leaves on the ground are damp, look for disturbed leaves. Fatally wounded deer will drag their hooves as they weaken. Look on saplings, brush, palmettto, or trees at the chest height of deer, as they will rest and lean on trees as they weaken.

As for seeking water, I do believe that gut shot deer often go to water if itís close. Gut shot deer will live longer than a heart shot or lung shot deer, and must get thirsty from the wound damage.

Iíve tracked hundreds of deer, and the above is what comes to mind right now. I will say that the most important thing to do first is to wait long enough for the deer to get too weak to run. If you go storming into the woods and making a racket, adrenaline will get that buck up and running and make it near impossible to find. The noise of being pursued will associate the pain with your noise. Otherwise, the deer is getting weak and has not associated the pain and weakness to any dangerous thing that needs to be run from, so it feels Ok to just lean on this tree and rest a bit, and then slide down the tree to the ground.

Re: After the shot [Re: Texas Dan] #6962091
11/16/17 02:12 AM
11/16/17 02:12 AM
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As a newbie, I really appreciate the fact that all you experienced guys take time out of your days to put info like this together. I took my first shot at a deer today and when I went looking I used a lot of this info. Came to the conclusion that I just flat missed, but I ended up spending more of my day looking for sign than sitting in the blind. Time to practice some more! Anyways, appreciate all y'alls info. Don't know what the requirements are but this would be a cool thread to have stickied.

Re: After the shot [Re: Texas Dan] #6962126
11/16/17 02:38 AM
11/16/17 02:38 AM
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You need to believe that the bullet went where your crosshairs were when the rifle fired. You know if you shot high or low, or in the guts, or right behind the shoulder. It the bullet went into the guts, good luck with the tracking. Into the lungs or heart, the tracking shouldnít be too long.

If you find blood, it will tell you a lot. Dark red with Green stuff in it...gut shot. Dark red...probably non-fatal. Bright red...maybe heart and always fatal. Bright red with froth and maybe pink stuff...lung shot and fatal.

To summarize, if the crosshairs were where they should be, thereís a dead deer somewhere, so close your eyes and remember that instant.

As iíve aged, I donít blood trail as well as I did when young. Itís good to have young eyes

Re: After the shot [Re: crozierk] #6962150
11/16/17 02:57 AM
11/16/17 02:57 AM
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Originally Posted By: crozierk
As a newbie, I really appreciate the fact that all you experienced guys take time out of your days to put info like this together. I took my first shot at a deer today and when I went looking I used a lot of this info. Came to the conclusion that I just flat missed, but I ended up spending more of my day looking for sign than sitting in the blind. Time to practice some more! Anyways, appreciate all y'alls info. Don't know what the requirements are but this would be a cool thread to have stickied.


Good on you for making sure. Here's another tidbit: Anyone who says they've never missed...is a liar.


...and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Gen. 1:28
Re: After the shot [Re: 603Country] #6962151
11/16/17 02:58 AM
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Originally Posted By: 603Country
You need to believe that the bullet went where your crosshairs were when the rifle fired. You know if you shot high or low, or in the guts, or right behind the shoulder. It the bullet went into the guts, good luck with the tracking. Into the lungs or heart, the tracking shouldnít be too long.

If you find blood, it will tell you a lot. Dark red with Green stuff in it...gut shot. Dark red...probably non-fatal. Bright red...maybe heart and always fatal. Bright red with froth and maybe pink stuff...lung shot and fatal.

To summarize, if the crosshairs were where they should be, thereís a dead deer somewhere, so close your eyes and remember that instant.

As iíve aged, I donít blood trail as well as I did when young. Itís good to have young eyes


The close your eyes and remember part I have used many times while guiding. Sometimes it takes a hunter 30 minutes or more for the rush to go away and really relive the shot. After a while they will know what went wrong or right, and we will find a deer shot exactly as they described.



"Man is still a hunter, still a simple searcher after meat..." Robert C. Ruark
Re: After the shot [Re: Texas Dan] #6962168
11/16/17 03:12 AM
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Deer will sometimes expire in the most hard-to-find places that can be easily overlooked if you're not careful.

Anyone have a story to share about a deer that was found in a place that searchers had overlooked earlier?

Although it wasn't an out-of-the-way spot, I remember when I found a deer for a friend that had expired right at the edge of a pond. He had been looking for it some time before coming to my camp and asking for help. The pond had a short bank around it and the deer was laying at the bottom of it where it could be easily overlooked in the dark. I was using an old single mantle Coleman lantern at the time and noticed it while walking around the edge of the pond. It brings to mind the countless times I can remember when someone found a deer in a spot that others had walked past several times.

And let's be honest guys, some folks don't look as closely as others out of fear of the dark. Maybe they're just afraid of what they might see in the beam of their flashlight. Whatever the case, you sometimes have to keep that in mind and look more closely for them.


Dan,

Spring, Texas
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