OK, go back to about 30 minutes before you made the shot and tell the whole story, in detail, up to the point where after 6 hours of looking, you finally had to stop. I really feel for you guy, I had a friend who hit a cow an hour before dark last year and he couldn't find it either. Arrow showed a lung hit too.
We looked for that cow for 12 1/2 hours the next day and finally had to give up because we simply ran out of places to look, that one still baffles me to this day.
I have found that by repeating and retelling the whole event several times that sometimes we can pick up little clues that might have been missed that can later be put together to come up with a reasonable anwser as to what led to the animal not being recovered.
My friend couldn't sleep and wouldn't eat until he found it, I finally made him sit down and get something to drink and eat or we would have been looking for him too. He didn't even want to hunt elk again this year because he still feels really bad about the whole thing.
As bad as it makes you feel, wounding and loosing animals does happen in bow hunting. Even the best hunters can have something go wrong. I feel for you.
Lone bow is right give us some details on what happened. How the bull came in, angle of shot[uphill or down, quartering or broadside], what did the animal do when it left[ go up hill, down, did it wander like it was lost or take off like it was on a mission] how far did you have blood and how much.
There is no doubt that a light blood trail is hard to follow.
I hope you find it. Where were you hunting? Like someone else said it happens, not just to humans, but to all predators. Many animals live to be fine, with only scars as a reminder. I have heard of deer being killed with a broadhead and part of the arrow healed over inside of the deer. Animals are a lot tougher than we are.
It doesn't sound good for the elk surviving with half an arrow still in him, I'm sorry to say. It must not have been the coveted double lung or heart shot. Again I'm sorry. It is unfortunate there is this inherent risk involved whenever we attempt to harvest an animal, be it with an arrow or a bullet.
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