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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this is a archery forum but I do dabble in muzzleloader and rifle as well. This buck I took in late rifle season. He was one of my top 3 bucks on my Georgia property. I was wondering if anyone has had a similar experience as I had with this buck.

As he walked out at 30 yards I had to pick up my phone to check pictures I had because his body did not match his rack. Mind you this buck was twice his size only weeks earlier. I had a few yearling does in the field that had larger bodies than the buck.

As I walked up to the buck he had a rancid odor to him. He was all skin and bones with extremely dark blood (acoming from his mouth. I sat down to take pictures and afterwards I had the horrible smell on my hands just from touching his rack. The only thing I found was a small puncture hole about mid body on one side with puss around it. My thoughts were maybe the deer was septic from a gut puncture??

I don’t know what else it could have been . Any thoughts?
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Septicemia. I've heard of deer living for weeks after a would, like a zombie. They stink to high heaven. When you peeled his hide, did the underside look like a spider web of black veining? That's a clear indication of septicemia. Otherwise bucks do often get pretty stinky & emaciated during rut, but I assume you're aware of the difference. If it's more like a death stench than rut stink then I'd say he had septicemia, probably from that belly wound.
 

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Here in PA I would be contacting the Game Commission. They would take the deer and provide a new tag for me to go look for another deer.
As for the hole, could be from anything from another deer when fighting to a sharp stick while running through the woods.
 

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Mathews Chill X
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I don’t have any experience with this, but my thoughts would be that his guts were punctured while fighting another buck. Infection likely set in and would have eventually killed him but you put him out of his misery. Just my thoughts. What did you end up doing with the deer?
 

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I've actually dispatched a few in late winter/early spring in similar condition. I smelled all 3 of them before I saw or heard them. 2 had wounds up in back strap area and one in front knee. All severely infected. They all tried to run but were too weak. This is also why I never really like when people assume all these backstrap hit deer "are gonna be fine" because they're on your trail cam 2 weeks later. I think it takes weeks or even months sometimes for the infection to do it's damage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Septicemia. I've heard of deer living for weeks after a would, like a zombie. They stink to high heaven. When you peeled his hide, did the underside look like a spider web of black veining? That's a clear indication of septicemia. Otherwise bucks do often get pretty stinky & emaciated during rut, but I assume you're aware of the difference. If it's more like a death stench than rut stink then I'd say he had septicemia, probably from that belly wound.
I took it to a butcher/ taxidermy shop where I told them to salvage the cape and horns if possible for a mount but to discard the meat.

I definitely know the difference between rutting buck and a this. This smelled like a rotting Carcass. I wish I would have stayed to see them cape the deer but they had 10+ deer in front of me so I would have been there for quite some time
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don’t have any experience with this, but my thoughts would be that his guts were punctured while fighting another buck. Infection likely set in and would have eventually killed him but you put him out of his misery. Just my thoughts. What did you end up doing with the deer?
I've actually dispatched a few in late winter/early spring in similar condition. I smelled all 3 of them before I saw or heard them. 2 had wounds up in back strap area and one in front knee. All severely infected. They all tried to run but were too weak. This is also why I never really like when people assume all these backstrap hit deer "are gonna be fine" because they're on your trail cam 2 weeks later. I think it takes weeks or even months sometimes for the infection to do it's damage.
I agree. Infection can take a long time to kill a deer. I have no doubt this deer would have died within a week or so
 

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This is also why I never really like when people assume all these backstrap hit deer "are gonna be fine" because they're on your trail cam 2 weeks later. I think it takes weeks or even months sometimes for the infection to do it's damage.
That's a peeve of mine. I cringe every time I hear somebody say the deer will be just fine. Maybe they will. But maybe not. A broad head does incredible damage. It takes a very healthy deer and a lot of luck to survive a broad head.

I definitely know the difference between rutting buck and a this. This smelled like a rotting Carcass.
Septicemia. He smelled like a carcass because he was a carcass, just wasn't dead yet. Crazy how decomposition happens while they're still alive.
 

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I euthanized a buck that was struggling and he stunk to high heaven too. Had an arrow sticking out of his rear and you could tell it had been there for quite some time. It was December when we crossed paths. It was a bad day for both of us.
 

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Two years ago I had a buck I hunted hard all year late season he was getting close to messing up but his body had turned very very slinder. I noticed in the last couple pictures I had of him. He was a heck of a deer and he had a big $ack so I called him hung low haha! I was hunting a couple days before Christmas and a deer come out I was like dang that doe doesn’t even look right threw the Binos up and sure enough it was hung low let him go he had shredded his antlers on Dec 22nd sometime I let him go hoping he would get better that turkey season I found his skeleton I never could see any physical damage to him in the binos or trail cam pics nature can be wicked at times.
 
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