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Lessons on tracking deer

706 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  thirdhandman
This is a video of a buck I took last year that I just found and thought it might be interesting to share.
This was November 15 2019, I had taken a mature doe at 4:00. Around 10 minutes before end of legal light I hear a deer cross a creek infront of me. I thought it was a doe I'd let pass until he got 50 yards infront of me. I watch him walk towards me on the scope waiting for him to turn broadside. He eventually does at 25 yards at the last 5 minutes. Unfortunately I had not realized it was a hind quarter shot because some debris I had not seen deflected the bolt.
We take time to find my doe first and start looking roughly 1-2 hours after the shot. Luckily, we took my dad's excal paradox cocked (but unloaded and bagged) just in case. We track trickling blood in the snow for 90 yards. We were going to decide to back out to give him more time until we notice a big white belly no more than 10 yards from us, still breathing.
We slowly slip back deciding to either give him more time or finish him off. We contemplate fashioning my 8" double edged hunting knife into a spear (to avoid loading a crossbow past legal time) but finally decide that the most ethical and safest option is to finish him off with a bolt to the heart. After that, to our surprise, he jumps up and runs another 40 or 50 yards and expiring while trying to climb the hill of a large ditch. We back out to drag the doe out before bothering him again.

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I definitely took a few lessons from this and this is definitely the hunt that weighs most heavily in my head as all the other deer and animals I've taken died within 50 yards. I'm no novice at tracking other's wounded deer but I'm interested if anyone would've done anything differently. I count myself lucky that he's on my wall today. Not a monster but my biggest so far at 230lbs 115"
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Scorpyd aculeus, 42# black hunter recurve, 47# black hunter longbow, 67# Phantom recurve
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You did right no question.

But what would you have done if he had jumped up and run right at you?
That question is the most important lesson I learned lol. We did back off to weigh our options but I honestly did not expect him to have that much energy left. Would've been better to be further back behind a tree.
 

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There was a similar video this week going around. a buck had been shot but was still breathing when a lady walked up to it. She stuck her rifle barrel on the deer and squeezed the trigger. The deer went straight up knocking her over and died a few feet away. Guess she didn't know that a rifle is a long-range weapon. It isn't a gut gun.;)
 

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Not surprising they are tough. I pounded a good one with a 300 Weatherby back of ribs I d say center liver no guts horrible blood trail I got to the corner of 3 property lines and was about to go knock on some doors when I looked up and saw him hiding I shot him behind the shoulder and he ran 50 yds and dropped.
 

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What you did was illegal. No way around that. Laws are made for a reason, and there are no stipulations or by-laws exempting ethical conundrums. You admittedly knew this prior to acting, so I assume you were willing to take the punishment & consequences that could result. That's a decision folks should not take lightly when considering doing what you did, because it might just cost you your hunting privileges.

That said, I'd have done the same thing. I would have been uncomfortable and conflicted doing it, but the decision would have been an easy one to make. The difference is that I wouldn't be posting it on an internet forum for the world to see. Mother always told us that no good comes from airing dirty laundry for everybody to see.
 

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Not surprising they are tough. I pounded a good one with a 300 Weatherby back of ribs I d say center liver no guts horrible blood trail I got to the corner of 3 property lines and was about to go knock on some doors when I looked up and saw him hiding I shot him behind the shoulder and he ran 50 yds and dropped.
Seems like 2020 was a learning year on the tenacity of whitetail bucks for many of us. I made virtually the same shot on a big mature 7 point on opening day of firearms, 11-15, with a Ruger bolt 450 Bushmaster. He was slowly walking into the open when I shot downward into a natural bowl on the edge of a picked cornfield. Immediately he began to run and I could tell he was hit, so I racked another shell as he did a buttonhook route up the side of the bowl back towards the woods. The second shot was a miss and he disappeared into the trees. After an hour, I quietly began to look for blood and could find none due to the heavy winds and sporadic rain.....rotten weather here.

I took the same route as his retreat and ended up on a ridge just inside the wood-line that dropped off steeply to a wet marsh at the bottom. Using my rifle scope to scan the edge of the water, I didn't see anything among all the downed trees, so I went back to the beginning and walked another circuit while searching for blood. I ended up about 70 yards beyond the previous scanning point and began to look again with my scope when I saw the rear of a deer raise up and then drop. The wind was hard out of the south, so I went upwind another 25 yards and slowly worked my way down the hill towards him. He was lying behind a log right at the water's edge and tried several times to get up.....but couldn't make it to his feet. I wanted to end it quickly, but also didn't want to give away my advantage and spook him out with an adrenaline rush.

There was no shot from that angle, so I opted to wait a bit and ended up shooting him in the base of the neck as he tried again to get up. That shot made him lurch into the marsh where I had to drag him out of the water.....soaking wet and muddy. It took all I had to get him back to land and thankfully had a friend with a quad and sled on the other side of the farm. We loaded him on the sled and two of us could barely get him 30 yards up the hill. My friend moved his Polaris closer and dragged out his winch cable that just made it to the sled rope.....then I "steered" the sled/deer up and over several logs to a small bench where I could field dress him. Quite a morning......several take-aways from that adventure.
 

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Just in case this ever comes up again.
Poaching is one thing and I can't stand a poacher. Letting a deer suffer is another thing I will not do. If you have the situation come up, call your local game warden and tell him of the circumstance. He will tell you to finish him off because you gave him a heads up. They don't want deer suffering any more than you or I do. but they don't want ya poaching either. Calling them does help.
 
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