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AT Folks -

My buddy called me about 7pm last night to help him track a deer he shot. He said he shot it quartering away but thought he hit it a little far back. I went over and we tracked it for about 5 hours. We found a bright red blood trail starting about 30 yards from where he hit it and it went on for about 150 yards and then just dried up from what we could find. There were no bubbles in the blood, but there was some light-colored tissue in it on occasion. We never found the arrow. Anyway, when the blood trail ran out, we circled the spot for about 2 hours and never found the trail again. It was about 60 degrees last night and the deer was shot. My buddy is ready to call the whole thing off. Any advice?

This is my first tracking experience (first year hunting, first year bowhunting) and I really want to find that deer, but I'm unsure when or if to say that it's a lost cause. I really enjoyed being on the trail of the animal, but it was a pretty sinking feeling when we headed home. It's sickening even when it happens to your buddy, I guess. Not a lot of sleep last night.

Thanks in advance.
 

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WELCOME!!!

Well, to be honest with you...for me, all of the times the "blood trail ran out". the deer was actually dead and we had to get on our hands and knees and follow (LITERALLY) pinhead size drops of blood and tracks for a few more hundred yards. There might be times that the hole closes up on the deer and there may be no blood for 20 yards her or 20 yards there, but you have to look for SMALL sign. Getting down to the ground level can really help. Sometimes it doesn't always cut it to search from standing eye level. It's worth a try. The blood will be dried and even harder to find now, but if you followed good blood for that long, the deer is dead somewhere.
 

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I agree. Get on you hands and knees you will be at about the level of the wound. Also find out what side of the deer the entrence wound is on because with that you can determine which way the deer was facing when you find blood. Also blood will splatter in the direction the deer was traveling so knowing which side the wound was on and using the direction the blood splatters you can get a good idea of the direction and it will save you hopefully some time. In my experience using these two methods has helped find a few deer over the years. But remember this is just one technique there are many different ways people track wounded deer but I hope this helps and you and your buddy find the deer.
 

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The biggest mistake people make is they walk the trail, stomping on the very track they need to follow, the other thing is they track with their eyes and not there brain. When an animal changes direction or circles its own track people don't notice. They also tend to track the blood only and not the track. I have lot of hunters stick stuff and it runs off, the first thing I tell them over the radio it sit down and don't get near the trail.
My 8 and 12 yr old kids will sort it out, one works the blood, one works the track and I do the thinking

The animal probably turned back on its own track somewhere and then turned off
 

· Straight Shooter
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Bright red blood that is spotty after 100 yards or so is almost without a doubt, a gut shot deer. Typically along the trail the deer will stop and that's when you find blood, but it gets spotty because they'll instinctively lick the wound which hampers trailing.

Since you didn't find the arrow, it's probably still in the deer which seems to me that it must have been quartering away pretty hard and might have actually made it up into the liver/diaphragm area. This deer will die or is dead, no doubt.

Expand your search area and as I've heard lots of other say...look for low lying areas, possibly with water as a gut shot deer will instinctively try to rehydrate themselves. Scenario like this happened to me a few years ago. Took a 40 yard shot and just as I touched the trigger, she took a step forward. Hit her about 4 inches in front of the back leg broadside. Backed out, waited about 4 hours. Trailed her going due south for 125 yards with good red blood and then nothing. Me and a buddy figured the intestines must have blocked the entry and exit holes. Came back in the morning, searched the entire property and luckily found her, due east of last blood 200 yards away laying on the farside of steep hollow. She never made it up out.

Best of luck and keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the tips. I'm about to head back out to look again. We did a good job of not stomping on things and definitely did a lot of crawling around on our hands and knees to look for droplets. The suggestion about checking for a double-back is one I'm going to pursue, as well as checking out the creek bottom (again).

One more question: with the temps being in the low 60's since the shot, what kind of condition should I expect the meat to be in? Should it still be salvageable after this long (almost 14 hours)?
 

· wannabtradguy
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keep your nose open too. you can prolly smell a gut shot deer if it's upwind of you. also gut shot deer will prolly go to a water source if theres one close by. good luck
 

· Straight Shooter
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One more question: with the temps being in the low 60's since the shot, what kind of condition should I expect the meat to be in? Should it still be salvageable after this long (almost 14 hours)?
I wouldn't be confident about the condition of the meat. The one thing you have to consider is that just because it was shot 14 hours ago, doesn't mean it died 14 hours ago, which is unfortunate for the animal, but gives you a better chance of salvaging the meat.
 
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