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Bad afternoon in the stand

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by FL-NC, Nov 23, 2019.

  1. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I decided to try to take a deer yesterday with my crossbow. I have been hunting with it for 3 seasons, and successfully closed the deal on my first last year. I practice frequently with it, and I feel like I "know" my equipment. It is a PSE fang 350 with a truglo red dot sight with the 3 dots, and I use muzzy fixed broadheads. I also have a Bushnell rangefinder with the arc feature, and I confirmed my zero the day prior with a broadhead. I determined that my max effective range with this thing under optimum conditions is 50 yards. Bolts are Barnett headhunters. Anyhow, just before dark, I spotted a nice fat doe enter the field I was watching, and she started moving toward me paralleling the woodline. I had plenty of time, so I selected an ambush point (sandy spot) where I predicted she would stop for the corn, and confirmed the range (26 yards). At this distance, I can easily hit a 4" target repeatedly. The fang was nicely supported on the rest which was padded with pipe insulation. Sure as rain, she stopped at that spot and turned broadside. I got my sight picture and let one fly. It felt, looked, and sounded good- she did the normal "mule kick", fell down, got up, and took off into the woodline, where I heard her crash again almost instantly. A few seconds later, I heard a little more movement, which I believed to be her final kicks, even though I knew it was possible she got back up. Waited 1/2 hour, and climbed down, found the arrow (broadhead blades all bent up) and some nice bright blood. Cautiously moved to the edge of the woodline, finding lots more blood along the way, but when I didn't see or hear anything for the first few feet, I backed out. Went to my friend's house, and got him and his dog, and some powerful flashlights. Once our search started, it has been 1 1/2 hour since the shot. We tracked that deer for several hours,with the blood trail eventually going from huge to an occasional drop, to nothing. He let the dog work off the lead, and the dog eventually just started making a loop around a large thicket. When that dog finds a deer, she will sit on it. We searched every inch of that thicket on our hands and knees. No blood or other sign, and we were also at the edge of his property. No blood along the fenceline either. We eventually had to call it. Last night's temps were in the 60's. In fact, its 68 here now at 8:30 AM (Florida) and that area is full of coyotes, so even if I went back and looked for it now, there won't be anything to get. Assessing everything and how it all went down, I honestly don't think there were any shortcomings in equipment, the preparation, the shot, or the follow-up. Still doesn't make me feel any better about losing a deer- I haven't had this happen since I was a new deer hunter decades ago.
     
    troy fairweather likes this.
  2. Seamaster31

    Seamaster31 Member

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    I have seen that happen with bright red blood from a muscle hit. Lots of bleeding initially and diminishing to a faint or nonexistent trail. Sometimes these deer recover with just a big scar. A neighbor hit one just like that last season and three of us looked hard for it for two days with no luck.

    If it was bright red lung blood (bubbles or froth) that is a completely different story. If you only caught one lung it can be a long tracking job but a hit in both lungs makes life much easier. Sorry you lost the deer.
     
    stillquietvoice likes this.
  3. Flintknapper

    Flintknapper Member

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    Sounds a lot like a 'backstrap' shot (above the spine but through muscle there). Not unusual for the impact shock to cause the deer to go down temporarily as it hits so close to the spine. Lots of bleeding for awhile bright red blood (not dark like arterial blood). Animal continues to be mobile without evidence of having stopped or bedded anywhere.

    This can happen very easily when the deer reacts to the sound of the bow/cross-bow and their body drops when they gather themselves to run from the noise. It's called 'ducking the string' but in reality its the bending of the joints in the legs as they push off to run. It can actually result in complete misses even at relatively short distances.

    Quite often...if the deer is not 'pushed' and weakened....they will recover from such a hit. But the possibility that Coyotes will pick up the trail exists too. In any case, you followed up as well as anyone could ask. You are to be commended for that.

    One bow hunting tip, always aim at the lower 1/3 of the heart/lung region (even lower if the deer the appears nervous) to compensate for any reaction they might have. Get back out there and try again.
     
  4. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    A few years back, #1 son arrowed a big nine point wall hanger. He watched the arrow pass through the broadside deer. The buck went about 100yds and went down. When son got to him, the buck got up and ran.
    (I'm making a long story short)
    We tracked, we looked, we hired a bloodhound who specializes in wounded deer. We lost the blood trail...No deer.
    Son was depressed and didnt hunt for a week.
    He regained his desire and went back to the same stand and guess what he killed......the same buck! 7 days later.
    Dropped him very quickly with an arrow 3 inches further forward than the original wound(which was all but healed).
    Deer are tough.
    20151115_175707.jpg #1 and his buck
     
  5. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Bent
    You hit bone and if all the blades were bent, you hit a lot of bone. Sounds like it could have been a brisket shot, especially finding the arrow. High shoulder hits generally mean no pass thru.
     
  6. Flintknapper

    Flintknapper Member

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    Spine.jpg
    IF the blades were bent going through the deer and not from having hit something on the ground or beyond...then bone was hit. The 'dorsal's off the vertebrae above the shoulder are normally hit with a deep 'back-strap' shot and spinal impact often causes the deer to falter. A brisket shot is a possibility but would require an errant shot seriously forward on the animal.
     
  7. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    Two weeks ago I thought I would be a smart-a$$ and would hunt with my Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt. An 8 pt. came by at 11 yards but spooked when he heard the pistol dragging leather while I drew. I stopped him at ~25 yds. and rushed the shot. White hair off the front of the neck was all I got. My dog and I searched for over an hour with no sign of blood.

    If it were real easy, deer would be extinct. ;)
     
    Encoreman, Armored farmer and FL-NC like this.
  8. MidRoad
    • Contributing Member

    MidRoad Contributing Member

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    Had a similar experience on Saturday myself ,copying and pasting from the NYS hunter thread, takes forever to type on the phone.

    "Got a call at 830 from my brother saying he just shot a buck and there is bone and blood. I sat this morning out because the little one was in a mood lastnight and kept us up late crying.

    A little background , my brother lost vison in his right eye (he's a righty) last year during a fishing accident. So since he's been using his handguns to hunt ,until he can get the hang of lefty. Anyways he's using a super redhawk 454. Shooting 300gr Underwood 45 colt ammo with an xtp bullet .

    This was his first shot a deer with the handgun. We spent six hours trucking and called it quits for the day, about 25 min ago. The deer crossed into another property and headed down into a valley that is a massive drop. With the sun setting we decided it would be safer to stop. It's supposed to rain tonight so not really sure if we will be able to trail it in the morning unfortunately. It appeared to me that it was a leg shot based on the blood trail. It was quartering towards him at 40 yards. Im thinking he may have dipped the barrel a bit when he fired. So buck fever may have gotten the best if him. He feels terrible, can tell it really bothered him. Longggg day."

    We spent nearly 8 hours tracking it, but the thing just kept moving, it really sucked. Similar experience with blood trail aswell. Nice bright blood, heavy patch where it would stand for a bit ,than it would testers off to a drip or two every few steps.
     
  9. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I would be very happy if this happens in the future.
     
    Armored farmer likes this.
  10. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    There was blood all the way back to the nock, all over the fletches.
     
  11. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    But the brisket is closer to the "kill zone" than the spine. A broadhead bent so severely going thru the spine is probably going to do damage to the CNS. A hit high enough to just impact those so called "dorsals" are not likely to hit enough muscle to create enough blood loss to have a heavy blood trail. High hits have to drain down the side of an animal and usually result in less ground blood, especially at first.. Brisket and low hits drip directly to the ground and usually give blood right away.

    We can guess all day and still be wrong without finding a dead deer to prove us. Had I been on the bloodtrail, after a while you can kinda figure out where the hit was. Is the blood in the track? Leg. Is the deer hitting on all four? If not....leg. Blood to the side of the tracks, broadside hit. Blood rubbed off high on brush/trees the deer passed, high hit. Blood between the tracks...a low hit. Blood on both sides of the tracks, pass thru...or the deer has backtracked. If at first blood is only on one side of the track and then after a while you see it on both sides....it generally means the deer has backtracked. Odds are, it has jumped the trail and bedded down and watched you walk by.

    Bloodtrailing/tracking has become a lost art. I have trailed deer I hit thinking they were dead for sure, only for them to be seen active or shot later in the season. Snow and terrain can make blood loss look much more than it is, and long grass brush can hide a of of blood.
     
  12. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    You have an ethical obligation to make a good shot, and to give a good effort to find your deer. You have done that. It's hard to find a deer that isnt bleeding, period. I dont care if you're Tanto.
    There is no waste in nature. The only trash on earth was made and dropped by man.
    Get your gear and get back in the woods.
    Shoot a nice buck.
     
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