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Who claims the deer?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by wombat13, Nov 6, 2019.

  1. wombat13

    wombat13 Member

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    I'm giving some thought to hunting from a treestand we haven't used in a few years. Last time my FIL used it, hunters on neighboring property wounded a big buck (on their property) hobbling it (i.e., it was clearly limping) and FIL killed it on our property. FIL could see the hunters pursuing the deer and taking multiple shots at it and missing (could see the rounds impacting the ground). FIL killed the deer because it was about to make it to heavy cover and would likely never be found. In this case, FIL allowed the other hunter to take the deer because he had children with him who were excited about Dad getting the buck.

    Last year there was a blind on the neighboring property about 200 yards from this same stand (each is about 100 yards from the property line). So a similar situation is possible if I choose to hunt there. I've always had the same view as my FIL, that whoever kills the deer takes possession, but I was curious what others think. My internet search turned up the following, which indicates the law sees it the same way, but some of the commenters disagree.

    https://www.grandviewoutdoors.com/big-game-hunting/whitetail-deer/whose-deer-is-it

    So, after some thought my view is that the animal belongs to whomever kills it, with the exception if the "killing shot" was merely a finishing shot on animal that was almost certainly going to die AND would have been recovered without significant difficulty.

    What do you all think? What etiquette do you abide? How did you resolve the issue if you've been in a similar situation?
     
  2. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    I don't want any deer that has been wounded by someone else.
     
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  3. wankerjake

    wankerjake Member

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    Up to the hunters involved. If there’s no easily ready agreement, the default is who actually knocks it down. I don’t mind shooting an already wounded animal, doesn’t go to waste. I would mind claiming a buck someone else knocked down as my own. Exceptions may apply of course.

    Last year on a deer hunt my buddy wounded a buck. After several hours and miles later we finally caught up to it. I wasn’t about to not put a bullet in that animal, and, I was not about to claim it as my own. I never would have shot that animal to begin with but I’m not gonna risk letting him get away again either. I dumped it when I got the chance and we were all in agreement it was his buck and didn’t need to argue about it. But we were in the same party.

    If it’s an animal both parties want, the only decent thing to do is let it go to who knocked it down. In my opinion. Exceptions may apply:D
     
  4. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    Here it is illegal to enter another property to track without the land owner or managers permission. Doing so without permission is trespassing. Under this rule the game belongs to those with permission to be on the property. Doesn't mean though that those on the property can't invite as a guest the other hunter with the purpose of finding it provided the land owner/manager did not specify a no guest rule. Nor does it stop the person with permission on that property from giving it to the other. This is done this way to help make hunters be sure of best shot and to help stop hunters from shooting across fence/property lines. Anyone found on property are subject to trespass and if armed, poaching on land not given permission. Shooting across fence /property line can get you 2k fine and or loss of licence and or loss of firearms and or some jail time.
     
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  5. wombat13

    wombat13 Member

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    There were multiple problems with the behavior of the hunters in my example. Leaving all that aside, Hunter 1 wounds the deer. Hunter 2 kills the deer. They are not friends, relatives, or neighbors. Who gets the deer? How do you decide?
     
  6. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    From previous experience, what I would do was seldom even considered. I've had other hunters race to a downed deer that they didn't even shoot at to get a tag on it before I got there. I've had hunters in scenarios where the deer was clearly down,and not getting up, and seeing orange following the blood trail put a shot in it's neck and quickly put a tag/claim on it. Years ago I saw a neighbor hunter watch me shoot a buck from his stand. We both watched it go down 100 yards away. Since I was a stander on a drive I held my position till the drive was over. After the drive was finished I went to get my deer and the other hunter was dragging it off without firing a shot. When I questioned him he said it was a buck he had wounded the day before and had just found it dead......even tho it was the winter and the deer carcass was still steaming. I've given small bucks and does to young hunters that merely shot at the deer, sometimes not even hitting it, because they were excited and believed they were the one to kill it. Who was I to dash that excitement of as first deer?

    You would think that in today's age, that adults could discern who the deer really belongs to, and make an amicable decision, in most scenarios. A broken leg 1/4 mile away is different than a gut shot buck that just lost most of it's organs jumping a fence and is now laying unable to get up, after leaving a blood trail a blind man could follow. A lung shot deer that makes it to the neighboring hunter 50 yards across the fence should be a no brainer, as should the deer with a non-fatal grazing wound across it's brisket. But, the pressure to be successful in the eyes of one's peers makes folks stupid sometimes, especially when it comes to big racked deer. One reason there are so many deer hunting violations. One reason so many good friendships and family relationships have been soured. Years ago I used to hunt a heavily hunted area of public land. Opening weekends there, I used 220 gr silvertips in the ought-six because they blew a hole the size of your fist thru most deer. The loss of meat was minimal compared to the loss if that already mortally wounded deer made it more than 50 yards. After opening weekend and hunter pressure died off to almost zero, I went back to 180s.

    For the most part, at my age and with enough deer under my belt, I ain't gonna argue with someone over a deer. Even big racked bucks, as long as they have a legitimate claim. I have come to the conclusion that if I do not make the shot to put an animal down in a reasonable time/distance, that the fault lies on me and not the other hunter that finishes it off. The warden that speaks to our Hunter's Safety classes tells the students that in a situation that has gone bad over who's deer it is, that you should call him and he will make a decision. Even if the other hunter bullies you and takes the deer before the warden gets there.
     
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  7. Axis II

    Axis II Member

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    Funny you ask this.

    I was hunting with a buddy who just started out and we sight in Saturday and head out Monday morning. Sun comes up and he's like this guy is sitting 300yards away from me, what a jerk. He realizes that he missed his turn and set his climber up close to me. I notice a small 6pt come walking in and take the shot with my 12ga slug gun and not sure if I wounded it or missed. The deer runs out about 70yards and I fire again and it runs towards my buddy and just stands there staring at me. I thought something was wrong with my gun and yelled for him to shoot the deer. He hesitated and I decided to throw round #3 at it about 100-120yards away. We both fired at the very same time and the deer dropped. He was so excited that he got this deer and that it was a buck. I have shot for many years prior and thought there is no way he hit this buck at 100-130yards with a muzzle loader from a tree stand being his 2nd ever hunt and first times shooting a scoped rifle. I inspected the deer and found several holes in it with one being a gut shot, and another in the leg. I found both bullets and they were Hornady SST we both shot but the one on the leg exploded. I thought about it and said, its not worth losing a friend over and who knows who shot it. I gave him the antlers and most of the meat.

    Two years ago I was hunting with my other buddy and he shot a doe in the field adjacent to me. The doe ran into the woods and slammed into a tree 30yards in front of me. I noticed she had the arrow sticking out of her and her intestines hanging out the belly. Apparently she moved when my buddy shot and it turned into a bad quartering too shot. I watched her lay there and try and get up for about 5min and when she would get up she would collapse again.
    I didn't know what to do as I was somewhat new to bow hunting and called my buddy. He says put another arrow in her if you can. All I had a shot at was rear end and no vitals. She ended up walking about 50yards from me and died. Should I have shot her with the bow the minute I saw how bad she was wounded? Yes! Did I second guess it because I was afraid my buddy would think I was trying to steal his deer? Yes! After thinking about it and in the future I will put the animal down and it belongs to the person who shot it. Its just not worth arguing over or even the bragging rights if its a buck.

    Your FIL did the absolute right thing especially with children being around.
     
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  8. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Depends on a lot of things. One thing is for sure though, if your running into other hunters then you need to either find a new spot or come to an agreement on where you will be. I have had tresspassers on my ground and have made it clear that if they take ANyTHING off of my property then they will be prosecuted. I have had folks call me and ask to do things such as sight in a rifle or fish on the creek, and I generally will green light those activities due to the respect and demeanor. So I guess if a guy wants to be a jerk about chasing a deer that he made a bad shot on, then maybe the coyotes need a meal. If it survives overnight and I see it again then I may take a shot, but everything depends upon a multitude of factors, led primarily by how the other guy acts who does not RIGHtFULLY own said critter.
     
  9. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    All comes down letter of law as it pertains to trespass applied with Parks and Wildlife rules. After that it's up to the cooperation between the hunters on each property and the wishes of the landowner/manager. If the trackers are told no then that's it. Move on. Where the game is at time of death follows the 9/10 possession rule. Only takes 1/10 cooperation between parties to remedy it but getting even 1/10 from people can be like pulling hens teeth.
     
  10. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    The first shot that would be lethal should determine who has the best claim. However, If it is another person's shot that alerts you to the deer, it should be his even if you put the killing shot in it.

    Years ago I was hunting in Wyoming with a guiding outfit. The other guide had a group of Pennsylvania hunters who had never killed a mule deer. One of them shot a thin-horned 12 pt. (Eastern count, 5 point Western count.) It happened to bed up near me. When I saw it, I shot it in the neck to finish it. He was panicked when he heard me shoot and started screaming at his guide, "Whose deer is it? Whose deer is it?" I had to scream back at him, "It's your deer, stop yelling!"

    I wondered about how they did things in PA after that.
     
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  11. Highland Lofts

    Highland Lofts Member

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    I have never wanted a deer that has been hit two time with bullets. Of all the deer I have shot & killed it only took one shot. If by chance someones wounded deer made it's way to where I am I would put it down but would not want it. If no one come along trailing it I would tag it and give it away.
     
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  12. entropy

    entropy Member

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    My Dad anchored a deer another guy gutshot as it was rounding the back side of a hill (from the original hunter) and would have got away from the guy. He had the gall to yell across the 200 yards (and stream) separating them, "I hope you don't think that's your deer!" My dad answered, "Nope, just making sure it didn't get away from you." My dad put a slug through the lungs at 220 yards; the guy gut shot it when it jumped up from the streambed, it was 25 yards. He had a bird barrel and foster slugs, my dad had a Hastings cantilever rifled barrel and Hornady SST slugs.
     
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  13. Axis II

    Axis II Member

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    Im curious what the issue is with a deer shot two times? Not trying to start trouble, I honestly don't understand the problem and would like to know? Too much meat damage maybe?
     
  14. wombat13

    wombat13 Member

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    Responses from Fine Figure and Highland Lofts bring up another interesting angle. A few years ago I had a deer run by my stand with one rear leg flapping from a gunshot wound. I took a shot at the running deer (which I very rarely do) to put it down. It was clearly going to die eventually (whether from blood loss or coyotes), but it was making good time, so there was little chance of the initial hunter catching up with it. I missed and about 20 minutes later, here comes the initial hunter following the trail of the deer. Now, he was coming on my land without permission, but the land may not be legally posted (in NY you must have a posted sign every 600 ft around the entire perimeter). So let's ignore that ethical issue. I helped him track the deer, but it looked like the deer made it off my property so I stopped and let him continue (I'm not going on the neighbor's land without permission).

    Let's assume for the moment that I made the shot and put the deer down and only did so to be humane. I don't want to "waste" my tag on a dear with a lot of good meat ruined, but I also don't want the animal to suffer. Now along comes the original hunter who sees how badly he mangled the deer with his shot and doesn't want the deer either. Ethically, who should tag it? Legally, it appears I would have to tag it since I killed it.

    I have put down a badly injured deer before. I tagged it and donated the meat because I didn't want to spend the money on processing (the local food for the needy program has an arrangement with deer processors where hunters can donate the deer and the processor cuts it up no charge). In that case, there was no other hunter who would've claimed it.
     
  15. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Reminds me of a few years back when I had a small fork horn come hobbling up to me. I had heard multiple shots earlier and heard several different hunters yelling to each other as they blood-trailed it across the swamp. While not mortally wounded, it was obvious the deer had been shot in the hind leg and was suffering. I put a shot in it's neck to put it down and then called out to the hunters trailing it. First hunter there was the original shooter and the first thing he did, was proceed to tell me it was his deer. I told him it was and that is why I called out to him. He then yelled at me "you shot my deer in the Azz, you ruined all the best meat!" I calmly told him no, that was your shot, no way he was gonna run 400 yards across the swamp when shot thru the spine in the neck. One only had to look at the mud on the broken bone sticking out of the bucks rear leg to see he had been dragging that leg for a while. Wasn't till his two buddies walked up and convinced him of what I was trying to tell him, that he calmed down and thanked me.

    Like I said in my first reply, don't matter sometimes what you do, even when it's the right thing. Deer hunting does something to folks that makes them crazy and irrational sometimes. I hunt because I enjoy it. Sometimes the other folks out there take the fun right out of it.
     
  16. wankerjake

    wankerjake Member

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    When I encounter wounded animals that I don’t know the history of, I’m prepared to tag it if I shoot it.

    If I am tracking a deer I wounded and come to a dead deer with another hunter standing over it who put it down, I’ll defer to him. He killed the deer, it’s his if he wants it. If he doesn’t want it, it’s my obligation to take it because I’m the one who started the series of events.

    I feel like humans are often a little too quick to play Good Samaritan on wounded animals. We let a limping buck walk this last hunt. He wasn’t a shooter, he was eating and keeping up with the herd, and we left him to it. Deer don’t always die from their wounds. Had it been a big buck we’d have stalked him and tried to kill him and been happy with that too. I’m surprised so many here balk at that.

    Really though there are so many scenarios and you could have so many answers for each one
     
  17. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    Law says the one who kills it. For me it depends on the situation. I agree with the people who don't want a deer that was shot twice. They taste bad. Same thing with steers, hogs, and other animals.
    I will help track a wounded animal and shoot it if I have the opportunity, but I do not want it.
     
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  18. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    I have a friend who drew a doe tag on a WMA after trying for 8 years. A wounded sick doe came by and he downed it. He brought it to the check station to have them dispose of it however they wished. The game warden was there and made him put his doe tag on it.

    This guy never broke a game law in his life but the game warden insisted he had shot it twice. I thought that was chicken spit ... still do. But then I expect that out of a game warden after dealing with them for 55 years. :thumbdown:
     
  19. stillquietvoice

    stillquietvoice Member

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    Quite a few years ago I was out on state land with my brother. We were still hunting down hill with a creek 40 ft below the ridge. I was carrying my m1 garand when an 8 pointed crested the ridge, spotted us and ran along the ridge in front of me. I fired mid stride and got a double lung shot. At the hit the buck dropped back down into the creek. We found blood, hair and bone were I shot. Knowing he would run some and lay down we tracked to where he went into the creek bottom. Then 35, no mistake, 35 rounds were fired with only one break for a reload. After the last shot I hear another hunter yelling " I hit him in the rib and he dropped right in front of me. "

    First off here in NY where is a 5 round limit on semi automatic guns for hunting, second he never touched the buck, but I looked at my brother and said let's get out of here before we get shot.

    My deer, yes but it wasn't worth dying over.
     
  20. Jack Ryan

    Jack Ryan Member

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    Among gentlemen, closest shot to the heart owns it.

    If that bunch came toward me as you describe they could stop at the property line unless they wanted to help carry MY deer up to the house. The LAW says who ever tags it, FIRST and there aren't any seconds. I don't like people who just spray and pray shooting up every quarter on a deer and then stomp through the whole woods looking for their wounded ones and cripples. They are the lowest there is in the hunting community far as I'm concerned and I wouldn't cut them a break if I was making money on it.
     
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  21. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    Rock, paper, scissors? Best of three?
     
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  22. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    I’m not a trophy hunter and there are plenty of animals out there and around here to fill my freezer so I don’t give a hoot.

    I shoot until the animal drops. I’m not afraid of multiple shot animals. I’m really digging to figure out how a twice (or thrice) shot animal would taste different as long as it’s still a fresh kill. Then again I have heard of weirder superstitions.

    This thread is reminding me that the worst and most dangerous thing about hunting is other hunters. There are way too many people out there who hunt but who are not hunters. I have heard of poachers who have better ethics than most of the so called hunters out there.
     
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  23. wombat13

    wombat13 Member

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    What state are you in? According to the article I linked, the law usually goes with the most lethal shot. I’m not sure about NY where I am.
     
  24. wombat13

    wombat13 Member

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    A lot of people believe that the Adrenalin pumping through a wounded deer makes it taste bad. I’ve never done a taste test with meat from a wounded deer and a one shot kill, so I’m not sure, but a one shot kill is better anyway so that’s what I try for.
     
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  25. wankerjake

    wankerjake Member

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    I’ve noticed that all my animals taste about the same, regardless of how many shots it took or how far they ran, provided I took care of the meat properly

    And I think a rock/paper/scissors clause would sure smooth out a lot of these interactions
     
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