Do Wounded Deer Circle Sometimes?

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Most deer shot through the vitals die quickly and run only a short distance and only in one direction before going down. Wounded deer that don’t go down quickly, though, seldom run a straight line after being hit.

Most begin curving a little left or right after traveling a short distance. Directions often change drastically if a running wounded deer suddenly begins walking or is pushed from a bed.

By John Trout Jr.

Do wounded deer circle? Is it likely they might end up a short distance from where they were shot if you track them far enough?

I’ve seen this happen a couple of times — once with a young buck and once with a mature doe. In each case, the deer was tracked for a considerable distance and tended to circle after traveling a few hundred yards. The doe was hit high, and we never recovered her, yet the blood trail circled back to within 80 yards of the tree stand where she was shot. The buck was hit through the paunch and had been jumped after it had been tracked for hours and had covered almost one-half mile. It had circled tremendously and was finally found within 50 yards of where it was shot.

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Most wounded deer I have followed almost always made a partial circle. Most have not ended up back where they were shot but remained within a quarter-mile or less after surviving for many hours.

Some bucks that didn’t go down quickly, though, traveled almost straight patterns for a considerable distance. In fact, almost every time I have followed a wounded deer in a general direction for more than a half mile, it has involved a buck during the rut. I can only speculate that deer that don’t circle are bucks that were a long way from their home range. When wounded, perhaps they seek the area they know best and where they feel most secure.

 

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