Does a whitetail’s internal chemistry make it harder to track and trail a wounded deer? Absolutely. That is why it’s important to understand deer behavior and physiology before heading to the woods this fall.
According to Deer & Deer Hunting Magazine Field Editor Dr. Phillip Bishop, increased adrenaline levels are what help deer put distance between themselves and their predators — especially when a deer is mortally wounded.
"When a deer is frightened, as when shot, its adrenal glands act to try to preserve its life. The adrenals release massive quantities of adrenaline. One of adrenaline’s functions is to shift blood flow away from the stomach and intestines and towards the muscle to aid its escape," Bishop reports.
Bishop also notes that adrenaline causes blood vessels of the skin and inactive muscles to constrict to shift even more blood to active muscles. Further, to preserve life, adrenaline increases the rate of blood clotting which reduces bleeding. Together, these actions will certainly make a marginally-hit deer more difficult to track.
"In contrast, a good hit to the heart and lungs cannot be overcome by adrenaline," he concludes. "Likewise a very sharp broadhead reduces the signals for blood clotting and yield a quicker kill with a better blood trail."
What’s Bishop’s advice to hunters desiring to improve their skills and shorten future blood trails?
1. Keep your broadheads sharp.
2. Wait for a quartering-away or broadside shot, and
3. Keep your shooting eye sharp.