How to Find Your Deer Using Hair Left at the Scene

Don’t ignore the slightest clues left at the scene of the shot.

Although many hunters fail to locate deer hair at the location where they shot the deer, it is almost always present. An arrow tipped with a sharp broadhead will not pass through a deer and fail to cut hair. The amount of hair left at the scene depends on the angle of the shot and whether the arrow penetrates completely.

Hair is most evident at the precise shot location, and it also could indicate where you hit the deer. If you locate a pass-through arrow, look for hair within a few feet of where you find the arrow. Look closest for hair where you see scuff marks on the ground (usually obvious) where the deer departed.

Several inches of hair in a straight line usually provides evidence that an arrow grazed the deer, or deflected upon impact. However, when searching for only a few hairs, I suggest you do so while on hands and knees. In the upright position, it can be difficult to spot hair.

Long, white, curly hair could indicate your arrow passed through the bottom of the deer’s belly. Similar hair is found between the deer’s hind legs. Dark hair (usually coarse and black-tipped) could indicate a wound anywhere from the brisket to the spine. However, the longest hair typically comes from the brisket, and near the top of the back. Side hair, such as that from the heart and lung area is about ¾-inch shorter than those along the spine and brisket, while leg hair is even shorter in length.

For more tips on how to find every deer you shoot, check out our Shot Placement Guide.


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Plan Your Best Summer Vacation and Deer Season Work Weekend Dates Now to Get Ready for Hunting Season!
From Deer & Deer Hunting magazine, the 2015 Whitetails Wall Calendar features the work of deer researchers Wayne Laroche and Charlie Alsheimer, who reveal the 2015 whitetail rut prediction, based on years of lunar cycle research. Utilize this deer moon phase calendar to find out which days the deer will be seeking and chasing, so you can time the rut for the best time to hunt.

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