Hi everyone. I'm writing this to get it off my chest and also to hear your opinions and thoughts. This is my first season hunting with a crossbow, though I've been hunting for several years. Yesterday we went out for an evening hunt, jumped some does going in, then settled into a spot on the ground by a fallen tree. After a little while I saw a little tree about 65 yards out shaking, but it wasn't windy out. Then I recognized the form of a deer. He was walking slowly sort of toward us but from right to left. He stopped in a clear shooting lane and my husband ranged him - 48 yards. I know that sounds like a far shot, but we had the crossbow hitting perfectly out to 50 yards. The deer was stopped, broadside, looking our way but not spooked, there was no wind, and I had a comfortable rest. I put the 50 yard dot on the scope right behind the shoulder and shot. We heard a loud dull hollow thump, and the deer turned and ran off the way he came. I honestly can't remember if his tail was up or down. It was at the edge of a ridge so after a few yards he had dropped over the ridge and was out of sight. We listened and didn't hear him crash or fall down. The shot was about 30 mins before dark. We sat in our spot for 15 minutes (I feel like that wasn't long enough but it was getting dark and my husband wouldn't wait any longer) and then slowly and carefully walked over to where we thought he was standing. No sign right there, but my husband found blood about 10 yards away. It was a moderate amount of bright red blood, with a fairly easy to follow trail. Not buckets of blood, but easily visible, big drops consistently seen on a well used deer trail. We followed it carefully for about 80 yards, then I looked up and saw the arrow. The whole arrow was soaked in bright red blood. We looked a little past that point but by then it was dark, so we decided to just come back in the morning to look for the deer. So this morning we picked the blood trail back up and followed it some more. It started to become less blood, but still consistently visible. When you turned and looked back at the trail, the deer had arched around a little from where the shot took place, and was heading downhill through the woods. About 200 yards from the shot, the trail came out of the woods and hugged a fence line on the right, with a field full of dense cattails and brush to the left, with a small river just past that side. Probably 50 yards from where the trail came out of the woods was the last spot we could find blood. The last probably 100 yards of blood trail was thinning out some - smaller drops of blood, fine drops, and spaced farther apart. I was finding blood everywhere from on leaves, fallen branches, log crossings, and grass blades to about thigh to wait high smears transfered onto the cattail stems and leaves. Mostly in a pretty straight line, but some spots blood about 18 inches wide across the trail. All the blood was bright red, a spot or two seemed to have bubbles but overall mostly not. Definitely no green or stomach content or gut smell on any of the blood or the arrow, and no bone or tissue. No places where he had bedded down or large puddles of blood. Seemed like he was just walking. The last blood was about the halfway point of the field / clearing between patches of woods. I looked exhaustively for more blood but couldn't find any, though my husband had unknowingly walked through that area earlier - before we knew the blood trail went that way - and could possibly have messed up the blood, though the rest of it wasn't too hard to find. I don't know if the deer cut off to the left across the thick field, or kept going on that trail by the fence. I don't think he jumped the high fence to the right. We looked for hours through the field, up and down the river on that side, and the woods ahead. Most of the area is pretty thick and I felt like you wouldn't see the deer unless you nearly walked on top of it. So even if we missed a small area he could have been there somewhere. I'm so frustrated and upset because I felt like it was a good shot, the arrow showed us good sign, then everything fizzled out. If it was a high lung shot I guess he could have gone pretty far. Another possibility is if the shot was just high enough to miss the lungs, but right under the spine, so that wouldn't be any vitals. Not sure if a deer can recover from that or not. I can't decide if the small blood drops were from the nose or mouth indicating a lung shot. It was cold last night but got warm today, so at this point the meat isn't usuable, but I still wish I at least knew what happened. Seemed like a good, clean shot, with good sign, until the trail stopped, and no deer. Any thoughts?? Thanks for reading this long post.