I would also think that it was a leg shot. USUALLY with a gut shot they like to go downhill, or into swamps. Maybe look for more hair or bone at the shot site. Blood will get darker if it is let sit for a while, so the color will change a little if you are on an old trail.
Do you have snow, because you say no blood for 300 yards, but you still seemed to track him fine?
I would let him lay down for a while, if it is cold out give him a good couple hours and then get back on the trail. I am still confused about your tracking though. You should be able to keep tracking him without blood if you already did for 300 yards with no blood.
ORIGINAL: Cut N Run
I wish you much luck in finding your deer. Please don't take this the wrong way. What I'm going to say will ruffle some feathers here, but it is how I feel.
No cartridge has killed more deer on this continent than a .30-30. On the other hand, No cartridge has wounded more deer than a .30-30. Yes, the caliber is adequate to kill deer, but it is hardly one of the best performers out there. I totally get the sentimental value of hunting with a firearm that has been passed down the family. Maybe it is time to start a new tradition of handing down a firearm of a more superior caliber to deer hunt with. I have had to track many deer for others that were shot & lost with a .30-30. So much so, that I won't hunt with one. I won't use a .243 for the same reason. Sure both will kill deer, but there are many calibers out there that will do it better.
Check the ballistics on the .30-30 versus a .308 or .30-'06 or .270. The .30-30 lacks the knockdown power and does not retain as much energy over longer hunting ranges. Face it, as hunters it is our job to dispatch our prey as humanely and quickly as possible. Plenty of deer have also been lost to the other calibers mentioned, but to start out with a firearm as limited as a .30-30 puts you at a greater dis-advantage over some of the other more suitable calibers for deer.
I truly hope you find your deer and it helps feed you & your family. As much time and effort as it takes to hunt successfully, you ought to be properly rewarded.
I have hunted with a .308 since 1982 and I am no expert, but I have killed truckloads of deer with it. I lost one that was shot with my rifle in 1986 because the bullet deflected on a limb that I did not see when I squeezed the trigger. A friend killed that buck a few days later and it had been grazed across the front leg, which barely broke the skin. Most of the deer I shot with my rifle either drop immediately, or I hear them crash shortly after they run. I researched this caliber for the wooded conditions I hunt and it matched well. I am not a big man, so the recoil is not unpleasant, yet ballistically, the .308 is only about 100 f.p.s. slower than the .30-'06. The '06, in my opinion is the best all-around cartridge for big game on this continent. I am not a fan of its recoil though.
I scincerely hope you get that deer before the scavengers do. I do not mean to pick on you, it is just that I would rather see you in a picture posted here smiling with the deer you took (which hopefully will still happen), than to read about another potential deer lost to a .30-30.
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