Some of you, I'm sure know this, but I see a few new members and I thought this might be of help to someone. "Things do happen" and sometimes what looks and is a gut shot deer is not all that bad. The key sign to not being bad is being able to take a good look at the arrow. If you can't find it and there is no blood to be found or there is no snow for tracking you have no choice but to remember and or mark the spot last seen and direction of travel. Then come back 6 to 8 hrs. later and start looking. Hopefully you can find the arrow. One should note, the arrow could smell of gut matter and or have particles on it. Now, if there is dark blood with or without gut matter you have a liver hit in there too.The deer is going to expire sooner than just a gut shot. Could be 15-20-30min. to an hour, depending on what part of the liver is cut. Some liver cuts bleed out slower. If a bloody arrow with or without gut matter, start looking slowly. On Gut shot and liver hits deer tend to lay down right away, if not bothered. If you do jump it out of a bed, look to see how much blood is in it. Should give you some indication of when it might expire.
Picturered buck was thought to be gut shot. The arrow cut the spleen. It is a tuber shaped vital near the liver. It also filters blood. It was an afternoon hunt. He was following about 5 min. behind a small 6pt.. I had a small window of opportunity, maybe 15-20ft. in a brushy area. At first sight, I was going to pass on him. His rt. side was to me and could only see 4pts.. I was trying for a wide typical 10 pt. that I had seen a few times. When I saw what he actually was, I grabbed my bow and made a quick 10yd. shot. When I saw where the arrow hit (too far back), I swore at myself. I waited for my partner to come by on his was out. We found my arrow with gut matter and dark blood and a good amount. I walked the direction he went running thru the brush. Came to an open field and there he was. He died quick. Only went 80 to 100yds. I was quite relieved. So take a good look at things, they might not be as bad as it first looks.