Bow hunting shoot-follow time?

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gatodoc
 
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Bow hunting shoot-follow time?

Postby gatodoc » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:44 pm

Gonna try bow hunting (crossbow technically) this coming season. What's the general consensus on how long to wait before trying to trail a deer that runs after what appears to be a well placed shot? I know you don't want to push them. I've been told 30 minutes with gun shots (the only 2 I've ever shot dropped within feet), but what's a good time to wait after a well placed bow shot? I don't even want to think about a badly placed arrow, but I'm sure it'll happen.

I think I'm gonna try to train one of my labs to track wounded deer this summer. She's quick to learn and I'm sure I can get a tail and some tarsals from a road kill this spring. If I can get her up to speed, I could get her to help on the difficult trails.

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jonny5buck
 
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Re: Bow hunting shoot-follow time?

Postby jonny5buck » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:12 am

That's a hard question..there is a ton of variables to consider...

On a well placed lung shot pass thru..on a morning hunt i will usually wait 30 minutes...than i will get down ..get my arrow[first important piece]...and if its covered in good red blood and everything else dictates a good shot im on it and ready to retrieve my deer..

Mind you thats when all looks good ...the reaction of the deer [the famed mule kick]..the follow thru indicates the arrow blasted thru with good blood and no fading light...thats ''my'' time line...

Now i have taken blood trails as early as 10-15 minutes before: here's one example: At a state park.. i hunted a mid December snowstorm...[actually right before it started]... and wacked a nice ten point buck chasing a doe...the snow was knee high and the shot was great but without a complete pass thru the blood trail was light...and the snow was coming down hard with big flakes. covering up good sign......i waited 8-10minutes and got down...i followed the blood and hoof tracks in the snow...40yds away the big buck was bedded under some pines and couldn't get up.....though he tried...the arrow lunged him and smashed the opposite front leg/shoulder area...breaking that leg ..i drew back my bow..[arrow had already been knocked]...and his head flopped down dead before i shot...i don't regret the move to get on that trail when i did...the snow as coming down so hard by the time i pulled next to the trail with my truck...the tracks were completely covered and so was my buck....my truck was an old Ford f-150 with a 3 inch body lift and 33inch tires ....i hoisted the buck on the hitch hauler and headed for the local Casey's store...for coffee...i drove back thru the park before heading home and you couldnt see my drag marks ...my footprints or even the trucks tire marks!!!...did i mention it was Snowing?- :lol: ..BIG TIME!

One more bit is of course marginal shots..more time is always warranted... you will hear various time-lines. from experienced hunters...i rarely will let a deer go over night...actually it's a last case scenario in my book...either because of a gut -shot..or other circumstances....coyotes are prevelant in my state of Illinois..and a deer left overnight might just be a carcass by morning.

I hope this might help a little bit...on a good shot i only wait 30 minutes and get down and get my arrow ..if something dicates to wait longer i will....gut shot gets a minumum of 8hours or overnite...thats just my op.Jon~

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Ohio farms
 
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Re: Bow hunting shoot-follow time?

Postby Ohio farms » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:37 pm

Jon made lots of good points. My area does not have a big coyote problem and because of that I have left a deer overnight when the shot was marginal. If coyotes are an issue I would not want to leave him overnight.
I would venture to guess that most good double lung hits are down before you even get out of your tree, but 20-30 minutes is still a good rule of thumb to cover the odd variable. I read once that if a deer drops at the shot, two things can happen, he will never get up again or he is stunned and will be up and running in a moment. It happened to me once and I lost that deer because I failed to get out of my treestand. If I had I could have finished him, but...It was like a Field and Stream "This happened to me" episode.
Tracking a bad hit with an arrow is an awful experience. I learned my lesson long ago about marginal shots and lost/wasted deer. Must focus, grasshopper.
Good luck.
Keep life simple...if you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.

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Deebz
 
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Re: Bow hunting shoot-follow time?

Postby Deebz » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:04 pm

I always wait a minimum of 30 minutes (barring random occurences like Jon's snowstorm or rain) on an arrow shot deer... Even if I see the animal go down. Aside from the obvious reasons of giving the animal time to expire I would cite 2 other reasons. It's not safe for me to try to get my 275 lbs down a tree when i'm shaking so much from the adrenaline rush. If I have another tag, it's quite possible that I'll get another shot... maybe a buck was following the doe I just shot, or maybe the 2nd deer that spooked circled around and is going to come back in.

Of course, I'd only take the chance at sticking a 2nd deer if I was confident the first shot resulted in a dead deer close by and the conditions were good enough to allow for what could always potentially be a long tracking job.
"When a hunter is in a tree stand with high moral values and with the proper hunting ethics and richer for the experience, that hunter is 20 feet closer to God." ~Fred Bear

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Woods Walker
 
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Re: Bow hunting shoot-follow time?

Postby Woods Walker » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:09 pm

If I am very sure that I did hit the heart/lung area (experience will be your greatest teacher here as far as reading the deer's body language after the hit), and I either see the deer fall or I hear a crash, then I will wait just long enough to get myself settled down, all the while listening for any other tell tale sounds.

If I'm pretty sure that it was a good hit, but I didn't see or hear any of the other indicators, then I will wait 30 minutes to an hour before I go look. When I do start to look, I'm VERY slow and cautious because the last thing on earth I want to do at this point is to move the deer from it's bed if it's not dead yet. If the sign that I see even HINTS that it was not a heart/lung vital hit, then I will back out of there for 10 to 12 hours.

If it's a liver hit, the deer will be dead in less than that time frame (maybe and hour or so), but if it's a gut hit then I want every second of those 10 to 12 hours.

I know that the coyote issue is a big one, but if you push a gut shot deer from it's death bed, then the odds of you finding that deer just went from slim to none, and slim had to leave early.

With bowhunting, PLEASE keep it as a short range game. If you wait for close shots, then you will know what angle is being presented to you and that reduces the chance of a less than vital hit considerably. One of the biggest changes that gun hunters have to adjust to when leraning to bow hunt is that while with a shotgun or a rifle a front shoulder is merely just another muscle mass that you must blow through to get to the vitals (and the only concern one may have is the loss of more meat), with a bow that is for the most part a futile shot resulting in a deer that you will never find.
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

>>>--------------------------------->
NRA Endowment Life Member

gatodoc
 
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Re: Bow hunting shoot-follow time?

Postby gatodoc » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:35 pm

THANKS.....Great thoughts and info....I've limited my practice so far to 35 yards and am quite consistent with that. (Shooting my crossbow with a scope from there in is as easy as a gun). I intend to get my lazy butt up to stand height and practice from there quite a bit. The angle deal seems problematic. I have a laser range finder and will scope out my distances very well when I set up and let anything outside 35 walk.

Any suggestions on broadheads? I'm fairly knowledgeable on anatomy and know where I need to aim. Now I need to be prepared for the first one that jumps the string. I'm thinking lower chest on a flat shot will still get a lung or two if bambi squats, but I need to get a 3-D and practice the dad blamed angle shots.

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Deebz
 
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Re: Bow hunting shoot-follow time?

Postby Deebz » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:06 pm

shooting a crossbow you should invest in some high quality expandables... there are countless threads about the rage/swacker/whatever broadheads... I shoot the $15 3pk carbon express i got at Wal-Mart and have never had a deer go further than 50 yards from the shot. My wife shot her first deer with a crossbow (same broadhead i shoot, 100 gr 3 blade carbon express with a razor tip) this year... the blood trail was visible as soon as we stood up for the entire 30 yards to the dead deer.

one thing to think about from a tree stand... don't aim too low. Your bolt will pass through the deer on a downward angle, if you aim too low in the chest, you run the risk of only getting 1 lung and blowing out the bottom of the deer. At 35 yds or less this probably won't be a huge problem, but a 1 lung shot deer can run for a very long time before it dies. I always pick a spot about an inch back from the point of the shoulder. That way I'm still in lungs if the deer ducks, and I have a larger margin of error if I jerk the shot or if one of the other 8 million things that can go wrong do. If you can wait for a bit of a quartering away angle that increases the distance through the vitals your bolt will travel as well, giving you a quicker kill and better blood trail.

Good luck with your crossbow! I know my wife loves hers, and I really enjoy shooting it even though I can't hunt with one.
"When a hunter is in a tree stand with high moral values and with the proper hunting ethics and richer for the experience, that hunter is 20 feet closer to God." ~Fred Bear

gatodoc
 
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Re: Bow hunting shoot-follow time?

Postby gatodoc » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:21 pm

Thanks for the great information. As I looked through this site, I realized I posted in the wrong place originally (there's a bow section) but you guys have given me a lot on information anyway and not chastised my location for posting....THANKS....

Fortunately for me, crossbows are all around legal here in TN and we need to reduce the doe numbers somehow. In the last 4 years I've killed 2 bucks with a gun and 2 does with a Toyota....

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Deebz
 
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Re: Bow hunting shoot-follow time?

Postby Deebz » Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:17 am

No worries on the section... I think most of the regulars just check the "unread posts" link from the homepage, which shows all the sections. the majority of posts end up in the general page anyway.

Just curious, how's that toyota hold up for repeated kills??
"When a hunter is in a tree stand with high moral values and with the proper hunting ethics and richer for the experience, that hunter is 20 feet closer to God." ~Fred Bear

gatodoc
 
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Re: Bow hunting shoot-follow time?

Postby gatodoc » Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:00 pm

Actually, it's hard to believe....I was driving my Toyota Sequoia down a 2 lane road at 40 mph and she jumped out of the weeds on my right side. I instinctively swerved to miss her and caught her with the right front corner hard. It knocked her over a guardrail down a bank. I was pretty sure she was a gonner and I had a plane to catch so I went on home to get my wife and suitcases.

I got out at home and checked my front bumper and it looked OK. I went in to get my wife and the suitcases and told her how lucky I was with the incident. As we went to get in the car she said her door wouldn't open. I checked and the deer's body had swung around to the side and caved part of the right quarter panel and the door. Total damage over 3 grand. I'd have been a lot better off hitting her square with the bumper instead of trying to miss.

I hit the other one 4 years ago with a 4-runner on a main road at about 60 mph. Didn't deploy the airbags, but it's a wonder. Shook me up pretty bad and once again several $ in damage. Insurance companies here in TN consider hitting a deer to be an unavoidable accident and it doesn't count on the policy's rate. Sort of like a tree falling on the car.

I literally can't drive home at night from now until fall without seeing 5-20 deer. I see an average of 5 roadkills a year on the 8 miles between office and home. Most of the areas are not huntable (housing developments and a lot is posted). The deer around here are literally moving into the suberbs. Our buck to doe ratio seems to be 1-10....we've got to thin the doe herd a little. In my area it's 4 does a year archery and 2 does during one week in gun season. The does are running over us.

Here in TN you are allowed to collect roadkills (especially if you hit them) but you have to report them to TWRA.

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