This hurts!

Describe the most puzzling blood trail you've ever been on.
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JPH
 
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This hurts!

Postby JPH » Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:39 am

I really do not want to make this post, but if I feel I have to. I believe in total surrender to the truth. I share my successes here, so I must also share my failures.

I lost a doe.

She offered me a broadside shot in a picked bean field, about 15 min. before dark last night. The wind was really howling and my tree was moving. I was uncertain of the range but guessed it to be 25 yds. It turned out to be more like 35. Looking back, I have to admit that the wind and uncertain range should have caused me to pass the shot. It felt good at the time, but it was a mistake.

I must have flinched because I did not see the the arrow fly. The impact sounded flat. None of the hollow thump that you expect from a lung hit. The deer ran, tail down, for about 40 yds., right in front of me. I could not see a wound. She then stopped. When she went to walk again, she wobbled at began to favor her left, rear leg. This had been the near side at the shot. I could not imagine how I could have hit so far off the mark, and hoped that she was actually hit further forward. Another doe actually chased her out of the field, with a limp.

I backed out for the night. I used the "Vital Information" CD from D&DH to see what I might have hit. Maybe low in the intestines or maybe just leg muscle? There are some arteries back there but not much.

I gave up my last morning to bow hunt the rut and was on the scene with my tracking gear at sunrise. I looked in the cut beans for 45 minutes and could not find my arrow! Cut beans are featureless and the angle was low (12' stand and she was on high ground) so the arrow may have gone a long way, or burrowed into the bean stubble.

No arrow, no blood, no sign at all in the bean field. Nothing! I finally found a few drops where she entered the woods, 150+ yds. away. Once in the timber I found some pools of blood and one small clot, but otherwise it was small drops. I had a trail for about 50 yds. past several good places to bed. It was then that she cut uphill and quit bleeding. I searced for another 2 hours, but could not find another drop. In the end I was doing a 1 man grid search in a jungle of multi-flower rose. Zero!

My two guesses are that she was gut shot and was laying in one of those thorn bushes unseen, or she was hit low in the rear leg muscle and will survive. I hope to God that it is the latter! This is a rotten feeling.

I do not share this because I am asking for advice. There is just no more blood out there. I do not share this to teach any lessons. Other than, "Don't botch a shot." there is no advice to give. I do not share this to evaluate equipment. I have no reason to think it was an equipment issue. I share this in the spirit of total honesty.

If you have any desire to take a shot about Rage Broadheads, Mathews' Bows, of Pro-Staffers, now is your chance. I've tied myself to the whipping post and am ready. But I warn you, there is no way you can be harder on me that I am being on myself.  

Swandog09
 
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Location: Woodstock, IL but hunt WI

RE: This hurts!

Postby Swandog09 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:57 am

JPH,
 
Sorry man I would wish that on any hunter.  The wind can really make a good shot into a bad one quick.  Hopefully you see her during rifle season and be able to finish the job.
 
 
That's why they call it hunting and not getting

Swandog09
 
Posts: 230
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:47 am
Location: Woodstock, IL but hunt WI

RE: This hurts!

Postby Swandog09 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:57 am

meant wouldn't wish
That's why they call it hunting and not getting

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Goose
 
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RE: This hurts!

Postby Goose » Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:09 am

Sorry to hear that JPH. I really am.
I know that you would do everything in your power to find that deer and make a good shot, so I have nothing to say other than thank you for sharing. Maybe someone will read this post and learn something from it.
 
If someone has something negative to say, I think that would be pretty crappy. Feeling what your feeling is enough and a fellow hunter should know that.
 
Hang in there and take from it what you can.
Jake

Genesis 27:3 Take your bow and quiver full of arrows out into the open country, and hunt some wild game.....

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buckhunter21
 
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RE: This hurts!

Postby buckhunter21 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:58 am

JPH, from what you have said, it sounds almost exacly like the shot I had on my buck earlier in the year that you know well about...Agree?  From the no arrow, no blood at the scene, minimal blood trail, a little blood pool with a clot, etc.  I can feel your pain on this....Not a fun feeling.  As with my shot, I believe 110% that it had nothing to do with my equipment, but rather human error or freak shot placement.  I go back to my shot every day, and wish I had it back...Did I hurry the shot, should I have stopped the deer before shooting, was I too nervous....etc etc.  Seems with each passing day the whole shot gets foggier and foggier I'm sure due to all the adrenaline at the time, probably almost to a fault where you start thinking you did something you really didn't. 
 
I'm glad you are able to post this, as goes to show, this is hunting and it doesn't always go as planned.  If one person here can learn something from it, the post was well worth it.
 
Sounds like you did all you can possibly do.  As bad as it is and feels, just remember that nothing is wasted in nature, if in fact, the animal is down.  I'm right with you though and hope that it's a non-life threatening hit.
 
Happens to the best of us.... 
QDM!

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JPH
 
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RE: This hurts!

Postby JPH » Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:36 am

Thanks for the support all! I bow hunted that spot one more time and saw a lot of does, but none with a limp. I've had a lot of time to run that shot over in my head and I think the wound was non-lethal. Maybe I'm just telling myself that to rest my head, but I don't think so. I might get back there with a bow, I might not, but I will be back with a shotgun. I'll always have an eye out for sign of her.

The best medicine was taking my rifle to Missouri and making a solid hit on one of this spring's fawns. A bit of the near side shoulder blade, exit on the back of the far lung, and a very short dying run. Small deer, but it helped to lift the monkey off my back.

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buckhunter21
 
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RE: This hurts!

Postby buckhunter21 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:20 am

I've had a lot of time to run that shot over in my head and I think the wound was non-lethal. Maybe I'm just telling myself that to rest my head, but I don't think so.

 
I still find myself doing this with that buck from earlier in October.  Hard to put it behind you, but something you have to do.  Hope you see her out there buddy!
QDM!

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nhdeerchaser
 
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RE: This hurts!

Postby nhdeerchaser » Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:03 am

Joe,
First and foremost, you are an excellent hunter! I feel very badly for you. I know how you feel, having lost a buck last year.
You are the first guy to offer a sympathetic pick me up to any of us when we have posted on here asking advice on anything from shooting tips to the very topic you have brought up here.
It's easy to post harvest pics. It takes a big person to post the lost ones.
I would scold anyone who would kick a fellow hunter when they are down. From reading some of your posts, I can get a pretty good gauge on the type of person you are, and I know how much this is tearing you up inside.
Best of luck when you get back out there.

Your brother in hunting,

Mike
You can't kill'em sittin' on the couch!

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69Viking
 
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RE: This hurts!

Postby 69Viking » Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:11 am

Sorry to hear it JPH, I can tell from your story this one truly does hurt and there is no way anyone with any decency should dog you. You didn't everything you could to make the right shot and a recovery. Sometimes we win some and sometimes we lose some, don't let it get you down. If she was limping on a hind leg my guess is it wasn't a kill shot. Deer are amazing at surviving injury. I truly hope you get another shot at her for your own sake to put it to rest. Good luck the rest of the season!

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JPH
 
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RE: This hurts!

Postby JPH » Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:35 am

Thank you so much guys. I am truly moved by the kind words and support.

I wanted to update you with a success story! I was hunting the same farm last night. Lots of does/fawns in the field but there was also a pack of coyotes harassing them. I had to wait until very last light but took what I thought was a good quartering away shot on an adult doe. I hit her low! She ran for a way, stopped, then just slowly walked out of the field, just as it became totally dark. The one bad thing about a quartering away shot is that shooting low means belly.

I hated to leave her with coyotes hunting the herd, but I knew tracking her in the dark would guarantee I'd never see her again. I just crept out of there. My wife wanted to take the dog for a walk anyway, so she agreed to help me in the morning. If you think you may have a tough tracking job, bring a woman. I have read they see red better than men, and I know my wife has more patience and a better eye for detail than I do.

I had estimated the range to be 35 yards, which is my extreme. It turned out to be 43! Don't say it, I've already started saving for a lazer range finder. Just white belly hair and a clean arrow. I had just clipped her. We tracked anyway. The dog actually found first blood, then my wife took off from there. Good blood, in spite of the poor wound placement, out of the field and into the timber. Then we lost sign. Even my wife.

We were two hours in and down to grid search. Giving up was in the back of my mind, but I knew she had to be there somewhere. I decided to hook uphill to the west and look at one corner of the timber we had not searched. There she was!!!

I was not surprised to find the coyotes had gotten to her. They had ripped out one hind quarter and half of the other, but she was in good shape otherwise. It was been below freezing overnight. She was a huge doe and field dressed at 114 lbs. in spite of the lost meat. I'm guessing she would have dressed at well over 120 if it was not for the 'yotes.

Anyway, we hung in and got our deer. Happy ending!


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