Lost deer after dark

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LL7
 
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:30 pm

Lost deer after dark

Postby LL7 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:18 pm

This is my first year deer hunting, so I'm very new at this. I'm in southern New Hampshire for reference.

Four days ago I was bow hunting. A spiked buck was slowly making his way through the woods towards me from a side I didn't have a clear shot. Just a few minutes before legal hunting time he paused in a clearing almost right under my stand. I thought I had a clear shot and I took it. The deer went running away. I waited 30 minutes to get down. I found my arrow, but there was no blood, just some white fur, and a tiny bit of waxy fat on one of the vanes. Tracing the path back with a flashlight I found there were a few twigs in what I thought was the clearing. I looked for a blood trail and couldn't find one. Eventually I gave up and went home, hoping the deer just had a superficial cut on its side.

This afternoon I was back in the same stand and the same deer came by, limping. He was keeping to the brush, and a bit wary. Eventually he went back up the hill and paused in a small clearing about 25 yards away, quartering away from me. I took a shot, and I think the arrow went in just where I aimed, but I'm not 100% sure. However I when I got down from the tree it was almost dark, and I couldn't find my arrow or any blood. I searched for an hour and a half, and then I heard what I think were coyotes from the direction the deer ran. At that point I decided to call off the search until morning.

Was it foolish to stop looking that soon? I admit I may have been a bit spooked by the coyotes. Will coyotes get a deer that quickly? If there isn't a blood trail, are there any tips on trailing the deer when I go back out in the morning? The temp will be in the teens tonight, so I assume the meat will still be good if it wasn't eaten by the coyotes.

MSHunter
 
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RE: Lost deer after dark

Postby MSHunter » Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:11 pm

ORIGINAL: LL7

This is my first year deer hunting, so I'm very new at this. I'm in southern New Hampshire for reference.

Four days ago I was bow hunting. A spiked buck was slowly making his way through the woods towards me from a side I didn't have a clear shot. Just a few minutes before legal hunting time he paused in a clearing almost right under my stand. I thought I had a clear shot and I took it. The deer went running away. I waited 30 minutes to get down. I found my arrow, but there was no blood, just some white fur, and a tiny bit of waxy fat on one of the vanes. Tracing the path back with a flashlight I found there were a few twigs in what I thought was the clearing. I looked for a blood trail and couldn't find one. Eventually I gave up and went home, hoping the deer just had a superficial cut on its side.

This afternoon I was back in the same stand and the same deer came by, limping. He was keeping to the brush, and a bit wary. Eventually he went back up the hill and paused in a small clearing about 25 yards away, quartering away from me. I took a shot, and I think the arrow went in just where I aimed, but I'm not 100% sure. However I when I got down from the tree it was almost dark, and I couldn't find my arrow or any blood. I searched for an hour and a half, and then I heard what I think were coyotes from the direction the deer ran. At that point I decided to call off the search until morning.

Was it foolish to stop looking that soon? I admit I may have been a bit spooked by the coyotes. Will coyotes get a deer that quickly? If there isn't a blood trail, are there any tips on trailing the deer when I go back out in the morning? The temp will be in the teens tonight, so I assume the meat will still be good if it wasn't eaten by the coyotes.


I've had several similar experiences. With the temp in the low teens, the meat should be just fine. As far as abandoning your search for the evening, that's a judgement call for you to make. Do you have snow on the ground? If so, hopefully the blood trail should be easier to follow, but You may need to look for blood sign higher off the ground. Also, look for tracks in the snow. You mentioned the deer was limping. The deer's tracks may reflect this. Do you know where the arrow hit the deer? This may determine how much blood is visible.
It is possible the coyotes my beat you to the deer. I spent several days back in October looking for a deer I thought I hit. I never did find any sign, nor did I find the deer. I hope your search turns out a lot better than mine did.
You may also want to consider getting a copy of "Finding Wounded Deer" by John Trout Jr. I made this purchase after my experience in October. It's been a huge help.
"This is the world we are born into -- we should never let that slip away from us. May it never cease to stimulate, inspire and humble us." from Stalking & Still-Hunting: The Ground Hunter's Bible by G. Fred Asbell

LL7
 
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:30 pm

RE: Lost deer after dark

Postby LL7 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:48 pm

Thanks. There is no snow to speak of on the ground. Just a few flakes that settled between the leaves. I was looking for blood on low bushes as well as the ground, but in the dark I'm not sure if I missed any. I think I hit the deer mid chest with the arrow exiting towards the opposite shoulder, but it all happened so fast and it quickly jumped out of view. So I'm not really sure of the shot placement. I'm just hoping it didn't jump forward and end up with a gut shot. But with no blood found that is quickly becoming my fear.

I've already told my wife about the book, and can expect it under the Christmas tree. Thanks

Nubs
 
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RE: Lost deer after dark

Postby Nubs » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:10 pm

The best thing to do if you are not sure of the hit, you can't find any sign that you did hit the deer, and you do not have the arrow to confirm that you hit the deer is to back out and go back in and try to find the deer in the morning.  If you had a pass through shot and you are able to find the arrow, make sure to inspect it for blood.  If you find bright red blood with perhaps some bubbles in it that means you got Lungs/heart which is a good hit.  If you have hair or fat or meat on your arrow it may have been a gut shot or a high shot that didn't hit any good vitals.  With a gut shot that deer will lay down if not pushed or pressured and should die with in 12-18 hrs of the hit.  Try to look for broken twigs or kicked up leaves that might indicate a deer ran through that area.  If you have to get on your hands and knees looking for blood or hair do it.  If you cannot find the arrow, it may not have gone all the way through the deer.  Start searching in the direction it ran to, you may find the arrow eventually as they often break off or fall out from the deer brushing up against trees or brush when it is running.  Look everywhere you think a deer might go to hide, fallen trees, brush piles, really thick nasty cover, those deer will crawl up into some of the nastiest stuff to hide and then if the shot is fatal they will die there.  Do everything you can to try and recover it.  Sometimes having a friend go with helps as it gives you an extra set of eyes and a calmer head.  The excitement and nervousness of hoping you find your deer can make you miss a lot of important clues.  Hope this helps, and good luck finding your deer, keep us all posted on the outcome good or bad.

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Cut N Run
 
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RE: Lost deer after dark

Postby Cut N Run » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:07 pm

^Good advice Nubs. I might add to mark the place the deer was standing when you shot and perhaps the last place you saw the deer before you leave, as things can look different in daylight than they did at dusk/ dark.

There aren't as many feelings as bad as losing a deer. As bad as you feel, he feels worse I guarantee. Good luck finding him. Hopefully he is not far from where you stopped looking.

I carry some of those orange reflective tape trail markers with a clip on one end to mark blood trails & such. They are sold at Dick's with 8-10 per pack for not a lot of $$ and they don't take up too much space in my pack.

If it is a place you intend to hunt in the future, you will do yourself a favor by going in there after the season and cutting some shooting lanes in winter. Then you can check the growth in mid-summer and trim any new growth, so that come Fall you'll be good to go and the deer will be accustomed to the lanes. Arrows can be too easy to deflect anyway (especially in low light) and it only helps give you a better advantage.

Keep us posted. Good luck finding your buck.

Jim
Luck Counts, good or bad

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badtoys
 
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RE: Lost deer after dark

Postby badtoys » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:47 am

i've had this happen too if you don't find your arrow it may still be in it if it is you will not find a drop of blood i did'nt all the blood went inside not a drop on the ground i went across the field and into the woods about 100 yrds i waited til morning and found it in thick cover it was 4pt don't be scared of coyotes they will leave soon as they get your scent i hunt coyotes too if you find it and the deer s ass was eaten just cut away the meat where they ate it i talked with dnr about this and they it's fine if you cut away what's been eaten on ,yes they will be on an injured deer in minutes this just happened to my girlfriend she is gone as soon as she hears a coyote back to camp and won't go back out til morning even with a gun (chicken)
 
 
ORIGINAL: LL7

This is my first year deer hunting, so I'm very new at this. I'm in southern New Hampshire for reference.

Four days ago I was bow hunting. A spiked buck was slowly making his way through the woods towards me from a side I didn't have a clear shot. Just a few minutes before legal hunting time he paused in a clearing almost right under my stand. I thought I had a clear shot and I took it. The deer went running away. I waited 30 minutes to get down. I found my arrow, but there was no blood, just some white fur, and a tiny bit of waxy fat on one of the vanes. Tracing the path back with a flashlight I found there were a few twigs in what I thought was the clearing. I looked for a blood trail and couldn't find one. Eventually I gave up and went home, hoping the deer just had a superficial cut on its side.

This afternoon I was back in the same stand and the same deer came by, limping. He was keeping to the brush, and a bit wary. Eventually he went back up the hill and paused in a small clearing about 25 yards away, quartering away from me. I took a shot, and I think the arrow went in just where I aimed, but I'm not 100% sure. However I when I got down from the tree it was almost dark, and I couldn't find my arrow or any blood. I searched for an hour and a half, and then I heard what I think were coyotes from the direction the deer ran. At that point I decided to call off the search until morning.

Was it foolish to stop looking that soon? I admit I may have been a bit spooked by the coyotes. Will coyotes get a deer that quickly? If there isn't a blood trail, are there any tips on trailing the deer when I go back out in the morning? The temp will be in the teens tonight, so I assume the meat will still be good if it wasn't eaten by the coyotes.
WARNING: The lead contained in this bullet has been known to cause severe injury and even death. when travelling at over 2100 feet per second.Surgeon General's Warning: Getting smoked by one of these bullets may behazardous to your health.

Proline
 
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Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:38 am

RE: Lost deer after dark

Postby Proline » Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:14 am

Any update?  Nice job up against the end of the season. Hope you find it.  I think you made a good choice leaving that night if you hadn;t found blood or the arrow. The coyotes you heard may not have been on your deer anyway.  I have however had coyotes on a blood trail as soon as 20 minutes after shooting a deer.  I may be a total moron but coyotes do not scare me.  I have run into many in the woods and as soon as they see me they turn and run, even the one that was on the blood trail. I am however not that brave when it comes to bears...............
 
Hope you found your deer.

LL7
 
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:30 pm

RE: Lost deer after dark

Postby LL7 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:21 pm

Well I went out this morning and was able to find my arrow. There was no blood or tissue, but there was a bit of hair stuck in the broodhead and some on the ground. I spent several hours looking and I found no blood in the surrounding area, so I am left to the conclusion that I gave him a hair cut across the back. I went deep into the brush and found no sign of the deer or coyotes.

In a way I'm very glad I probably didn't wound him severely. In another way I feel like a failure for missing twice. Funny how I can shoot a 5 inch cluster on a target at 40 yards but I can't hit a deer at 25. I guess more practice under pressure is needed.

I'll head back out this afternoon and hope he's a really dumb deer and comes back. This is the last day of bow season so I imagine I won't get another shot at him.

I will certainly be cutting some shooting lanes this winter if it is allowed. I'm on town conservation land and I don't know the regulations of cutting brush. But so far brush has been my biggest hindrance to getting a deer. I've had many within range, but no clear shot on them. I'm thinking next year I'll get a firearms license and use buckshot (only shotguns allowed in my town).

LL7
 
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:30 pm

RE: Lost deer after dark

Postby LL7 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:27 pm

ORIGINAL: Proline

Any update?  Nice job up against the end of the season. Hope you find it.  I think you made a good choice leaving that night if you hadn;t found blood or the arrow. The coyotes you heard may not have been on your deer anyway.  I have however had coyotes on a blood trail as soon as 20 minutes after shooting a deer.  I may be a total moron but coyotes do not scare me.  I have run into many in the woods and as soon as they see me they turn and run, even the one that was on the blood trail. I am however not that brave when it comes to bears...............

Hope you found your deer.


I don't have much experience with coyotes. I have never seen them in these woods and don't really know their pack behavior. Last evening I was wishing I had a pistol on me before venturing in towards them.

It's funny, but I don't worry about bears. Every one I have seen has been running from me.

Proline
 
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Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:38 am

RE: Lost deer after dark

Postby Proline » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:29 pm

Guess he's a lucky spike !   Hey maybe you will see him next year as a better back.  Agreed, always better to clean miss or scuzz one than to severely injure one. Good luk this afternoon. Shooting live animals is different from targets.  Everyone gets a heavier heart beat when the deer show up. I used to talk to myself in my mind and keep telling myself to focus only on the kill zone. Dont look at the rack. If I really was excited I would even close my eyes for couple seconds and refocus my mind as the deer approached. Oh, if you are shooting spots all summer, I find it a help to get onto 3d's exclusively for the final month before the season opens.

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