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Blood went dry

DelaWhere_Arrow

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2019
Messages
898
Location
Delaware
Okay, here’s what happened:
I’m hunting 10 acres of private, over a turnip field. Four deer came right into the food plot at 4:25. 2 nanny does, 2 fawns. I had one fawn at 20 but I wanted one of the big girls. Just my luck, the one I wanted stepped broadside, slight quartering away, into my 11:00 shooting lane at 18 yards. I drew back, bent at the waist, settled the pin low on her lungs right above the heart, light pressure on the release...
I hold my follow-through as best I can, but I can see my red lighted nock sticking out of her left chest, about 6-8 inches above where I was aiming, but definitely under the back strap and into the ribs. I pay attention to everything around me for 20 minutes while texting the landowner, then get out of the tree and slip back to the truck quiet as a mouse. The landowner, an ardent deer hunter with over 150 kills and tons of tracking experience, mandates that I go back to my in-laws’ for an hour, then come back to try tracking before dark.
We get to the site of the hit, and it’s about 90 minutes after the shot. Within 10 yards of the shot, we start to get blood. A little at first, but bright pinkish-red. We pick up a few more drops every 10-20 yards, then we find the ass-end of my arrow, broken off, covered in beautiful lung blood, next to a much bigger, bubbly spatter. Awesome, looks like I got the second lung after all. Another big splatter or three, then all of a sudden, 130 yards of blood just stops. Like, two pink frothy dots on a leaf, then nothing. Anywhere. Looked on trunks, in thick bedding cover, along all interconnected trails, on rocks and vines, and the blood seemingly vanished. We grid searched about 4 acres of trails and bedding, for over 2 hours on our hands and knees and into the dark, before the landowner said it was time to pack it in. He has given me permission to go back and search tomorrow, but I don’t have access to the neighboring property that it could have gone to and he will be at work and can’t help me. The real kicker is that I have to leave the state tomorrow night and head home for work myself. We both were hoping to have a deer to hang tonight, but the landowner is not optimistic that she’s recoverable given the property lines and cold blood trail. We know she is hit in at least one lung, probably both, and likely died, but also has about 24” of arrow still in her and that she could have gone just about anywhere without more blood or if the wound closed up around the arrow shaft.
This is my first saddle kill, and the biggest deer I’ve shot. I’m depressed as hell thinking I might not recover her.
Now, before someone decides to preach about “doing everything you can for the animal and we owe it to our sport”, I’ll just say save that. Of course that’s my plan. I’m not a mindless savage. I’m interested in recovering this deer at all costs, but I can’t do anything about property lines or having to maintain full-time jobs at the expense of game recovery, or the fact that her blood went dry after 130 yards of decent pink death-juice. I’m not interested in anyone’s idea of game-recovery ethics, I’m interested in strictly tracking logistics. This has come up on several other forums but I value SH.com way more. I would really just like honest, nonjudgmental feedback about how I can up my odds of recovery.
I am 100% confident that the windage on my shot was correct, and that I got at least one lung; I’m 60% confident I got both lungs, and 80% confident that I rammed the broadhead into her far shoulder, based on the blood texture and the fact that the arrow was hairy, bloody, and bubbly up to the nock. It was by no means a perfect shot, but it was the correct shot angle and range, in the correct area for lung collapse. We just can’t find anymore blood or her. Granted the daylight may help, but sh**, I could use a win right now...
Any ideas? I really would love to be able to follow this up with a photo of a dead deer, but it’s hard to be optimistic.
 

Weldabeast

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 23, 2019
Messages
2,346
Location
Northeast Florida
All you can do is give it your best shot.....not the best feeling, iknow. The after the shot part of hunting has been the hardest to learn cause i don't get to do it that much unless you got a lot of hunting buddies which i don't.
 

rambotogo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2017
Messages
297
Hate that for you . Just my two cents , sounds like one lung maybe the deer is dead ,but a deer can still survive with one lung . Good luck
 

will4554

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
279
Location
SW Ohio
She might have doubled back on you. Really difficult to see in the dark. If you don't find her, you don't find her. Coyotes, worms, etc all need to eat as well. I have seen autopsies of deer that have survived double lung shots only to be killed later. There's a lot of factors. If you don't get the lungs deflated, she can live. We are talking about a wild animal, the will to live has to factor in somehow.
 

Exhumis

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SH Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2019
Messages
809
Location
Northern Virginia
That sux man. So my advice would be the typical. Nearby water source? Nearby bedding area? As Will said she may have doubled back, so I'd go right back to where you shot her and start over again just to be sure. She also may have circled around. I harvested a doe last year that did that, blood trail ran dry, she ended up being 100 yards perpendicular from the trail she had been on, seemed like she was circling back around to an area she was comfortable with.
 

DelaWhere_Arrow

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2019
Messages
898
Location
Delaware
That sux man. So my advice would be the typical. Nearby water source? Nearby bedding area? As Will said she may have doubled back, so I'd go right back to where you shot her and start over again just to be sure. She also may have circled around. I harvested a doe last year that did that, blood trail ran dry, she ended up being 100 yards perpendicular from the trail she had been on, seemed like she was circling back around to an area she was comfortable with.
I also thought she might have doubled back. The dark is a pain in the ass. I’m hoping we walked right by her already and that I’ll stumble into her today. She definitely crossed the creek once, which opened her wound up and caused some good splatter, but she seemingly stopped bleeding not long after. Maybe she bedded down and plugged the wound.
And I was so looking forward to saying, “couldn’t-a done her without them exhumis prusik loops”. They got me up my tree safely, so that’s a big thanks!
 

Bigterp

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SH Member
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Sep 11, 2017
Messages
3,022
Location
Baltimore, Maryland
Man I hope you find that deer, it sucks! Given your description, I would really lean towards a double back I know double back & dog was already mentioned but that sounds like your best shot, given time constraint & property lines......
 

DelaWhere_Arrow

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2019
Messages
898
Location
Delaware
Man I hope you find that deer, it sucks! Given your description, I would really lean towards a double back I know double back & dog was already mentioned but that sounds like your best shot, given time constraint & property lines......
That’s the first trail(s) I’m going to try today. Most of the doe bedding and staging on the property is centered around the area of last blood, which makes it hard to gauge which trail she likely took. The last drops are right in a doe superhighway where 5 trails converge through beds. Like a drop in the ocean all of a sudden. I’m waiting for good light then I’ll make a move on the backtrack from last blood.
 

fbwguy

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SH Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2018
Messages
2,080
Location
Cato Arkansas
Nothing to add that hasn’t been already stated. I sympathize 100% with the punch in the gut feeling. Opening weekend I searched for my bad shot buck for hours and hours with no recovery. Worst feeling a hunter can have. Hope you find her
 

kyler1945

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SH Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2016
Messages
2,743
Location
Baton Rouge, La.
After watching what dogs can do on several bad shots/trails, I no longer have pride about it, and ‘want to find it on my own first and exhaust all efforts before calling a dog.’

If I make anything other than a verifiable double lung shot, with full pass through and immediate blood, I see if any of the trackers are within range before i tromp up the trail making it harder on the dog. If no one is available within the time I have to work with, I will continue tracking. But throwing 50 bucks to a guy working his dog for gas money is peanuts.

If you recovering the animal is top priority, like you say, that should be your first call when blood dries up, before you grid the area, making the track more difficult for the dog.

Pictures of blood on ground, of broken arrow recovered, and of your guess at shot angle would be really helpful too.
 

EricS

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Dec 14, 2016
Messages
4,423
Location
Georgia
Good luck. It’s tough sometimes. Most of the time it’s our error. Occasionally it’s equipment failure. Then once every now and then they just seem to defy odds. I would only be guessing that you only got one lung. I didn’t see the blood trail If you are 130 yards and looking for specks of blood it’s not a typical double lung hit. Even if they aren’t bleeding much externally they are generally spraying blood every exhale once they get 75 or so yards. That said she could very well have doubled back or bedded down and y’all could have walked circles around her in the dark. I much prefer trailing in daylight but 75 percent of my shot opportunities happen at night.
 

DelaWhere_Arrow

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2019
Messages
898
Location
Delaware
After watching what dogs can do on several bad shots/trails, I no longer have pride about it, and ‘want to find it on my own first and exhaust all efforts before calling a dog.’

If I make anything other than a verifiable double lung shot, with full pass through and immediate blood, I see if any of the trackers are within range before i tromp up the trail making it harder on the dog. If no one is available within the time I have to work with, I will continue tracking. But throwing 50 bucks to a guy working his dog for gas money is peanuts.

If you recovering the animal is top priority, like you say, that should be your first call when blood dries up, before you grid the area, making the track more difficult for the dog.

Pictures of blood on ground, of broken arrow recovered, and of your guess at shot angle would be really helpful too.
I’ll have to call the landowner before letting another dog run his property, simply because he already mentioned his desire not to ruin his own hunting potential on the property. We jumped a target buck out of his bed as it is, which sounds kinda stupid but I don’t want to screw with permissions, obviously. Still, I will call a tracker and chat at the very least.
I also have the arrow in my truck, so I will definitely post a pic when I get out to it.
I posted a pic below of the shot window. The doe’s caboose was just to the left of the foreground leaves, and her feet were on the dirt as she munched on some overhanging berries,19F65CA1-11BD-499C-B0D3-80B5D3356AC5.jpeg so her whole body was just inside my shooting lane. She was 90% broadside, 10% quartering away at 18 yards and about 18’ up the tree.
 

kyler1945

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SH Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2016
Messages
2,743
Location
Baton Rouge, La.
I’ll have to call the landowner before letting another dog run his property, simply because he already mentioned his desire not to ruin his own hunting potential on the property. We jumped a target buck out of his bed as it is, which sounds kinda stupid but I don’t want to screw with permissions, obviously. Still, I will call a tracker and chat at the very least.
I also have the arrow in my truck, so I will definitely post a pic when I get out to it.
I posted a pic below of the shot window. The doe’s caboose was just to the left of the foreground leaves, and her feet were on the dirt as she munched on some overhanging berries,View attachment 19023 so her whole body was just inside my shooting lane. She was 90% broadside, 10% quartering away at 18 yards and about 18’ up the tree.
Any good tracker will have his dog on a leash. And if the dog is on the trail of the deer, and jumps or boogers deer, you would have done the same with a good blood trail. The dog doesn’t just randomly walk around, it’s following the interdigital scent of the specific deer you shot. It’s a science. It will have no more impact than you grid searching for your deer.

Looking at distance/angle of shot, if you managed to hit it high below the spine and got full penetration, you hit both lungs. A calm deer, and a razor sharp broad head should have it dead within a couple/few hundred yards at most. I’ve not seen one of mine or hunting buddies run more than 200 yards with double lung hit from a sharp broadhead. If you hit it lower than you think, the possibility exists that it was a single lung. They can survive or run for miles on that.

High chest cavity hits can take a minute to start pumping, but they should. Bottom line - if you hit it like you say you did, the deer is dead, and not far away. A dog will make life easier. If it’s not an option, grid search. You should easily be able to cover the size area a double lung deer would die in.

Good luck!
 

EricS

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Dec 14, 2016
Messages
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Georgia
@WHW mentioned an app for grid searching that will keep up with where you did or didn’t search. A good dog is awesome. A bad dog is still better than most people. You have to respect the owners wishes as well.
 
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