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What Happened? Failed Recovery

Hunter260

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Sep 14, 2019
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Columbia, MO
Here’s my setup, 70lb 30 inch draw Mathews no cam
605 grain Easton axis arrow with G5 montec

Had a small buck come in at 23 yards. Perfectly broadside and calm, grazing along a field edge with short grass.
I waited until he was a couple steps past me so that I could get a slight quartering away shot.

F599C967-7D17-4E06-B6EB-8D26A47F9BA2.jpeg

Here’s my aim point. I didn’t see the arrow impact, but felt 100% like everything in the shot was perfect. He didn’t duck extremely hard or do anything really strange. Heard a good pop like I hit the chest cavity and the buck bounded off about 30 yards.

Here’s where I gets weird, after 30 yards the buck stopped and looked around. Probably for 5 minutes at least. Then he slowly walked off. He never blew or got out of a walk. 45 minutes to an hour later we got down super quietly and I snuck out to glass the field from the edge hoping he would be laying there, he wasn’t. Me and a buddy searched for an hour at least just for the arrow. Never found it and there was no blood at all until we got to where the buck stopped to look at us.

We found 5-6 pools of bright red blood about the size of baseballs spread out about 10 feet from each other. After 30 or so yards the blood trail went to pin drops then vanished. We grid searched the next 200 yards and checked all fencerows and ditches well. Never found another drop. The field is short grass, I’m confident we would have seen blood or the body if it was there.

I’ll be going back tomorrow, but not hopeful as it’s going to rain tonight.

Any ideas? I’m pretty frustrated.
 

gameflogger

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Sounds like he was hit low, I have done it a couple times, both deer were recovered, good luck finding it
 

Holt

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May 13, 2017
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370
My bet would be a muscle hit. Sounds like he might have ducked more then you think and you shot him above the spine, thru the back straps. Most likely if that's the case, probably not going to find him and will live to see another day. But best to follow up and do your best to find him, never know and could be dead near by.

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larasea

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Dec 1, 2019
Messages
118
You have described a classic high shoulder, muscle, hit deer. Brisket hit deer will react in the same manner. Run a short distance, stop, and then walk off. The pools are where he stopped. The blood is usually a bright red and can be somewhat thick in appearance. I have tracked many of these wounded deer in the past 5 years. Some as far as 2 miles. Non fatal hit. A mortally wounded deer, liver or gut, will lay down within a couple hundred yards from the hit site.

Double lung or heart shot, we would not be having this conversation.

Good luck in the morning. Hope I'm wrong and you find him.
 
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Jimmy Wallhanger

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You don't use a lighted nock to see where you hit?

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Jimmy Wallhanger

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Also the reason I got a beagle and trained her to track wounded deer. I lost 5 deer in a row one year one of them a nice 10 point. Was the worst

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jakhammer

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Nov 26, 2020
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Here’s my setup, 70lb 30 inch draw Mathews no cam
605 grain Easton axis arrow with G5 montec

Had a small buck come in at 23 yards. Perfectly broadside and calm, grazing along a field edge with short grass.
I waited until he was a couple steps past me so that I could get a slight quartering away shot.

View attachment 42285

Here’s my aim point. I didn’t see the arrow impact, but felt 100% like everything in the shot was perfect. He didn’t duck extremely hard or do anything really strange. Heard a good pop like I hit the chest cavity and the buck bounded off about 30 yards.

Here’s where I gets weird, after 30 yards the buck stopped and looked around. Probably for 5 minutes at least. Then he slowly walked off. He never blew or got out of a walk. 45 minutes to an hour later we got down super quietly and I snuck out to glass the field from the edge hoping he would be laying there, he wasn’t. Me and a buddy searched for an hour at least just for the arrow. Never found it and there was no blood at all until we got to where the buck stopped to look at us.

We found 5-6 pools of bright red blood about the size of baseballs spread out about 10 feet from each other. After 30 or so yards the blood trail went to pin drops then vanished. We grid searched the next 200 yards and checked all fencerows and ditches well. Never found another drop. The field is short grass, I’m confident we would have seen blood or the body if it was there.

I’ll be going back tomorrow, but not hopeful as it’s going to rain tonight.

Any ideas? I’m pretty frustrated.
Ok since you asked and described you equipment: Here is my educated opinion; Your cutting diameter on your broadhead is too small to be effective on marginal hits and in some cases, too small to leave a decent blood trail even on fatal double lung hits.
I had a buddy I hunt with had nearlly the exact experience with a g5 except the deer only stopped for about 2 minutes - he thought he missed until he got down 2 hrs later and checked his arrow and it had blood on it.
Very sparse blood - took 1/2 hr to track 150 yds and lost blood. Did concentric circles looking for blood for 1/2 hr and none. Knowing the terrain and where the deer bed on this farm I went down to the creek bottom (creek was dry) and found a good size patch of blood - 12 inches x 8 inches, then none, crossed the creekbed towards the bedding area and he was piled up on the other side of the creek. Stiff and dead for a few hours. That deer traveled 440 yards (used huntstand app to measure the distance)
Here's the reason for my opinion - The deer was hit PERFECTLY - Double lung, center punched quartering away shot.
Fast forward 2 weeks, same farm in a stand withing 50 yards of where that deer died and on back to back nights I killed 2 giants shooting Wasp Jakhammers 1.75 cutting diameter. The 155 inch 8 pt went 40 yards and the 180 inch 16 pt went 55 yds. I watched both deer go down from my stand.
You asked what you did wrong - When you got down and din't first look for the arrow, you potentially bumped the deer. and when you didn't find your arrow and spent an hour looking for it , you should have backed out for a couple hours at least. If it's cold and no rain in forecast, the deer isn't going to get any deader if you wait several hours and if he isn't dead in the first hr or 2, bumping them can turn a tracking job into a body search which is always a crap shoot at best.
I hope you don't take this the wrong way - I am just trying to be helpful. I have been bowhunting for over 40 years and have learned most of these lessons the hard way.
Good luck and I really hope you find your buck!
 

RainingBlades

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Jun 19, 2020
Messages
123
I can’t offer advice but I’m wondering with that heavy set up why not aim more forward towards the “magic v?” I’d imagine if you hit close to that circle the arrow didn’t slow down much if you were on the ground it could be 100 yards away.
 

Bowmanmike

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Dec 15, 2019
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948
My guess is you hit back and low from your aim point and the holes got plugged with fat. No way your arrow didn't make it through the deer..The way it acted you did not hit bone. You may have bumped it looking for the arrow which probably is under the grass.
 

Hunter260

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Columbia, MO
I can’t offer advice but I’m wondering with that heavy set up why not aim more forward towards the “magic v?” I’d imagine if you hit close to that circle the arrow didn’t slow down much if you were on the ground it could be 100 yards away.
He was quartered away
 

kyler1945

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Baton Rouge, La.
Why didn’t you shoot again? If the deer stopped for 5 minutes. I assume no available shot?

I had the exact same scenario. I single lunged(and barely) a deer last weekend. He reacted the same way. I got a second arrow in him. I highly doubt I recover him if I didn’t get that second shot. Assuming you hit where you said.

how high above the deer were you? You can do some basic geometry and figure out likely hits based on angles.
 

Hunter260

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Columbia, MO
Why didn’t you shoot again? If the deer stopped for 5 minutes. I assume no available shot?

I had the exact same scenario. I single lunged(and barely) a deer last weekend. He reacted the same way. I got a second arrow in him. I highly doubt I recover him if I didn’t get that second shot. Assuming you hit where you said.

how high above the deer were you? You can do some basic geometry and figure out likely hits based on angles.
Didn’t have a shot. I had big limbs all to the left of me and he was covered up. I was probably 10-12 feet up. It was a tiny tree.
 

woodsdog2

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I feel your pain. I agree with @larasea and @Holt it was probably a high hit through muscle or no man's land. I don't like to refer to it that way either but everybody understands that when you say it. Several years ago I put an arrow through a colossus of a buck for my area at high noon. I was 18 feet up an oak in a climber. The buck stuck his nose in a scent wick that was straight in front of me. The arrow went right through and LAID on the ground as the buck whirled back and went down the ridge. That same year I couldn't get fixed blades to fly like I wanted and mechanicals were just starting to become popular. I didn't trust them so I decided to use a Rocket Aerohead or something like that which was the minimum legal diameter COC I could find (7/8" in NY). Big mistake. Although the head was very robust (steel ferrule with short thick and sharp blades) and grouped nicely, the diameter was too small and I put it just under the spine but above the lungs front just behind and above the right shoulder and never found that deer. I found blood for about 75 yards then it just stopped. I tracked until nightfall and then called Deersearch and the guy had an experienced dog but we never found him. I looked and looked for that deer three days after. I didn't have a trail camera back then and never saw it while hunting. It still haunts me to this day. It would probably have been my biggest buck I legit shot at in my life. I've seen slightly bigger bucks on the hoof but nothing that big that I had a shot opportunity at.
 

Topdog

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How did you make out today? Any more blood, did it rain. It happens to all of us at some point unfortunately.
 

Hunter260

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Columbia, MO
How did you make out today? Any more blood, did it rain. It happens to all of us at some point unfortunately.
No blood and no sign. The only cover he could theoretically be hiding in is more than 300 yards away.

I think I’ve determined that he must have ducked more than I thought and I hit high in the muscle. It’s hard to believe since I held low, but I have no other explanation. I figure a liver hit would have had darker blood and more of it. The blood was very bright like muscle blood. Sucks but what else can you do
 

larasea

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No blood and no sign. The only cover he could theoretically be hiding in is more than 300 yards away.

I think I’ve determined that he must have ducked more than I thought and I hit high in the muscle. It’s hard to believe since I held low, but I have no other explanation. I figure a liver hit would have had darker blood and more of it. The blood was very bright like muscle blood. Sucks but what else can you do
If you have game cameras out, you may see him soon. Maybe he lives to fight again. I have had at least 6 hunters/clients send me pictures this year of deer they hit high in the shoulder and are still living. It happens a lot.

A liver shot deer will most generally lay down very quickly after being shot. They feel sick unlike a muscle hit deer. I have seen liver shot deer run 20 yards, walk a short distance, and lay down. If you did not find a bed chances are good you did not hit liver or gut.

Thanks for the update and good luck the remainder of the season.
 
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raisins

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I'm sorry this happened. It's a bad feeling. The deer's reaction is what seals it for me. Deer hit in the vitals/guts don't stop 30 yards away like that and stand around for 5 minutes and then walk off (well, hardly ever, anything is possible). Did you see the arrow stuck out of the deer at that range? With your setup, if the arrow stayed in the deer, then you hit heavy bone. Which seems unlikely because deer are bothered by things sticking out of them. If he had an arrow in him, he wouldn't be stopping and looking around either. Most likely scenario is you put one through his muscle, the arrow passed through and got buried or skipped off a rock or log and flew into the next county.

Edit: I had a pass through skip in an open field before. I couldn't find the arrow and then a week later, I find the arrow laying on top of some tall grass over 50 yards away. I was shooting downward also. I don't know how it happened but it did.
 
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Hunter260

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Columbia, MO
I'm sorry this happened. It's a bad feeling. The deer's reaction is what seals it for me. Deer hit in the vitals/guts don't stop 30 yards away like that and stand around for 5 minutes and then walk off (well, hardly ever, anything is possible). Did you see the arrow stuck out of the deer at that range? With your setup, if the arrow stayed in the deer, then you hit heavy bone. Which seems unlikely because deer are bothered by things sticking out of them. If he had an arrow in him, he wouldn't be stopping and looking around either. Most likely scenario is you put one through his muscle, the arrow passed through and got buried or skipped off a rock or log and flew into the next county.
That’s what I’m thinking. Probably buried up under the grass
 
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