This is an inquiry, which came to Deer Search. It is followed by answers from DSI members - John Jeanneney and Kevin Armstrong
This past bow season I took a shot at a fairly nice buck. The deer went on a death run and crashed in to the thickets. After a brief wait, I got down off my tree to check out my shot. I started to track and backtrack using the overturned leaves and kicked up mud. I found the back 1/2 of my arrow at the initial hit site with n0 blood or hair on it. I finally picked up a few drops of blood about 40 yds from the hit. I started marking his trail with tape and found he came out of the thickets and started up and across an open grass and weed field for 300 yds and back into another thicket 50yds wide before he went into a steep grown up type gully. Still following very sparsely spaced blood droplets, I started down the other side when I seen what must have been him crest the far side and the last I seen him was going across the outfield of a ball field. He was exhibiting a slight limp at 200 yds away. I walked back to my truck about 800 yds and circled around to another road that took me to the ball field. I walked and searched for and tracks or signed of blood from where he was the last time I seen him. There were tons of deer tracks in the area and I could not pick out the ones that might have been his nor could I find and more blood. I followed clear as well as obscured deer trails for several hundred yds each without finding him or any additional sign of him. I have killed over 30 archery buck over the years and very reluctantly chalked this one off as making a high shoulder shot and quit my search hoping and praying that my buck survived my hit.
Finally, my question is: Would this incident have been a candidate for your team to be called to help in the search?
We have learned though many years of experience that high shoulder shots seldom create a situation where we can catch up to a deer. They just keep going and most of them certainly survive. If I had known all the details that you describe in your e-mail, I don’t think that I would have taken the call since their was little likelihood that I would have accomplished anything.
I am forwarding your letter to Kevin Armstrong, an experienced tracker. He may want to offer you his viewpoint. In any case he is a good man to know, if you ever have problems with another wounded deer.
I concur with John. Your description has all the hallmarks of a shoulder hit. Had we talked on the phone and you described the same things you mention in your email I probably would have asked you a number of questions, the most important questions being; Did you see any air bubbles or froth in the blood? And did the deer take a bed(s) in the first 2 or 3 hundred yards? If the answer to either of these questions was YES (but I'll bet your answer is NO) I might have considered taking the call. If you had answered NO I would have declined the call considering it a shoulder hit and an unrecoverable deer.
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