Sometimes the most agonizing and disappointing hunting moment is when you misjudge your shot you anticipated would be 100% perfect. Now you’re left with a scared, wounded deer fleeing for its life and a one and only option if you want to keep the game you just shot– you have to track it down. Of course, tracking down the deer still doesn’t completely guarantee you will find it at the end of the blood-trail.
So, the central question on everyone’s minds seems to be, “how do I successfully track down the wounded deer I just caught?” You also might be wondering what the benefits are of tracking your wounded deer. Hopefully, by the time you are finished reading this article, you will have better insight into successfully tracking down your whitetail deer.
1. The position is Key—
In an article entitled “The Science of Tracking Wounded Deer,” Dan Stefanich says that tracking a wounded whitetail isn’t just an art form, but forensic science. Like a forensic scientist, a deer hunter must precisely and thoroughly cover all bases, examine the whole picture, even from the very first moment prior to the shot being fired.
That’s why remembering the exact spot the deer was standing when you shot it is a crucial aspect of the process, especially when you are bow hunting. Because, if you can’t decipher where the deer was shot from the get-go, then you might not be successful at locating the exact point the blood-trail begins in order to track down the fleeing animal. It might involve a little multitasking, but it’s important to take a mental note on the precise location and its point of impact of the standing buck, and not just making the shot.
2. Being Extra Observant Never Steers You Wrong—
You will continue to realize how crucial being observant really is in those first few seconds during the initial hunting process, as it is ultimately your key to a successful hunt. In addition to figuring out the exact spot, the deer was standing in, pay attention to how the deer reacts upon immediate impact, and the location on the body where the arrow entered.
After being shot deer have been known to react in a number of curious and misleading ways, from getting knocked down on impact and suddenly jumping right back up, to not even reacting at all only to collapse to the ground. These reactions can sometimes be extremely deceiving, which is why it’s also important to pay attention to the precise area on the deer where the arrow ended up. For instance, according to Jerry Allen from North American Whitetail, the most sensitive shot to make on the body of the deer is either the neck or spine, as it’s the only place that will usually cause the animal to fall and become disabled.
Tracking the deer along its blood-trail also gives you solid clues as to where it was shot. For example, Allen states that “leg-muscle hits leave lots of blood in the first 100 yards,” but “lung-shot deer often run right after the shot and this causes blood-trails to be harder to see, as the blood is spread over a large distance.” So, even though it seems like a lot to remember, making these seemingly minuscule observations will be totally worth it in the long-run.
3. Take Action and Retrieve Your Deer—
So, you have successfully pinpointed the blood as a result of the impact, and have a firm understanding of the direction to take to locate your whitetail, now what? Allen continues, stating that it’s recommended you wait 30 seconds before trekking up the trail, as “a wounded deer will not go far unless it is pushed.” Then, it’s time to take action.
Start quietly making the effort to track the deer down by following the blood-trail. However, while following the blood-splatter on the ground, also make sure to look at the brush and foliage for additional signs of blood-splatter. Sometimes it’s even helpful to examine the color of the blood to pinpoint where you shot it– red or pinkish color blood indicates an artery or lung shot, while green or brown gives you a clue it was hit in the liver. In addition, make use of trail markers to further expedite the tracking process.
4. Dogs Never Cease to Prove Their Companionship—
Finally, taking advantage of the new blood-tracking regulations involving dogs might not be a bad idea. Many studies have been conducted on the utilization of trained tracking-dogs, and not surprisingly, rarely ever steers hunters wrong.
One study presented on deersearch.org, states that it took only 30 minutes to track down a wounded deer once tracking dogs were released, and 95% of numerous deer were recovered within a matter of a few hours. Other studies conducted on the use of dogs contained similar success stories. Tracking dogs just may stand a chance of completely benefiting in scenarios when there is no blood to be found, or while hunting in situations where our vision could be slightly impaired due to darkness, rain, fog, etc.
Hopefully, this article has helped you grasp more of an understanding of why wounded deer tracking is important and beneficial, and answered any questions you might have had about deer tracking. Being observant, paying attention to where the arrow landed on the deer, examining the color of its blood, getting a well-trained dog, among other suggestions in this article, could help you be on our way to a successful tracking and hunting experience, as a whole.
However, if you feel as though you need further guidance, check out this quick video, because, it includes extra details that may have been overlooked within the article. Although these are all important and useful tips to keep in mind, just start with one and go from there.