Expert Guidance on Trailing a Wounded Deer After a Shot – Tips for 2023 Hunting Season

Expert Guidance on Trailing a Wounded Deer After a Shot - Tips for Hunting Season

Experiencing the loss of a deer after a shot can be a heavy burden for any hunter, regardless of their level of expertise. Such a situation can trigger feelings of regret and self-doubt, leading to a deeper understanding of one’s ethical responsibilities towards the animal.

However, with the right Trailing a Wounded Deer knowledge, it’s possible to locate a wounded deer and bring home a successful hunt. In this article, we’ll share essential tips to help you effectively track and recover a wounded whitetail, increasing your chances of a rewarding hunting experience in 2023.

Related Article:

Effective Tips for Tracking Wounded Deer

Effective Tips for Tracking Wounded Deer 

Understanding Deer Reactions

In the moments following a shot at a deer, hunters need to remain calm and focused. Take a deep breath and wait for 20 to 30 minutes to visualize the shot and the deer’s reaction. Observing how the deer reacts makes it possible to estimate where the deer was hit and plan accordingly.

For example, if the deer jumps high, kicks its hind legs, and runs, it’s likely that the deer was hit in its heart or lungs. In this case, the deer will not make it far and can be found within 100 yards.

On the other hand, if the deer struggles away with a hanging head after halting and running, it may indicate a hit in the liver or gut. It’s important to let the deer bed and die in peace, without rushing to track it too early. Otherwise, the deer may be pushed to run further and bed in another location.

Understanding Blood Sign

One of the key elements in tracking a wounded deer is examining the blood left behind. The color and consistency of the blood can provide clues about where the deer was hit and how severe the wound is.

Bright pink blood with bubbles indicates that the lung has been pierced, and the deer will not have gone far. Rich vivid red blood typically means a wound near the heart, while dark crimson blood is a sign of a liver or kidney shot. A wound to these vital organs can be fatal but may take some time for the deer to succumb, so it’s best to wait 2-3 hours before tracking.

In some cases, the blood may contain traces of vegetation or food, or have a yellowish tint. This is a sign that the deer was shot in the stomach, and it’s best to wait at least half a day before tracking to avoid pushing the deer to run further and bed down in a new location.

Using Hair Clues

Using Hair Clues

When tracking a wounded deer, it’s not always easy to find blood or see clear signs of the deer’s reaction to the shot. However, even if there’s no blood, you will likely find deer hairs at the hunt site, which can provide valuable information about the location of your shot.

Dark, rough, hollow hairs suggest a high hit, while thinner, brown, less coarse hair indicates a shot on the side, which is a good hit. White hair is not a good sign, as it often indicates a low shot, but it could also be the result of an exit wound from a high-angle shot.

Silky white hair is a sign of a brisket shot, which may or may not be fatal. By using these hair clues in combination with other tracking methods, you can increase your chances of finding the wounded deer and making a successful recovery.

Investigating the Scene

Investigating the Scene

As a hunter, tracking wounded deer can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Even if one tracking method doesn’t work, others may be useful. Investigating the scene of the shot can provide additional clues to help you find the deer.

Look for signs like broken branches and overturned leaves, as a wounded deer is likely to leave a trail of debris behind. Use these broken leaves and other debris as markers to follow the deer’s trail. Mark these spots with flagging tape to help you return to the scene if needed.

Sometimes, you may not find blood, so it’s important to rely on other clues such as broken branches and deeper deer tracks. By using these methods in combination, you can increase your chances of successfully tracking a wounded deer and bringing home a well-earned reward.

Proceed with Caution When Tracking a Wounded Deer

Proceed with Caution When Tracking a Wounded Deer

When tracking a wounded deer, it’s essential to proceed slowly and with caution. Moving too quickly can startle the deer and cause it to run away, making it even harder to track.

Before moving forward, take a moment to scan the area ahead of you using binoculars. This can help you locate the deer and avoid accidentally startling it.

When you finally come upon the deer, it’s crucial to approach it carefully. Hunters have been known to mistake a living deer for a dead one and unintentionally spook it. Look for signs of life, such as an open eye, to determine if the deer is still alive. If it is, be prepared to take another shot if needed.

Reasons Why Blood Trails End

When tracking a wounded deer, hunters often encounter blood trails that suddenly end, leaving them puzzled and unsure of what to do next. One of the most common reasons for this is blood coagulation. When a deer sustains a wound to a superficial muscle in the leg, neck, or shoulder, it can lose a significant amount of blood. However, after around 200 yards, the blood droppings stop as the blood coagulates.

Another reason for a blood trail to end is when the deer sustains a high wound, such as a hit at the top of its back. In such cases, very little blood reaches the ground, making it difficult to track.

When a deer is hit in the intestine, stomach, or liver, there is usually enough blood to start tracking, but the drops gradually reduce and eventually stop. 

This is because the entrance and exit holes become clogged with tissues, preventing the blood from finding a way out to the ground. A similar phenomenon occurs when an arrow does not exist, resulting in no departure hole for the blood.

Estimating the Distance a Wounded Deer Can Travel

Estimating the exact distance a wounded deer can travel is a difficult task, but certain factors can help give a rough estimate. The distance a deer can travel after being wounded depends on various factors, such as the size and location of the wound and how far the arrow or bullet penetrated.

When shot in the heart and lungs, a deer can travel up to 100-150 yards. However, if the heart has stopped pumping, the deer may not make it even to 100 yards. If the deer is shot in the liver, it can move for another 4-6 hours. It is advisable to wait for the deer to bed and pass out to avoid allowing it to move.

A deer shot in the gut may or may not die, and can walk for miles with this injury. Therefore, it is important to make an accurate shot to ensure a clean and humane kill.

Final Thoughts

Tracking a wounded deer is a skill that can be learned with the right knowledge and practice. As a hunter, it’s essential to understand the significance of various clues such as the color of blood or hairs left by the deer. You must also be able to interpret other tracks and signs left by the animal to determine its movement.

Even with this knowledge, it’s not always guaranteed that you’ll locate the wounded deer. However, don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t succeed. Use the experience to reflect on any mistakes you may have made and use this to improve your skills on your next hunt.

We hope this article has provided valuable insights into the art of tracking wounded deer and wish you good luck on your next hunting adventure.

Jamie Leavy

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *