After the hit..............

KDM

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Reading that article about blood trailing got me thinking about how I trail deer after the hit. I wait the proverbial "30 minutes" after the hit almost all of the time if I don't see the critter go down. Once I pick up the trail, I don't stop until I find the critter or the critters bed. Upon finding a bed, without an animal in it, this is where the decision making comes into play and the FUN begins. I have to decide if I jumped the critter or did it get up on its own? If the conclusion is "On its own", I wait an additional 30 minutes, look for more sign in the immediate area, and then continue. The thinking is that if the animal still has enough strength to lay down and get back up on its own, it has enough strength to go a long way away from me should I bump it. If I find a second bed within 50 yards or so, I often conclude that the critter is fading fast and should be within 200 yards of the last bed, which IME is a high percentage guess. IF the blood runs out, I immediately mark that spot and note the direction of travel of the critter. Many times a hit animal will continue on the same trail in the same direction. The thinking here is that it's easier to travel on a trail while hurt than bust brush. The first thing I do after I note the direction of travel is BACKTRACK the trail to see if the critter doubled back, which many many old white tails will do, and look for where they broke off. Upon finding nothing there, I continue along the path of travel looking for a body. The thinking here is that if the blood trail ended the animal might be out of blood and laying close by. If no body is found, then I start a half moon sweeping pattern to the front of the last blood sign in 3-5 foot increments. If I go 20-30 yards and find nothing, then I start the same pattern behind the last blood sign. IF that fails, I then look the area over and try to find the thickest, darkest, and safest looking cover within 200 yards of the last blood sign and follow the trails from the last blood sign toward that cover and search it. The thinking being is that the critter may have bedded in that cover and left blood that wasn't left on the trails getting there. Then I go toward water using the same process. If that fails, then I run thin pie shaped patterns from the last blood sign that radiate out much like the spokes of a bicycle wheel for 200-300 yards covering all the ground not covered previously looking for anything. If I find nothing, then I look for those same thick bedding areas within a mile and go check them out. Paying particular attention to the home range of the animal if I have enough information to know that. IF ALL OF THAT FAILS, the last thing I do is find the highest point in the area the next day and look for birds. YES, I've been lead to critters by watching for crows, magpies, and blue jays. I know this was long winded and may not be correct, but it's how I go about systematically finding a hit animal. If this helps find one critter, I'll be happy.
 


Rizzo

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One thing you should ad is check water if there is any nearby. I've found many deer in or on the bank of a river.
 

gst

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What the hell kdm, you didn;t even mention........................Well you forgot............................um I bet not many deer escape that process.

One of the things we do along with what you shared is carry a roll of trail tape to mark blood when it is not a good trail. (maybe that is how you "mark" the last spot also) Looking back with the flashlight seeing trail tape is a way to get a line of travel to move forward to look for new blood.

Last fall the kids buck he shot with his bow (a bit back but it worked) made a circle damn near right back to where he shot him. As we were standing by the bed where he laid down, wondering whether to push on, he snuck within 20 yards of us on the other side of two tree rows. Found him piled up wedged between two trees a couple hundred yards later.

Grandpa was the one with the patience to figure out when the blood stopped he circled back instead of going ahead to bed down in a half mile slough of cat tails. I would have lost a fair bit of money on that one......Happy kid when he knew he didn;t have to bust cattails in the morning!! Smart alec still reminds me maybe I should ask grandpa about things!!!

One of the best tracking deals I have been involved with, Dad/Grandpa, me and the kid................154 inch buck the kid was after all fall shot during rifle season with his bow after he rattled him in!

Don't get much better!
 

KDM

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Yep, forgot that little tidbit. Good point on the marking tape. Toilet paper is NOT A GOOD SUBSTITUTE. The morning dew dissolves that stuff and you have a better than average chance of losing the whole kitt'en'kaboodle. I have a few rolls of candy cane striped engineering tape I picked up from somewhere. That stuff stands out against just about every type of vegetation I've had to track through.
 


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