Outdoor Life - - HUNTING -

De­spite the fol­low­ing dif­fer­ences in opin­ion, every source we re­viewed agrees that you must iden­tify the type of hit you made be­fore pur­su­ing an animal. De­pend­ing on the amount and type of blood, a blood trail can in­di­cate a fatal hit or a hit that might cause a deer to bleed out if pushed. Never push a gut- or liver-shot deer.


An ex­cerpt from the cur­ricu­lum ap­proved in 45 states: “You should wait for at least a half hour to an hour be­fore trail­ing a deer, un­less the downed deer is in sight.”


The NBEF states that “a wise bowhunter gives the animal time to ex­pire,” and that the nor­mal wait­ing pe­riod af­ter ar­row­ing a big-game animal ranges from 30 to 60 min­utes. A caveat to this is quick pur­suit in the event of a poor hit out­side the chest or body cav­ity (neck, leg, rump, or back). In such in­stances, the deer might run away quickly but then calm down, stop bleed­ing, and pos­si­bly sur­vive. “If you can fol­low the animal rapidly and ag­gres­sively, it will con­tinue to bleed, even from a rel­a­tively mi­nor wound…it may lose enough blood to get care­less and give you an­other shot. It may even die from a wound that would not nor­mally be con­sid­ered fatal.”


Tracker, track­ing-dog breeder, and au­thor John Jeanneney is an ad­vo­cate of tak­ing ad­van­tage of the on­set of shock in an animal im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing a shot. He rec­om­mends care­fully ap­proach­ing wounded game for a fin­ish­ing shot. Al­low­ing an animal shot in the heart, lungs, shoul­der, or leg time to col­lect its wits could re­sult in a wound­ing loss.

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